An Interview with Maya Jensen, Filmmaker behind ‘Solidarity in Saya: An Afro-Bolivian Music Movement’

Bolivians of African descent introduced Jensen to Saya music, an old artform which was a universal language in the Spanish-speaking land of their political and labor oppressors. Jensen’s film documents Saya music of today. Continue reading

“I am not sure there was a better place”… Part 3 of Q & A with Dr. Sharony Green on “Fancy Girls,” women and more in American history

“I think as more scholars and laymen are courageous enough to tell and discuss these messy stories, the stain will be there although inside a larger narrative. The stain is the multi-layered pain. The stain is also complacency with old stories that rightly emphasize real oppression, although to the exclusion of evidence that complicates the oppression.” -Sharony Green…from the final installment of her interview for her recently-released book, Remember Me to Miss Louisa: Hidden Black-White Intimacies in Antebellum America (Northern Illinois University Press; 2015; $24.95; ISBN: 978-0-87580-723-2). Continue reading

“I never let white men get off easy…”: Q & A with author and historian Sharony Green on black-white intimacies in antebellum America (PART 2)

Sharony Green

“Yes, it’s hard to write and publish a book like this with Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray and so many others no longer with us. Trayvon attended my sister’s church. His mother still does. These souls and racism are right here beside all of my messy evidence, past and present.” -Dr. Sharony Green, historian and author
Continue reading

“Remember Me To Miss Louisa”: Q & A with author and historian Sharony Green

Remember Me to Miss Louisa

“Critical study of womanhood, in all its complexities, is needed for today’s women who are still living through so many oppressions. Not that much has happened that we get to escape societal agreements about our sanity, our worth, our ability to contribute, our need for rest and to be protected and to protect and so on.” Dr. Sharony Green, on her work and book “Remember Me to Miss Louisa: Hidden Black-White Intimacies in Antebellum America” Continue reading

Birthing a Slave: Reproduction and Inhumanity during America’s Slavery Era

To understand how the joyous occasion of motherhood was a form of suffering for black female slave, please read this excellent post on “the book Birthing a Slave: Motherhood and Medicine in the Antebellum South, by Marie Jenkins Schwartz. The book tells the history of a somewhat esoteric subject: the need of slaveholders, and the doctors they hired, to control and manage the bodies and reproductive lives of slave women.”

We can have more admiration for black mothers and families today if we understand just how much our ancestral histories included so many challenges meant to destroy them.


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Jubilo! The Emancipation Century

Most people know of slavery, but we don’t know about slavery. Specifically, we don’t know how dehumanizing it was to be a slave.

We might understand what it’s like to be denied freedom or dignity at an intellectual level. But for many of us, we don’t have a grasp on how horrible the institution was, in the day to day life of an enslaved person. Most of us don’t “get” what it was about inhuman bondage that made it so inhuman.

For example: what was it like to be slave mother?

Some insights on this are given in the book Birthing a Slave: Motherhood and Medicine in the Antebellum South, by Marie Jenkins Schwartz. The book tells the history of a somewhat esoteric subject: the need of slaveholders, and the doctors they hired, to control and manage the bodies and reproductive lives of slave women.

But while the subject is…

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Black History Month

This gallery contains 42 photos.

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Black History Month

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Negression

Kalisha on Easter, 1980, Kankakee, Illinois

Any African-American who achieves a fraction of what they set out to do in life will tell you a peaceful, unencumbered path is impossible. Some of us quietly accept prejudice and discrimination, and probably are better off for it. Others, like myself I can admit, talk very loudly. Both coping styles carry their toll and price. Continue reading