Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Celebrating Toni Cade Bambara at 75

[by Meredith Wiggins]

African American letters lost one of its brightest lights in 1995 when Black feminist author, filmmaker and activist Toni Cade Bambara passed away at the age of 56 after being diagnosed with colon cancer.  

This November, to mark the 75th anniversary of Bambara's birth year, The Feminist Wire is currently hosting a two-week online forum celebrating the life, work, and continuing influence of a woman who said that writers and artists had a duty "to make revolution irresistible."

Monday, November 17, 2014

HBW Emerging Scholars: Edwidge Danticat and the Collective Self

[by Caroline Porter]

Editor's Note: The HBW Blog is introducing a new blog series, Emerging Scholars, that offers graduate student scholars the chance to post pieces that speak to their own critical interests in more depth than a usual blog post.  Caroline Porter, currently pursuing her M.A. in Literature at KU, inaugurates the series with a post on HBW favorite Edwidge Danticat.

Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian-American writer well known for her fiction, including her award-winning books Breath, Eyes, Memory, The Dew Breaker, and Krik? Krak! However, 2007's Brother, I’m Dying tells her own story, or so it seems. Though the book has been labeled “autobiography,” Danticat concentrates primarily on the lives of her family members rather than on her own.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Celebrating Ernest J. Gaines, 50 Years On

[by Meredith Wiggins]

2014 is an exciting year for readers and scholars interested in the work of Ernest J. Gaines.

It's the 50th anniversary of the award-winning author's first novel, Catherine Carmier, which set the stage for the Gaines's later, better-known fiction, including 1971's The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, 1983's A Gathering of Old Men, and 1993's Pulitzer Prize-nominated A Lesson Before Dying.

Alongside Catherine Carmier's 50th anniversary, the Ernest J. Gaines Center, housed at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, has announced the creation of the Ernest J. Gaines Society, "a literary society to promote research and scholarship on the work of Ernest J. Gaines."  

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Of Maids and Ladies": Dr. Ayesha Hardison on Living Jane Crow

[by Creighton N. Brown and Simone Savannah]

On Thursday, October 30, 2014, Langston Hughes Visiting Professor Ayesha Hardison examined the oppressive situation faced by women of color after the Civil War and through the Jim Crow Era in a talk entitled “Of Maids and Ladies: The Ethics of Living Jane Crow” at The University of Kansas.

Working from the decline of the mammy in postbellum America to the rise of the domestic worker during the 1940s and 1950s, Hardison explored the ways that black women writers attempted to critique their condition and reimagine black femininity in juxtaposition with oppression by white women and black men’s gender privilege. Hardison explored this double bind faced by black women through Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940), Ann Petry’s The Street (1946), and cartoonist Jackie Ormes’s newspaper serials Candy and Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger.