[By Kenton Rambsy]
The importance of chronology of African American literary history has become all the more important to me after viewing “The Timeline of African American Poetry.” My older brother, an associate professor of African American literature and director of Black Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, recently compiled a timeline of significant events in African American poetry that spans from 1854 to 2012.
My work with the HBW deals with the recovery of African American novels, so naturally, I followed his lead and created a timeline. Over the next week, I have partnered with Howard to create a series of entries that highlights significant events in African American novel history.
These series of timelines by no means seeks to be an exhaustive history of black novel history. Instead, these chronologies serve as an attempt to make information about African American history accessible through the internet.
The concept of digital humanities and some of its practical applications to the study of English and History have driven much of my work with the HBW. In fact, I always find myself engaging in conversations about the possible ways presenting information and “new discoveries” in the field of African American literature can be helpful to wider ranging audiences. These series of timelines serve as one possible way to create/build upon knowledge about black novels.