Friday, September 30, 2016

Original Research: Dr. Candice A. Pitts

In July 2015 the Project on the History of Black Writing welcomed 25 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholars to the University of Kansas. For two weeks, scholars immersed themselves in Black Poetry after the Black Arts Movement institute, one feature of the larger fifteen-month program funded by the NEH that responds to the resurgence of interest in contemporary poetry, its expanded production and wide circulation. Candice A. Pitts, an Assistant Professor of English at Albany State University and one of our Black Poetry summer scholars, has recently published “Belize — A Nation (Still) in the Making: Erasures and Marginalisation in the Framing of the ‘Land of the Free’.”

Head over to Wasafiri to check it out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Remembering Joyce Carol Thomas (May 25, 1938 - August 13, 2016)

[By Dominique Waller]

Image courtesy of Balkin Buddies
The African-American Literature community has lost another treasure. On August 13, 2016 Joyce Carol Thomas died in Stanford, California. The award winning children’s author, poet, and playwright’s passing was confirmed by her sister Flora Krasnovsky, stating that Thomas contracted cirrhosis of the liver from a blood transfusion.

Thomas wrote primarily adult plays and poetry before her first young-adult novel Marked by Fire was published in 1982, and adapted into a gospel musical under the name of Abyssinia in 1987. The novel went on to win the National Book Award for children’s fiction the next year. Her first picture book, The Blacker the Berry (2008), received Coretta Scott King Honors, an award she received previously for I Have Heard of a Land (1998) along with an IRA/CBC Teachers’ Choice Award. Living in Ponca City, Oklahoma as child she drew from her own life experience. In 1998, Thomas told the African American Review that her works were dedicated to showing young readers a versions of black life that was seldom shown in books. She believed these stories deserved being told.

Along with leaving behind her literary legacy, Mrs. Thomas leaves behind daughter Monica Pecot, sons Gregory and Michael Withers and Roy T Thomas III, along with seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

You can read more extensively on Mrs. Thomas’ life and legacy here.

Dominique Waller is a sophomore in Biology at the University of Kansas and HBW staff member. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

HBW Supports: March for Standing Rock

HBW supports the First Nation Student Association (FNSA) and their march in support of Standing Rock on 9/30/16 at 4pm. The march will go from Constant Park to 411 E. 9th Street.

From FNSA:
There will be a tobacco prayer, round dance, drums, and other activities after the march. We are also selling t-shirts as well. Natives and non-natives alike will be partaking in this march so everyone is invited! Also, we are having a winter drive as well. Any firewood, coats, shoes, canned foods, heaters, canvases, blankets, etc that you would like to donate, we have a donation box set up at the Office of Multicultural Affairs. We will take the donated items up to Standing Rock over fall break. 

It’s Banned Books Week! Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Here at HBW we celebrate banned and challenged books, and the right to read every day! Please check out this list of resources we have compiled about banned books, especially those written by authors of color and those that center on characters of color.

"Books by People of Color Are Disproportionately Likely to Be Banned

"Why Diverse Books are Commonly Banned"

HBW Staff Member Dominique Waller
checks out Banned author Alice Walker
"What the List of Most Banned Books Says About Our Society’s Fears"

"Closing the Diversity Gap in Young Adult Literature"

"11 Banned Books by Women to Read Right Now"

"24 Most Controversial Books of All Time"

"Banned Books That Shaped America"

"KU Libraries partner for Banned Book Week event"

HBW Staff Member Anthony Boyton
and Banned authors Maya Angelou