The final bullet of the final slide we looked at today in class, under the heading “Du Bois ‘Of the Meaning of Progress,'” read “Questioning the value of progress.” Nitpicking, I want to point out that the lowercase letter p of that last bullet isn’t consistent with Du Bois’s capital-p Progress in this chapter, and I want to write about what that difference might mean. Du Bois uses the word on only two occasions in this chapter. First, when he returns to Alexandria ten years after his stint teaching there: “My log schoolhouse was gone. In its place stood Progress; and Progress, I understand, is necessarily ugly.” Second, as he rides to Nashville in the Jim Crow car: “How shall man measure Progress there where the dark-faced Josie lies? How many heartfuls of sorrow shall balance a bushel of wheat?” Continue reading “Progress”

Whose Story is it Anyway?

When thinking about ownership in the context of literature, I can honestly say that I am at a crossroads. While I would agree that the author should maintain ownership over their ideas and the ways that they are interpreted, I also feel like the reader deserves some creative room for interpretation. In other words, I don’t think it’s entirely on the part of the author to dictate how their story is understood, because that limits the creativity of the reader, however the author wrote the story with a purpose, which they also deserve to maintain. I would equally agree that it is the job of both the reader and the author to meet in the middle to develop an understanding of how a story should be interpreted. Which brings me to the philosophical question, does the reader read for the author or does the author write for the reader? Continue reading “Whose Story is it Anyway?”

What Do You Mean by “Authentic”?

Within the paratextual preface to Jupiter Hammon’s works, it mentions his familiarity with his own “ethnic past” and how a view of ancient history provides a “source of pride and identity for African Americans.” Immediately after this, however, the preface’s author/s note that this connection with ancient history “has been an impetus for a recurring quest for authentic African history and culture.” At first, I wasn’t sure why the idea of “authentic” African history and culture resonated with me, and then I remembered Ron Eglash in African Fractals mentions this idea of authenticity amid a problematic natural-artificial struggle. What does “authentic,” in terms of African American, African, or any culture, mean?

Continue reading “What Do You Mean by “Authentic”?”

Intersectionality 2.0

Joan Morgan’s interview for the Annual Hip Hop Symposium was genuine, organic, and a breath of fresh air. What was an extra credit opportunity for many turned out to be a moment of reassurance for me because I was able to hear myself represented on a platform that isn’t frequently offered here on campus. I have always been aware that the community and culture black people share inevitably leads to connections being made, but something about this intimate exchange of conversation and welcoming energy reached a new level of comfort for me. Continue reading “Intersectionality 2.0”

“Healing is not linear.”

Walking into the library this morning, I decided to start crafting a new blog post. Unlike last semester, I’ve noticed that ideas for blogs haven’t been popping into my mind as easily for posts, yet I’ve remained calm and hopeful that I will find my groove soon enough. Walking past the CIT desk, I noticed a new table on the main floor of the library. The table was covered with markers, small pieces of printer paper, and pieces of card stock with pre-printed positive quotes on them. One of these quotes specifically caught my attention. The quote read, “Healing is not linear.”   Continue reading ““Healing is not linear.””

Power and Consent Between Teachers and Students in the Classroom

During class on Monday February 25th, each member of the class took a turn reading a couplet from “A Cabin Tale” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Several students (myself included) admitted that they found it difficult to comprehend what exactly was happening within the poem because they were focused on trying to find the lines they were to read aloud and how to pronounce them according to how Dunbar wrote it. Continue reading “Power and Consent Between Teachers and Students in the Classroom”