Tag Archives: Black History Month

#OscarsSlightlyLessWhite: the 2017 Academy Awards

Promotional image for the 89th Academy Awards, featuring the phrase “Oscar 2017” and an image of a golden Academy Award Statue.

It’s no secret that the Academy Awards have historically been less than diverse. Last year, frustrations overflowed after all 20 of the nominees for Best Acting awards were white for the second year in a row. Widespread dissatisfaction with this state of affairs manifested online in the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, coined by activist April Reign.

In response to this criticism, Reign led the Academy in taking some steps to diversify itself. In 2016, the Academy invited 683 new members to its highly secretive roster of approximately 6,000. Of this new class, nearly half were women and people of color: 46% women and 41% POC. (Compare that to the previous year’s class, which was 25% women and 8% POC.) While the Academy remains disproportionately white and male, it has committed to doubling the number of women and minorities in its roster by 2020.

Shockingly, it would almost seem that increasing the number women and people of color in the Academy leads to having more women and people of color nominated in the Academy Awards! Although there is a long way to go before parity is achieved, this year’s Oscars are some of the most diverse yet, and have marked a historic level of achievement for Black performers, directors, writers, and filmmakers. Some of the history-making nominations at the 2017 Oscars include:

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From UNC-CH’s Rare Book Collection: New Acquisitions!

Last week, in recognition of Black History Month, UNC’s own Rare Book Collection blogged about two of their recent acquisitions:

Christina Moody’s Tiny Spark: “Imagine a sixteen-year old African-American girl publishing a book of poetry in 1910: some of it in dialect, some of it provocatively proud of her race, grappling with serious issues – like how a Negro can pledge allegiance to the American flag – as well as the problems of ‘Chillun and Men.'”


Claude McKay’s Long Way From Home: “The volume is the autobiography of the Jamaica-born writer McKay in the first edition, published in New York in 1937. Its original cloth cover with foil label is quite worn, but open up, and there’s a surprise, a wonderful page of inscriptions, one from the author to Naomi Davis, the alias of Frances Daniels.”

For more on these great finds, be sure to click on the links above for the full blog posts!

New @the SCL: Military History

Over the course of Black History Month 2012, we’ve posted SCL Picks and new titles on a variety of topics: literature, fine arts, religion, gender, film studies, love, and even the first published novel by an African American woman. As February comes to a close, we thought we would round things out with four  recent titles in the area of military history.

As always, we also encourage you to make use of the Stone Center Library’s Guide to the Web, which includes a section of online resources covering African American military history. Plus, did you know the itself Guide is searchable? In addition to perusing the Guide by topic, the “Search the Guide” bar allows for keyword searching to pull sites listed in the guide from across sections. For example, searching for “Tuskegee” yields this list of websites contained within the Guide: http://bit.ly/wnbZGo. Happy searching!

SCL Picks: Oscars Edition

The 84th annual Academy Awards will take place this Sunday and among this year’s contenders is The Help, which has been nominated for four awards, including nods for Viola Davis (Best Actress) and Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress). This film takes place in 1960s Mississippi and chronicles the intersecting lives of white women and their African-American maids against the backdrop of major social upheaval nationwide. Of course, before it was an Oscar-nominated film, The Help was a best-selling book, as reviewed by Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier in a previous SCL blog post, and available here at the Library.

Interested in learning more about African Americans and the film industry? Here, in no particular order, are ten titles to get you started:

The books listed above are but a sampling of related items available here at the Stone Center Library. Come by and check us out!

New @the SCL, Part 3: Hot Topics!

Today we close out our tripartite series on new books on display here at the Library with selections covering a range of hot topics: gender, religion, hip-hop, sex work, HBCUs, marriage, and more. To read more about each title, click the links below!

The Black Mega-Church: Theology, Gender, and the Politics of Public Engagement (Tamelyn N. Tucker-Worgs)

I Believe I’ll Testify: The Art of African American Preaching (Cleophus J. LaRue)

Wake Up: Hip-Hop Christianity and the Black Church (Cheryl Kirk-Duggan & Marlon Hall)

Masculinity in the Black Imagination: Politics of Communicating Race and Manhood (Edited by Ronald L. Jackson and Mark C. Hopson)

Novel Bondage: Slavery, Marriage, and Freedom in Nineteenth-century America (Tess Chakkalakal)

Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone (Ralph Richard Banks)

Keepin’ It Hushed: The Barbership and African American Hush Harbor Rhetoric (Vorris L. Nunley)

I’ve Got to Make My Livin’: Black Women’s Sex Work in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago (Cynthia M. Blair)

America’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities: A Narrative history, 1837-2009 (Bobby L. Lovett)

In case you missed it, Parts 1 and 2 are available here and here. For those of you in the throes of classes and possibly starting to contemplate research projects, we hope these posts have given you some ideas. As always, our chat reference buddy name is StoneCenterRef, and Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier (shauna[dot]collier[at]unc[dot]edu) is happy to take your reference questions. 

Happy Friday, y’all, and have a great weekend!

New @the SCL, Part 2: The Arts!

Welcome back, faithful readers! Yesterday we posted the first of three listings of new books currently on display here at the Stone Center Library. Today’s new titles cover a wide range of the arts, including dance, film, music, and visual arts.

The Devil Finds Work (James Baldwin)

Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present (Robin R. Means Coleman)

Black Social Dance in Television Advertising: An Analytical History (Carla Stalling Huntington)

Marion D. Cuyjet and Her Judimar School of Dance: Training Black Ballerinas in Black Philadelphia 1948-1971 (Melanye White Dixon; with a Foreword by Lynette Young Overby)

The Dance Claimed Me: a Biography of Pearl Primus (Peggy & Murray Schwartz)

The Life, Art, and Times of Joseph Delaney, 1904-1991 (Frederick C. Moffatt)  

A to Z of African Americans: African Americans in the Visual Arts (Steven Otfinoski)

Back in the Days: Remix (Photographs by Jamel Shabazz)

Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade (Maurie D. McInnis)

Intrigued by any of the above titles? Click on the links for a brief summary or come by the Library and peruse at your leisure!

Coming tomorrow: post three of three, featuring a bevy of hot topics such as religion, gender studies, and more… stay tuned!

New @the SCL, Part 1: Literature & Literary Studies!

If you’ve been by the Stone Center Library lately, you may have noticed some great new books on display. If not, here’s the first of three posts highlighting some recent acquisitions in literature and literary studies available here at the SCL:

Juice: a Novel (Ishmael Reed)

Cross-Cultural Visions in African American Literature: West meets East (Edited by Yoshinobu Hakutani)

Salvage the Bones: A Novel (Jesmyn Ward) — 2011 National Book Award winner!

Authentic Blackness / Real Blackness: Essays on the Meaning of Blackness in Literature and Culture (edited by Martin Japtok and Jerry Rafiki Jenkins)

Conversations with Walter Mosley (Edited by Owen E. Brady)

Wench: a Novel (Dolen Perkins-Valdez)

The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics, 1934-1960

The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature (Edited by Michael A. Bucknor and Alison Donnell)

“Girl, Colored” and Other Stories: A Complete Short Fiction Anthology of African American Women Writers in The Crisis Magazine, 1910-2010 (Edited by Judith Musser)

Stay tuned for more new titles in dance, religion, politics, and more!

Black History Month Profile: James Weldon Johnson (1831-1938)

First performed publicly in February of 1900, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” was composed by brothers James Weldon (text) and J. Rosamand Johnson (music). Originally conceived as a poem to commemorate Lincoln’s birthday, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” as a musical work has become a powerful symbol of the U.S. Civil Rights movement. Termed “the Black National Anthem” by some, this song also inspired a short-lived sculpture (“The Harp”) commissioned for the 1939 New York World’s Fair and created by Augusta Savage Jefferson. Given its cultural significance, and in honor of Black History Month, here at the Library we thought we would briefly spotlight the poet, educator, and activist behind the poem: James Weldon Johnson.

James Weldon Johnson (1831-1938) was born in Jacksonville, FL and went on to attend Atlanta University. The son of a schoolteacher, he returned to his alma mater Stanton Elementary School as principal. Concurrently, he purused legal studies and became the first African-American to pass the bar exam in the state of Florida. In addition to his significant contribution to the fields of education and law, Johnson was a prolific writer of poems, song texts, and fiction such as The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. Active in the political arena as well, in 1920 he was appointed executive secretary of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), which ultimately adopted “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as its official song.

For a sampling James Weldon Johnson’s poetry available here at the Library, we recommend checking out:

For more on the artwork inspired by “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” consider this book, also available here at the Library:

And for a full list of books authored by James Weldon Johnson and available here at the SCL, check out the following list in the online catalog. Happy reading!

Sources consulted:

SCL Picks for Valentine’s Day, or, 14 Books About Love

It’s all about love today!  In honor of Valentine’s Day, Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier has hand-picked a selection of books from the collection on the subject of LOVE. In no particular order, here are 14 books for February 14th: 

African love stories : an anthology (2006), edited by Ama Ata Aidoo

Bicycles : love poems (2009), by Nikki Giovanni

Courtship and love among the enslaved in North Carolina (c2007), by Rebecca  Fraser

Forbidden fruit : love stories from the Underground Railroad (2005), by Betty DeRamus

Haruko : love poems (c1994), by June Jordan

How three Black women writers combined spiritual and sensual love : rhetorically transcending the boundaries of language (Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Dionne Brand) (c2010), by Cherie Ann Turpin.

I hear a symphony : African Americans celebrate love (1994), edited by Paula L. Woods and Felix H. Liddell

It’s all love : black writers on soul mates, family, and friends (c2009)

Love & marriage in early African America (c2008), edited by Frances Smith Foster

Love in Africa (2009), edited by Jennifer Cole and Lynn M. Thomas

Love poems (c1997), by Nikki Giovanni

Salvation : Black people and love (2001), by bell hooks

The suitcase book of love poems (2008), edited by Martin De Mello & Muli Amaye

Wild women don’t wear no blues : Black women writers on love, men, and sex (c1993), edited and with an introduction by Marita Golden

All titles are available here at the SCL. Enjoy! 🙂

* Image by Stuart Miles

SCL Pick: “The Curse of Caste, or, the Slave Bride: a rediscovered African American novel”

Today marks the anniversary of the start of the Greensboro sit-ins in 1960 (and we encourage you to take a look at last year’s blog post about the history of the movement here).

Today also marks the start of Black History Month 2012, which was founded by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). This year’s theme is “Black Women in American Culture and History” and the ASALH has kindly prepared a summary of this topic which is available here.

Here at the Stone Center Library, we thought we’d jump-start this month with a little-known gem in our collection:

The Curse of Caste,or, the Slave Bride: a rediscovered African American novel, by Julia C. Collins

Considered “the first novel by an African American woman,” it takes place in antebellum Louisiana and Connecticut “and focuses on the lives of a beautiful mixed-race mother and daughter whose opportunities for fulfillment through love and marriage are threatened by slavery and caste prejudice.”

Take a look at the full summary here, or come by the library and check it out!