In recognition of Black History Month, we highlight one of our favorite RBC purchases of 2010-2011, 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.”
The actual book is rare, with only five copies listed in WorldCat. However, you may read her words on the Internet Archive, where the Library of Congress’s copy has been digitized. But know that you can’t see the earnest young poet there, because the LC copy lacks the frontispiece author portrait, which our copy preserves.
Indeed, it goes without saying for those of us who love books, seeing it on the web just isn’t the same. In particular, one doesn’t have the same awareness that the book *is* tiny, the size of one’s hand. Tiny, but electrifying, when you open up and see Christina, and read her verse.
This February 2012, we celebrate the great tradition of African-American poetry and RBC’s fine holdings of it with Christina Moody’s Tiny Spark.