Monthly Archives: April 2011

SCL Picks: 3 more recommendations for National Poetry Month

Greetings, faithful readers!  As National Poetry Month comes to a close, the Stone Center Library recommends not one, not two, but THREE of our recently acquired collections of poetry.  Take a look:

“… a fascinating collection of poems and images published to mark the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. It originated in a commission from Arts Council England for 12 poets to write on the theme of enslavement, which has resulted in a richly diverse selection of new poems. Interspersed with these are elaborate and exciting visual contributions by five artists invited by Enitharmon Editions to produce work on the same theme.” (Source: Crossword)

” Black Nature is the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets, a genre that until now has not commonly been counted as one in which African American poets have participated.

… Camille T. Dungy has selected 180 poems from 93 poets that provide unique perspectives on American social and literary history to broaden our concept of nature poetry and African American poetics. This collection features major writers such as Phillis Wheatley, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Brown, Robert Hayden, Wanda Coleman, Natasha Trethewey, and Melvin B. Tolson as well as newer talents such as Douglas Kearney, Major Jackson, and Janice Harrington. Included are poets writing out of slavery, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, and late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century African American poetic movements. (Source: Syndetic Solutions)

“This new volume by the much-loved poet Sonia Sanchez, her first in over a decade, is music to the ears: a collection of haiku that celebrates the gifts of life and mourns the deaths of revered African American figures in the worlds of music, literature, art, and activism. . . Often arranged in strings of twelve or more, the haiku flow one into the other in a steady song of commemoration. Sometimes deceptively simple, her lyrics hold a very powerful load of emotion and meaning. (Source: Beacon Publishing)

Happy reading, have a great weekend, and best of luck to students in the midst of exam period!

SCL Picks: The 100* Best African American Poems (*but I cheated)

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Stone Center Library recommends The 100* Best African American Poems (*but I cheated), edited by the venerable Nikki Giovanni.

In this anthology, “Award-winning poet and writer Nikki Giovanni takes on the impossible task of selecting the 100 best African American works from classic and contemporary poets. Out of necessity, Giovanni admits she cheats a little, selecting a larger, less round number. The result is this startlingly vibrant collection that spans from historic to modern, from structured to freeform, and reflects the rich roots and visionary future of African American verse. These magnetic poems are an exciting mix of most-loved classics and daring new writing. From Gwendolyn Brooks and Langston Hughes to Tupac Shakur, Natasha Trethewey, and many others, the voice of a culture comes through in this collection, one that is as talented, diverse, and varied as its people. ” (Source: Syndetic Solutions, Inc.)

Even better, this anthology includes a CD recording of selected poems read aloud, in many cases by the poets themselves!

Interested in learning more?  The Stone Center Library also has several of Nikki Giovanni’s works available here, including:

Happy reading!

SCL Picks: Call the Lost Dream Back (Essays on History, Race and Museums)

TGIF!  This week, the Stone Center Library recommends: Call The Lost Dream Back: Essays on History, Race and Museums (2010), written by Lonnie G. Bunch III and published by The AAM (American Association of Museums) Press.

“Lonnie G. Bunch, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, is one of the museum profession’s leading writers and thinkers.  In this collection of his work from the mid-1980s to the present, including new chapters written for this book, Bunch presents a personal and passionate view of American history, ‘the Gordian knot’ of race relations, and the role of the museum in shaping the perspective of a nation.”

Essays include:

  • “Embracing Ambiguity: the Challenge of Interpreting African American History in Museums” (2005)
  • “Flies in the Buttermilk: Museums, Diversity, and the Will to Change” (2000)
  • “Curating the Recent Past: the Woolworth Lunch Counter, Greensboro, North Carolina” (1996)
  • “Embracing controversy: Museum Exhibitions and the Politics of Change” (1992)

All in all, this is an excellent collection for anyone interested in museum studies, the politics of representation, issues of collective memory, and the African American experience.  But don’t just take our word for it, here’s a sampling of what other reviewers have said….

“Lonnie Bunch is a national treasure. His collection of essays with the evocative title addresses a range of personal and professional issues dealing with history, race and the purpose of museums. Not only is the author an astute interpreter of episodes in our own nation’s history, but he is also an international traveler who takes the reader to Ghana, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and even the River Jordan. Bunch combines a lively and engaging writing style with a scholar’s sensibility to produce a must-read volume.” 
–Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States (2004-2008), visiting professor, University of Maryland

 “Call the Lost Dream Back is a powerful, thought-provoking journey through the life and professional career of a leading public historian. Lonnie Bunch’s essays are poignantly written and compel the reader to think in new and important ways about the power and possibilities of museums and history. The author reminds us of the importance of an open mind, sensitive observation, and the ability to embrace change for the continued evolution of both individuals and societies.” 
–Spencer R. Crew, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of American, African American and Public History, George Mason University

 “Lonnie Bunch’s moving experiences are told personally, yet convey universal values and lessons. As the founding CEO of the Japanese American National Museum for over 20 years, I believe that Call the Lost Dream Back captures the essence and importance of culturally-specific institutions. Its insights are a must-read for every museum professional and for all who are committed to a more inclusive America.” 
–Irene Hirano Inouye

Interested in learning more?  Check out the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture website.  You can also find more of Dr. Bunch’s writings online, such as this recent essay on museums and race.  Happy reading!

Summary and reviews from: The ALA Store.

New @the SCL: family stories, personal journeys, and cultural migrations

Today’s post wraps up the last of the Stone Center Library’s new books currently on display.  Interested in topics such as migration, social history, and compelling family biographies?  Check out these titles, newly available @your Stone Center Library:

“Tim Brannigan tells of his time as a republican prisoner and his attempts to find the father who abandoned him.”

“Damn Near White is an insider’s portrait of an unusual American family. Readers will be drawn into Carolyn’s journey as she struggles to redefine herself in light of the long-buried secrets she uncovers. Tackling issues of class, color, and caste, Wilkins reflects on the changes of African American life in U.S. history through her dedicated search to discover her family’s powerful story.”

“This is Hirsi Ali’s intellectual coming-of-age, a memoir that conveys her philosophy as well as her experiences, and that also conveys an urgent message and mission—to inform the West of the extent of the threat from Islam, both from outside and from within our open societies. A celebration of free speech and democracy, Nomad is an important contribution to the history of ideas, but above all a rousing call to action.”

“Rutkoff (American studies) and Scott (history, both Kenyon College) place the 20th-century migration of African Americans from the US South north and west in the context of earlier migrations both inplace and in culture. Among their topics are leaving West Africa, Harlem as the negro capital of the world, blues pianos and tricky baseballs in Pittsburgh, Walkin’ Egypt in the Mississippi Delta, California dreaming in South Central Los Angeles, and three stories and a conclusion to close the circle.”

“This is the history of “the work and workers connected with the founding and development of Oak Hill Industrial Academy.” The academy was “established for the benefit of the Freedmen of the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, by the Presbyterian Church, U.S.”

“At the turn of the nineteenth century, James Vann, a Cherokee chief and entrepreneur, established Diamond Hill, the most famous plantation in the southeastern Cherokee Nation. In this first full-length study to reconstruct the history of the plantation, Tiya Miles tells the story of Diamond Hill’s founding, its flourishing, its takeover by white land-lottery winners on the eve of the Cherokee Removal, its decay, and ultimately its renovation in the 1950s.”

Believe it or not, this week’s highlights are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new acquisitions here at the Library.  Please be sure to tune in tomorrow for this week’s Staff Pick. Happy Library Week, everyone!

National Library Week 2011: More of what’s new @the Stone Center Library

In honor of National Library Week, our coverage of new arrivals currently on display here at the library continues.  Today’s theme is religion:

“This phenomenological analysis of African American religious subjectivity suggests the tragic, understood as an ontological category, as the seminal hermeneutical lens through which one can deepen one’s understanding of the experience and its theological implications.”

“The author provides background information on traditional black churches and today’s black megachurches and explores the influences of the former on the empowering socialization educational tactics employed in megachurch congregations.”

“For AIDS scholars, researchers, and community activists, Harris (sociology, California State U., Fullerton) draws from her dissertation research and fieldwork to describe AIDS activism in black churches in New York City, the formation of the black church AIDS movement, and the organizational development and marketing and education strategies of The Balm In Gilead.”

In America after the Civil War, the emancipation of four million slaves and the explosion of Chinese immigration fundamentally challenged traditional ideas about who belonged in the national polity. As Americans struggled to redefine citizenship in the United States, the “Negro Problem” and the “Chinese Question” dominated the debate. . . The book further explores how blacks and Chinese reimagined the evangelical nationalist project to suit their own needs and hopes. Historian Derek Chang brings together for the first time African American and Chinese American religious histories through a multitiered local, regional, national, and even transnational analysis of race, nationalism, and evangelical thought and practice.”

“This book explores the legacy of slavery in Black theological terms. Challenging the dominant approaches to the history and legacy of slavery in the British Empire, the contributors show that although the 1807 act abolished the slave trade, it did not end racism, notions of White supremacy, or the demonization of Blackness, Black people and Africa.”

“Touching on issues of slavery, geography, Native American history, Jewish-Christian relations, literacy, and translation, he brilliantly exposes how the loss of land and the supersessionist ideas behind the Christian missionary movement are both deeply implicated in the invention of race.”

“This book follows the extraordinary career of Dwight York, who in his teens started out in a New York street gang, but converted to Islam in prison. Emerging as a Black messiah, York proceeded to break the Paleman’s “spell of Kingu” and to guide his people through a series of racial/religious identities that demanded dramatic changes in costume, gender roles and lifestyle.”

“Beginning with King’s roots in Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, Baldwin traces the evolution of King’s attitude toward the church through his college, seminary, graduate school, and civil rights years. The emphasis is on King’s concept of the church as “the voice of conscience.” . . Baldwin critiques the contemporary church on the basis of King’s prophetic model, and concludes by insisting that this model, not the entrepreneurial spirituality of the contemporary megachurches, embodies the best potential for much-needed church renewal.”

“The changes to U.S. immigration law that were instituted in 1965 have led to an influx of West African immigrants to New York, creating an enclave Harlem residents now call ”Little Africa.” These immigrants are immediately recognizable as African in their wide-sleeved robes and tasseled hats, but most native-born members of the community are unaware of the crucial role Islam plays in immigrants’ lives.”

Interested in learning more?  Don’t forget the Stone Center Library Guide to the Web, which  includes a section on Church Life, found within the category of Society and Government

Coming tomorrow: our series concludes with a look at new selections having to do with themes of community, migration, identity, and heritage.  Stay tuned!

National Library Week 2011: Celebrate with more new books @the SCL!

Yesterday, we posted a handful of the new books currently on display here at the library.  Today, we continue with a selection of those books pertaining to the arts, identity, and untold stories of the African Diaspora.  Click on the links below for more information, or come see us at the Stone Center Library:

“Focusing on orally transmitted cultural forms in the Caribbean, this book reaffirms the importance of myth and symbol in folk consciousness as a mode of imaginative conceptualization.”

“Lorick-Wilmore (sociology, Northeastern U.) explores the specific role and functions of community-based organizations in the creation of Black ethnic identity options for Caribbean immigrants in New York City.”

“Allegory and Meaning is the study of the allegorical-cum-symbolic mode in selected African, African American, and Caribbean literary works. It argues that the domain of allegory in these works constitutes, at bottom, a contested site of paradoxes. The discussion of these African, African American, and Caribbean writers’ use of the allegorical mode is a serious attempt to recover the subtext of their works.”

“Afro-Cuban Diasporas in the Atlantic World explores how Yoruba and Afro-Cuban communities moved across the Atlantic between the Americas and Africa in successive waves in the nineteenth century.”

“This book looks at the experiences of the average black person in England and Wales during the period of the British slave trade. . . This book overturns many of the conventional assumptions that have been made about their lives. They were not enslaved, stigmatised outsiders but woven into English society as government officials, defenders of the country, tradesmen, entertainers and founders of families who have left a legacy of their presence in the form of descendants that in some cases can be traced to the present day.”


Stay tuned!  Coming tomorrow: new books on African and African-American religions.

National Library Week 2011! More new titles @your [Stone Center] library!

Yesterday marked the start of ALA’s National Library Week 2011 and this year’s theme is “Create your own story @your library.”  If you’re looking for new stories to add to your arsenal, be sure to check out the Stone Center Library’s latest display of new titles.

Interested in Caribbean topics?  Then today’s highlights might be right up your alley.  Click on the links below for more information, or come by the library to browse in person!

“Clarke and Clarke have created a journal that provides an ethnographic record of the East Indians and Creoles of San Fernando–and the entire sugar belt south of the town known as Naparima. They record socio-political relations during the second year of Trinidad’s independence (1964), and provide first-hand evidence for the workings of a complex, plural society in which race, religion, and politics had become, and have remained, deeply intertwined.”

“Contrary to popular belief, the ideology of empire in the nineteenth-century British produced a number of West Indian Creoles who took the language and values of Britain’s supposedly liberal empire and turned them upside down. . . Inverting the racist hierarchy of nineteenth-century British imperial thought, twentieth-century political activists in the British West Indies used the concepts of liberal ideology to claim that the subject people of the West Indies constituted a Creole nation that deserved the right to govern itself.”

“This ground-breaking study of the Caribbean’s iconography traces the history of visual representations of the region, as perceived by outsider and insider alike, over the last five hundred years.”

“Artists, teachers, administrators, and researchers survey many facets of dance in the region, both folk dance from African and colonial heritages, and art dance that has mingled those traditions with others around the world.”

“Lewis’ last manuscript, The Modern Caribbean: a New Voyage of Discovery,” was scheduled to be published about the time of his death in 1991. Most of the chapters in this volume come from that previously unpublished work, although a few others are included. Lewis, a social scientist who was based at the University of Puerto Rico since 1955, wrote widely on the Caribbean from an interdisciplinary point of view.”


Coming tomorrow: new titles on display relating to other aspects of the African diaspora.

SCL Picks: “IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas”

So many good books, so little time!  This week’s staff pick is IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas, published by the Smithsonian Institution‘s National Museum of the American Indian.  This collection of essays by 27 scholars serves as a companion piece to the museum’s exhibit of the same name, which opened in 2009.  Here, “Readers will find four main lenses through which to consider African-Native American lives: racial policy, community, creative resistance (both peaceful and militant), and lifeways”(19).

Essays include:

  • “DNA and Native American Identity” (Kimberly Tallbear)
  • “Claiming the Name: White Supremacy, Tribal Identity, and Racial Policy in the Early Twentieth-Century Chesapeake” (Gabrielle Tayac)
  • “Red, Black, and Brown: Artists and the Aesthetics of Race” (Phoebe Farris)
  • “What Is a Black Indian?”: Misplaced Expectations and Lived Realities” (Robert Keith Collins)

… as well as “Native Americans, African Americans, and Jim Crow,” written by UNC’s own Dr. Theda Perdue, Atlanta Distinguished Professor of Southern Culture (Department of History).

Weaving colorful photographs, illustrations, primary source documents, and rich analyses, this tome “examines the long overlooked history of Native American and African American intersections.”  As such, it is a compelling (and gorgeously-presented) read for anyone interested in learning more about this oft-overlooked segment of the American population.

Interested in learning more?  Come by the library and check it out!  Also, don’t forget that back in November, in recognition of American Indian month, we posted a list of related resources available here at the library.  Happy reading!

Dr. Manning Marable (May 13, 1950 – April 1, 2011)

Reknown Malcolm X scholar Dr. Manning Marable passed away last Friday, April 1 at the age of 60.   Dr. Marable studied at Earlham College (A.B. ’71), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (M.A. ’72), and earned his Ph.D. in American History at the University of Maryland in 1976.  Dr. Marable would go on to pursue his scholarship at Cornell University, Fisk University, Colgate University, Ohio State University, University of Colorado at Boulder, and most recently, Columbia University, where he served as M. Moran Weston and Black Alumni Council Professor of African American Studies.

A prolific researcher, Dr. Marable produced nearly 300 articles and close to 20 books over the course of his storied career in African American studies.  His latest work, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, was published today and is on order at the UNC Undergraduate Library.  In the meantime, here at the Stone Center Library, we encourage you to make use of our resources if you’re interested in examining Dr. Marable’s academic legacy in more detail.  For example, here are a handful of his books available here at the Library:

A full list of our holdings authored and/or edited by Dr. Marable is also available here.