Stories are an integral part of how we understand our communities—both their histories and our place within them. Theater is uniquely suited to this function, as every dramatic performance creates space removed one step from reality. On the stage, we can explore not just who we are, but who we might be.
A highlight of Telling Our Stories of Home, an ongoing 6-day conference-festival that brings artists, activists, and scholars together to examine the concept of “home” in African and African-Diaspora communities, will be the performance of Torn Asunder, a specially commissioned play based on the book Help Me to Find My People by Heather Williams, that focuses on the quest of African-American families to reunite after the Civil War.
It is from Torn Asunder that we take our cue, providing some complementary resources that expand on the intersection of theater and TOSH’s theme of “home.” The following list consists of a small selection of the Stone Center Library’s theater-related books that we hope will spur your imagination and curiosity in this fascinating and vital discussion. All quoted summaries are taken from the UNC-CH library catalog.
Are you a fan of superhero movies? Then today’s SCL Pick is for you! One of our latest arrivals is Super black : American pop culture and black superheroes, by Adilifu Nama (University of Texas Press, 2011). Check out an excerpt from the publisher’s review below:
“Nama examines seminal black comic book superheroes such as Black Panther, Black Lightning, Storm, Luke Cage, Blade, the Falcon, Nubia, and others, some of whom also appear on the small and large screens, as well as how the imaginary black superhero has come to life in the image of President Barack Obama. Super Black explores how black superheroes are a powerful source of racial meaning, narrative, and imagination in American society that express a myriad of racial assumptions, political perspectives, and fantastic (re)imaginings of black identity. The book also demonstrates how these figures overtly represent or implicitly signify social discourse and accepted wisdom concerning notions of racial reciprocity, equality, forgiveness, and ultimately, racial justice.” (Source: http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/books/namsue.html)
Looking for more on the topic? Professor Nama has also written Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film, which is available at Davis Library. If you’re looking to broaden your search, subject headings that may be of use include “African Americans in motion pictures” and “Blacks in motion pictures.” There’s also the Stone Center Library’s Guide to the Web, which features sections on Films and Documentaries, as well as Film Festivals. And, as always, we’re happy to provide reference assistance – whether it’s in person, via email, or through chat reference (StoneCenterRef) – come on by for a consultation!
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!
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!
Posted in Dance, Film, Music, New Titles, Non-Fiction, Slavery, Theater
Tagged Available @the SCL, Biography, Black History Month, Dance, Film, Music, New @the SCL, Non-fiction, SCL Picks, Slavery, Women's history
Have you been by the Stone Center Library lately? If so, you’ve hopefully noticed our new display:
Our latest selection of recently acquired books features titles related to African Americans in American culture, in keeping with our recent event with UNC history professor “Fitz” Brundage:
All titles are available here at the library and we encourage you to come by and check them out. Happy reading, and have a great weekend!
Posted in Biography, Business, Civil Rights, Fiction, Film, New Titles, Non-Fiction, Politics, Theater
Tagged Available @the SCL, Civil Rights, entertainment, Fiction, Film, New @the SCL, Non-fiction
Looking for something to do tonight? Check out the following announcement:
Cuba: An African Odyssey Part 2
With a Post-Film discussion moderated by Dr. Firoze Manji
Free and Open to the Public
When: Monday March 28 @ 7pm
Where: Hitchcock Multipurpose Room
In this ambitious and revealing documentary, Egyptian-French filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri traces the history of Cuban solidarity with African liberation movements in the 1960s and 70s. It begins in 1965 when Che Guevara led a group of Cuban revolutionary fighters in an unsuccessful attempt to support the struggle for true independence in the Congo. Part 2 moves to Cuba’s role in the struggles against Portuguese colonialism in Guinea-Bissau and Angola.
Cuba: An African Odyssey combines remarkable archival footage—much of it never before seen in the U.S.—with an amazing cast of participants showing Cuba’s pivotal role in the liberation movements in Africa. Over 300,000 Cubans fought alongside African revolutionaries, one of many examples of Cuba’s true internationalism.
A post-film discussion will be moderated by special guest Dr. Firoze Manji, who is visiting UNC this week. Dr. Manji is editor-in-chief of Pambazuka news, produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations – academics, policy makers, social activists, women’s organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.
This showing is part of a film series that examines the legacy of the Black radical tradition. Future showings include:
April 4: W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices
April 18: American Revolution 2
April 25: Bastards of the Party
All showings begin at 7pm in the Hitchcock Multipurpose Room, Sonja Haynes Stone Center, UNC-Chapel Hill
**Co-Sponsored by the Black Student Movement**
The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History kicks off the spring semester of its FREE Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film TOMORROW (2/8) evening at 7pm with a showing of “Frederick Douglass and the White Negro” (2008), directed by John Doherty.
“This documentary tells the story of this important 19th century leader and his escape from slavery, leading to refuge in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine. The film focuses on the powerful influence Ireland had on him as a young man. It also explores the turbulent relationship between African Americans and Irish Americans in general. The relationship is exposed as a complex and tragic sequence of events culminating in the bloodiest riot in American history. This transatlantic story covers the race issue and is as relevant today as it was when Douglass escaped to Ireland—“I can truly say, I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life since landing in this country. I seem to have undergone a transformation. I live a new life…I am met by no upturned nose and scornful lip telling me ‘We don’t allow niggers in here!’””
This semester’s other screenings will be held on 2/10, 2/17, 2/24, 3/3, and 3/15. Screenings generally feature commentary by the directors and/or relevant scholars and are held in the Stone Center’s Hitchcock Multipurpose Room. For a full calendar of the films to be shown, click here.
Hope to see you there! 🙂