Tag Archives: SCL Picks

Spring Break Hours! Reduced Schedule: March 5 – March 9

Spring Break is just around the corner! Next week, the Stone Center Library will be operating on a reduced schedule, so please be sure to plan accordingly:

**Spring Break Schedule: March 5 – March 9, 2012**

Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday CLOSED
Sunday CLOSED

Working on midterms and projects? Thinking ahead to final papers? Don’t forget to make use of not only the Library, but our blog archives, for inspiration as well as fun reads. Not sure where to start? Here are a few suggestions: 

We will be open regular hours this week and encourage those of you on campus to make use of our group study rooms, lovely carrels, and well-lit study area. Can’t make it to the library? Our chat buddy name is StoneCenterRef or contact Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier at shauna.collier@unc.edu for an in-person consultation.

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 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!

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!

SCL Pick: “The house on Diamond Hill : a Cherokee plantation story”

Happy Friday, everyone! In honor of Native American Heritage Month, today’s SCL Pick is a recent addition to our collection: The house on Diamond Hill: a Cherokee plantation story, by public historian Tiya Miles. Miles is a 2011 MacArthur Fellow and her research “explores the complex interrelationships between African and Cherokee people living and working in colonial America.” She is currently a professor at the University of Michigan and you can read a fuller biography of her accomplishments here.

The house on Diamond Hill: a Cherokee plantation story is available here at the Library and we encourage you to check it out. Here’s a brief summary from the catalog description:

  • “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. This moving multiracial history sheds light on the various cultural communities that interacted within the plantation boundaries–from elite Cherokee slaveholders to Cherokee subsistence farmers, from black slaves of various ethnic backgrounds to free blacks from the North and South, from German-speaking Moravian missionaries to white southern skilled laborers. Moreover, the book includes rich portraits of the women of these various communities. Vividly written and extensively researched, this history illuminates gender, class, and cross-racial relationships on the southern frontier.”

A brief preview is also available on Google books. If you’re interested in learning more about research on Native Americans and African Americans, check out our previous post with a list of related books.

Today’s SCL Pick for Banned Books Week: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Happy Friday, faithful readers! We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Banned Books series featuring highlights from our collection. Today’s selection is Zora Neale Hurston‘s 1937 novel Their eyes were watching God:

“Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person — no mean feat for a black woman in the ’30s. Janie’s quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.” (Source: Syndetic Solutions)

“Challenged for sexual explicitness, but retained on the Stonewall Jackson High School’s academically advanced reading list in Brentsville, VA (1997). A parent objected to the novel’s language and sexual explicitness.” (Source: ALA website)

Interested in learning more about African American literature? Curious to know more about Zora Neale Hurston? Don’t forget to make use of our Guide to the Web‘s Literature section, which features online resources on the Harlem Renaissance and Literature. Websites listed include the Zora Neale Hurston Digital Archive, the Zora Neale Hurston Plays, and  Drop Me Off in Harlem, a multimedia collection on the culture and history of the era.

And of course, today’s SCL Pick, like the rest of our Banned Books selections, is available here at the Library. Come by and check it out!

SCL Picks: Banned Books Double-Feature

So many banned books, so little time… Today’s SCL Picks are:

James Baldwin’s Go tell it on the mountain (1953)

  • What it’s about: 

“‘Mountain,’ Baldwin said, ‘is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.’ Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.” (Summary by Syndetic Solutions)

“Challenged as required reading in the Hudson Falls, NY schools (1994) because the book has recurring themes of rape, masturbation, violence, and degrading treatment of women. Challenged as a ninth-grade summer reading option in Prince William County, VA (1988) because the book is ‘rife with profanity and explicit sex.’” (Source: ALA website)

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible man (1952)

  • What it’s about: 

“Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952.  A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century.  The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of ‘the Brotherhood,’ and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be.  The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land , Joyce, and Dostoevsky.” (Summary by Syndetic Solutions)

“Excerpts banned in Butler, PA (1975). Removed from the high school English reading list in St. Francis, WI (1975). Retained in the Yakima, WA schools (1994) after a five-month dispute over what advanced high school students should read in the classroom. Two parents raised concerns about profanity and images of violence and sexuality in the book and requested that it be removed from the reading list.” (Source: ALA website)

Curious to see what else has been banned over the years? Check out ALA‘s comprehensive lists of banned and frequently challenged books, which includes documentation  of both how and why these works have drawn the ire of vocal individuals and groups.

Did any of your favorites make the list? Have you been taking part in any activities for Banned Books Week? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!  

SCL Picks, Banned Books Edition: The Color Purple

Banned Books Week continues, and today’s SCL Pick is Alice Walker‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, The Color Purple. First published in 1982, this epistolary novel has been adapted into both a feature film and a Broadway musical:

 

“Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to ‘Mister,’ a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister’s letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.”  (Summary by Syndetic Solutions)

 

Unsurprisingly, this powerful and heart-wrenching work has been an oft-contested item on reading lists nationwide. The American Library Association(ALA) maintains lists of banned and frequently challenged books, including a lengthy list of reasons why these books have drawn the attention of censors. Here are but a few examples of some of the challenges brought against this book:
  • “Challenged as appropriate reading for Oakland, CA High School honors class (1984) due to the work’s ‘sexual and social explicitness’ and its ‘troubling ideas about race relations, man’s relationship to God, African history, and human sexuality.'”
  • “Removed from the open shelves of the Newport News, VA school library (1986) because of its ‘profanity and sexual references’ and placed in a special section accessible only to students over the age of 18 or who have written permission from a parent.” 
  • “Retained as an English course reading assignment in the Junction City, OR high school (1995) after a challenge to Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel caused months of controversy. Although an alternative assignment was available, the book was challenged due to ‘inappropriate language, graphic sexual scenes, and book’s negative image of black men.'” 
  • “Challenged, but retained as part of a supplemental reading list at the Shawnee School in Lima, OH (1999). Several parents described its content as vulgar and ‘X-rated.’ “
  • “Removed from the Ferguson High School library in Newport News, VA (1999). Students may request and borrow the book with parental approval.” 
  • “Challenged, along with seventeen other titles in the Fairfax County, VA elementary and secondary libraries (2002), by a group called Parents Against Bad Books in Schools. The group contends the books ‘contain profanity and descriptions of drug abuse, sexually explicit conduct, and torture.'”
The full list is available here.

 

What do YOU think? Leave us a comment and let us know! Need to refresh your memory? Come by the Library and check it out for yourself!