Situation Report from a Culture of Reading: Part 2

Editor’s note: two weeks ago we posted Situation Report from a Culture of Reading: Part 1. Below is part 2 of the post.  To the slave, revolution is an imperative, a love-inspired, conscious act of desperation. It’s aggressive. It isn’t “cool” or cautious. It’s bold, audacious, violent, an expression of icy, disdainful hatred! It can hardly be any other way without raising a fundamental contradiction. […]

5 Rebel Writers During Slavery

 [By Alysha Griffin] In the same way that threats of violence did not always dissuade  slaves’ attempts to escape, the threat of injury or even death was not enough to keep many African Americans quiet. In some instances, African Americans made the pen mightier than the whip.    Maria Stewart (1803-1879)   “ It is not the color of the skin that makes the man, […]

Disrupting and Expanding the Notion of “Self-Taught”

[By Kenton Rambsy] Over the past month, I have commented on the particular ways in which a number of authors provide us readers with useful information concerning their views of how African American men acquire and share knowledge. These fictional representations have led me to think about autobiographical examples, specifically the narratives of Frederick Douglass and Richard Wright and the overall tradition of education in […]

Education and Revolution: Reading the novels of Sutton E. Griggs and Toni Morrison

[By Kenton Rambsy] Continuing our conversations of linking education to freedom Sutton E. Griggs’s Imperium in Imperio (1899) and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon (1977). Griggs’s principle characters Bernard Belgrave and Belton Piedmont and Morrison’s secondary character Guitar Baines both illustrate how black people subvert educational practices as a means to produce alternative political societies in America.  Echoing the sentiments of Frederick Douglass’s narrative the […]

Black Men and Informal Educational Networks

[By Kenton Rambsy] Over the past two weeks, I have explored how issues related to literacy and access as central thematic concerns in books by African American writers. Here is a list of novels,  ranging from 1852-2006, mentioned so far:   Frederick Douglass’s Heroic Slave (1852) Martin Delany’s Blake; or, the Huts of America (1862) Sutton E. Griggs’s Imperium in Imperio (1899) Ishmael Reed’s Flight […]

Literary Traditions: Education and Political Activism

[By Kenton Rambsy] I first encountered Frederick Douglass’s The Heroic Slave during my sophomore year at Morehouse College in Atlanta. At the time, I had read his slave narrative and become thoroughly familiar with his pursuits of literacy despite great social, economic, and racial barriers. Reading his novella, though, gave me a chance to reconsider the links between literacy and emancipation from physical bondage. The […]