Disney and Diversity in the 21st Century: Part 1

[By: Dr. Maryemma Graham] Diversity has become a vexed issue in the 21st century.  Once it was a priority in our corporate and education sectors, with accountability for its implementation built in. Today, it has become that carefully crafted phrase one sees on websites, usually so watered down we pay scarce attention. Even when we were not guided by a principle but by underlying marketing […]

Memory and Remembering in Black Writing Revisted

[By Crystal Boson]             After exploring the heavier side ofmemory, it is equally as important to look at its decolonizing aspects.  It is evident that in a large body of Black Writing, memory serves as a tie that strengthens both individuals and communities.  This memory can serve as an embodied family lineage, as is evident in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, or as a larger cultural narrative, […]

Memory and Remembering in Black Writing

[By Crystal Boson] It is a safe assertion to claim that literature serves as a medium for memory, both personal and cultural.  The narratives and the characters weave their tales, and pull the reader along with them through the jagged field of the past.  While remembering and the telling of stories is often a literary medium through which healing, reconciliation, and cultural bonding is forged, […]

Black Women and African American Literature

[By Crystal Boson] We all know of the Black Matriarch.  She is the engine that drives many of the novels in HBW’s 100 Novels Project, and in the larger body of African American writing.  In literary works, she serves both the ghost of the past, conjured up to impart wisdom, and the tangible hand of the present, ever ready to guide, heal, and correct.  Over […]

Bringing Past Practices into the Present

[By Crystal Boson] As the alliterative title suggests, many of the works in the 100 Novels Project deal with religious and cultural practices that are associated with the distant, slavery mired past, or a romanticized and distant homeland that the protagonists have roots in but may have never seen.  These practices fall under folk faiths and religion, land based practices of herb-lore and root-work, and […]

Black Writing and Hoodoo

[By Crystal Boson] It is no rhetorical stretch to say that there has been a strong presence of religion in Black writing.  Internal genres spanning from uplift literature to contemporary fiction have deep ties with the church and its various attachments to worship.   However, Christianity is not the only faith system featured within the pages; there is also a strong presence of Hoodoo.             For […]

Erasure and the state of black writing

[By Crystal Boson]             Percival Everett’s Erasure functions both as a skillful meta-narrative, and as a postmodern critique on the state of Black writing.  The work is reflexive of Everett’s own experience trying to break into the writing game and with the cultural and popular Powers That Be, those who could either grease his passage into the literary imagination or leave […]