Tag Archives: black literature

#Blerd Joy!: Black Folktalkes Being Made Into Comic Books!

English: "aunt jemima"

English: “aunt jemima” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes Please! Yes Yes Yes. Yes. and More Yes!!!!! Anyone read even marginally on folktales in the US would realize that Joel Chandler Harris, recorder of the tales of Brer Rabbit constructed Uncle Remus as the uneducated inarticulate black stereotypical male. It was this articulation that, while Harris was against lynching, he still passively accepted the white supremacist myth that blacks inability to learn English properly would make them basically extinct (a popular belief about blacks back then was that descendents of Africans were not meant to survive in the 20th century). The mythology behind Aunt Jemima (not the invention of JCH) is similar, the domesticated, asexual mother of a people on the brink of destruction.  Her agency is to comfort and to remain a passive object in the face of white supremacist domination.

One of the best ways to fight white supremacy is to attack the false myths that imprison the souls of People of color. Given the rise of comics that are inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ fairytales (as well as the tv shows we discussed last year), I love the idea that there a company writing Remus and Jemima as superheroes. It’s quite subversive. Re-imagining Aunt Jemima as someone with great cosmic abilities, and Remus as someone who can “manipulate reality in a person’s mind… The victim becomes trapped in an alternate reality.” is something I would love to buy. If this goes all the way and become a graphic novel. I am purchasing.

 

Yes. Please. Thank you Dawolu Jabari Anderson.

For more, see the link below:

Uncle Remus And Aunt Jemima Reimagined As Superheroes? Why Not?

 

Cropped image from the title page of Uncle Rem...

Cropped image from the title page of Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings: The Folk-Lore of the Old Plantation, by Joel Chandler Harris. Illustrations by Frederick S. Church and James H. Moser. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1881. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

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In which I was part of a panel at a scholarly conference for the first time

Langston Hughes was part of the Harlem Renaiss...

My Experience At the Southwest Commission for Religious Studies

Saturday, I entered arena of scholarship once more, the first time as an “Independent Scholar.” But don’t be deceived, my independence gave me the freedom to ask questions at every session I attended. My goal was to network as much as possible, and I achieved that goal, primarily in the morning.

In the afternoon, I felt I was in good company with the Womanist and Liberationist Ethics session of the AAR, and then a little later at the plenary session lead by Joerg Rieger.

Our panel, the Harlem Renaissance and Black Religion(s), was the first Panel I have been asked to be a part of. It was sort of a risk to go where I had never gone before, to actually do a scholarly presentation on black science fiction, postcolonial theology, Christianity, and race, but I pulled it off. My thesis adviser and Brite professor Keri Day was the moderator, while Phillip Luke Sinitiere also presented on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I also volunteered to read Lou Joseph’s paper on Langston Hughes’s play Emperor of Haiti so he could receive credit on his CV. I felt like this panel was the beginning of something different and special, and Lou’s work was very important. Thus, I felt compelled to volunteer to read (I myself in the past have had a reader for a paper).

The best thing about all of our research projects is the potential for engaging the Harlem Renaissance and Black Religion(s) from an intercultural perspective. With Lou’s look at the Haitian Revolution in light of the Catholic religion and Langston Hughes’ literature, Phillip’s engagement with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s being influenced by the Negro church tradition, and my observations on the similarities and differences between Irishman C.S. Lewis and George Schuyler, the possibilities are real and endless. It’s part of my vision to be a Black Church scholar for a Multicultural world, and this project may fit the bill. At the panel itself, I spoke for a total of close to 80 minutes (both presentations were at 30 minutes, then the q & a); I just couldn’t stop talking. I was like the Bubba Blue of Black Sci Fi!

(NSFW)

I would definitely like to be part of a panel again, even if it’s not about the Harlem Renaissance or science fiction. I would highly recommend you give it a try if you are a student, since it means collaboration with other scholars and more engagement with the audience.

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Sutton Griggs' Imperium In Imperio: Black Science Fiction As Social Prophesy

Tuesday, I posted on what more Science Fiction literature may mean for Black religion. In my excitement and search for science fiction writings by African Americans, I found Sutton E. Griggs’ Imperium In Imperio online.

The book is an great read, and I enjoyed every moment. Our protagonist is Belton Peidmont, who represents the very anti-thesis of W.E.B. Dubois‘s the talented 10th (light skinned, middle class Negroes destined to lead the Negro community of the late 19th/early 20th century). That honor belongs to Piedmont’s best friend since grade school, Bernard Belgrave.  However, some of the more interesting developments in the book is what I want to concentrate on.

First, there is the visibility of black women throughout the text.  I think this is important; as some theologians have pointed out, that many of the slave narratives written by men rendered women as invisible (even if they do appear or speak, its only in reference to the author’s life). Interestingly, it is the “martyrdom” of a lover that politicizes apathetic Bernard into becoming a revolutionary.  The subjectivities of both Bernard’s and Belmont’s mothers are made determining factors in the destinies of their sons.

Second, as an alternative history text, there are still signs of Griggs’ time.  The vulnerability of the black body, and utter dominance of the power of death which came with the culture of rape and lynching.  Success is defined as living to breathe another day in the P0st-Reconstruction/pre-Civil Rights Era.

Thirdly, I think from a political standpoint, this text is a criticism against both Jeffersonian states rights and black separatism.  Griggs’ weaves Jefferson and separatism in a way that is quite indicting.  In Chapter 15, Belton exposes the fatal flaw in our federalist system: the very ambiguity of the relationship between the states and the federal government–Negroes, under the auspices of the 10th Amendment were denies their rights.  Make no mistake aboutit ; Jefferson is mentioned about 10 times during a 4 chapter long monologue. This is no accident.  Dare I wax Stanley Hauerwas at this juncture, one could go into a diatribe against the inherent violence within liberal democracy (Hauerwas’s term, which he conflates with a notion of capitalist individualism), pointing to Jeffersonianism as chief culprit.

Lastly, my favorite chapter was Chapter VI, “A Young Rebel” in which Belton uses his oratory skill and intellect to rally a group a students to protest against racial discrimination. I see no better way to articulate the possibility of the Civil Rights Movement some 50 years later.

It is in the very act of recording a fictitious account of a black violent revolution that Sutton E. Griggs re-constructs a non-violent politics as patriotism.  Simply by considering an alternative history, asking the “What If” questions, Griggs had imagined a Christian theological view of moral agency for the African American community.

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