The Psychic Hold of Slavery

Author: Soyica Diggs Colbert
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 9780813583983
Release Date: 2016-07-20
Genre: History

What would it mean to “get over slavery”? Is such a thing possible? Is it even desirable? Should we perceive the psychic hold of slavery as a set of mental manacles that hold us back from imagining a postracist America? Or could the psychic hold of slavery be understood as a tool, helping us get a grip on the systemic racial inequalities and restricted liberties that persist in the present day? Featuring original essays from an array of established and emerging scholars in the interdisciplinary field of African American studies, The Psychic Hold of Slavery offers a nuanced dialogue upon these questions. With a painful awareness that our understanding of the past informs our understanding of the present—and vice versa—the contributors place slavery’s historical legacies in conversation with twenty-first-century manifestations of antiblack violence, dehumanization, and social death. Through an exploration of film, drama, fiction, performance art, graphic novels, and philosophical discourse, this volume considers how artists grapple with questions of representation, as they ask whether slavery can ever be accurately depicted, trace the scars that slavery has left on a traumatized body politic, or debate how to best convey that black lives matter. The Psychic Hold of Slavery thus raises provocative questions about how we behold the historically distinct event of African diasporic enslavement and how we might hold off the transhistorical force of antiblack domination.

Black Movements

Author: Soyica Diggs Colbert
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 9780813588544
Release Date: 2017-04-28
Genre: Art

Black Movements analyzes how artists and activists of recent decades reference earlier freedom movements in order to imagine and produce a more expansive and inclusive democracy. The post–Jim Crow, post–apartheid, postcolonial era has ushered in a purportedly color blind society and along with it an assault on race-based forms of knowledge production and coalition formation. Soyica Diggs Colbert argues that in the late twentieth century race went “underground,” and by the twenty-first century race no longer functioned as an explicit marker of second-class citizenship. The subterranean nature of race manifests itself in discussions of the Trayvon Martin shooting that focus on his hoodie, an object of clothing that anyone can choose to wear, rather than focusing on structural racism; in discussions of the epidemic proportions of incarcerated black and brown people that highlight the individual’s poor decision making rather than the criminalization of blackness; in evaluations of black independence struggles in the Caribbean and Africa that allege these movements have accomplished little more than creating a black ruling class that mirrors the politics of its former white counterpart. Black Movements intervenes in these discussions by highlighting the ways in which artists draw from the past to create coherence about blackness in present and future worlds. Through an exploration of the way that black movements create circuits connecting people across space and time, Black Movements offers important interventions into performance, literary, diaspora, and African American studies.

Celia a Slave

Author: Melton Alonza McLaurin
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
ISBN: 9780820341590
Release Date: 2011-03-15
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction

Illuminating the moral dilemmas that lie at the heart of a slaveholding society, this book tells the story of a young slave who was sexually exploited by her master and ultimately executed for his murder. Celia was only fourteen years old when she was acquired by John Newsom, an aging widower and one of the most prosperous and respected citizens of Callaway County, Missouri. The pattern of sexual abuse that would mark their entire relationship began almost immediately. After purchasing Celia in a neighboring county, Newsom raped her on the journey back to his farm. He then established her in a small cabin near his house and visited her regularly (most likely with the knowledge of the son and two daughters who lived with him). Over the next five years, Celia bore Newsom two children; meanwhile, she became involved with a slave named George and resolved at his insistence to end the relationship with her master. When Newsom refused, Celia one night struck him fatally with a club and disposed of his body in her fireplace. Her act quickly discovered, Celia was brought to trial. She received a surprisingly vigorous defense from her court-appointed attorneys, who built their case on a state law allowing women the use of deadly force to defend their honor. Nevertheless, the court upheld the tenets of a white social order that wielded almost total control over the lives of slaves. Celia was found guilty and hanged. Melton A. McLaurin uses Celia's story to reveal the tensions that strained the fabric of antebellum southern society. Celia's case demonstrates how one master's abuse of power over a single slave forced whites to make moral decisions about the nature of slavery. McLaurin focuses sharply on the role of gender, exploring the degree to which female slaves were sexually exploited, the conditions that often prevented white women from stopping such abuse, and the inability of male slaves to defend slave women. Setting the case in the context of the 1850s slavery debates, he also probes the manner in which the legal system was used to justify slavery. By granting slaves certain statutory rights (which were usually rendered meaningless by the customary prerogatives of masters), southerners could argue that they observed moral restraint in the operations of their peculiar institution. An important addition to our understanding of the pre-Civil War era, Celia, A Slave is also an intensely compelling narrative of one woman pushed beyond the limits of her endurance by a system that denied her humanity at the most basic level.

How to Read African American Literature

Author: Aida Levy-Hussen
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9781479838141
Release Date: 2016-12-13
Genre: Literary Criticism

How to Read African American Literature offers a series of provocations to unsettle the predominant assumptions readers make when encountering post-Civil Rights black fiction. Foregrounding the large body of literature and criticism that grapples with legacies of the slave past, Aida Levy-Hussen’s argument develops on two levels: as a textual analysis of black historical fiction, and as a critical examination of the reading practices that characterize the scholarship of our time. Drawing on psychoanalysis, memory studies, and feminist and queer theory, Levy-Hussen examines how works by Toni Morrison, David Bradley, Octavia Butler, Charles Johnson, and others represent and mediate social injury and collective grief. In the criticism that surrounds these novels, she identifies two major interpretive approaches: “therapeutic reading” (premised on the assurance that literary confrontations with historical trauma will enable psychic healing in the present), and “prohibitive reading” (anchored in the belief that fictions of returning to the past are dangerous and to be avoided). Levy-Hussen argues that these norms have become overly restrictive, standing in the way of a more supple method of interpretation that recognizes and attends to the indirect, unexpected, inconsistent, and opaque workings of historical fantasy and desire. Moving beyond the question of whether literature must heal or abandon historical wounds, Levy-Hussen proposes new ways to read African American literature now. Instructor's Guide

Slave Old Man

Author: Patrick Chamoiseau
Publisher: The New Press
ISBN: 9781620972960
Release Date: 2018-05-01
Genre: Fiction

★ “One can’t help but wonder why it took so long for this treasure to be translated into English. But it is here now.” —Booklist (starred review) ★ “Chamoiseau’s prose is astounding in its beauty. . . and he ups the stakes by making this novel a breathtaking thriller, as well.” —Publisher Weely (starred review) From a Prix Goncourt writer hailed by Milan Kundera as the “heir of Joyce and Kafka,” a gripping story of an escaped slave in Martinique and the killer hound that pursues him From one of the most innovative and subversive novelists writing in French, a “writer of exceptional and original gifts” (The New York Times), whose Texaco won the Prix Goncourt and has been translated into fourteen languages, Patrick Chamoiseau’s Slave Old Man is a gripping, profoundly unsettling story of an elderly slave’s daring escape into the wild from a plantation in Martinique, with his master and a fearsome hound on his heels. We follow them into a lush rain forest where nature is beyond all human control: sinister, yet entrancing and even exhilarating, because the old man’s flight to freedom will transform them all in truly astonishing—even otherworldly—ways, as the overwhelming physical presence of the forest reshapes reality and time itself. Chamoiseau’s exquisitely rendered new novel is an adventure for all time, one that fearlessly portrays the demonic cruelties of the slave trade and its human costs in vivid, sometimes hallucinatory prose. Offering a loving and mischievous tribute to the Creole culture of Martinique and brilliantly translated by Linda Coverdale, this novel takes us on a unique and moving journey into the heart of Caribbean history.

The American Crucible

Author: Robin Blackburn
Publisher: Verso Books
ISBN: 9781781682289
Release Date: 2013-08-06
Genre: History

The American Crucible furnishes a vivid and authoritative history of the rise and fall of slavery in the Americas. For over three centuries enslavement promoted the rise of capitalism in the Atlantic world. The New World became the crucible for a succession of fateful experiments in colonization, silver mining, plantation agriculture, racial enslavement, colonial rebellion, slave witness and slave resistance. Slave produce raised up empires, fostered new cultures of consumption and financed the breakthrough to an industrial order. Not until the stirrings of a revolutionary age in the 1780s was there the first public challenge to the ‘peculiar institution’. An anti-slavery alliance then set the scene for great acts of emancipation in Haiti in 1804, Britain in 1833–8, the United States in the 1860s, and Cuba and Brazil in the 1880s. In The American Crucible, Robin Blackburn argues that the anti-slavery movement forged many of the ideals we live by today. ‘The best treatment of slavery in the western hemisphere I know of. I think it should establish itself as a permanent pillar of the literature.’ Eric Hobsbawm From the Trade Paperback edition.

Slavery by Another Name

Author: Douglas A. Blackmon
Publisher: Icon Books
ISBN: 9781848314139
Release Date: 2012-10-04
Genre: Social Science

A Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the mistreatment of black Americans. In this 'precise and eloquent work' - as described in its Pulitzer Prize citation - Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history - an 'Age of Neoslavery' that thrived in the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II. Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude thereafter. By turns moving, sobering and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals these stories, the companies that profited the most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

The Empire of Necessity

Author: Greg Grandin
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 9781780744117
Release Date: 2014-01-05
Genre: History

Discover the story of a real-life Captain Ahab of the slave trade, in a landmark book by one of today’s most original and highly acclaimed historians One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, seal hunter and abolitionist Captain Amasa Delano climbed aboard the Tryal, a distressed Spanish slaver. He spent all day on the ship, sharing food and water, yet failed to see that the slaves, having slaughtered most of the crew, were now their own masters. Later, when Delano realized the deception, he chased the ship down, responding with barbaric violence. Drawing on never-before-consulted records on four continents, Greg Grandin follows this group of courageous slaves and their persecutor from the horrors of the Middle Passage to their explosive confrontation. The Empire of Necessity is a gripping account of obsessive mania, imperial exploitation, and lost ideals, capturing the epic clash of peoples, economies, and faiths that was shaping the so-called New World and the Age of Revolution.

Slavery

Author: Sultan A. Latif
Publisher: Latif Communications Group Incorporated
ISBN: 0964011808
Release Date: 1994-01-01
Genre: History


Ontological Terror

Author: Calvin L. Warren
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822371847
Release Date: 2018-04-06
Genre: Social Science

In Ontological Terror Calvin L. Warren intervenes in Afro-pessimism, Heideggerian metaphysics, and black humanist philosophy by positing that the "Negro question" is intimately imbricated with questions of Being. Warren uses the figure of the antebellum free black as a philosophical paradigm for thinking through the tensions between blackness and Being. He illustrates how blacks embody a metaphysical nothing. This nothingness serves as a destabilizing presence and force as well as that which whiteness defines itself against. Thus, the function of blackness as giving form to nothing presents a terrifying problem for whites: they need blacks to affirm their existence, even as they despise the nothingness they represent. By pointing out how all humanism is based on investing blackness with nonbeing—a logic which reproduces antiblack violence and precludes any realization of equality, justice, and recognition for blacks—Warren urges the removal of the human from its metaphysical pedestal and the exploration of ways of existing that are not predicated on a grounding in being.

Touched by Evil

Author: Michele Knight
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 9781444777543
Release Date: 2013-02-14
Genre: Body, Mind & Spirit

Michele's childhood was a nightmare. Her mother was a gifted psychic but highly unstable, unable to control the dark forces her powers unleashed or to look after Michele. When she was six her beloved father died and the last shreds of normality were gone forever. From then on Michele was at the mercy of sexual predators and her mother's violent lovers. Evil surrounded her... But Michele wasn't alone. The presence of her twin sister Lucy was constantly at her side, comforting and inspiring her. Lucy had died when the twin girls were babies. But her spirit stayed behind to watch over her little sister. Time and again, when Michele reached her darkest hour, Lucy reached out with a deep sense of love and gently guided her to safety. This is the heartbreaking, but ultimately inspirational story of a little girl, who was beaten, raped, neglected and despised, but rescued from despair by her faith in the power of love.

The First Emancipator

Author: Andrew Levy
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780375761041
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

A definitive account of a landmark event in American history describes how, in 1791, Robert Carter III, one of Virginia's wealthiest planters, freed more than 450 slaves, revealing how and why Carter made his extraordinary gesture. Reprint. 10,000 first printing.

In the Wake

Author: Christina Sharpe
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822373452
Release Date: 2016-10-21
Genre: Social Science

In this original and trenchant work, Christina Sharpe interrogates literary, visual, cinematic, and quotidian representations of Black life that comprise what she calls the "orthography of the wake." Activating multiple registers of "wake"—the path behind a ship, keeping watch with the dead, coming to consciousness—Sharpe illustrates how Black lives are swept up and animated by the afterlives of slavery, and she delineates what survives despite such insistent violence and negation. Initiating and describing a theory and method of reading the metaphors and materiality of "the wake," "the ship," "the hold," and "the weather," Sharpe shows how the sign of the slave ship marks and haunts contemporary Black life in the diaspora and how the specter of the hold produces conditions of containment, regulation, and punishment, but also something in excess of them. In the weather, Sharpe situates anti-Blackness and white supremacy as the total climate that produces premature Black death as normative. Formulating the wake and "wake work" as sites of artistic production, resistance, consciousness, and possibility for living in diaspora, In the Wake offers a way forward.

Ghost Train to Freedom

Author: Faith Reese Martin
Publisher: American Literary Publishing
ISBN: 1608000141
Release Date: 2012-02
Genre: Juvenile Fiction

When teen psychics Jimx MacKenzie and Max Myers go back in time, they land in 1851 to become conductors on the Underground Railroad.

How to Read African American Literature

Author: Aida Levy-Hussen
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9781479884711
Release Date: 2016-12-13
Genre: Literary Criticism

How to Read African American Literature offers a series of provocations to unsettle the predominant assumptions readers make when encountering post-Civil Rights black fiction. Foregrounding the large body of literature and criticism that grapples with legacies of the slave past, Aida Levy-Hussen’s argument develops on two levels: as a textual analysis of black historical fiction, and as a critical examination of the reading practices that characterize the scholarship of our time. Drawing on psychoanalysis, memory studies, and feminist and queer theory, Levy-Hussen examines how works by Toni Morrison, David Bradley, Octavia Butler, Charles Johnson, and others represent and mediate social injury and collective grief. In the criticism that surrounds these novels, she identifies two major interpretive approaches: “therapeutic reading” (premised on the assurance that literary confrontations with historical trauma will enable psychic healing in the present), and “prohibitive reading” (anchored in the belief that fictions of returning to the past are dangerous and to be avoided). Levy-Hussen argues that these norms have become overly restrictive, standing in the way of a more supple method of interpretation that recognizes and attends to the indirect, unexpected, inconsistent, and opaque workings of historical fantasy and desire. Moving beyond the question of whether literature must heal or abandon historical wounds, Levy-Hussen proposes new ways to read African American literature now. Instructor's Guide