Category Archives: African American Literature

2016 Reading Review – Part I

2016 Reading Review – Part I

In this segment: African American Literature and Memoir. (See the full list of my 2016 reading here.) African American Literature continues to be one of my most-read genres. I find it intellectually challenging as well as emotionally moving. 2016’s reading was no exception. The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson | This was a… Continue Reading

Ferguson, In Context

On Friday, for our last session of class, I taught my students about contemporary inequality in America and the process of racial segregation in the Ferguson area. I’d planned this since the summer, when I learned that I would have one more day of instruction than usual. I had no idea that the grand jury’s decision… Continue Reading

Credit for Progress

I’m reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie right now. It fit my recent reading interests and is getting all kinds of buzz, so I decided to give it a try. It’s deserving of the praise and I’m sure I’ll have more to say when I’m done. For now, I just want to highlight one passage that describes… Continue Reading

The Context of Violence

It seems our family is full of Baltimore lately, a city we’ve never visited. But my wife’s been reading Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, I’ve been reading The Beautiful Struggle, and we’ve both been listening to Serial. From these sources, it’s not a pretty picture. In reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ fantastic memoir, I ran across… Continue Reading

It Disfranchises

It Disfranchises

By chance, I saw the news about the Texas voter ID law just before re-reading W.E.B. Du Bois’ “Returning Soldiers” from 1919. Du Bois’ piece is a stirring call to the black soldiers returning from WWI to now engage in the fight for democracy at home. In it, he lists the sins of this nation… Continue Reading

When Change?

When Change?

Right now I’m reading Cry, the Beloved Country, a novel set in South Africa and published in 1948. As I don’t know much about South African history, it is an eye-opening and moving account. But it is also a bit dated. There is a lot of discussion about whether apartheid will ever end, whether black Africans… Continue Reading

Summer Reading

This summer I assigned myself six canonical works of 20th century African American literature. This was prompted in part by a student last quarter commenting that he had read either Invisible Man or Native Son (I’ve forgotten which) and raving about the book. When he asked whether I had read it I had to confess… Continue Reading