Protection Spell

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Poetry, United States on 2017-03-23 01:01Z by Steven

Protection Spell

University of Arkansas Press
2017-03-01
102 pages
5 ½ × 8 ½
Paper ISBN: 978-1-68226-028-9

Jennifer Givhan, Poet & Novelist

In Protection Spell Jennifer Givhan explores the guilt, sadness, and freedom of relationships: the sticky love that keeps us hanging on for no reason other than love, the inky place that asks us to continue revising and reimagining, tying ourselves to this life and to each other despite the pain (or perhaps because of it). These poems reassemble safe spaces from the fissures cleaving the speaker’s own biracial home and act as witnesses speaking to the racial iniquity of our broader social landscape as well as to the precarious standpoint of a mother-woman of color whose body lies vulnerable to trauma and abuse. From insistent moments of bravery, a collection of poems arises that asks the impossible, like the childhood chant that palliates suffering by demanding nothing less than magical healing: sana sana colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, sanas mañana (the frog who loses his tail is commanded to grow another). In the end, Givhan’s verse offers a place where healing may begin.

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Kaleidoscope: Redrawing an American Family Tree

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Mississippi, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2016-03-04 20:36Z by Steven

Kaleidoscope: Redrawing an American Family Tree

University of Arkansas Press
2015-06-01
140 pages
10 images
6″ x 9″
Paper ISBN: 978-1-55728-815-8

Margaret Jones Bolsterli, Emeritus Professor
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

In 2005 Margaret Jones Bolsterli learned that her great-great-grandfather was a free mulatto named Jordan Chavis, who owned an antebellum plantation near Vicksburg, Mississippi. The news was a shock; Bolsterli had heard about the plantation in family stories told during her Arkansas Delta childhood, but Chavis’s name and race had never been mentioned. With further exploration Bolsterli found that when Chavis’s children crossed the Mississippi River between 1859 and 1875 for exile in Arkansas, they passed into the white world, leaving the family’s racial history completely behind.

Kaleidoscope is the story of this discovery, and it is the story, too, of the rise and fall of the Chavis fortunes in Mississippi, from the family’s first appearance on a frontier farm in 1829 to ownership of over a thousand acres and the slaves to work them by 1860. Bolsterli learns that in the 1850s, when all free colored people were ordered to leave Mississippi or be enslaved, Jordan Chavis’s white neighbors successfully petitioned the legislature to allow him to remain, unmolested, even as three of his sons and a daughter moved to Arkansas and Illinois. She learns about the agility with which the old man balanced on a tightrope over chaos to survive the war and then take advantage of the opportunities of newly awarded citizenship during Reconstruction. The story ends with the family’s loss of everything in the 1870s, after one of the exiled sons returns to Mississippi to serve in the Reconstruction legislature and a grandson attempts unsuccessfully to retain possession of the land. In Kaleidoscope, long-silenced truths are revealed, inviting questions about how attitudes toward race might have been different in the family and in America if the truth about this situation and thousands of others like it could have been told before.

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Aristocrats of Color: The Black Elite, 1880–1920

Posted in Books, History, Monographs, United States on 2013-02-22 02:25Z by Steven

Aristocrats of Color: The Black Elite, 1880–1920

University of Arkansas Press
2000
464 pages
64 illustrations
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-55728-593-5 | 1-55728-593-4

Willard B. Gatewood, Alumni Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

This monumental work is a classic study of the black “aristocracy” which developed in the United States in the years following Reconstruction.

Every American city had a small, self-aware, and active black elite, who felt it was their duty to set the standard for the less fortunate members of their race and to lead their communities by example. Rank within this black upper class rested on such issues as the status of one’s forebears as either house servants or field hands, the darkness of one’s skin, and the level of one’s manners and education.

Professor Gatewood’s study examines this class of African Americans by looking at the genealogies and occupations of specific families and individuals throughout the United States and their roles in their various communities. The resulting narrative is a full and illuminating account of a most influential segment of the African-American population. It explores fully the distinctive background, prestige, attitudes, behavior, power, and culture of this class. The Black Community Studies series from the University of Arkansas Press, edited by Professor Gatewood, continues to examine many of the same themes first explored in this important study.

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From Slavery to Wealth: The Life of Scott Bond

Posted in Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2013-01-01 01:56Z by Steven

From Slavery to Wealth: The Life of Scott Bond

University of Arkansas Press
February 2008 (Originally Published: 1917)
336 pages
6 x 9; 72 photographs and index
ISBN 13: 978-0-9768007-6-7 ISBN 10: 0-9768007-6-4

Dan. A. (Daniel Arthur) Rudd (1854-1933)

Theo. (Theophilus) Bond

Edited with a new Preface and Introduction by

Willard B. Gatewood, Alumni Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

In an era in which African Americans were oppressed and deprived of many of the rights and privileges of citizenship, Scott Bond rose from being born a slave in Madison County, Mississippi, in the early 1850s to wealth and status as a farmer, merchant, and business entrepreneur in Madison, Arkansas, by the early 1900s. From Slavery to Wealth is the story of an extraordinary individual widely known and respected at the time of its first publication in 1917, for his integrity, prodigious energy, and strong work ethic. Throughout his career he never wearied of imploring African Americans to seize the opportunities offered them in the South in general and in the Arkansas Delta in particular. Scott Bond enjoyed an enviable reputation among blacks as well as whites. This reputation ultimately extended far beyond his local community to prominent blacks throughout the South and elsewhere, especially after he gained wider exposure as a conspicuous figure in the National Negro Business League in the early years of the twentieth century.

With this 2008 reprint edition, the current generation can be inspired by the man who has been referred to as the black John D. Rockefeller of Arkansas.

Read the entire book (From Slavery to Wealth. The Life of Scott Bond. The Rewards of Honesty, Industry, Economy and Perseverance) via “Documenting the American South” here.

Scott Bond was born in the early 1850s to an enslaved mother named Ann who worked in the Maben-Bond household near Canton, Mississippi. His father was the nephew of a white slave-owner to whom Bond’s mother had temporarily been hired out as a domestic servant. Just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, Bond and his mother were moved to Arkansas, along with his step-father, William Bond, and the rest of the Maben-Bond family’s slaves. After Emancipation, Bond lived with his step-father until age twenty-two, when he “undertook to vouch for himself” and began work on his lifelong goal of becoming a successful businessman (p. 37). Bond accomplished this goal. At the time of his death he owned and farmed 12,000 acres, while also raising livestock and operating a large mercantile store, at least five cotton gins, a gravel pit, a lumber yard, and a saw mill. A member of the National Negro Business League, Bond supported the efforts of Booker T. Washington, whose philosophies regarding the social advancement of African Americans through economic and agricultural success mirrored Bond’s own. In 1877, he married Magnolia Nash, with whom he had eleven sons. Bond was killed in March 1933 by one of his registered bulls. According to his son, Ulysses, he “went down swinging and died among the things he loved” (p. 152)…

Read the entire summary here.

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Dangerous Liaisons: Sex and Love in the Segregated South

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2010-12-29 18:24Z by Steven

Dangerous Liaisons: Sex and Love in the Segregated South

The University of Arkansas Press
2003
160 pages
6″x9″
Paper: 1-55728–833-X (978-1-55728-833-2)
Cloth: 1-55728-755-4 (978-1-55728-755-7)

Charles F. Robinson II, Associate Professor of History, Vice Provost for Diversity, and Director of African American Studies program
University of Arkansas

In the tumultuous decades after the Civil War, as the southern white elite reclaimed power, “racial mixing” was the central concern of segregationists who strove to maintain “racial purity.” Segregation—and race itself—was based on the idea that interracial sex posed a biological threat to the white race. In this groundbreaking study, Charles Robinson examines how white southerners enforced anti-miscegenation laws. His findings challenge conventional wisdom, documenting a pattern of selective prosecution under which interracial domestic relationships were punished even more harshly than transient sexual encounters. Robinson shows that the real crime was to suggest that black and white individuals might be equals, a notion which undermined the legitimacy of the economic, political, and social structure of white male supremacy.

Robinson examines legal cases from across the South, considering both criminal prosecutions brought by states and civil disputes over marital and family assets. He also looks at U.S. Supreme Court decisions, debates in state legislatures, comments in the U.S. Congressional Record, and newspaper editorials. He not only shows the hardening of racial categories but assesses the attitudes of African Americans about anti-miscegenation laws and intermarriage.

Dangerous Liaisons vividly documents the regulation of intimacy and its fundamental role in the construction of race.

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Ambiguous Lives: Free Women of Color in Rural Georgia, 1789-1879

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States, Women on 2010-02-25 15:36Z by Steven

Ambiguous Lives: Free Women of Color in Rural Georgia, 1789-1879

University of Arkansas Press
1992
304 pages
ISBN Cloth: 1-55728-214-5
ISBN Paper: 1-55728-215-3
Out of Print

Adele Logan Alexander, Professor of History
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

1992 Winner, Gustavus Myers award as one of the year’s outstanding books promoting racial understanding.

Historians have produced scores of studies on white men, extraordinary white women, and even the often anonymous mass of enslaved Black people in the United States. But in this innovative work, Adele Logan Alexander chronicles there heretofore undocumented dilemmas of one of nineteenth-century America’s most marginalized groups—free women of color in the rural South.

Ambiguous Lives focuses on the women of Alexander’s own family as representative of this subcaste of the African-American community. Their forbears, in fact, included Africans, Native Americans, and whites. Neither black nor white, affluent nor impoverished, enslaved nor truly free, these women of color lived and died in a shadowy realm situated somewhere between the legal, social, and economic extremes of empowered whites and subjugated blacks. Yet, as Alexander persuasively argues, these lives are worthy of attention precisely because of these ambiguities—because the intricacies, gradations, and subtleties of their anomalous experience became part of the tangled skein of American history and exemplify our country’s endless diversity, complexity, and self-contradictions.

Written as a “reclamation” of a long-ignored substratum of our society, Ambiguous Lives is more than the story of one family—it is a well-researched and fascinating profile of America, its race and gender relations, and its complex cultural weave.

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