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In this insightful and provocative volume, Ramey reveals spirituals and slave songs to be a crucial element in American literature. This book shows slave songs' intrinsic value as lyric poetry, sheds light on their roots and originality, and draws new conclusions on an art form long considered a touchstone of cultural imagination.
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African American Views of the Japanese reveals a page of history long ignored. In black America, Japanese were not always known for racist remarks, Sambo images, and discriminatory hiring practices. Once, thousands of African Americans thought of the Japanese as "champions of the darker races." Here Reginald Kearney examines the role played by Japan and its people in the dreams of prosperity for many African Americans. He also uncovers the shock many blacks felt upon learning that this high regard for the Japanese had been betrayed by discriminatory remarks and actions. But overall Kearney remains optimistic that the African American-Japanese rift can be mended.
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When Jackie Robinson became the first African American player in major league baseball in 1947, elbowing aside the league's policies of segregation that had been inviolate for 60 years, he became a symbol of opportunity and acceptance for African American players everywhere. Robinson withstood discrimination to establish himself as a Hall of Fame player, and to lead future generations of black players into the previously all-white world of Major League Baseball. Written for students and general readers alike, this biographical encyclopedia chronicles the history of African American baseball through the life stories of the game's greatest players, the legends who played a significant role in the integration of the major league. From Negro League stars Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, to color line shatterer Jackie Robinson, and those who followed them in the limelight, such as Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, readers will learn how the inclusion of African American players in Major League Baseball improved the sport and race relations in the United States during this critical period in history. Providing detailed accounts of each player's amazing professional achievements, this insightful reference describes how the spectacular talents of African American players elevated Major League Baseball forever. Features include a timeline of important events, numerous photographs, and a bibliography of print and electronic sources for further reading.
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AFRICAN-AMERICAN LEADERS profiles the African-American men and women whose lives and work have changed the way we view race in America. From the leading forces in American government and politics to the foremost scholars and writers in academia, these biographies explore the significant contributions these individuals have made to American culture and society. From her well-publicized protest of the handling of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas scandal, to her writings on sexual harassment in the workplace, Congresswoman Norton has been a leading force in American government and politics.
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Does God want us to be wealthy? Many people believe that God offers not only eternal joy in the hereafter but also material blessings in the here and now. Other Christians see this "prosperity theology," as nothing more than vulgar materialism, incompatible with orthodox Christianity. In Righteous Riches, Milmon F. Harrison examines the Word of Faith movement, an independent, non-denominational Christian movement that preaches the so-called "health and wealth gospel." The Word of Faith movement is an international network loosely bound by a basic doctrine called the "Faith Message," which teaches that it is God's will for Christians to be prosperous, successful, and healthy in the present life. Drawing on his personal experiences as a former insider and in-depth interviews with members, Harrison takes us inside the movement, revealing what it is like to belong, and how people accept, reject, and reshape Word of Faith doctrines to fit their own lives. Although the movement is not exclusively African American, many of its most prominent and recognized leaders are African American ministers with large congregations and national television audiences. Analyzing the movement's appeal to African Americans, Harrison argues that, because of their history of oppression and discrimination, African American religious institutions have always had to address the material--as well as spiritual--concerns of their members. The Word of Faith Movement, he says, is one of several prosperity movements that resonate strongly with African Americans. Situating the movement in the contexts of both contemporary American religion and the history of the Black Church, Righteous Riches offers a fascinating look at a quintessentially American phenomenon.
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In 1842 Charles Lewis Cocke arrived in Roanoke, Virginia, with sixteen slaves; there, he founded Hollins College, an elite woman's school. Many of the early students also brought their slaves to the college with them. Upon Emancipation some of the African Americans of the community "mostly women" stayed on as servants, forming what is now called the Hollins Community. Although the servants played an integral part in the college's success, students were strongly discouraged from acknowledging them as people. Rules forbidding any "familiarity" with the servants perpetuated a prejudicial attitude toward the African American community that would persist well into the 1940s. Determined to give voice to the African American community that served as the silent workforce for Hollins College, Ethel Morgan Smith succeeded in finding individuals to step forward and tell their stories. From Whence Cometh My Help examines the dynamics of an institution built on the foundations of slavery and so steeped in tradition that it managed to perpetuate servitude for generations. Interviewing senior community members, Smith gives recognition to the invisible population that provided and continues to provide the labor support for Hollins College for more than 150 years. Although African American students have been admitted to the college for roughly thirty years, to date only one person from the Hollins Community has graduated from the college. From Whence Cometh My Help explores the subtle and complex relationship between the affluent white world of Hollins College and the proud African American community that has served it since its inception. Interweaving personal observations, historical documents, and poetry throughout a revealing oral history, Smith shares her fascinating discoveries and the challenges involved in telling a story silenced for so long.
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In 1964 an Urban League survey ranked Los Angeles as the most desirable city for African Americans to live in. In 1965 the city burst into flames during one of the worst race riots in the nation's history. How the city came to such a pass—embodying both the best and worst of what urban America offered black migrants from the South—is the story told for the first time in this history of modern black Los Angeles. A clear-eyed and compelling look at black struggles for equality in L.A.'s neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces from the Great Depression to our day, L.A. City Limits critically refocuses the ongoing debate about the origins of America's racial and urban crisis. Challenging previous analysts' near-exclusive focus on northern "rust-belt" cities devastated by de-industrialization, Josh Sides asserts that the cities to which black southerners migrated profoundly affected how they fared. He shows how L.A.'s diverse racial composition, dispersive geography, and dynamic postwar economy often created opportunities—and limits—quite different from those encountered by blacks in the urban North.
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From slave times to the present the proverb has been a mainstay in African-American communication. Such sayings as "Hard times make a monkey eat red pepper when he don't care for black," "The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice," and "Nothing ruins a duck but its bill" convey not only axiomatic impact but also profound contextual meanings. This study of African-American proverbs is the first to probe deeply into these meanings and contexts. Sw. Anand Prahlad's interest in proverbs dates back to his own childhood in rural Virginia when he listened to his great grandmother's stories. Very early he began collecting "sayings," and, in researching this book, he spent five years listening to proverbs spoken in bars, clubs, churches, and retirement homes; on street corners, basketball courts, and public buses; at PTA meetings and bingo games. To discover the full context of a proverb, Prahlad considers four levels of meanings--grammatical, cultural, situational, and symbolic. The grammatical level refers to its literal meanings, the cultural level to its associations shared by most members of the cultural group, the situational level to the specific situation in which the proverb is spoken, and the symbolic to the speaker's own personal associations with the proverb. All these operate simultaneously when a proverb is spoken. Since the speaker may be fully aware of all levels, part of the artistry in using proverbs comes from the complex interplay of the dimensions of their meanings. African-American Proverbs in Context documents and analyzes both historic and contemporary proverbs. A survey of WPA interviews with former slaves and of the lyrics of blues songs and the contexts in which these were performed shows how proverbs have been used as a means of protest and cultural affirmation. Extensive field research conducted by the author with both master proverb users and young persons reveals the myriad functions proverbs perform in modern America. These range from direct communication of traditional knowledge to aggressive verbal competition among youths wishing to establish identity and status.
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This compelling look at the wellsprings of cultural vitality during one of the most dehumanizing experiences in history provides a fresh perspective on the African-American past.