An Insistence on Not Being Discouraged

Modern, and contemporary criticism of African and African diasporic art is an area of inquiry that Professor Chika Okeke-Agulu insisted must exist. Professor Okeke-Agulu, along with others like Salah Hassan and Okwui Enwezor wrote into life a genre, and a lineage of artists who diagnose and critique African nation states and related projects. Okeke-Agulu is author of the recent Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria, which takes a broad view of the subject. His new work, Obiora Udechukwu: Line, Image, Text, takes a more narrow view, focusing on a former teacher who he names as the most influential Nigerian artist of the 20th century. Okeke-Agulu is currently at work on a book called Contemporary African Art in the Age of the Big Man, which tells the story of contemporary art after dictatorships, civil wars, IMS, and the devastation of African economies in the 1980s.

Audio Book: The Fire Next Time

This is the full audio book of James Baldwin’s the Fire Next Time (1963) read by Jesse L. Martin. The Fire Next Time is a book by James Baldwin. It contains two essays: “My Dungeon Shook — Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of Emancipation,” ( 0:0012:00 ) and “Down At The Cross — Letter from a Region of My Mind” ( 12:00 – ). Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Book Conversation on May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem

The twin acts of singing and fighting for freedom have been inseparable in African American history. May We Forever Stand tells an essential part of that story. With lyrics penned by James Weldon Johnson and music composed by his brother Rosamond, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was embraced almost immediately as an anthem that captured the story and the aspirations of black Americans. Since the song’s creation, it has been adopted by the NAACP and performed by countless artists in times of both crisis and celebration, cementing its place in African American life up through the present day.

In this rich, poignant, and readable work, Imani Perry tells the story of the Black National Anthem as it traveled from South to North, from civil rights to black power, and from countless family reunions to Carnegie Hall and the Oval Office. Drawing on a wide array of sources, Perry uses “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as a window on the powerful ways African Americans have used music and culture to organize, mourn, challenge, and celebrate for more than a century.

 

 

The Difficult Miracle: The Living Legacy of June Jordan

June Millicent Jordan (1936–2002) called herself a “dissident American poet,” and she counted among her forebears powerful voices ranging from Walt Whitman to Phyllis Wheatley. She began writing verse at the age of seven; her papers at the Harvard University Schlesinger Library contain stunning material about the girlhood that prefaced her remarkable career as creator and critic, educator, and activist.

In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the arrival of the Papers of June Jordan at the Harvard University Schlesinger and the 75th anniversary of the library’s founding, this panel discussion features scholars, poets, and activists exploring the many and ongoing facets of Jordan’s work.

Featuring
Solmaz Sharif (14:56), poet; lecturer, Creative Writing Program, Stanford University

Imani Perry (29:51), Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies, Princeton University

Mariame Kaba (47:08), founder and director, Project NIA

Moderated by
Joshua Bennett, director, June Jordan Fellowship Program, Center for Justice at Columbia University; 2016-2019 junior fellow, Society of Fellows, Harvard University

Introductions by
Jane Kamensky, Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute, and professor of history, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Kenvi Phillips (7:06), curator for race and ethnicity, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

 

 

Reimagining Science and Technology

In this episode of the AAS 21 podcast, Professor Ruha Benjamin and Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. discuss science and technology, the allure of objectivity related to this category of work, and consider what it takes to proceed in a “third” way. Professor Benjamin is author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press 2013), Race After Technology, with Polity (forthcoming), and editor of Captivating Technology: Race, Technoscience, and the Carceral Imagination (Duke University Press, forthcoming), as well as numerous articles and book chapters.

Art by Manzel Bowman.