Locating and Connecting Latin America and the African Diaspora

2015-0430-cse-us-locating-and-connecting-latin-america-and-the-african-diaspora-2015 A few months ago, Greg Childs explored the connections between African Diaspora and Latin American historiography, noting the need for more intense engagement of black history by scholars of the region, as well as the need for more overtly theoretical approaches to Afro-Latin American history. A conference I attended earlier this month at UNC Charlotte attempted to do some of these very things. This conference, entitled “Locating and Connecting Latin America and the African Diaspora,” was organized by my colleagues Erika Edwards in the History department and Oscar de la Torre in the Africana Studies department and explored topics such as space and region in the African Diaspora and Latin America, the construction of identity, maroon communities in various locales, hip hop in Argentina, the census, migrations, and social movements, among others. [Continue Reading…]

Love and the Civil War

The Grand review at Washington, D.C., May 24th, 1865 (NYPL)


Last Sunday, I stood on a Pennsylvania Avenue sidewalk, about midway between the U.S. Capitol and the White House, waiting for a parade. Just after 12 noon, more than 1,000 people, sweating in nineteenth-century garb, began filing past. Women and men, civilians and soldiers, white and black, had come together to mark the sesquicentennial of the Grand Review of the Armies, a two-day parade held in May 1865 to celebrate the Union victory and to restore enthusiasm after President Lincoln’s assassination. About ten minutes into the ceremony, I said to my girlfriend, half-jokingly, that I might want to become a reenactor. But I realized that in a sense I already had. Thousands of spectators cheered the parading soldiers at the original Grand Review. The reenactment encouraged spectators to feel connected to the parade and to the conflict that had inspired it. I felt happy to see so many people—closer to scores than thousands—who wanted to commemorate nineteenth-century history. I felt excited, as a still-new D.C. resident, to take part in something that was so closely tied to the city’s history. I felt like the parade was, in many ways, a very cool event. As we watched the marchers, I was struck by the strange, distinct feeling that I love the Civil War.

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Biodegradable Urns, Is this the End of the Traditional Cemetery?

Bio Urn

Scrolling down my Facebook page, I came across this caption and immediately stopped.  Mouthing the words while looking at the side-by-side pictures, I was intrigued as I was astonished.  “An urn that will turn you into a TREE when you die?!” I said … [Continue reading]

The Distinct Nature of Black Eco-poetry

American Delegation to Mysore, India 1928

Recently an Africana Studies colleague at Luther who studies African and African American literature brought the poet Camille Dungy to my attention. He thought I should see if I could use some of her poetry in her Suck on the Marrow published by Red … [Continue reading]

Seeking for the Land of Freedom: Commencement Season


I saw a desert and I saw a woman coming out of it. And she came to the bank of a dark river; and the bank was steep and high. And on it an old man met her, who had a long white beard; and a stick that curled was in his hand, and on it was written … [Continue reading]

Historical Readings on #BlackAsianSolidarity


Recently, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture hosted a fascinating panel discussion entitled, “From Binaries to Bridges: Black Liberation and Model Minority Mutiny.” The panel explored Black and Asian American racial formation and the … [Continue reading]

Politics of the Parental Leave pt 2

I have to confess that I became interested in the relationship between black maternity and the parental leave by a rather circuitous route. It was at the end of my second year on the job, right when I and other faculty across the university were … [Continue reading]

“We Must Look Only to Ourselves to Save the Situation:” The Emergence of Opposition to the Occupation

Calvin Chase, editor of The Bee

This is the fifth entry in a series on the centennial of the U.S. occupation of Haiti. The  previous entry in this series can be found here. Booker T. Washington was correct. Just as he predicted one month before his death, countless African … [Continue reading]

Teaching Phillis Wheatley in Light of Freddie Gray

Noelle Trent wrote a great post about how to locate “the reality of students’ lives in the themes and trends of American history.” The murder of Freddie Gray, Noelle’s post and my students inspire this post also about Gray, history, and teaching. For … [Continue reading]

Freddie Gray and the Burning of Baltimore: Prevailing Historical Rhetoric and the Radical Response of Clergy

Riot 1969 and 2015 pic

“You grow up to believe that authority is good, the police are good, the army is good, that they are your safety net, they are looking out for you. And then you realize there is a whole population in this country that they are not looking out for, … [Continue reading]