The Me Nobody Knew Then






“When I first get up in the morning I feel fresh and it feels like it would be a good day to me. But after I get in school, things change and they seem to turn into problems for me. And by the end of the day I don’t even feel like I’m young. I […]

“What we investigate is linked to who we are”






Research related to the effort to enlarge and diversify the computing pipeline discloses that young people’s career choices are heavily influenced by parents, teachers and guidance counselors. (References) In plumbing my childhood experiences, I see evidence how I began to think of myself as a writer, and the values I began to internalize that would shape the kind of writer I ultimately became.

Report from ASALH: A conversation about the Crafting Freedom project






Laurel Sneed and Beverly McNeill talk about the Crafting Freedom project, a curriculum resource project that offers teachers lesson plans, primary resources and videos about nine North Carolina slave artisans who excelled during the antebellum era. Sneed and McNeill presented their work ; at the 95th annual convention of the Association for the Study of […]

The Forethought: Du Bois the Journalist






Author’s note: This part of an unpublished 2002 essay, “Not the Subject but the Premise: Postcards from the Edge of Du Bois’ Black Belt,”  is reproduced here for comment and as fodder in the body of work upon which I am drawing for my sabbatical project. I consider it to be a failed work with […]

We Just Wanna Be Successful: The Shrinking of the Black American Dream






Consider two songs from two generations. One, Drake’s  “Successful, ” was one of the most popular songs of 2009, making an international rap star out of the unsigned Canadian former child actor. The other, “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,” was a signature hit for the songwriting producing duo of McFadden and Whitehead. Both employ narratives […]

Remembering Paul Robeson






I first learned of Paul Robeson when I was 15 years old. I was in Temple University’s Paley Library helping my father with his research, and I was looking for something to read in my free time. I found his autobiography, Here I Stand. I started asking questions in my classes about why Robeson had been blacklisted […]

Of interest: A New Sociological Critique of The Souls of Black Folk






The 1903 publication of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois’ Souls of Black Folk is considered a watershed in the history of American arts, letters and politics. Du Bois (1868-1963), then a sociologist at Atlanta University, offered his theory of “double-consciousness” – the notion that black Americans are deprived of agency and self-awareness because survival in […]

The Black Press, Soldiers Without Swords






Here is my 2005 tribute to one of those pioneers, Dr. Edna McKenzie (who became a newspaper reporter about the time that that video below was created. Here is the transcript of her interview for the documentary, Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords: