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The First Juneteenth
"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation form the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between them becomes employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere." - General Orders, Numbers 3; Headquarters District of Texas Galveston, June 19.1865.
Source: The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates Jr. PBS, 2013, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/what-is-juneteenth/. Accessed 19 May 2021.
Waiting in Line at the Drugstore by James Thomas Jackson; June AcostaIn the first biography of James Baldwin in over a decade, Bill Mullen celebrates the personal and political life of the great American writer who refused to shy away from the fire. As a lifelong radical, anti-imperialist, black queer advocate, feminist and pro-Palestinian, the life and writing of James Baldwin (1924-1987) has been an inspiration to generations and his words continue to resonate through our culture at large. Mullen explores how Baldwin's life and work channel the long history of the African-American. Fighting towards what he hoped would be a post-racial society, Baldwin's philosophy was tragically ahead of its time. As racist and reactionary forces rise across the world, this is an essential guide to the life and legacy of one of America's most important radical voices.
Call Number: E-book
Publication Date: 1993-01-01
My Remembers by Eddie Stimpson"I grow up a dirt farmer and retired a dirt farmer. Never got rich and didn't want to be. My childhood stomping ground is now concrete, stores and houses. I remember the good times and bad. It was not the money we made but how to stretch that last dime. It was not the wind, rain or snow. It was about the love that flow. It was not the hot sunshine nor the clouds that hung low. It was the grace of God that help us swang that hoe. I want my grandchildren to understand. My grands, your grands and their grands." In 1929, near Plano, Texas, Eddie Stimpson, Jr., weighing 15-1/2 pounds, was born to a 19-year-old father and a 15-year-old mother. The boy, his two sisters and mother all "grew up together," with the father sharecropping along the old Preston Road, the route used by many freedmen trying to escape Texas after the Civil War. His childhood was void of luxuries, but full of country pleasures. The editors have retained the simplicity of Stimpson's folk speech and spelling patterns, allowing the good-natured humility and wisdom of his personality to shine through the narrative. "Tough time never last," he writes, "but tough people all way do." The details of ordinary family life and community survival include descriptions of cooking, farming, gambling, visiting, playing, doctoring, hunting, bootlegging, and picking cotton, as well as going to school, to church, to funerals, to weddings, to Juneteenth celebrations. This book will be of extraordinary value to folklorists, historians, sociologists, and anyone enjoying a good story. "My spelling is bad, my hand writing is bad, and my language is bad," Stimpson writes. "But my remembers is still in tack."
Call Number: E-book
Publication Date: 1999-01-01
The Strange Career of William Ellis by Karl JacobyTo his contemporaries in Gilded Age Manhattan, Guillermo Eliseo was a fantastically wealthy Mexican, the proud owner of a luxury apartment overlooking Central Park, a busy Wall Street office, and scores of mines and haciendas in Mexico. But for all his obvious riches and his elegant appearance, Eliseo was also the possessor of a devastating secret: he was not, in fact, from Mexico at all. Rather, he had begun life as a slave named William Ellis, born on a cotton plantation in southern Texas during the waning years of King Cotton. After emancipation, Ellis, capitalizing on the Spanish he learned during his childhood along the Mexican border and his ambivalent appearance, engaged in a virtuoso act of reinvention. He crafted an alter ego, the Mexican Guillermo Eliseo, who was able to access many of the privileges denied to African Americans at the time: traveling in first-class train berths, staying in upscale hotels, and eating in the finest restaurants. Eliseo's success in crossing the color line, however, brought heightened scrutiny in its wake as he became the intimate of political and business leaders on both sides of the US-Mexico border. Ellis, unlike many passers, maintained a connection to his family and to black politics that also raised awkward questions about his racial status. Yet such was Ellis's skill in manipulating his era's racial codes, most of the whites he encountered continued to insist that he must be Hispanic even as Ellis became embroiled in scandals that hinted the man known as Guillermo Eliseo was not quite who he claimed to be. The Strange Career of William Ellis reads like a novel but offers fresh insights on the history of the Reconstruction era, the US-Mexico border, and the abiding riddle of race. At a moment when the United States is deepening its connections with Latin America and recognizing that race is more than simply black or white, Ellis's story could not be more timely or important.
Call Number: E-book
Publication Date: 2016-06-14
Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope by Lucas E. Morel (Editor)An important new collection of original essays that examine how Ellison's landmark novel, Invisible Man (1952), addresses the social, cultural, political, economic, and racial contradictions of America. Commenting on the significance of Mark Twain's writings, Ralph Ellison wrote that "a novel could be fashioned as a raft of hope, perception and entertainment that might help keep us afloat as we tried to negotiate the snags and whirlpools that mark our nation's vacillating course toward and away from the democratic ideal." Ellison believed it was the contradiction between America's "noble ideals and the actualities of our conduct" that inspired the most profound literature -- "the American novel at its best." Drawing from the fields of literature, politics, law, and history, the contributors make visible the political and ethical terms of Invisible Man, while also illuminating Ellison's understanding of democracy and art. Ellison hoped that his novel, by providing a tragicomic look at American ideals and mores, would make better citizens of his readers. The contributors also explain Ellison's distinctive views on the political tasks and responsibilities of the novelist, an especially relevant topic as contemporary writers continue to confront the American incongruity between democratic faith and practice. Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope uniquely demonstrates why Invisible Man stands as a premier literary meditation on American democracy.
Call Number: E-book
Publication Date: 2014-07-11
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