Category: african americans


Poison in James Baldwin’s “Blues for Mister Charlie”

If you enjoy what you read here at Interminable Rambling, think about making a contribution on our Patreon page.  This semester, I’m teaching James Baldwin’s Blues for Mister Charlie (1964). As I reread Baldwin’s play, a couple of items stuck out to me. The first item that caught my attention was the continual references to poison or disease throughout the text, in relation to … Read More Poison in James Baldwin’s “Blues for Mister Charlie”

Multicultural Cities in Frank Yerby

Throughout his oeuvre, Frank Yerby works to deconstruct myths of the Old South and historical misinformation. Along with these goals, he also dismantles the dichotomy of Black and White; instead, he populates his works with individuals and scenes that defy a simplistic characterization. In this manner, Yerby shows that race is not a biological fact; rather, it is a social construct. One of the … Read More Multicultural Cities in Frank Yerby


The Past in Kirsten Imani Kasai’s “The House of Erzulie”

Note: You can win a copy of Kasai’s The House of Erzulie. Just tweet or retweet this post (make sure to tag me so I know you Tweeted it  @silaslapham). The winner will be chosen randomly at noon Saturday January 13.   Recently, I had the chance to read Kirsten Imani Kasai‘s The House of Erzulie (Feburary 2018 Shade Mountain Press), a novel that, on the … Read More The Past in Kirsten Imani Kasai’s “The House of Erzulie”


Frank Yerby’s Benton’s Row and Southern Womanhood

In its review (above) of Frank Yerby's Benton's Row (1954), Jet Magazine mentions the novel's early narrative arc that follows Tom Benton's arrival in the Louisiana community and his relationship with Sarah. The reviewer comments that Tom "is not at all unlike all the other Yerby heroes" and that "in the typical Yerby mold [Tom] emerges as a thoroughgoing rascal, an opportunist who seizes what … Read More Frank Yerby’s Benton’s Row and Southern Womanhood

“When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” in Richard Wright’s “Long Black Song”

As I reread Richard Wright’s “Long Black Song” from Uncle Tom’s Children (1938), I again thought about the role of music in Wright’s work. I have written about this before in relation to the epigraph for Wright’s collection and in relation to the song that appears in “Big Boy Leaves Home.” Today, I want to briefly look at the way that the hymn “When … Read More “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” in Richard Wright’s “Long Black Song”


Jackie Ormes’ “Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger” Part 3

In the past two posts, I have written about a few of installments of Jackie Ormes’ Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger. (You can find these posts here and here.) Today, I want to wrap up my discussion of Ormes’ strip by examining one final panel. As I did in the previous post, I want to think about these panels in a broader pedagogical conversation, thinking about … Read More Jackie Ormes’ “Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger” Part 3

Dorothy Allison’s "Bastard Out of Carolina"

It’s been a little while since I read Kaye Gibbon’s Ellen Foster, but I remember the relationship between Starlette and Ellen. A relationship like that does not appear in Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, but what does exist is the presence of African Americans in a mitigated role as the “other” in relation to the Boatwright family. Two scenes in particular grabbed my … Read More Dorothy Allison’s "Bastard Out of Carolina"