Category: lillian e smith

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Reflections of the Self in “Infidel”

As I prepared to teach Pornsak Pichetshote, Aaron Campbell, and Jose Villarrubia’s Infidel, a lot of things stuck out. However, when I reread the haunted house story where the monsters that terrorize the characters are the manifestations of racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, I became intrigued by a few specific scenes where the monsters appear in the reflections of objects such as knives and mirrors. … Read More Reflections of the Self in “Infidel”

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Building Bridges in “The Silence of Our Friends”

Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, and Nate Powell’s The Silence of Our Friends opens with Mark playing war in 1968 in Houston, TX. He crawls through the front yard pretending to be an American soldier as he searches for Vietcong soldiers before engaging them. His sister Michelle wants to join him, and Mark gets angry because he doesn’t “wanna play with no girls.” Eventually, after … Read More Building Bridges in “The Silence of Our Friends”

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August 28, 2020

On Saturday August 29, 2020, I awoke and checked my phone. The notification from one of the news services told me that Chadwick Boseman had passes away of cancer at the age of 43. In 2016, he was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. He did not speak publicly about the diagnosis, and over the course of the next four years he filmed various … Read More August 28, 2020

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Haunting in Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece’s “Incognegro”

In preparation for my fall literature class, I reread Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece’s Incognegro: A Graphic Mystery. There are a lot of aspects of the book I could discuss, and that I want to discuss with students. One of these will definitely be looking at Incognergo in relation to themes that James Baldwin discusses in his essay “Stranger in the Village.” As well, … Read More Haunting in Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece’s “Incognegro”

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“You must do something”: The Violence of Silence

On the day of his funeral, The New York Times and the Atlanta Journal Constitution published John Lewis’ final message. In it, Lewis spoke about his life, his work during the Civil Rights Movement, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, and about the hope for the future, the hope had in the generation today speaking up and marching for equity. … Read More “You must do something”: The Violence of Silence

Christianity, Ross Barnett, and White Supremacy: Part II

Note: This is the second part of “Christianity, Ross Barnett, and White Supremacy.” Let’s look back at Romans 13, you know, the chapter that enslavers and the current administration have used to justify slavery and separating families at the border. What gets left out, of course, are verses 8-10 where Paul tells the Roman Christians “to love one another, for whoever loves others has … Read More Christianity, Ross Barnett, and White Supremacy: Part II

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Christianity, Ross Barnett, and White Supremacy: Part I

About halfway through Take this Hammer, James Baldwin stands outside of a burned-out St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco in 1963. Baldwin’s guide tells him about the fire that burned the building, and he tells Baldwin that as a result of the fire “the Catholic Church was able to raise fifteen million dollars to build another cathedral” in only nine months. Baldwin laughs and … Read More Christianity, Ross Barnett, and White Supremacy: Part I

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Lillian E. Smith Reading Group: Part II

Last post, I wrote about the LES Reading Group that we are conducting this July. When I read Smith, her voices echoes through the years, speaking to this moment both nationally and internationally. I often wonder, and I hope this will be part of the reading group conversation, how she would react to this moment. How she would engage with social media. How she … Read More Lillian E. Smith Reading Group: Part II

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Lillian E. Smith Reading Group: Part I

The more I read Lillian Smith, the more her voice resonates with the current moment. I do searches through the journal she edited with her life-long partner Paula Snelling, and each issues contains articles that, while published in the 1930s or 1940s, As well, the more I speak with people about Smith, I realize that people do not know her, at least they do … Read More Lillian E. Smith Reading Group: Part I

Divide and Conquer: Part I

I’ve always known that rhetoric, speech, and writing serve as weapons to sever communities or as tools to bring them together. Because of this, I know that individuals in power will use that weapon to keep individuals below separate through demonizing one group and promising hopes to the other. This has occurred throughout history, and in regard to race in America, it has occurred … Read More Divide and Conquer: Part I

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Gone With the Wind and the Mythologized South

Last week, John Ridley, Academy Award winner for adapted screenplay for 12 Years a Slave, spurred on calls fro HBO Max to remove David O Selznick’s film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind from its streaming service. Ridley points out that the film, “as part of the narrative of the ‘Lost Cause,’ romanticizes the Confederacy in a way that continues to give … Read More Gone With the Wind and the Mythologized South

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Even Its Children Know . . .

Over the past few weeks, we have seen protests throughout the nation and across the world speaking out out against police brutality and systemic racism and calling upon those in power and those not in power to listen and know that Black lives matter. One of these protests occurred in our county, a mostly Wonder Bread white county. At the protest, about 200 or … Read More Even Its Children Know . . .