Category: twelve years a slave

Soundtrack Assignment in the Literature Classroom

Every semester I try something new in the classroom. Sometimes this may involve adding activities such as the fish bowl, working in the archives, or having students write on the board to generate ideas. I take these ideas and tweak them as I go along because, as we know, every class is not the same. What works in one class may not necessarily work … Read More Soundtrack Assignment in the Literature Classroom

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Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” and How We Need to Think About the Past

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a speech entitled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Last week, I wrote about a small section of this speech, and today I want to expand that discussion some more, looking at what Douglass says about what we should do, or shouldn’t do, with the past. The entire speech, of course, focuses on America’s … Read More Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” and How We Need to Think About the Past

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The Transmission of Racist Thought in Solomon Northup’s “Twelve Years a Slave”

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled “Why can’t we just move on? The past is the past.” In that post, I examine how Thomas Jefferson, David Walker, and Solomon Northup all argue that it is nurture, not nature, that produces within us thoughts of discrimination. I wrote about Northup’s descriptions of William Ford and Edwin Epps’ son in that post, … Read More The Transmission of Racist Thought in Solomon Northup’s “Twelve Years a Slave”

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Fireworks, hot dogs, music, and inequality on the Fourth of July

Why you ain’t march on Selma? Why you ain’t tell the refugees “please stay with me”? Why when you take communion, it don’t remind you of your union? That you too were once undocumented too Why do you love your guns more than our sons? Why you patriots first? Why you worshipping the flag?–Propaganda Today, we celebrate the Fourth of July, America’s independence. We … Read More Fireworks, hot dogs, music, and inequality on the Fourth of July

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Surveillance and “Dark Sousveillance” in Solomon Northup

In various posts, I ave written about surveillance in African American literature and music in the works of Ernest J. Gaines, Lecrae, and Arna Bontemps. Drawing upon Jeremy Bentham’s “Panopticon,” Michel Foucault argues that individuals, in various settings, experience surveillance whether they know it or not. As well, that surveillance creates within the subject a feeling of policing him or herself, thus becoming both … Read More Surveillance and “Dark Sousveillance” in Solomon Northup