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

+

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

+

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”

+

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

+

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

+

The Juxtaposition of Beauty and Brutality in Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave

During an interview with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Steve McQueen commented on the juxtaposition between beauty and horror in his film adaptation of Twelve Years a Slave (2013). I have written about this before in regards to the scene where Tibeats attempts to lynch Nortup. Today, I want to expand upon that discussion some more, especially after recently rereading Northup’s narrative. This time around, … Read More The Juxtaposition of Beauty and Brutality in Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave

+

“Why can’t we just move on? The past is the past.”

My own people owned people, but they don’t own that They say racism’s dead, man our President is black Two terms in the White House, that don’t mean jack If we still believe our present ain’t affected by our past–Andy Mineo “Uncomfortable” One question I hear over and over again when I speak or write about the history of racism, subjugation, and oppression in … Read More “Why can’t we just move on? The past is the past.”