Category: william j wilson

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The “True” American History: Part II

The White House Conference on American History, as I pointed out in my last post, continued the narrative that God divinely sanctioned America and its founding. This narrative presents the Founding Fathers as devoutly Christian and purposefully focused on making American a “Christian” nation; however, that is not necessarily the case, and even if its is, as Lillian Smith points out in “The White … Read More The “True” American History: Part II

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Mediated Voices in Longfellow’s “Poems on Slavery”

Last semester, I added selections from Philip Freneau and Henry Wadsworth Longefellow to my syllabus. We only read about 3-4 poems from each author and explored them in relation to the trope of the “Vanishing American,” defining American, and the issue of slavery. As I do with most classes, I assign questions to small groups of students, 2-3 typically, give them time to answer … Read More Mediated Voices in Longfellow’s “Poems on Slavery”

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Our Linguistic Entanglements

Recently, I attended a reading by Kiese Laymon where he read from an essay in progress. The essay he read came about after the recent events in Parkland, Florida, and the shooting death of Stephon Clark in Sacramento, California. I do not want to talk about Laymon’s essay here because I do not think it would right for me to comment on a work … Read More Our Linguistic Entanglements

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Illuminating the Truth in Ethiop’s “Afric-American Picture Gallery”

Last post, I wrote about William J. Wilson’s motivation for writing the “Afric-American Picture Gallery (1859). Today, I want to expand on that conversation some and show how Wilson, under the pen-name Ethiop, challenges the master narratives of American history in much the same ways that David Walker, John Russwurm, Samuel Cornsih, Frederick Douglass, Solomon Northup, and others did during the early to mid-nineteenth … Read More Illuminating the Truth in Ethiop’s “Afric-American Picture Gallery”

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“Afric-American Picture Gallery” and Representation

This semester, I added William J. Wilson’s “Afric-American Picture Gallery” (1859) to my Early American literature syllabus. Every semester, I add one or two texts I have never taught to my courses. Recently, I have headed over to the Just Teach One site for some ideas. That is where I came across Rosa¬†and the “Afric-American Picture Gallery.” Today, I want to talk briefly about … Read More “Afric-American Picture Gallery” and Representation