Monthly Archives: February 2011

New Online Resource on African American History and Culture

In celebration of Black History Month, Southern Cultures permanently has dedicated a new section of their website to all the essays and features they have from the last decade on AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE.  This material includes interviews with many famous figures (and lesser known ones, too), as well as material which explores many aspects of the experiences of African Americans inside and outside the South.  In addition, they’ve also been presenting featured content on their homepage to commemorate African American history: an essay from  Timothy B. Tyson, author of Blood Done Sign My Name, who reveals why Martin Luther King’s message  endures and what he means to the South and the nation.

To date, over 65,000 readers have viewed their material online.  Click below to read from this newly added section on AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE

To read Tim Tyson’s “Martin Luther King and the Southern Dream of Freedom,” please visit:


A Living Man from Africa: Jan Tzatzoe, Xhosa Chief and Missionary, and the Making of Nineteenth-Century South Africa

Born into a Xhosa royal family around 1792 in South Africa, Jan Tzatzoe was destined to live in an era of profound change—one that witnessed the arrival and entrenchment of European colonialism. As a missionary, chief, and cultural intermediary on the eastern Cape frontier and in Cape Town and a traveler in Great Britain, Tzatzoe helped foster the merging of African and European worlds into a new South African reality. Yet, by the 1860s, despite his determined resistance, he was an oppressed subject of harsh British colonial rule. In this innovative, richly researched, and splendidly written biography, Roger S. Levine reclaims Tzatzoe’s lost story and analyzes his contributions to, and experiences with, the turbulent colonial world to argue for the crucial role of Africans as agents of cultural and intellectual change.

Yale University Press has recently published A Living Man From Africa: Jan Tzatzoe, Xhosa Chief and Missionary, and the Making of Nineteenth Century South Africa ($30 hardcover) by Roger S. Levine, Associate Professor of History at Sewanee: The University of the South.

This book is the first to be published in a new series, New Directions in Narrative History. It brings the colonial encounter to life while providing a fascinating account of the South Africa of the nineteenth century and one of her most interesting sons: Jan Tzatzoe – world traveler, chief, missionary, and cultural intermediary.  For more information visit the publisher’s website at:

Caribbean Newspaper Digital Library

The Digital Library of the Caribbean is working with libraries, archives and publishers to ensure preservation and provide access to influential political and cultural periodicals via a new dLOC project, the Caribbean Newspaper Digital Library.  Several scholars have compiled summaries and links for a few of the nearly 150 titles already available online at:

dLOC will provide open access to regional newspaper digitization projects including literary journals, traditional newspapers, government gazettes, and other works in newsprint.  This initiative builds upon dLOC’s work in the Caribbean and the University of Florida’s historical Caribbean newspaper preservation program.

If you have any questions or suggestions for new titles, please contact the project coordinator at

DIGITAL LIBRARY OF THE CARIBBEAN (DLOC) is a cooperative digital library for resources from and about the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean. dLOC provides access to digitized versions of Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials currently held in archives, libraries, and private collections. For more information go to

Influential Political and Cultural Periodicals Now Online


Kyk-Over-Al – Georgetown, Guyana
Issues online range from 1948-1998
Named after the colonial Dutch Fort in Guyana, Kyk-Over-Al was established by the British Guiana Writers Association in 1945 and published under the editorship of A.J. Seymour until 1961. Publishing poetry, fiction, book reviews, and essays on current political and cultural debates, the journal published Guyanese and other Caribbean authors, frequently featuring Martin Carter and Wilson Harris. Kyk-Over-Al was integral to the promotion of Guyanese literature and national consciousness during the development of nationalism in the Anglophone Caribbean and the West Indian Federation (1958-1962). The journal was linked by purpose and common contributors to the Barbadian literary magazine Bim and the Jamaican Focus. With them, it made invaluable contributions to the development Anglo-Caribbean literature. With issue 28 (December 1961), Kyk-over-Al stopped publication until 1984 when it was revived under the editorship of Ian McDonald and published ten issues, including two double issues culminating in June 2000 the double issue 49/50. For more information, see A.J. Seymour, “Literature in the Making—the Contribution of Kykoveral,” Kyk-over-Al (7:33/34 1986, pp. 3-8).
Summary contributed by Leah Rosenberg, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Florida

Jamaica Journal – Kingston, Jamaica
Issues online range from 1967-2008
The Jamaica Journal is the flagship publication of the Institute of Jamaica and the Caribbean’s leading cultural publication on Jamaica’s heritage.  Published in 1967, Jamaica Journal’s coverage of a wide range of topics including history, literature, science and the arts is an important source for Jamaican research.
Summary contributed by Clover Johnston Director, Development & Public Relations, Institute of Jamaica

Eme Eme – Santiago, Dominican Republic
Issues online range from 1972-1992
Eme Eme was published by Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra  today known as Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. Eme Eme was born with the aim of spreading the research conducted at the university. It was a bimonthly publication; its first issue was published in June-July 1972 and ceased publication in March 1992.
Summary contributed by Dulce María Núñez de Taveras, Director, Rafael
Herrera Cabral Library, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra

La Ronde and La Nouvelle Ronde – Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Issues online range from 1901-2 and 1926
Seven issues are available for La Ronde, a literary journal of young intellectuals who sought to revitalize the nation through spirited prose and humanism. Its authors, including Dantès Bellegarde, Fernand Hibbert, and Georges Sylvain, became known as the generation of the Ronde. Many of the authors wrote separate books that are also accessible in the Digital Library of the Caribbean general collection.

Like the Ronde, the Nouvelle Ronde brought together the ideas of a new generation of Haitian intellectuals. Some of its writers, including Philippe Thoby-Marcelin and Antonio Vieux, were critical of the earlier generation of the Ronde for embracing European culture and French humanism instead of Haiti’s African traditions. Others discussed governance, intellectualism, and feminism, among other topics.
Summary contributed by Adam Silvia, Ph.D. Student, Department of History, Florida International University


Abeng – Kingston, Jamaica
Issues online range from February – September 1969
The Abeng group was a political centre for the Black Power movement, socialists, the independent trade union movement, Rastafarians, supporters of the opposition People’s National Party and people disaffected with the two main political parties. Abeng became a focal point of critique and activism against the ruling Jamaica Labour Party and a harbinger of the radicalism in Jamaica in the 1970s. The Abeng newspaper’s Managing Editor was Robert Hill (UWI graduate student) and other editors included George Beckford (UWI lecturer), Rupert Lewis (UWI graduate student) and Trevor Munroe (Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University).
Summary contributed by Dr. Rupert Lewis, Professor of Political Thought in the Department of Government, Associate Director of the Centre for Caribbean Thought and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of the West Indies, Jamaica

Aruba Esso News –Lago-Colony, Aruba
Issues online range from 1943-1985
The Aruba Esso News is a well-known newspaper in Aruba in the last century, especially to the LAGO community, where it was published by the Lago Oil and Transport Company.  It contains news articles or other announcements and pictures of Aruba over the period from 1943 to 1985. About 837 issues can be consulted online.
Summary contributed by Des Croes, Head of the Arubiana Department, National Library of Aruba Continue reading

Booker T Washington: Lifting the Veil of Ignorance?

A new profile has been added to the Black Atlantic Resource which explores the life, philosophy and contributions of Booker T. Washington in the United States.

Labelled by some as a submissive ‘Uncle Tom’ character in the story of the post-emancipation era, it’s time to readdress the role of Booker T Washington. A former-slave who worked his way up to become the most influential African-American of his generation, Washington had clear ideas as to the best ways for other black Americans to improve their own lives and, on a larger scale, improve the African-American experience as a whole. He was a successful teacher, author, political figure and orator.

Washington’s strategy was accomodationist. Promoting self-help and manual skills as oppose to liberal arts he believed that, after slavery, black Americans would be able to contribute and be accepted more easily and significantly in the wider national community through this approach. He argued that it helped African-Americans immediately and did not threaten the white community so garnered a significant degree of support among both groups, stating “A race, like an individual, lifts itself up by lifting others up.”

Due to Washington’s massive impact and influence sculptor Charles Keck created a piece for the Tuskgee Institute in 1922. It is called Lifting the Veil of Ignorance (click here for an image). Washington is depicted lifting a veil from a slave. This represents his goal of bringing African-Americans a better life through a better education. The slave crouches on a plow and anvil, which symbolises the Washington and Tuskegee’s focus on agriculture and industry.

However many came to disagree with this focus. Was Washington lifting the veil of ignorance or keeping it in place? In his novel Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison described his response to this debate: “I am standing puzzled, unable to decide whether the veil is really being lifted, or lowered more firmly in place; whether I am witnessing a revelation or a more efficient blinding.”

Considering how the black minority in the United States should deal with oppression after slavery formed one of the most significant debates in African American history. W.E.B Du Bois believed Washington’s strategy was flawed. He proposed that blacks should constantly challenge their position in society and that the ‘talented tenth’ would demonstrate their potential. Marcus Garvey agreed that African Americans should embrace self-help and improve their economic base through manual work; however he worked towards total separation of the races.

This division of strategies and philosophies between three leading African-American figures of the early twentieth century divided not only the energies of the wider African-American population in the United States but also became a major obstacle for collective progress. How far should this effect our views on Washington and his contribution?

Click here to read more about Washington and continue the debate by commenting below.