Berry and Morgan: #Blacklivesmatter Till They Don’t: Slavery’s Lasting Legacy

“We live in a nation that has yet to grapple with the history of slavery and its afterlife.” – Daina Ramey Berry and Jennifer L. Morgan

In an essay for The American Prospect, slavery scholars Daina Ramey Berry and Jennifer L. Morgan place #blacklivesmatter protests around the world in context with “the historical value of black life and the casual killing of Eric Garner:”

“In less than a month, our nation will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. This should be a time of celebratory reflection, yet Wednesday night, after another grand jury failed to see the value of African-American life, protesters took to the streets chanting, “Black lives matter!…”

Continue reading “Berry and Morgan: #Blacklivesmatter Till They Don’t: Slavery’s Lasting Legacy”

TALK: The Race for Digitality | Roopika Risam

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At African Diaspora 2.0, Roopika Risam of #DHPoco: Postcolonial Digital Humanities discussed the tension between digital humanities and African diaspora studies.

An excerpt:

“…In the race for digitality, we find ourselves struggling to understand the relationship between our deep investments in discourses like intersectional feminism or critical race theory and digital humanities. The burden of representation falls on us. Our acts of representation should not be bids for power but for what [Barbara] Christian would call the need to become empowered – “seeing oneself as capable and having the right to determine one’s life” (61). At stake for us is not power in the putative hierarchies of digital humanities, rather the empowerment that our work on the African diaspora can effect.

To empower – ourselves, a new generation of scholars, diasporic subjects – we need to embrace multiplicity and the specificities of diaspora. We must answer Christian’s question, “For whom are we doing what we are doing?” (61) to make legible all our scholarship has to offer. This is, in part, a question of method – which tools do we use? We may recall Audre Lorde’s statement “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” which comes up often in critiques of digital humanities, but we must not mistake the master. It’s not digital humanities – it’s the effects of white supremacy on knowledge production. That’s where we are called to intervene. But how…”

Read the rest –  The Race for Digitality | Roopika Risam.

For more on African Diaspora 2.0 Symposium hosted by the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University, click here.

ESSAY: Salgado on Art in Schomburg’s Black Atlantic

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César A. Salgado | The Visual Arts in Arturo A. Schomburg’s Black Atlantic:

“…Although there is no date on the prospectus, Schomburg’s book project on Negro Painters was part of the third and last phase in his career as a Harlem/Brooklyn intellectual, antiquarian, and race leader. This phase begins in 1926, after he sells his legendary collection to the New York Public Library and uses the money to travel abroad on a two month “grand continental tour” in search of representations of and by Black subjects throughout the great art museums of Europe. Schomburg scheduled research and acquisition visits to archives, booksellers, and antiquarian shops throughout his trip, including consulting at Seville’s Archivo General the ecclesiastical records of the city’s Cofradía de Negritos and purchasing 185 bibliographical items that he later donated to the NYPL Schomburg collection. Still, we know from his letters and writings that Schomburg’s main concern in this voyage was the study of European studio painting by or about Afro-descendants dating from or inspired by High Renaissance academic techniques in portraiture and spatial perspective.

Schomburg’s fascination with the explosive artistic innovations and accomplishments of the Early and High Renaissance, particularly those of the escuela de Sevilla, date back to a 1916 piece he published in Crisis on the legend of Sebastian Gómez, el mulato de Murillo. Here Schomburg referred to Juan Ceán Bermúdez’s 1800 Diccionario Histórico de los mas illustres profesores de las Bellas Artes en España in order to present Gómez as a slave who won both his freedom and his admission into the Seville school because of the painting skills he learned surreptitiously, watching his master work while serving as a pigment crusher. Schomburg would later write a short biographical article about another famous Renaissance mulatto servant/painter, Juan de Pareja, who posed for one of his master Diego Velazquez’s most famous portraits. The participation of black slave artists in the school of Seville was the topic of Schomburg’s most important (and still unpublished) address to the American Negro Academy during his tenure as president—“Fragmentary Tribute to Spanish Negro Painters of the School of Seville,” given on December of 1923…”

Read the rest at 80grados.net (H/T The Public Archive)

Image Credit: “Arthur Schomburg, ca. 1896” / Arthur Alfonso Schomburg collection. / Personal photographs, 1870s-1980s / Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture / Photographs and Prints Division