5 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2018
    1. if something an African American wrote in the mid-19th century didn’t get published at the time, it had much less chance of being preserved

      Interesting to think about how digital platforms are changing the preservation of work that is not published through traditional means. New platforms and means of inscription mean new reservoirs of history.

    2. The substitution of “told” for “took” is less intuitive than “buy” for “by,” and therefore harder to explain but also more intriguing. She used “told” correctly just a few words earlier and, starting to write “t-o” again, perhaps half-consciously repeated the motions she had just made. It makes me think that she is straining a bit at this point in the letter, or is feeling more deeply her fear and anxiety and becoming a little less focused on an act of writing that must have been challenging and affecting.One whip-smart colleague who read a draft of that chapter looked at that line and said, Maybe she really did mean told — but was trying to write tolled, the past tense of a now-archaic verb meaning to lure or trick into going someplace. It was entirely plausible that Perkins’s owner might have taken her to a slave auction on false pretenses.

      Interesting example of the faults and ambiguity linked tot the physical act of inscription

    3. that’s not literature

      To say this would be to uphold the elitist literary tradition that continues to delegitimize marginalized voices

    4. fairly widespread awareness among black southerners that you could make ink out of walnut bark — which in turn tells me black southerners were talking to each other about how to make ink.

      When writing is contraband, there cannot be plethora of physical, written records. This communal knowledge of how one makes ink is able to fill in the gaps by indicating an underground inscriptive tradition, and thus represent a history that had no means of being permanently recorded. It disrupts the Hegel-ian principle that without writing there is no history.

    5. When I was a sophomoric graduate student, I made a decision not to focus on African American literature, even though I wanted to, because there was (and is) a dearth of scholars of color in the academy. As I matured somewhat, I realized this was flawed thinking: my not writing about African American subjects wasn’t going to increase the number of black PhDs.

      This is an interesting perspective that is articulated often and brings to mind other white academics who have concentrated their work on race—Jane Elliot, TIm Wise, and others. It presents an interesting ethical question of who has the power to discuss blackness. Can educated, well meaning white people organically be part of the conversation without infringing, or diminishing the agency of the Black people who experience it first hand? Is there a line to tread between taking up others' space while trying to positively contribute to their battle/be an ally? I think in this moment especially it's a crucial discussion.