AfriGeneas Writers Forum
Re: CFS: Authentic Blackness--Black Authenticity
In Response To: CFS: Authentic Blackness--Black Authenticity ()
What a provocative subject! I look forward to comments from Afrigeneas Writers who visit this forum.
The subject of Black Authenticity remains elusive because it always needs a qualifier.
The pages of Afrigeneas tell its readers that the black experience was/is so varied. Why else would it have forums that focus on African/Native Americans, Free People of Color, Afro-Caribbeans, Afro-Canadians, the World History of the African Diaspora, the Military Experience (including the international black military), African history and Slavery Research (which conforms to no one template). Just as compelling are the Forums centered on era of Reconstruction, the incredible African American pioneers of the Western Frontier and the focused States Research that chronicle the regional histories of black Americans.
The one thread that connects all of the above, is the real time or distant centuries link to Africa.
Polomar College’s Call for Papers asks and answers the question. There is no one definition of the "Authentically Black" experience.
Some of the authors that we’ve discussed in this forum penned a viewpoint shaped by their experience:
Senegal's Leopold Sédar Senghor poet, a member of the Académie Française
Martinique's Aimé Césaire, poet and playwright
Russia's Aleksandr Pushkin, "Father of Russian Poetry"
Harlem’s James Baldwin, author, expatriate "Go Tell it on the "Mountain"
Missouri/Kansas’ Langston Hughes, author, poet, playwright "The Big Sea"
France's Sidonie Gabrielle Colette, author of "Cherie" and awarded "Légion d'Honneur" 1953.
Germany's Hans Massaquoi, "Destined to Witness", former managing editor of Ebony magazine.
France's Alexandre Dumas père, "The Count of Monte Cristo" "Three Musketeers"
Florida's Zora Neale Hurston "Their Eyes Were Watching God"
California's Afrigeneas' Poet Sojourner Kincaid-Rolle, "A Space Where A Poem Ought Be"
Writers, commentators, community leaders who use the yardstick of victimization, or inheritors of a single and one dimensional legacy…the slave experience (always American and always toiling in the cotton fields), as an absolute measure of authentic blackness are suspect. I understand. After all, it’s hard to sell a story if its focus strays to triumph and “getting over.” After all it’s difficult to lead if the community base contains a strong tradition of self-empowerment. Any experience that contradicts this confining label of “authentic blackness” is also suspect and branded as Tomism. I don't understand.
Perhaps the Call for Papers should ask for essays celebrating cultural difference within international black viewpoint.
Thanks for your posting.
PS: Hold on to your seats. I've included two url's to the works of Norman Kelley. His viewpoint on black leadership, intellectuals is a fascinating read.
For more reading on the recent criticism of Bill Cosby, please click on the main url to read Norman Kelley's review of Michael Dyson's book, "Is Bill Cosby Right."
The url directly below is Norman Kelley's book, "The Head Negro in Charge Syndrome"