By Stephanie Shonekan, Art, Music, and Pop Culture Contributing Editor
I have just returned to the US from a week in Trinidad, my mother’s home country. While I enjoyed getting reacquainted with the place where I had spent the first few years of my life, I was happy to come home to the US. As my children and I got off the airplane in Houston, we walked behind a pair of Texan men, who had incidentally stayed in the same hotel as us in Trinidad. They were part of a large group of oil men who had come to do some work on the island. As we approached the customs hall, there were airport workers who were ushering us, US citizens, to the kiosks which would get us through much quicker than people who were not citizens.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNYljy2J7PU This documentary explores the history of residential segregation in Chicago and how it has shaped the city today. The racial segregation of the city has flown under the radar even when the racial distribution of the city has not changed much over the years. The discrimination and segregation of blacks in Chicago have been going on since the Jow Crow laws that were terrorizing the South. The migration of the blacks to Chicago forced them into a small section of the city, The Black Belt. There have been firebombing, racially constricted covenants, and city policies that have kept black people out of white neighborhoods. This pushed the black migrants into over-crowded and over-priced neighborhoods on the South Side. The race tensions led to the race riots in 1919. In 1948, the Supreme Court declared racial covenants unenforceable. Although, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) still wished for racial…
“A multidisciplinary investigation into the nature, motivations, consequences, and legal/public policy implications of racial/ethnic discrimination in housing and related markets (mortgage, insurance) in US metropolitan areas.” The course will explore the following questions regarding racial/ethnic discrimination in housing and related markets (“discrimination” hereafter): What constitutes illegal discrimination? How does one know when it is occurring? What motivates those who discriminate? How often does discrimination occur? What are the individual and societal consequences of discrimination? What are the strengths and weaknesses of various legal and public policy strategies for ending discrimination? Though discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity will be the primary focus of the course, other fair housing topics will be presented. Dr. George Galster View syllabus
By Christian Rozier
“Without an image of tomorrow, one is trapped by blind history, economics, and politics beyond our control…Only by having clear and vital images of the many alternatives, good and bad, of where one can go, will we have any control over the way we may actually get there in a reality tomorrow will bring all too quickly.”—Samuel R. Delany
Bubbling up from the primordial soup of the Mississippi Delta mud, warbling and otherworldly notes of transcendence emerged from the dusky throats of sharecroppers and the guitar strings of convicts to transport the spirits of their communities to some dimension of eternity in which they were momentarily and ecstatically free from the daily humiliations and hardships of daily life.Delta blues musicians including Geeshie Wiley and Charlie Patton used their haunting voices to construct rocket ships to a new promised land. Earlier, enslaved Africans in 18th century New Orleans gathered each Sunday in Congo Square and with drums, bells, and bodies, conjured chariots for their spirits to escape the temporal and touch the eternal plane. From Alice Coltrane to Octavia Butler, George Clinton to Janelle Monae, the Black Imagination is the principal scaffolding of liberation. As Clinton and Eddie Hazel remind us, first you gotta free your mind, and your ass will follow.
By Marquise Griffin
For the next three weeks, Praxis Center will publish three different takes on the highly anticipated film Black Panther. In a Good Morning America interview, Chadwick Boseman was asked what he hoped people would take away from the film. His response was both simple and profound: you’ll get from the film what you take into it. In other words, each person will have a perspective that is unique to their background and position. In this spirit, we will be sharing three different perspectives—from a comic book geek, a filmmaker geek, and a black identity geek. All three writers are black and have particular ways of viewing and thinking about this film. We will start with Marquise Griffin, a self-described “blerd” (black nerd) and former student of mine, who entered the film with great apprehension as an enthusiastic comic book geek. Next week we’ll share a review from Christian Rozier, a filmmaker and film studies professor. After that, I will wrap up this Black Panther mini-series with thoughts on what the film offers to us on the issue of Pan-African black identity. —Stephanie Shonekan, Contributing Editor, Music, Art and Pop Culture
This curriculum is designed for students who are seeing Black Panther, as a means to having them engage more critically and thoughtfully with the film. The curriculum assumes that students, like mine, have previous experience of studying the African continent, its diversity and colonialism. Tess Raser Grades: 5th-8th (works for high school too) View Syllabus
By Mary F. Corey
A Review of Chocolate Cities: the Black Map of American Life by Marcus A. Hunter & Zandria F. Robinson, University of California Press
Mathematically it all adds up
All people are equal, but equal to what?
Once you understand there’s a spiritual math
Add soul to the science and subtract the riff–raff
Knowledge ain’t enough, you need funke funke wisdom
—Kool Moe Dee, Funke Wisdom (1991)
Imagine a giant map of the United States with just two words inscribed across it: THE SOUTH. There are no blue states and no red states. Instead, sprinkled across its surface are many clusters of tiny lights marked by names of people, places and events that represent the Black map of America. How, you might ask, can we connect the dots between these points representing James Brown, Sickle Cell Anemia, Ida B. Wells, Mos Def, Zora Neale Hurston, Aretha Franklin, Katrina (the hurricane), Dionne Warwick, Yellow Fever, the Blues, and W.E.B. DuBois, among others?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDbBaeSf1s4 Author and activist Herb Boyd provides a history of African-Americans in Detroit; from the Great Migration to today. He’s joined in conversation by Rita Kiki Edozie, professor of international relations and African affairs at Michigan State University
By Lisa Brock, Academic Director, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership and Senior Editor, Praxis Center
On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass, the prolific abolitionist, delivered his now famous 2000-word speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” His purpose was to illustrate the illogicality of US patriotism—that the values of freedom, liberty and the rights of citizenship for some Americans occurred alongside, and in dialectical relation to the obscene system of enslavement, exploitation, and torture of others. When Colin Kaepernick sat on the bench during the national anthem during the football preseason in August 2016, then took a knee during the anthem a few weeks later to protest police violence, he was making the same point; that there is a speciousness to a song meant to uplift some while being sinisterly imbued with a currency of inequality and state violence against others.
By Stephanie Shonekan, Contributing Editor, Art, Music, and Pop Culture
This year’s Grammy Awards show was one of the best I have seen in the last few years. Almost every performance was spectacular–Bruno Mars as himself and then as Prince; Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, and their fiercely political statement; Adele and her beautifully vulnerable moment when she bravely revised her tribute to George Michael on live TV; Chance the Rapper and Kirk Franklin merging hip hop and gospel like never before; and then, of course, Beyoncé’s highly anticipated appearance satisfied our collective curiosity about her ability to perform while pregnant. She killed it.