The Hemp Breakers is an experimental volume composed twenty-two poems, six vignettes, a ballad, and a sermon. Divided into five sections - each connecting and tracing the blood memories of people of African descent from West Africa through Reconstruction - the book opens with an introduction to the central protagonist, Benjamin “Blue” Todd. A former Union soldier, Blue is imprisoned at the State Penitentiary in Frankfort, Kentucky because he refused to work on the farm of his former master. In the Frankfort prison, inmates work the surrounding fields cultivating hemp for making rope, twine, and bagging for cotton. Even in prison, Blue continues to resist being used as human chattel. As a result, he is beaten and placed in solitary confinement. In the darkness, Blue and the reader are transported to West Africa where the story of African Americans begins.
Porter, Steward, Citizen nods both directly and indirectly to the challenges that African Americans encountered in their efforts to serve the cause of freedom and democracy, even as they were denied access to those rights by Jim Crow laws at home. Christian's unique story vividly illustrates how the war helped African American men claim a sense of manhood tied to their military service, and their efforts to transform themselves and their families into full-fledged American citizens.
In The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy, author Pellom McDaniels III offers the first definitive biography of this celebrated athlete, whose life spanned the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the adoption of Jim Crow legislation. Despite the obstacles he faced, Murphy became an important figure―not just in sports, but in the social, political, and cultural consciousness of African Americans.
As artists, activists, and collectors, Camille Billops and James V. Hatch have been raising hell for more than 50 years—elevating public consciousness around “isms” that have shaped American culture, politics, and identities. Since 2002 the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library has been home to the comprehensive collection—playscripts, photographs, works of art, and more—of these two leading stewards of African American history.
The Bicentennial Series provided Benny Andrews a unique opportunity to examine America as he saw it. Through his art, Andrews was able to communicate and frame the contributions made by the Black church to ground black communities, the significance of black women to the communities they fostered and cared for, and the vulnerability of the oppressed in an ostensibly democratic system that had been founded in support of white supremacy.
"Like a Comet across the Heavens: Isaac Burns Murphy, Horseracing, and the Age of American Exceptionalism"
"A Matter of Relevance: History, Memory, and the Future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities"
"Negro Soldier: American Manhood Personified"
"An Accidental Historian in Antebellum America: Edward Troye, Thoroughbred Horses, and Representations of African American Manhood and Masculinity"
"The Strong Men Keep Comin' On: African American Sports Participation and the Discourse of Public Dissent"
"As American As...': Filling in the Gaps and Recovering the Narratives of America's Forgotten Heroes"
"Remembering the Bearcats: Black Baseball in France at the End of World War I"
"A Time Called Too Early: Black Baseball and the Pursuit of the American Dream"
"We're American Too: The Negro Leagues and the Philosophy of Resistance"