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Celebrating Culture, Revisiting Classics

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Celebrating Culture, Revisiting ClassicsAfricana Woman: Her Story Through Time
By Dr. Cynthia Jacobs Carter
Introduction by Dr. Dorothy Height
National Geographic Books, November 2003, 255 pp., $40.00 cloth,
ISBN 0-7922-6165-8
This lavishly illustrated volume traces the voices of women of African descent around the world, from ancient times to the present. Readers meet powerful ancient monarchs such as Queen Hatshepsut, ruler of Egypt 3,500 years ago, and Makeda, Queen of Sheba; strong slave women and spiritual leaders like Anastacia, worshipped as a saint in Bahia, Brazil, and Nanny, Queen of the Maroons, who led rebellions against slavery in Jamaica. There are nursing and education pioneers, such as Mary Seacole and Charlotte Forten Grimké; abolitionists such as Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman; and successful businesswomen, such as Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, dressmaker to Mary Todd Lincoln, and Madam C.J. Walker, the first Black woman millionaire in America. Contemporary women are also celebrated, including civil rights legends Rosa Parks and Fanny Lou Hamer and modern icons such as Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey and Condoleezza Rice.
Dr. Cynthia Jacobs Carter is director of development for Howard University and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment
of African American Culture
By Dr. Thomas F. DeFrantz
Oxford University Press, January 2004, 288 pp., $35.00 hardback, ISBN 0-19-515419-3
Drawing on video recordings, interviews and oral histories, Dr. Thomas DeFrantz chronicles the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s journey from a small modern dance company to one of the premier institutions of African American culture. In the early 1960s, the troupe was a small, multiracial company of dancers that performed the avant-garde works of its founding choreographer. By the late 1960s, the company had become a well-known African American artistic group closely tied to the civil rights struggle and the Black Arts movement. DeFrantz charts the Ailey Theater’s rise to national and international renown and contextualizes its progress within the civil rights, women’s rights and gay rights struggles of the late 20th century. In addition, DeFrantz analyzes all the major dances in the Ailey repertoire, examining the relationship between those works and African American culture as a whole.
Dr. Thomas DeFrantz is an associate professor of theater arts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.African Americans in Cinema: The First Half Century
Project Director: Dr. Phyllis R. Klotman
University of Illinois Press, November 2003, CD-ROM Plus Instructor’s Guide, $24.95, ISBN 0-252-02892-9
Containing a rich body of reference information, critical essays by prominent film scholars, biographies, film reviews and multimedia elements such as movie clips, this CD-ROM traces the history of Black filmmakers from 1894 to 1950. The CD-ROM is accompanied by a 32-page guide, which contains suggested classroom exercises as well as user instructions. Photographs, posters, production stills and film clips, as well as voiceover introductions help contextualize the first half-century of Black cinema. In addition, the CD-ROM features an interactive searchable database that contains more than 3,300 movies emphasizing the contributions of African Americans to cinema.
Dr. Phyllis R. Klotman is founder of the Indiana University Black Film Center/Archive and professor emerita of Afro-American Studies.Tally’s Corner: A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men
By Dr. Elliot Liebow
(New edition of the 1967 classic) With new introductions by Dr. William Julius Wilson and Dr. Charles Lemert; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, September 2003; 224 pp., $15.95 paper ISBN 0-7425-2896-0; $55.00 cloth ISBN 0-7425-2895-2
In this revised edition of Elliot Liebow’s classic 1967 text Tally’s Corner: A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men, leading sociological experts Dr. William Julius Wilson and Dr. Charles Lemert describe the debates since 1965, situating Liebow’s text in respect to current theories of urban poverty and race. They account for what Liebow might have seen had he studied the street corner today after welfare has been virtually ended and the drug economy has taken its toll. They also take stock of how the new global economy is a source of added strain on the urban poor.
Dr. Elliot Liebow (1925-1994) served as chief of the Center for the Study of Work and Mental Health of the National Institute of Mental Health. He wrote Tally’s Corner as his doctoral dissertation at the Catholic University of America.

 



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