Reflections of African American Women Writers
Shaping Memories offers short essays by notable black women writers on pivotal moments that strongly influenced their careers. With contributions from such figures as novelist Paule Marshall, folklorist Daryl Cumber Dance, poets Mari Evans and Camille Dungy, essayist Ethel Morgan Smith, and scholar Maryemma Graham, the anthology provides a thorough overview of the formal concerns and thematic issues facing contemporary black women writers.
Editor Joanne Veal Gabbin offers an introduction that places these writers in the context of American literature in general and African American literature in particular. Each essay includes a head note summarizing the writer’s career and aesthetic development. In their pieces these women negotiate educational institutions and societal restrictions and find their voices despite racism, sexism, and religious chauvinism. They offer strong testimony to the power of words to heal, transform, and renew.
You can read reviews and buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Shaping-Memories-Reflections-African-American/dp/1604732741
Real-Life Stories About the Men We Used to Love
Mr. Wrong is the tug behind your navel, the guy who lights you up like a Roman candle, the danger you can’t resist. And just about every woman, at some point in her life, has encountered one–or many.
Women everywhere will see themselves in these witty, wise, and entertaining personal essays by some of the literary world’s most accomplished and bestselling authors, including Jane Smiley, Audrey Niffennegger, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Ntozake Shange, Roxana Robinson, Marge Piercy, and Ann Hood. Readers will delight in the array of Mr. Wrongs encountered in these pages–from harmless and charming to revolting and offensive–and ultimately relish the notion that even if we succumb to the temptation of an utterly reckless romance, we can emerge with our hearts intact.
You can read reviews or buy it here:
Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces
Growing Up Girl is an eclectic collection of poems, essays, and short stories that document the transition from girl to woman, as told by the girls and women who know the journey best. Whether she’s coming undone or coming out, the writing is authentic and passionate.
400 Years of African American Folklore: An Anthology
A magnificent celebration of — and an essential introduction to — African American life and culture. Folklore displays the heart and soul of a people. African American folklore not only hands down traditions and wisdom through the generations but also tells the history of a people banned from writing and reading during slavery. In this anthology, Daryl Cumber Dance collects a wealth of tales that have survived and been adapted over the years, many featuring characters from African culture. She leaves no genre of folklore out, including everything from proverbs and recipes to folk songs and rumor.
You can read reviews and buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/From-My-People-Anthology-Paperback/dp/0393324974
Daryl Cumber Dance has collected the often hard-hitting, sometimes risqué, always dramatic humor that arises from the depth of black women’s souls and the breadth of their lives. The eloquent wit and laughter of African American women are presented here in all their written and spoken manifestations: autobiographies, novels, essays, poems, speeches, comic routines, proverbial sayings, cartoons, mimeographed sheets, and folk tales. The chapters proceed thematically, covering the church, love, civil rights, motherly advice, and much more.
You can read reviews and buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Honey-Hush-Anthology-African-American/dp/0393318184/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398539322&sr=8-1&keywords=Honey%2C+Hush!
Nikki Giovanni created this book by asking her friends–people like Gloria Naylor, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Maxine Hong Kingston–for their stories and recollections of their grandmothers, then asked a group of writers in their nineties for their thoughts. Grand Mothers celebrates those special women in every culture who preserve heritage and prepare the future.
Are you curious? Here is the link to a reading example of Reflections of the Other: Being Black in Germany
Before I arrived in Tübingen I knew what my teaching schedule would be. I had proposed to the Council on International Exchange Commission to research the political momentum of Afro Germans. The only Afro German I met was Tina Bach, a student in one of my classes, who was the only person I saw, who looked anything like me. Berlin or Cologne would have been better venues to work on such a project. I kept good records about my experience, and trusted the writer in me to know that I would have something to write about after my years’ experience.
In the meantime I wanted to write. Writing is different when you’re away, and I couldn’t have been more away. Since Germany was in the middle of Europe, I was free to travel and see the new world I had been awarded. And Tübingen is about 30 minutes from Stuttgart, which is considered a gateway to the world by many Germans.
My host professor had telephoned me early one Friday morning, six months before I was to arrive. It was 8:00 a.m. for me and 2:00 p.m. for him. “Hallo, this is Bernd Engler, the person you’ll be working with in Germany.”
“Oh. Good morning.” Hoping I didn’t sound as sleepy as I was.
“Did I wake you?”
“No. Not at all. You see, I live alone and you’re the first person I’ve spoken to. That’s why I sound sleepy.”
He laughed. At least he had a sense of humor. All I’d been told was that Germans were orderly and arrogant. Although my old boyfriend, Helmut had been orderly, but he wasn’t at home in Germany, instead he had been in the States trying to fit into American culture.
“I am calling to introduce myself and say welcome. I also wanted to see what your needs are with regard to housing.”
“I am looking forward to being there. Thank you.” He didn’t sound German. His accent was only slight, more international. What did Germans sound like? Helmut hadn’t sounded German either, unless we got into a fight.
“After this call, we can then communicate via email.”
“That would be fine.”
“Your needs,” he said.
“I need a bathtub.”
“Sure, but that’s a main need.”
“What about a kitchen?”
“I figured there would be a kitchen.”
He laughed again. Did I have a better sense of humor than I thought? I didn’t think asking for a bathtub was such a big deal, at least not laughable.
“In Reflections of the Other: Being Black in Germany, Ethel Morgan Smith shares the phenomenon of her experience as the Other, an African American woman living and teaching in Germany as a Fulbright scholar at Universität Tübingen during the 1997-1998 fellowship year. A journey that begins with Smith’s presumption that, in Germany, she can “experience (her)self without the limitations of race” is marked with signposts where “racism kept finding (her).” Her story is filled with the tensions and thrills of learning to deal with old issues in new ways, and new opportunities with age-old wisdom.” Sharon D. Johnson, PhD
The whole review is here:
Sharon D. Johnson, PhD, is a widely published journalist, screenwriter, and member of the Writers Guild of America, west, Inc. She has lectured nationally on film, television, and African American literature and culture through the lens of depth psychology, particularly Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. She has also appeared on numerous news and information programs on ABC, KCET, KCAL, and NPR, to name a few, discussing diversity issues. Dr. Johnson lives in Los Angeles, California.
This Book Will Be Available The First Of May On Amazon.
This book is an account of my everyday life as an expatriate in German culture while I interacted with scholars, diplomats, students, friends, and lovers. Although the work reflects my personal experience, it is designed and rooted in my knowledge and experience of African American literature, culture, and history. ( read more on https://usa.johntext.de/r/ )
The following work is ready for publication:
The House of Flowers (novel) has been a finalist for both the William Faulkner & William Wisdom Creative Writing Contest, and the James Jones Creative Writing Contest. Three chapters from the novel have already been published.
“Ms. Smith uncovers a part of the past long hidden (the story of the African American community that has been part of the College, yet separate from it—since the founding of the College) and shows us how we understand the past is deeply affected by the search itself.“
Determined to give voice to the African American community that served as the silent workforce for Hollins College, Ethel Morgan Smith succeeded in finding individuals to step forward and tell their stories. From Whence Cometh My Help examines the dynamics of an institution built on the foundations of slavery and so steeped in tradition that it managed to perpetuate servitude for generations. Interviewing senior community members, Smith gives recognition to the invisible population that provided and continues to provide the labor support for Hollins College for more than 150 years.
Although African American students have been admitted to the college for roughly thirty years, to date only one person from the Hollins Community has graduated from the college. The book explores the subtle and complex relationship between the affluent white world of Hollins College and the proud African American community that has served it since its inception. Interweaving personal observations, historical documents, and poetry throughout a revealing oral history, Smith shares her fascinating discoveries and challenges in telling a story silenced for so long.
This book is an account of my everyday life as an expatriate in German culture while I interacted with scholars, diplomats, students, friends, and lovers. Although the work reflects my personal experience, it is designed and rooted in my knowledge and experience of African American literature, culture, and history. But the question was what was I, a Black American woman doing in one of the most racist countries in the world? Or I had been told. After all, Germany is not known as a place that has called out to Africans Americans like France (Paris), but I felt seduced by the fact that I could experience myself without the limitations of race-or so I thought. I am not sure that it is possible to not be whom one has always been. By involving the reader in my day-to-day life, this book will draw a personal portrait of a Black American woman in a country that professes not to be racist, even though racism kept finding me. Like all Americans, especially African Americans, we are defined by our history. In Germany I was offered an opportunity to experience racial malaise that was different, but no less insoluble, than racial conflict in my own country. But as a privileged guest I felt protected. Reflections will be of interest to Germans and non-Germans who may be concerned with German culture from a unique perspective. This work serves as a relevant contribution to the efforts of those who seek to promote healing, not in Germany or America, but in the human heart. Reflections of the Other bears witness to my journey from an encounter with neo-Nazi skinheads to a love story in a village of lilacs.