Each season EH spotlights people, organizations and issues related to art, music, empowerment and our youth. Be sure to check out our Spring 2011 spotlights in March.
Here are January's Spotlights:
Canvas & Pen: Winter Spotlight:
Jessie Redmon Fauset's "There is Confusion"
Jessie Redmon Fauset was born in 1882 in Fredericksville, New Jersey into an affluent family. Her father, Redmon Fauset, was a minister whose family hailed from Philadelphia. Her mother, Anna, died when Jessie Fauset was a child. Fauset attended Cornell University from which she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1905. She began her professional life as a teacher, taking a teaching post in French and Latin in Washington DC in 1906. In 1919 she received a Master's degree in French from the University of Pennsylvania and honed her skills at the Sorbonne before coming to New York City.
Between 1919 and 1926, at the height of that explosion of creative activity centered in New York which was known as the Harlem Renaissance, Jessie Fauset was the literary editor of the NAACP's publication The Crisis, under the direction of W.E.B. DuBois. In addition to writing regular articles for the magazine, Fauset was responsible for fostering such notable literary greats as Langston Hughes and Jean Toomer. In the early 1920s, she also edited The Brownies Book, an NAACP publication geared toward African American children. Upon leaving her post at The Crisis, Fauset returned to teaching and taught French in the New York City schools for much of the rest of her life.
Jessie Fauset wrote all four of her novels in the remarkably prolific years between 1924 and 1931. All of these works explore race through characters and situations in which the division between black and white seems to blur. Jessie Fauset has often been criticized for portraying her almost exclusively upper-middle class characters as exemplars of "what the race is capable of doing" (Christian 41). Her detractors argue that her emphasis on blacks of so-called "genteel" culture as standard-bearers for the race silences the lives and contributions of others who are not so economically advantaged. Others assert that a close examination of the novels themselves reveals "a thematic and ironic complexity, a stylistic subtlety that few critics have seen" (McDowell x), which makes her seeming adherence to bourgeois "conventions seem less the badge of a hidebound traditionalist with prudish mid-Victorian sensibilities, and more that of a burgeoning progressive."
Melody & Drama: For Colored Girls
EH Pick for Favorite 2010 Drama: For Colored Girls
Check out our post: http://experiencinghistory.blogspot.com/2010/11/and-this-is-for-colored-girls.html
"to honor the African Americans who overcame injustice and inequality to achieve financial independence and the security of self empowerment."
President Barack Obama
The following statement was published by the ASALH regarding the 2010 theme for Black History Month:
The need for economic development has been a central element of black life. After centuries of unrequited toil as slaves, African Americans gained their freedom and found themselves in the struggle to make a living. The chains were gone, but racism was everywhere. Black codes often prevented blacks from owning land in towns and cities, and in the countryside they were often denied the opportunity to purchase land. Organized labor shut their doors to their brethren, and even the white philanthropist who funded black schools denied them employment opportunities once educated. In the South, whites sought to insure that blacks would only be sharecroppers and day labors, and in the North whites sought to keep them as unskilled labor.
Pushing against the odds, African Americans became landowners, skilled workers, small businessmen and women, professionals, and ministers. In the Jim Crow economy, they started insurance companies, vocational schools, teachers colleges, cosmetic firms, banks, newspapers, and hospitals. To fight exclusion from the economy, they started their own unions and professional associations. In an age in which individuals proved unable to counter industrialization alone, they preached racial or collective uplift rather than individual self-reliance. The late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed an unprecedented degree of racial solidarity and organization.
In 1910, a group of dedicated reformers, black and white, gathered to create an organization to address the needs of African Americans as they migrated to the cities of the United States. The organization that they created a century ago became what we all know as the National Urban League. For a century, they have struggled to open the doors of opportunity for successive generations, engaging the challenges of each age. ASALH celebrates the centennial of the National Urban League by exploring racial uplift and black economic development in the twentieth century.
Read more about the National Urban Leage here: http://www.nul.org/
Legacy Winter Spotlight- National Legacy Visionary Project
The National Visionary Leadership Project (NVLP)
The National Visionary Leadership Project is doing a wonderful work as it aims to empower future leaders by gathering the wisdom of elder generations and passing it on to the next generation. The project was co-founded in 2001 by Camille O. Cosby, Ed.D and Renee Poussaint. What makes this project a most valuable contribution to our legacy is the fact that hands on learning opportunities are provided as students are equippred and trained on how to conduct interviews of community leaders themselves.