Excerpt: The Life of William Apess, Pequot, by Philip F. Gura

These accounts were prefatory to what in the Puritan era would have been termed the “application” of Apess’s texts, specifically, how they served as “looking-glasses” or mirrors for white people to see themselves as they were. Look at the “reservations” in the New England states, Apess commanded, home to “the most mean, abject, miserable race of beings in the world,” places of “prodigality and prostitution” where rum corroded the inhabitants’ moral fiber, and sexual exploitation often was the result. “Agents” or overseers appointed by the state offered no help and often participated in the Natives’ exploitation, neglecting to educate them as the law required and helping themselves to wood and other cash crops on tribal lands. And why? It was because of racial prejudice, whites’ unwillingness to acknowledge the simple humanity of the Indians. “I would ask,” Apess wrote, “if there cannot be as good feelings and principles under a red skin as there can be under a white” (155–56). Continue Reading Excerpt: The Life of William Apess, Pequot, by Philip F. Gura

To Forge a Better NAACP

What happened to the NAACP? It’s odd to think that the venerable and historic National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has been reduced to a talking point in the national media cycle this week. They received national attention in June when the Los Angeles chapter lodged a protest against a Hallmark card with… Continue Reading To Forge a Better NAACP

Lena Horne and the Irony of Cultural Politics

We welcome a guest post today from Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff, author of Black Culture and the New Deal: The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era. In her book, Sklaroff argues that New Deal cultural programs supporting notable black intellectuals, celebrities, and artists (including Lena Horne, Joe Louis, Duke Ellington, and Richard Wright) represent… Continue Reading Lena Horne and the Irony of Cultural Politics

Loving v. Virginia, then and now: race, sexuality, religion, & law

We welcome a guest post today from Fay Botham, author of the forthcoming book Almighty God Created the Races: Christianity, Interracial Marriage, and American Law. In her book, Botham demonstrates how Christianity was important to both racist and antiracist movements in the 19th and 20th centuries and how those movements influenced litigation over matters of… Continue Reading Loving v. Virginia, then and now: race, sexuality, religion, & law

BookTV airs “2008 Best of the Best from University Presses”

If you’re not on your way to the Lexington Barbecue Festival Saturday morning around 10 a.m., tune in to C-SPAN2 for BookTV’s presentation of the 2008 Best of the Best from University Presses. The program consists of a panel of 5 librarians discussing their favorite university press books of the year, one of which is… Continue Reading BookTV airs “2008 Best of the Best from University Presses”