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Black History Month 2023: Spotlight
Mama Fannie: Growing up the Daughter of Civil Rights Icon Fannie Lou Hamer
Written in accompaniment with La Von Stennis-Williams, Jacqueline Hamer (RIP, March 2023) has gifted her readers a biography of her mom that details how Fannie Lou Hamer resisted white supremacy while working alongside organizations like SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She details her mother’s efforts in cooperative farming that resulted in the creation of Freedom Farm Cooperative on 640 acres in the Mississippi Delta. Aware of the need for global resistance, Fannie Lou traveled to Guinea in West Africa in 1964. Always an example of moving forward when others built walls to hold her back, Fannie Lou Hamer was unable to have children and then adopted four girls as a result. The writer, Jacqueline, is one of those daughters.
See our other Black History Month selections:
Year’s End 2022: Book Spotlight
The New Age of Empire by Kehinde Andrews
Kehinde Andrews demonstrates how the racist foundation of the Western Enlightenment allowed philosophers and theorists to proclaim all men were created equal while simultaneously enslaving and committing genocide on non-White peoples. Perfected during the Enlightenment, racialized capitalism remains the basis of current neocolonialism in which the industrialized nations maneuver the expropriation of African resources to fuel the green economy. Andrews argues that the benefactors of imperialism are not its antagonists. It will take the African Diaspora in unity with Africa to end racialized oppression.
Kehinde Andrews is a British academic, professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University, and the first Black Studies professor in the UK. He is the founder of the Harambee Organization for Black Unity. He holds a PhD in sociology and cultural studies from the University of Birmingham.
Decolonization and Afro-Feminism by Sylvia Tamale
In Decolonization and Afro-Feminism, Sylvia Tamale examines the legacies of colonialism, imperialism, and patriarchy on the “post-colonial” African continent. Advocating for the African philosophy of Ubuntu, Tamale analyzes the topics of decolonization, feminism, gender/sexuality, legal pluralism, the African academy, and Pan-Africanism.
Sylvia Tamale is a Ugandan human rights activist, feminist, and academic. She was the first female dean in the law faculty of Makere University, Uganda. She completed her studies in Uganda (LLB, Makere University) and the U.S. (LLM, Harvard Law and PhD, University of Minnesota).
Discourse on Colonialism by Aime Cesaire
Discourse on Colonialism contains Aimé Césaire’s 1950 essay by the same title. Césaire dissects colonialism and lays bare the exploitation unleased by European powers who wrapped their violent conquests in the benevolence of Christianity, civilization, and democratization. The goal of the European powers to civilize the so-called savages ended in their proving themselves to be savages. Césaire delineates how the colonial relationship is based on race and warns that capitalism leads to fascism. The book also contains an introduction by Robin D.G. Kelley and an interview with Césaire conducted by René Depestre.
Martinican/French poet, author, and politician, Aimé Césaire (1913-2008) was a co-founder of the Négritude political and cultural movement along with Léopold Sédar Senghor and Léon Damas. Influenced by André Breton and the Surrealist Movement, he advocated for decolonization. He was a member of the French Communist Party before founding the Progressive Martinican Party.
The Great Camouflage by Suzanne Cesaire
In fewer than 70 pages, the essays in The Great Camouflage express Suzanne Césaire’s reflections on Western Civilization, the conquest of the Americas, the Black slave trade, colonialism, surrealism, poetry, and feminism. She analyzes how three centuries of colonial adventurism caused Black people in the Americas to suffer humiliation, degradation, and injustice.
Martinican/French writer, Suzanne Césaire (1915-1966), was an anti-colonial feminist activist. A member of influential literary and political circles, she was introduced to the man who would become her husband, politician and writer Aimé Césaire, by politician and writer, Léopold Sédar Senghor. She was co-founder and editor of the literary journal Tropiques and was tasked with publishing it during the politically difficult years when the fascist Vichy government of mainland France controlled Martinique. A mother to six children, she stopped writing in 1945.