Our African American Literary Studies unit -- Tisha Brooks, Elizabeth Cali, Donavan Ramon, Cindy Reed, and I -- decided to welcome our new chancellor James T. Minor with a few books. He officially begins his first day on the job this week.
Our group spent more time than we expected discussing what books we would purchase for him. We've decided to begin a series, so these four books are Part 1:
• Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic (2015) – This book includes paintings from Wiley’s works. A couple of us cover Wiley’s works in our classes, and we thought that you might enjoy his powerful visual remixes of the Old Masters. --Rambsy
• Picturing Frederick Douglass (2015) – This book includes four of Douglass’s key speeches on photography and many of his more than 150 commissioned self portraits. Douglass’s visions of and engagement with the power of photography as part of imagining a free self features prominently in several of our classes and in the recent National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institutes on teaching Douglass that we hosted. --Cali
• The Black Book (1974) – This book reflects two central features of African American literary Studies at SIUE: our Morrison seminar which centers entirely on the varied contributions of Toni Morrison as editor, author, and public intellectual, as well as the interdisciplinary nature of our teaching and scholarship, which engages with historical and visual archives to enhance academic and public understandings of African American literature and culture. --Brooks
• Black: A Celebration of Culture (2020)— Deborah Willis recovers and curates over 500 stunning images from the Smithsonian archives, making black people in America and beyond her focal points. She does with images what our team seeks to do with literature—interprets and narrates the highs and lows of black life and celebrates the beautiful struggle in-between. --ReedRelated: