Prize-winning novelist and native Virgin Islander Tiphanie Yanique skewered the Trump Administration for turning its back on the US Virgin Islands in their time of need in a New York Times op-ed this week. The Islands-St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix-are grappling with extensive damage created by Hurricane Irma. “Today Virgin Islanders are led by a president who makes clear delineations between ‘real’ Americans and all the rest,” writes Yanique.
Yanique’s forthcoming television series, Fortune Bay, reflects on how the people of Virgin Islands and other Americans who are deemed less “real” struggle to achieve their aspirations and overcome obstacles. The show is based on Yanique’s prize-winning novel, Land of Love and Drowning. It is featured as part of the Independent Film Project’s 2017 No Borders Production Marketplace.
Today, the New York Times reported in an astonishing video on racist, islamophobic, homophobic and misogynist statements emboldened by the Orange one at his campaign rallies. One attendee remarks, “this is the last chance…to preserve the culture I grew up in.” Please share with a friend who is considering not voting this election year.
Haitian American musician Wyclef Jean with Haiti’s flag
During the Caribbean Studies Association 2016 conference I met a number of brilliant young Haitian-Americans, including a 20-something Cornell PhD candidate whose project focuses on Black feminist political theory in contemporary novels by Caribbean authors. Her mother emigrated from Haiti before she was born and left the country permanently in the early aughts. I had to admit to her my ignorance of the precise details of Haitian history that motivated her mom to leave Haiti.
Clockwise from left: author Zora Neale Hurston, Hurston and her partner Percival Punter, and Haitian “zombie” photographed by Hurston during her fieldwork 1936-1937.
On the tap-tap (Port-au-Prince take on the dollar cab/combi/collectivo) from Touissaint Louverture airport yesterday, I had the good fortune of running into Prof. Daphne LaMothe of Smith College. An expert in African American literature, Prof. LaMothe shared with me that Zora Neale Hurston wrote the essential novel Their Eyes Were Watching God here in Haiti in just seven weeks.
In this episode of “Breaking Down Racism,” blogger and author GaBrilla Ballard opens up about how the challenges of discussing race with children and pushing aside stereotypical assumptions of what it means to be a Black Mom.
Produced by Azra Samiee
Directed by Chris Stafford
Written by Caroline Batzdorf
Host/Executive Producer Robin J. Hayes, PhD
Recorded at The New School in New York City.
Pictured Chicago mother and child. 1973. photographed by John H. White for the Environmental Protection Agency.
January 1, 1804 the Haitian revolution succeeds. To learn more about Haitian history, Progressive Pupil suggests The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James and The Uses of Haiti by Paul Farmer. What are some of the biggest misconceptions we have about Haiti today?
On January 1, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation making slavery illegal in the US. Soon afterwards, newspapers such as the Southwestern Christian Advocate in New Orleans were flooded with letters and advertisements by freedmen searching for their mothers, children, and spouses who had been sold or disappeared, or who had fled the brutality of plantation owners. These letters reveal no one ever adjusted to slavery. And the trauma the experience caused endured long after Lincoln’s decree. How does slavery continue to impact African American families today?