Learning more about Black history is highly necessary to understanding who we are and where we are from.DNA testing for ancestry and ethnicity is increasingly popular and a number of companies offer a careful breakdown of our lineage. Black buyers especially should prepare themselves for the truths that lie within the DNA results. This means learning a bit about Black History: the brutal truths and treatment of slavery, including the separation of families and sexual assault at the hands of the white slaveowners. This also means learning about how populations moved from the South to the North, as Black families sought to escape Jim Crow and find work opportunities. So many of the anomalies that people are sure to find in their own DNA may not be so surprising after reading the books on this list. Prepare yourself for the truths that lie in your results by reading the following recommendations.
"The Book of Negroes"There were slaves in America during the Revolutionary War. Those slaves were offered a chance at land and freedom if they fought for the British. This book is based on a journal that cataloged the men who were deemed “loyalists” and sent to Nova Scotia to claim their land. Nothing prepared them for the harsh weather and the reality that going north didn’t mean escaping the brutalities of racism. Lawrence Hill’s novel explores this era through a female character who was brought to America as a child and lived as a slave until the war broke out. "The Book of Negroes" will give you a good look at the beginning of the slave chain, where the bodies were snatched and stowed on a boat bound for bondage.
"Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass"The famous speaker and abolitionist with the unmistakable coif was also the author of one the most famous slave narratives today. This book is one of three biographies that explore the life of the slave in the clear and honest voice of a survivor. Learn what it took for your ancestors to survive that life and preserve your family DNA. Douglass also details his escape and freedom in the tome, which is just as educational.
"Queen"Alex Haley’s follow up to "Roots" was "Queen", the tale of a girl born of the assault by the slaveowner. The novel was a fictionalized version of a true story. Just like the girl in the book, Haley’s grandmother was born in slavery and was the daughter of the master. She is thrown out into the world and must fend for herself. The book tackles subjects like “passing” and the conundrum the biracial people often found themselves in. Ostracized for being the master's kid by black people, but too tainted with black blood to be white. Haley didn’t live to finish the book, another writer did so. However, the insight this book brings will enlighten those who open a test to find the unexpected European ancestry.
"Kindred"Another look at the slave era in American history, Octavia Butler’s "Kindred" is actually a time travel story that starts in the 1970s and ends up in the 1800s. Dana is somehow connected with this white kid from back then. Her first trip back in time lasts a few minutes, allowing her time to rescue the boy from danger and return home. She figures out that the boy is her white ancestor and she must keep this often racist, a spoiled child living long enough to create her line—long enough to rape her black ancestor. This book pits a modern woman against the slave atmosphere to amplify the atrocities and injustice. "Kindred" is a fictional, but eye-opening look at a time that is most vital yet most mysterious to Black people today.
To compare the female experience of oppression to the black experience of oppression is to ignore that there is still a population of people who experience both simultaneously.By Maryline Dossou In 1972, John Lennon and Yoko Ono release a song titled, “Woman is the Nigger of the World.” The tune, Lennon unapologetically explained, was inspired by Irish revolutionary James Connelly’s statement that “the female worker is the slave of the slave.” It was also meant as an apology to women, acknowledging Lennon’s past as an abuser and perpetrator of female oppression. The song, although inciting its fair share of controversy, was defended by many then and even as recently as 2016, in an op-ed for the Huffington Post by MAD Magazine senior editor Joe Raiola. Even worse was that, despite Lennon’s insistence that it was inspired by the Irish struggles, it was hard to hide that it sounded strikingly familiar to a line in Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” in which Janie’s grandmother says, “De nigger woman is de mule uh de world.” But perhaps worst of all, is how positively white feminists worldwide have received the song, even now. In 1972, the National Organization for Women awarded Ono and Lennon with the “Positive Image of Women” award for what they described as a “strong pro-feminist statement.” In 2011, a woman at the NYC SlutWalk marched with a sign held up that quoted the song’s title. And in 2017, actress Rose McGowan, hot on the heels of being lauded a feminist hero for her outspokenness regarding sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood, fired off a since-deleted tweet in response to James Corden that echoed the painfully familiar message. “THIS IS RICH FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD WHITE MALE PRIVILEGE IN ACTION,” the post read. “REPLACE THE WORD ‘WOMEN’ w/ the ‘N’ word. How does it feel?” McGowan has been one of the most vocal about the abuse in Hollywood suffered by women, most notably at the hands of disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein. With the number of accusers against Weinstein totaling more than 40 and growing, the recent revelations have inspired the hashtag #metoo. The #metoo movement, in which women who have experienced sexual harassment and assault share their stories of harassment and abuse to illuminate the pervasiveness of the issue, was widely credited to actress Alyssa Milano, who signaled the call to women via Twitter this past Sunday. The only problem? It was uncovered soon thereafter by Ebony Magazine that the #metoo campaign was created a decade ago by African-American activist and sexual violence survivor Tarana Burke (Milano has also since acknowledged this).
It is Black History Month, and we're at the midpoint! If you haven't done anything yet to celebrate, allow me to invite you to do any or all of the following: 1. Support your local, non-gentrified, authentic Black-owned establishment. Don't just peruse,
The Tony Awards recognize excellence in live theater. If #OscarsSoWhite has been part of any of your conversations, this year's Tony Awards may interest you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOdWU-EnOEk "Hamilton" Sweeps Tony Awards This year, Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip-hop musical Hamilton won 11 of the 16 awards. Historically, the