February, 2013

The Color Black

Posted on February 1, 2013 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 2 Comments on The Color Black

Slavery – a black chapter in human history. Find out what it meant for those involved, even after its abolishment, from 10 gems of our catalog.

Clotel, the President’s Daughter, lived a quite comfortable life – until the death of her father. Still legally a slave, she and her mother and sister end up at a slave auction. What happened to the three of them is described in the novel by William Wells Brown – based on the life of the alleged children of Thomas Jefferson.

Joel Chandler Harris was an American folklorist who collected the stories of plantation slaves. The Tar Baby and Other Rhymes of Uncle Remus is a collection of 26 stories put in verse. It’s certainly not politically correct these days, but an important testimony of times that should not be forgotten.

Plenty of whites were not happy with the abolishment and tried their best to undermine it. Charles W. Chesnutt writes about the rise of the white supremacist movement – and how they tried to take political control over the town of Wellington – in his novel The Marrow of Tradition.

Not only in America, but also in the Caribbean, slaves demanded their freedom. Toussaint L’Ouverture was a main part of it: Born in slavery, he led the uprising and saw the foundation of the Independent State of Haiti. Eventually, he became govenor of the island, but was imprisoned by the French and died in France. Read his fascinating biography by John Relly Beard.

Henry Ossian Flipper was also a slave who rose to fame. Although not the only one, he was the first Colored Cadet at West Point who eventually graduated – as 2nd lieutenant in 1877. Read about his experiences at the most famous of all military schools in the US in his autobiography.

Another first – the first black woman political writer – was Maria W. Stewart. Her book Meditions from the Pen is a collection of various of her works. Part memoir, it also contains four of her speeches on women and slavery, as well as her meditations and prayers.

Two women are at the center of Nella Larsen’s novel. Though of mixed race, both are Passing as white, but their lives are as different as they can be: Irene marries a black man and Clare a white one. Their meeting years later leads to painful consequences.

Painful consequences is exactly what Iago has in mind when he seeks to destroy the loving marriage of Othello and Desdemona. An expert in sowing distrust – will he succeed in our production of Shakespeare’s drama?

A butler who is not trusted, has no place in a household. This is what Barry Hamilton has to find out after a large sum of money disappears. So, he takes his family to New York to find new employment. But things go from bad to worse in Paul Laurence Dunbar’s novel The Sport of the Gods.

New York is also the scene of our last book by Irvin S. Cobb. J. Poindexter, Colored, is the personal assistant of Judge Priest, who is currently on holidays abroad. So, Jefferson has time to roam the city – and has plenty of (humorous) adventures…

Enjoy – but don’t forget!


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