". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Langston Hughes 1902 - 1962-- Today's Google Doodle

It's Langston Hughes's 113th birthday.

Langston Hughes was the first African American writer I "met" so to speak, back in maybe, what was it? the 6th grade? In those days students were divided into primary, middle and junior high. In my tiny community we were all in the same building, though the three divisions each had their individual classroom. Somehow an anthology of American writing landed in my classroom's little library -- a small closet of shelves -- that included Langston Hughes.  The name alone -- Langston -- kept me mesmerized, and set me into "making up." The bits from his poems that were included also mesmerized me, so unlike rural North Dakota syntax and landscape.

I have read a great deal more of Hughes since then, and seen his landscapes, and even met people who knew him, some themselves and others through their parents.

"Bound No'th Blues" (1927)

Goin’ down the road, Lawd,
Goin’ down the road.
Down the road, Lawd,
Way,way down the road.
Got to find somebody
To help me carry this load.

Road’s in front o’ me,
Nothin’ to do but walk.
Road’s in front of me,
Walk…an’ walk…an’ walk.
I’d like to meet a good friend
To come along an’ talk.

Hates to be lonely,
Lawd, I hates to be sad.
Says I hates to be lonely,
Hates to be lonely an’ sad,
But ever friend you finds seems
Like they try to do you bad.

Road, road, road, O!
Road, road…road…road, road!
Road, road, road, O!
On the no’thern road.
These Mississippi towns ain’t
Fit fer a hoppin’ toad.

Earlier today, the New Jersey jazz station, which has become my favorite radio station, at least from around here, played some recordings.

It's a nice doodle.

Yah.  We're in February now.  February is Black History Month.

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