Black Academy Press, Inc

Publishers of the Black World

Writers of African Descent Speak: Black Creativity and the State

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Edited by Dr. Rose Ure Mezu Dr. Burney J. Hollis
“This passion for keeping the literary tradition of Morgan and other HBCUs alive was contagious, and it has been reflected over the years in the activities of the Middle Atlantic Writers Association (founded at Morgan in 1980), its annual conferences and its Review and in the founding and subsequent activities of the Zora Neale Hurston Society, its bi-annual conferences and its Forum.

Last year, Morgan’s role in sustaining its literary legacy and in ensuring that it and other HBCUs retain custody of Black thought and letters took its next giant step in the establishment of a major international conference that was both global and interdisciplinary. That conference, more the product of the vision and assiduity of Dr. Rose Ure Mezu than of any leadership on my part, brought literature together with politics, economics, education, music, art, entertainment, science, history and all other aspects of the Black experience — not just on the national scale, but also on the international scale. Called “Writers of African Descent Speak — Black Creativity and the State of the Race,” it broadened the scope and sharpened the focus of previous conferences and brought to Morgan’s campus major voices from the global Black Community — ranging from a Nigerian Ambassador to a Somalian novelist, from a distinguished African playwright to an enterprising and pioneering author/publisher/entrepreneur and international diplomat, from a local museologist to young students making their dbut as poets and fiction writers and one of the nation’s foremost historians.

The “Writers of African Descent Speak” Conference attracted an audience of over 500 people from around the world. Speakers journeyed from Canada and distant parts of the United States, from cities and rural hamlets, to common grounds, where they rediscovered their shared ancestry and their mutual ties. New African acquaintances seemed like old friends, and old friends seemed like minds and hearts reborn. Moreover, old truths re-spoken and new truths revealed became intellectual property shared freely and generously and embraced warmly by the participants. The conference was a marvelous day for Morgan State University!

This book takes that conference to the next level. The editors have put together this anthology — this gathering of flowers — representing some of the best ideas expressed during those three days. They offer it to you today as a prelude of what you are to witness at this, The Second Annual Writers of African Descent Speak Conference..”

Dr. Burney J. Hollis, Dean

Morgan State University, College of Liberal Arts

CONTENTS

Foreword:

“Preserving the Literary Tradition of African-American
Colleges and Universities” by Burney J. Hollis ………………. 7

Introduction:

“Writers of African Descent Speak”

by Rose Ure Mezu ………………………………………………. 13

Opening Address:

“Black Creativity and the State of the Race”

by Rose Ure Mezu ………………………………………………. 21

LEADERSHIP:

“Black Creativity, Leadership & the State of the Race”

by S. Okechukwu Mezu ……………….. 27

“Who Can Silence the Drum?” by Tess Onwueme ………………… 47

“Championing the Black Cause Worldwide: The Nigerian

Perspective” by Hassan Adamu …………………………….. 69

“Black Power: Reading the Autobiographies of Angela Davis, Assata

Shakur and Elaine Brown” by Phyllis Jeffers …………………. 79

CULTURE:

“African-American Women Writers: Male Bashers or Griots of the

Community of Women” by Joyce A. A. Camper ……………. 99

“Ask Yo™ Mama: The Hip-Hop Generation – A Womanist

Critique” by Jiton Davidson ………………………………….. 113

“The Protest Poetry of Brown & Hughes and the Politics of

Exclusion” by Sandra Staton ………………………………… 127

“˜Everything is Everything™: Paule Marshall™s Encompassing

Vision,” by Eugenia Collier ………………………………… 143

“The Odyssey and Legend of Olaudah Equiano”

by Ure Laura Mezu …………………………………………… 157

“Equiano™s Identity Through Memory: Rebuilding Identity

Within Black America” by Linda White …………………….. 165

“Women Power in Ozidi: A Traditional Ijo Epic-Drama

from Nigeria” by Karl Henzy ……………………………….. 173

RACISM:

“Passing in the Novels of Jessie Fauset” by Sayeeda Jafar ………. 185

“On Culture: Music, Folklore and ˜Black English™ as Conscious

Tools of Preserving Black Culture” by Delridge Hunter …………… 197

“The Genius of the Afro-American Inventor”

by James W. Reede, Jr. …………………………………….. 225

“Creativity and the Design Process,” by Ellis Cooper …………… 235

“Voices from the Fires: An Ethnographic Study of Burnt South Carolina Effingham Baptist Church”

by Diane Yarbro Swift ………………………………………. 247

“Healing the Wounds of Racism: The Church and the

African-American Community”

by Nathaniel Ndiokwere ……………………………………….. 261

About the Contributors ……………………………………… 277