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"State of Marshall Plantation," by Delicia Daniels

Jordan Richardson -- Wed, 10/07/2020 - 8:47am

State of Marshall Plantation

In Gaines's A Gathering of Old Men, Johnny Paul finds himself reminiscing about an old memory when he notes:

Thirty, forty of us going out in the field with cane knives, hoes, plows--name it. Sunup to sundown, hard, miserable work, but we managed to get it done. We stuck together, shared what little we had, and loved and respected each other (91-92).

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“Through Her Comes a World of Change: Jane Pittman, Black Lives Matter, and Calling Communities to Action” By Em Tielman

Jordan Richardson -- Thu, 09/24/2020 - 10:38am

The life and literature of Ernest J. Gaines continues to instruct folks of all races about the struggles and the triumphs of black people living in South Louisiana. His novel, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, is a work of historical fiction that may now be understood as a foreshadowing of some of the distinct characteristics of the now-global Black Lives Matter movement. The novel’s introduction explains that the coming narration has been reproduced from interviews between Miss Jane and an educator who eagerly requests to hear her story, one that is not provided in the textbooks from which he teaches. The novel spans from just after the American Civil War, through the Reconstruction and Jim Crow Eras, and into the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. It is not until after two important characters, Ned Douglass and Jimmy Aaron, become martyrs of movements for racial justice that Miss Jane fully embraces her role as a leader, though she had been one all along.

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