Geneva Southall, the University of Minnesota musicologist and professor who devoted her professional career to studying Tom and who wrote a three-volume biography about him, argues that Tom was a musical genius along the lines of Mozart but that America could not accept the idea of a black genius in Tom’s lifetime. Of course, we all know that most white people of the nineteenth century believed that they were superior to black people, that we lacked true intelligence, that we were more animal than human. So how could such a populace entertain the idea of a black genius?
Likening supermax prisons and solitary confinement to the Egyptian underworld of "Amenta" or a kind of hell was completely intentional. In researching the sordid history of prisons in America, the appalling conditions of some contemporary institutions, and the growing privatization of prisons and its implications, I came to want to know more about what these incarcerated men and women themselves had to say about what goes on "inside."
My mother couldn’t read or write, she washed dishes and cleaned rooms and everything. I try to live my life as if every single person is important, which I believe is [true], knowing, of course, people might say wonderful things about you today, but tomorrow it might be a different story. I’m always aware of that.
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility and said they intend to sell the girls (into sex slavery) yet there are people within Nigeria who doubt the veracity of the abduction, who claim that this is just opposition politicians trying to destabilize Jonathan's government, who claim that the women crying for their abducted daughters were hired to do so. The mind boggles!.
My Uncle Juan jokingly offered up an ingenious portmanteau to define our racially and culturally complex family: “We’re red Ricans,” he said, “—a mix of redneck and Puerto Rican.” In a way, this might be the most accurate description of my family’s blended cultural identity. As a woman of Puerto Rican descent who grew up in the Deep South, my work is woven from a multitude of different voices enriched by many different cultures. My father was the son of Alabama sharecroppers, and so that is a very different culture from the one my mother came from, but both shared a common experience of growing up poor in the South.
I think the hyphens and those borderlands and those perforated boundaries, are where I’m most at home. At one point in Dreaming in Cuban, I think that Pilar says something like she belongs “ . . . not here or there, but here AND there.” So I am straddling multiple worlds. and I think that’s where a lot of interesting energy happens and gets released, where languages and cultures collide and merge. I think it is also where reality and possibility meet, where a lot of interesting hybridity is going on.