Tag: Black British

The Many Silenced Faces of Britshness: A close reading of Jackie Kay’s The Adoption Papers

Editor’s Note: More Black Diaspora Literature of the 20th Century can be found here: [ https://KaleidoscopeSoup.com/Black-Diaspora-Literature ]

Within Jackie Kay’s collection of poetry The Adoption Papers she presents a text that utilizes three different fonts to represent the three dominant voices; each voice is represented by a font, each font assuming the voice of one of the three females (in addition to a few other social voices, including an adoption agent and a desk clerk). The predominant voices within the text are a “birth mother,” an “adoptive mother” and an “adopted daughter.” The voices are “distinguished” through variations in typography; for the daughter, Kay adopts a Palatino typeface; for the adoptive mother she issues a Gill typeface, and for the birth mother Kay distinguishes her by using a Bodoni typeface (Kay 8). The fonts that the poet uses separate the voices in a way that Chris Dobbish describes as “egalitarian” in nature, suggesting that while the fonts are visibly different, one font is not greater than the other fonts. (It is not my intention to enter into a discussion about the multifaceted and intersecting histories of fonts at this point in time). The visual similarities that exist between the adoptive mother’s typeface and the Birth mother’s typeface are, at some points within Kay’s text, indistinguishable from one another.

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Black Diaspora Literature of the 20th Century

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Born on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm Little, who later became known as Malcolm X was an iconic figure of the Civic Right movement. The Autobiography of Malcolm X as Told Alex Haley includes intimate details about X’s life, from his days in Harlem, New York to life changing pilgrimage to Mecca.

As an African-American Muslim minister he became a human rights activist. His activism for people of color and his unabashed criticism of racism within America resulted in close surveillance by the United States government and the target of Black violence. On February 21, 1965, he was assassinated by Nation of Islam members Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler, and Thomas 15X Johnson. Before his death Malcolm had become a powerful voice for change in the Civil Rights movement.


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