Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 40

the presage.

ahead of time

An online journal of undergraduate work thepresagejournal.tumblr.com vol. 1 | issue 1 Fall 2011

ahead of time

letter from the editors.

Hello and welcome to The Presage! Here, you will find exciting research, original theories and thought-provoking analyses. Here, you will discover innovative information as it is unearthed by its authors. Here, you will not only sense greatness but experience it. As this is our debut, allow us to take this opportunity to briefly explain the intentions and functions of this journal. The Presage serves as a platform on which current scholars of future prominence can stand. No one discipline or focus limits this journal and its contributors; we require only innovation and originality from our authors. In addition, each issue will feature one non-academic discipline or field, as a way to showcase excellence in fields whose recognition are often limited to their respective spheres. United by their thirst for knowledge and drive for change, our contributors represent a variety of institutions and subjects. The work of scholars from Claftin University, Emory University, Georgia State University, Morehouse College and Spelman College can all be found in this issue. Spanning the academic spectrum, varied topics are showcased such as interracial relationships (Interracial Relationships Between Black Women and White Men, page 21) the double-meanings of Negro spirituals (Steal Away to Jesus: An Analysis of Double Meaning in Negro Slave Spirituals, page 29) and the emerging exploration of behavior-related failures in the educating of Black males (Behavior Patterns and its Impact on the Academic Acheivement of Black Males: A Litterature Review, page 9). The feature for this issue is poetry. Poet and future educator Shawn Deangelo creatively explains what it means to be a great poet while English major Isaiah Jones offers us a biography of jazz poet Michael Harper. In all, we are very excited for our first issue. We are pleased that such talent and promise has made its way to our pages, and we hope that you gain the same joy from reading it. Happy reading! Chaina Dobbins & Whitney Skippings-Dupree The Editors


4 Michael Harpers Musical-Poetic Indulgence: The Role of Jazz in His Life 9 Behavior Patterns and its Impact on the Academic Achievement of Black Males: A Literature Review 15 Great Poet Motherhood in the Black 16 A Discourse onPulpit, the Ivory Tower, andChurch: Socio-religious Cues from the the Media. 21 Interracial Relationships Between Black Women and White Men 26 Philosophy: What Should You Believe? 29 Steal Away to Jesus: An Analysis of Double Meaning in Negro Slave Spirituals 33 Within the Border: Asylum Seekers in Uganda
Isaiah Jones Kenneth Golden Shawn Deangelo Walton Lynn Hargrow Ashlin Randolph Chaina Dobbins Alonzo Vereen Whitney Skippings

table of contents

ahead of time

Michael Harpers Musical-Poetic Indulgence:

The Role of Jazz in His Life Isaiah Jones, Claflin Univerisity
Isaiah Jones is a Senior at Claftin University majoring in English. His current research exposes the details of the little known Orangeburg Massacre of 1968 through the underrepresented voices of the towns African American community. To contact Mr. Jones, please email him at Mr.Isaiah_Jones@yahoo.com.

oltrane is the name for which music comes to life, and the tracks let me on with its conductor. Harper is where music and poetry collide. The life of Michael Harper is one of modest beginnings with defining experiences that inevitably shaped his later days. His parents were well educated African Americans of middle class status; his father was a post office supervisor, and his mother a medical stenographer. Harpers love for music has been present in the days of his mischievous boyhood. From the text, Dont They Speak Jazz, Michael Harper authors a first person account of a section of his literary life. The text opens from the time of his birth, in coordinance with the African American tradition of the slave narrative. The broad musical genre of Jazz was presented to Harper at an early age. It was introduced to him by his parents as a reverse-psychological scheme. He played records for hours on end, enthralling himself with the thought that he was getting away with mischief, and that his parents did not know. Jazz was his free time. Harper knew the big names in Blues, Traditional Jazz, Bebop, and those in countless other subgenres. He knew Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith from infancy (Harper, Speak Jazz 3). Harper distinguishes his niche in the world of Jazz as a horn man. He appreciated the likes of prominent legends from their inception: President Lester Young, Coleman (Bean) Superhawk Hawkins, Big Bad Ben Webster, Charlie Bird Parker, and John Coltrane (Harper, Speak Jazz 3). Michael Harper realized his skill and ability to transform the meaning of poetry in high school. He does not hail the classic poems of Shakespeare and John Donne as elite, but instead began to add his own flavor to the pool of poetry. Throughout college, Harper was seen by colleagues and professors alike as an expert in fiction and poetry. Whether he knew them on the 78s he spun or through personal interactions, Harpers encounters with Jazz legends were very influential to his work as a poet. Habitually taking in albums of music as a boy continued to be a persuasive point of reference for Harper as he eventually realized his passion for poetry. Also, because of a number of face-to-face encounters with musical artists, Harper began to appropriate a persons character to their musical talent. A choice example is when the young Harper ran into Charley Bird Parker on a Sunday morning (Harper, Speak Jazz 4-5) in Brooklyn, a highly populated city of jazz professionals (Leonard). Bird inquired of Harper why was he not in church on a Sunday morning, for Harper had a habit of skipping church to visit jazz joints. The fact that Parker cared about his spiritual well-being etched an everlasting image of the jazz legend into his conscience. These jazz musicians were real people with extraordinary musical talent. These legends inspired Harper to create similar works in poetry. Through poetic verse Harper captures language and rhetoric, thus giving power to the poet. Harper knew this and correlated this to slavery, the systemic control of anothers mind. This is why slaves were not permitted to read and write (Harper, Speak Jazz 5). If African descendants were given the opportunity to record the plethora of benedictions, maledictions, aphorisms, and old sayings of the slave tongue, they would be powerful beyond


measure. Oral history morphs and changes the original nature of the verse when it was first spoken. Harper delegated this process through his poetic chops, relevant to brilliant technique and substance. It is important to realize that the same elements that characterize Jazz are relative to Harpers poetry. Harper, in retrospect, acknowledges that his preparation for a life centered on poetry began at his birth. All the tradition that comes through a family was delivered unto him through his grandfather. Jazz was a tradition within the household, his parents owning a large collection of the music. He was told not to listen to any of the albums, as if he could resist the indulgence of temptation. The deliberate use of reverse-psychology on the young Harper is purposeful in satiating his mischievous urges. Harper shares an example of his mischief making: at the age of five, he would often catch the train during school instruction time by himself. He was caught a few years later by his father and grandmother (Harper, Speak Jazz 3). Harper enveloped himself in the forbidden fruit of Jazz. He infiltrated his parents massive collection of records, as they likewise filled him to the brim with the jazzy mood, and bop of the rhythm, singe of the verse, the wails and hum of vocals, and the blast of horns. Different subgenres were easily recognizable to the young Harper. Jazz is what Harper knows; it is what he thrives on. In [a] Poetry Seminar at the University of Iowa, to which he single-handedly brought substance, he wrote one poem. He wrote three short lines on Miles Davis, of whom he had recently learned. A friend told me. Hed risen above jazz. I leave him there. (Harper, Speak Jazz 4) These short verses are packed with innovation: the initial short phrase, the profoundness of the second line, and the simplicity of the final line. All are necessary and accounted for in style. This became the model for his later works, as Harper expressed, this was my bible (Harper, Speak Jazz 4). Considering John Coltrane, Harper takes advantage of their personal relationship. Much credit is given to Coltrane for Harper claiming his preference of being a horn man (Harper, Speak Jazz 3). Harper engages the story of John Coltrane: the musicians struggles with life and his heroin addiction. Coltrane wrote A Love Supreme, signifying a spiritual rebirth; praising and thanking God for allowing him a second chance at life. The piece is written in four sections, the music emulating the theme of each section. In an interview by National Public Radio, Murry Horwitz of the American Film Institute and Alfred B. Spellman of the National Endowment for the Arts, the overarching topic is musicians who have made religious statements through their music. Spellman introduces Coltrane as the artist to be discussed in this session. In the notes [of A Love Supreme], he describes how a religious revelation pulled him out of a life of dissipation (Spellman and Horwitz). The music of this album offers a magnitude of praise up to God; however, not through the route that most listeners would care to believe. Coltrane experimented with some of the Eastern religions, namely Sufism (Spellman and Horwitz). Sufism is a sect of Islam that focuses on the inner, mystical, and psycho-spiritual dimensions of the overarching religion. By focusing on Sufism, Coltrane claimed himself to be one of the more elite Muslims, in coordinance with Seyyed Hossein Nasrs definition, one of the foremost scholars of Islam. This practice simply means that a Sufi submits in love to God and considers every emotion, thought, and feeling a gift from God. These gifts are manifestations of God (Godlas). For Coltrane, the music of his album, A Love Supreme, is a manifestation of God divinely implanting this music into his soul. Hence, the names of the four parts are: Acknowledgement, Resolution, Pursuance, and Psalm. (Spellman and Horwitz). Acknowledgement is the synopsis of a four-note form that applies theme and variation: a musical form in which a theme is initiated, then altered in successive variants of that theme through individual factors or combinations of harmony, melody, texture, and dynamics. The purpose of this musical form is to add uniqueness and emphasis to the recurring theme; each round builds upon the next, creating a more powerful movement in the music (Bonds 535; Spellman and Horwitz). The second section, Resolution, comes in with the vigorous momentum of the closing part of Acknowledgement. Here Coltrane applies the concept of aria, reaching higher and higher notes, symbolic of his ecstasy and bliss after a strenuous journey to reach the Divine (Bonds
ahead of time

532; Spellman and Horwitz). The section Pursuance gives the other members of the jazz quartet a chance to contribute their solo expertise into the song of praise. It flows lyrically into Psalm, an intense improvisational piece that seals the resonance of the tenor sax, and brings forth a solemn sense of praise; as does the last psalm written of King David. Praise ye the Lord, Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. (King James Version, Ps. 150.1-6) When comparing the audio of Coltranes Psalm to the literature of Davids final psalm, it is astounding how the music matches the words. Is this Coltranes interpretation of King Davids Psalm? Is Jazz religious or spiritual in nature? Spellman believes the affirmative of Coltranes A Love Supreme. Horwitz comments that this album is not for everyday listening; it is for those times when the listener is prepared to devote time to the tracks, as one would in a devotional service (Spellman and Horwitz). Harper comprehends all this Jazz. The relationship between him and Coltrane obviously gives Harper privilege to more personal information and deeper insight into the experience and decisions of Coltrane. Harper conjoins this raw and methodical symphony with that of poetry, and paints Coltrane as a sort of mythic figure in the modern scheme. The struggle of the musician is relative to the poets plight. The two parallel in ways that affect the quality of life and craft. With the pains of life, the artistry becomes more intense; there is a burning need to express the pain that screams for a release. In listening to Harpers album, Use Troubles, or reading his poems, it helps to simultaneously listen to the sound of a smooth jazz number. The cadence of the poem is as spontaneous and improvisational as the solo trumpet of Miles Davis in the piece So What, the favored track on the album Kind of Blue, in which John Coltrane is a featured musician. After reading, then listening to Dear John, Dear Coltrane, while grooving to Prez Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio in Almost Like Being in Love, a random smooth track that lends an appropriate atmosphere to the works of the poem, the mind must settle back from an intellectually-emotional trip. The personal experience of it takes the mind to many places, through the loops that Michael Harper sets. As a student of Harper, Robert D. Parker gives his account of reading Dear John, Dear Coltrane for the first time. He remembers not being able to comprehend the tough text the first time reading it (Parker 810). To fully grasp the content within this poem, the reader must make a conscientious effort to place themselves in and among the lines. The poem twists and winds as the reverberations between different subjects of focus are quick, common, and spontaneous. A breadth of knowledge and skill are required for Harpers tribute to Coltrane to be comprehensive (Parker 810). A strong background in Jazz will afford the audience of Harper a much desired channel into the systemic formation of his style. This style of poetry is so closely aligned with Jazz that it is not uncommon to say that Harper is recognized for a variety of rhythm mechanics from poem to poem (Parker 810); even within the same poem in some cases. Though, many critics capitalize solely on Harpers utilization of undulating beats and rhythms, other musical terms surface when referencing Harpers style of poetry. To understand Harper, one must be well acquainted with musical style, jazz lingo, the feel of the Blues, musical icons, geography, and geographic culture. One such musical term, syncopation (Poet Biography), toys with the word cadences between verses, shifting the stress of strong accents to weak and vice versa. The coda of a given verse may be utterly displaced, creating a sense of groove, or confusion depending upon how jazz-savvy a given reader is. The thought of reading jazz may effectively baffle, as with R. Parker. When reading the back cover of Dear John, Dear Coltrane, Parker found that it mentioned oral tradition and prominent jazz musicians: the likes of Coltrane, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and Bud Powell; and nothing about reading (Parker 811). At first he thought this to be a mistake on Harpers behalf: why were there no blurb writers, or written reviews, or comments on the contents of the book? Through further speculation, he realized that what Harper had intentionally written on the back cover of the book was its contents. Harper associated himself and his work with those names and others that appear on the back cover of Dear John, Dear Coltrane.

It is important to realize the closely knit society that Harper is involved in. The fact about the jazz community is that the musicians are not entirely stable; they fluctuate from place to place, band to band, back to solo, as wanted, as needed, never going steady. It is the nature of jazz. Jazz has a word-painting element that paints the life of the performer. Music may go steady with a skip, hop, skip, hop, and all of a sudden a trip-skip, and a hop-hop, catch balance, and go steady. These represent the ups and downs, and sideswipes of life. Every jazz musician has faced unexpected situations, let-downs, and drastic decisions that cause a pendulum affect on their life. They are often criticized for their pitfalls of drug abuse, sexual indulgence, alcoholism, and gambling. The victims of such criticism are usually Black musicians. Because of the instability of life as a jazz musician, one must find ways to subsidize income. These same musicians became involved in the sublimely ugly [lifestyle] (Conroy), while simultaneously creating eminently beautiful music. A number of major players dabbled heavily in alcohol and narcotics, becoming drug-pushers and/or junkies. They became thieves and pimps, many running prostitution strings. It is difficult, however, to take Frank Conroys word that Jazz does not surface from the degree of misery in the life the player. The pain and suffering that Harper suspends in the atmosphere of Dear John, Dear Coltrane is a driving theme for his poetry. Harper would likely retaliate that this critic knows no Jazz. Audrey Shafers annotation of Harpers Nightmare Begins Responsibility notes that this poem was a result of the death of his infant son. His grief is poured out in the subsequent verses of the poem: I place these numbed wrists to the pane watching white uniforms whisk over him in the tube-kept prison (1-4). Many critics argue that the agony of life made Harper a poet. The irony of life is that every person is faced with the same degree of uncertainty. Jazz musicians simply have the ability and talent to compose this uncertainty into musical strophes. Harper, likewise, transfers the same to written strophes, parenthetically sound and flush with those of jazz musicians and composers alike. Harper reiterates how life is like Jazz for everyone; how life is Jazz. This regular man, through poetry, shows how life improvises to syncopated beats. The fluctuation leaves no person unturned. Harpers poetry is like Jazz. Harpers poetry is Jazz. It comes to life when spoken with inflections that are improvisational in form and method. The only way to speak Harper is to use Jazz. One cannot understand Harper unless one gets down with Jazz. The discography of Harpers poems, Use Trouble, gives a resounding sound of jazz. The semblance is heavy; the speaker talks in tones of the smooth tenor saxophone, harsh chords of the piano, staggering repetition played on snare, and flat notes or nouns personified. The example here is Dear John, Dear Coltrane: Smooth tenor: A love supreme, a love supreme, a love supreme, a love supreme; Harsh chords: Why you so Black? Cause I am. Why you so funky? Cause I am; Staggering repetition: The recurring theme of purification and freedom, pain and love; Flat personified: The inflated heart pumps out, the tenor kiss, tenor love. Harpers Coltrane is wholly music. The two cannot be separated, for the livelihood of one depends on the other. Harper received accolades of scholarships and fellowships to study extensively on different research ideas. One particular fellowship he attained is the Guggenheim Fellowship, which gives the recipient the opportunity to travel and study in other countries. Upon receiving the Guggenheim Fellowship, Harper traveled to many countries to learn and study the different cultures (Poet Biography). Many of these experiences would later serve as reference points and inspiration to his poetic style. On a particular visit to South Africa, Harper experienced a bout of racial tension involving himself, a Black South African cab driver, and a group of White travelers. In short, the cab driver boarded all White passengers and left him with the purpose of coming back to get him. As Harper waited he fumed at the thought that this driver had left him because he was the only Black in the group that needed a ride. When the driver returned he was very apologetic for having to disregard him for the sake of the other travelers. As they made friendly acquaintance, the driver asked Harper something that thoroughly perplexed him at first. What language do you speak when the white people arent around? I said English, and he said No, no. I changed my response to American.
ahead of time

Brother, he said when blacks are among themselves, dont they speak jazz? I nodded, right on, brother. (Speak Jazz 6) Jazz is a language; therefore, it can be written just as language transforms into poetry through the artistic style of the poet. Great art is dually sided, technically brilliant and rich in content: deliver the melody, make sure the harmonys correct, play as long as you like, but play sweet, and dont forget the ladies. (Harper, Speak Jazz 5). Harper created a jazzical poetry that is just as much a Jazz subgenre as it is a poetic style. The two cannot be separated, for they are one in the same Harper.

works cited.
Bonds, Mark E. Listen to This. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc., 2009. Print. Conroy, Frank. Stop Nitpicking a Genius. New York Times. 25 June 1995, final ed. Print. Godlas, Alan. Sufisms Many Paths. Sufism Sufis Sufi Orders. Web. 2 Apr. 2011. <http://www.uga.edu/islam/Sufism.html> Harper, Michael S. Dont They Speak Jazz The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS) 10.1 (1983): 3-6. JSTOR. Web. 27 Mar. 2011. Harper, Michael S. Nightmare Begins Responsibility. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter et al. Vol. E. Boston. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2010. Print. Harper, Michael S. Dear John, Dear Coltrane. The Heath Anthology of American Literature Ed. Paul Lauter et al. Vol. E. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2010. Print. Harper, Michael S. Dear John, Dear Coltrane. Use Trouble. Michael Harper, 2003. CD. Holy Bible King James Version. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 1979. Print Leonard, Keith D. Michael S. Harpers Life and Career. The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Ed. William L. Andrews, Frances Foster Smith and Trudier Harris. New York. Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. Parker, Robert D. Poetry and Pedagogy: A Memory of Michael Harper Teaching. Callaloo. 13.4 (1990): 810812. JSTOR. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. Poet Biography: Michael S. Harper (1938- ). Poetry Foundation. 2010. Web. 30 Mar. 2011. Shafer, Audrey. Harper, Michael and Anthony Walton, ed. Harper, Michael S. Nightmare Begins Responsibility. Every Shut Eye Aint Asleep. Little, Brown. 1994. Web. 2 Apr. 2011. Spellman, A. B. and Murray Horwitz. John Coltrane: A Love Supreme. Basic Jazz Record Library. National Public Radio, 2001. Web. 27 Mar. 2011.


Behavior Patterns and its Impact on the Academic Achievement of Black Males:
A Literature Review Kenneth Golden, Georgia State University
Kenneth Golden is a Senior at Georgia State University majoring in Mid-Level Education. His current research concerns the role behavioral patterns plays on the suffering state of Black male education. To contact Mr. Golden, please email him at bkennyg@gmail.com.

s African American males have progressed through grade school, there has been a decline in the number of how many of them are moving on through elementary, to middle school, and then to high school. There are many reasons and causes for this decline as it relates to their academic success, and this literature review examines this issue as it relates to behavior patterns. There are reports of teachers claiming that the teaching portion is easy, but it is the time spent on behavior that really gets in the way of teaching. The beginning of early adolescence proves to be a great place to explore behavior patterns and why it inhibits some African American males from succeeding. As children are reaching the peak of their mind and body changes during adolescence, researching the behavioral patterns of African American males during their middle school matriculation is a great starting point for me to explore this phenomenon. This study will be aimed at exploring the effects of behavioral issues of African American males in the middle school. The middle school houses children who are reaching the beginning of their adolescent changes, which affects the production of their physical and mental state drastically. By beginning this research here, there is a chance to learn about behavior problems with African American children, more specifically males, and understand how it may affect their ability to succeed within the school system. This literature review will utilize information from scholars, books, and research articles from peer-reviewed journals in order to construct a solid foundation for gathering data for future research that I plan to conduct next summer. First, I will identify an outline for the review as well as give limitations affecting the study. This literature review will highlight the academic successes of Black males within their schooling experiences and how their behavior affects their academic success. It will also focus on the behavior that is not accepted as satisfactory behavior amongst a school system with orthodox behavioral guidelines. I will explore these behaviors and focus on the dichotomy of the behavior within the school system as it relates to young Black male academic success; drawing attention to identity and assimilation. In addition, this literature review will focus on how this sort of dilemma has affected the psyche of the Black male within the school system; a psyche of how they deal with their struggle with academic success as it relates to unorthodox behavior patterns and the reasons why it is an issue. I will also include my personal reasons why I have been led to this area of research by supplying my own views at the conclusion of the paper including ways I believe will help to restructure academic success as it pertains to young Black males.


The Magnifying Glass

Densely populated areas can be home to major minority groups and also home to the foundation of achievement gaps across the United States. Children who were not meeting with the national standards for achievement requirements were falling between the cracks. States were ranked by the success of their schools on a collective scale instead of individually. When scores were reported, there was no accountability for individual states as to
ahead of time

how schools were performing academically. The problem not only conceals where the minority students stand academically, but it also hides achievement gaps between minorities and their White counterparts. With this issue hindering these achievement gaps between the minorities and their White counterparts in regards to their academic success, George W. Bush signed into law the of 2001 in January of 2002. This act was like a magnifying glass on each state and allowed for each state to set standards according to those set by NCLB. With these standards, there have been improvements, but most importantly, it has been like an illumination on the issue of the achievement gap. As Haycock (2006) claimed, there are no more invisible children. Children that are a part of the Black minority make up a huge percent of Centennial Place Elementary school in Atlanta, GA. With the passing of NCLB, it gave teachers the chance to focus on these students that had been having problems with academics (Haycock, 2006). Also within this article, Haycock (2006) draws upon the work of Hall and Kennedy (2006) to mark the declining improvements of the academic achievement gap since the introduction of NCLB especially between Blacks and Whites. Clemmitt (2007) mentioned in her article, Fixing Urban Schools, what she feels has been key factors to the achievement gap. She made mentions of NCLB and the negative effects, including the teacher staffing, financial support, and realistic progress. With these negative effects, the students are not able to focus on concepts in class or even establish a comfortable relationship with the teacher because the focus is now on important resources needed to succeed. The problems with teacher staffing under the act has complicated the continuance of consistent education via different teachers entering and exiting the classrooms. Even though the act opened up the doors for us to see the achievement gaps, with the issues of financial and staffing support, it proved hard to predict when children would be able to rise to the standards of NCLB. These issues being highlighted begin to draw attention to problems that affect not just the school system at large, but the students at the core. These scholars have outlined the positives and negatives of the NCLB Act. I glean that one thing is for certain; that is, that the implications of the NCLB Act suggest that there will be no more children that will be hidden by state averages regarding academic success. With this information, it can be proposed that Blacks within the school system can now be focused on through academic achievement and the reasoning for the decreased academic success of Black students through various school systems can now be explored.

The African American Socioeconomic Status

Children within the school system are grouped into many categories, including one of the most important grouping mechanisms known, especially to sociologists and those dealing with finances in government ones socioeconomic status. There are possibly many more categories in which to study children, but it is interesting how a familys socioeconomic role plays into their education. The focus on this particular grouping will allow me to look into an area that may get overlooked as a factor of hindering academic success and even curving behavior differences within minorities, especially Blacks, and their White counterparts. In its basic definition, this status gathers the background of a persons financial situation, educational background, as well as their social stature within society. There are an increasing amount of Black children living below the poverty line (Kunjufu, 2002). According to the US Census Beareus 2008 statistics, nineteen percent of the US population is composed of children in poverty, and of that nineteen percent, thirty-three percent of those children are African American children. This may take a toll on how a child is raised due to the lack of resources and an increase in mental coping mechanisms. It is interesting to note how a child may behave in a setting in which different socioeconomic status is reflected throughout their characteristics and behavior patterns. As ones socioeconomic status can have a stake in a persons place in society, people are treated differently. As a result of being treated differently, it can be suggested that one would act differently as well. For example, a Black male raised in a single parent home, whose parents have no formal education beyond high school may not instill the same values within their child as their White counterparts whose parents have attended some sort of higher learning institution. It has been proven that those who pursue higher education also have bigger salaries and are therefore able to provide in ways unlike those who could not attend those same institutions. Children who are raised under the substandard conditions of a single-parent home without a history of higher education are at a



disadvantage when entering the school systems. It begins to set up a culture difference for orthodox behavior and unacceptable behavior, sequentially pivoting academic success on behavioral differences. It is a situation that banks on the ideals of the separated classes of middle-class and low-income families. As children are raised in a home of the middle-class, they are usually taught to pursue their own dreams and aspirations. Examining the behavior patterns of the minority, especially African American children, may give insight to how that child may succeed academically against the grain of the system of behavioral standards.

The Identity Crisis

Most students can surely agree with a certain duality that they have to face when coming into the school system. There are few children that are taught the same way in the home as they are taught in school, but the reality is that they are most likely taught different principles. These differences set up this type of duality amongst the multifaceted characteristics and raising patterns of young children. Some children are quiet and well-mannered as others are loud and restless, not necessarily in those specific combinations. The reasons for such behaviors could come from home teachings and a host of other community involved interactions. Children also influence each other when it comes to what is to be expected within the classroom. Sometimes childrens behavior is curved by how other children react to the rules in the classroom. Out of this behavior comes a problem that may get in the way of learning, especially when the influence is very strong. This influence is closely associated with peer pressure. A term defined by encyclopedia.com as, Social pressure exerted by a group or individual in a group on someone to adopt a particular type of behavior, dress, or attitude in order to be an accepted member of a group or clique. Paying particular attention to the adoption of behavior, I would imagine that students look to other students for support. Kunjufu (2002) seems to suggest that African American students are utilizing a historical African value of I am because we are to build a community within themselves. He states that African American students tend to be cooperative. They fight between this sense of being popular or smart. I believe that these negative peer pressures can have detrimental effects on Black childrens academic performance and their ability to succeed. Black children frequently battle with who they have been raised to be and why they want to disobey rules clearly stated by the school system [really now?!] (Kunjufu, 2002). A value that has been outlined by Kunjufu is this dichotomy of we and me. It is a situation that banks on the ideals of the separated classes of middle-class and low-income families. As children are raised in a home of the middle-class, they are usually taught to pursue their own dreams and aspirations. Children are generally taught to alienate themselves from the group in reaching their goals for success. Sadly, no matter what environment the child is in, there exists some level of peer pressure that has the ability to put a damper on the childs ability to succeed and reach for those goals. Some Black students begin As resources are not readily available to those of the low-income to recognize their shortcom- Black students, it sets up another disadvantage and separation of students by increasing chances for the behavior gap to widen. Some Black students ings as the resources at the begin to recognize their shortcomings as the resources at the homes of homes of the middle-class the middle-class students do not match up with the low income students students do not match up lack of resources at their own homes. For some schools, it means the with the low income students difference between an A and a B on a standard grading level. This may lack of resources at their own trigger feelings of disregards for the school system because of their lack of supplies at home for low-income Black students (Kunjufu, 2002). I believe homes. that this separation of what they have may translate into who they are, as low-income students begin to identify with their limited availability of resources. In his book, Black Students, Middle Class Teachers, Kunjufu (2002) refers to a clashing of cultures. It is the disruptive and often counter-productive meeting of two cultures. He outlines within the book the relationship of the low-income students with their teachers as the teachers fulfill the capacity of both educator and mentor.
ahead of time


Kunjufu points out the demographic of these teachers as well as the demographic of the students showing the disconnection between ethnicities and draws some conclusions concerning why students of color do not succeed within the school system. One conclusion is because they cannot relate to or identify with their authoritative figures. It is the intricacies of learning how to cultivate the right interpersonal activity, coupled with the willingness to learn, that is compromised anytime one party does not accept the ways of the other and they invite each other into this clash of culture. On the one side, there is this wanting to be accepted and on the other, there is a cry to identify with ones own behavior patterns and what they have been accustomed to. As this relates to academic progress, it can be duly noted that any time behavior does not mimic the rest of the group, there becomes a problem that must be fixed as it will do damage to all other areas of the classroom learning environment.

Within the Home

Children often experience child rearing in a multitude of places including the home, church, school, and community places. This can be a determining factor for how children are separated at an early age. I believe the most important of these areas is within the home. It is interesting to note that children who live within a single parent household will exhibit negative effects on their behavior patterns as it relates to the standard of school behavior that is accepted (Ricciuti, 2004). These negative effects on their behavior are key factors especially in the single parent home where the father is absent. Kunjufu (YEAR) states that Black women raise their daughters and love their sons, which brings up a point to discuss the drawbacks from not training Black males properly within a single parent household. He makes claims that there is a lack of responsibility being taught within the home; therefore, the trickle-down effects have negative impacts when Black males enter into the school system and are met with White female teachers, and they treat them the same as their mothers at home (Kunjufu, 1986). This being the case, it can be concluded that Black males have a shortage of Black men within their home environment to positively identify themselves with. The problem often begins there. I believe that as Black males grow up within the school system, they are faced with something like a broken mirror. They may not be reflected correctly anywhere within the school system and within the low income areas. If the basis of the home lifestyle is changed, significant changes can be made.

An Even Smaller Population

It must then be even more of a difficulty to be a part of an even smaller minority Black males. As males are already more aggressive than their female counterparts by nature (Kunjufu, 2002), it is interesting to put into the equation behavior patterns and how they may affect the Black males ability to function academically. Black males, as Kunjufu states, are perceived by their teachers to be adorable at a young age but as they get older, they become angrier. A set of characteristics of the Black male can include being more athletic, being less cooperative, having a shorter attention span, being influenced more by their peer group, being louder, and having a larger and more sensitive ego (Kunjufu 1986). With these characteristics, those which I believe are still relevant in todays schools, it can be noticed that there is restlessness within Black boys within the middle schools as he does reach a stage of reaching the height of adolescent changes. In his book, Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys Vol. 2, Kunjufu (1986) begins to take a look at the needs of the young Black males in the classroom with his breakdown of the characteristics listed above as determining factors of their education. An interesting factor is the Black males sensitive ego being combated in a patriarchal society controlled mostly by White men, the Black boy really has trouble asserting his manhood and utilizing his leadership capabilities as they go unrecognized within the classroom. Until teachers realize this and figure out ways to reroute their aggression and leadership skills, I do not believe that there will be much hope for them. Addressing the short attention span, Kunjufu really delves into the effects it can have on their learning by addressing two shows that had been presented in a study to White children in efforts to record their responsiveness to the programs. The first show was Mr. Rogers and the second was Sesame Street. The White children responded better to the slow paced show of Mr. Rogers over the more frantic Sesame Street. Kunjufu relates the learning habits of the African American male with the style of Sesame Street. He begins to talk about the labeling



of Black males asspecial education and how the hyperactive Black boys face a load of judgments and complexities. He gives ways to combat this issue by providing a more hands-on approach when it comes to teaching Black boys, without which they will grow to become bored with classroom activities. Similarly, a recent study of two Black males showed that the classroom was very boring and how the teacher did not make the lesson enjoyable and interactive (Lattimore, 2005). Even though this studys interview base was not big enough to make a generalization about Black males in the classroom, it does give insights concerning this area and backs up Kunjufus study of Black boys in the school system. I believe that if we are to achieve a better school system that accommodates Black males, then we need to figure a way to find better representation of them within the school system. There are many ways in which the effort is made to connect to young Black male students, but if they are not reflected in the demographic of teachers or administration officials that preside over them, then there will most likely be a never ending cycle of academic interruption. In his research, Kunjufu (2002) begins to show his concern for schools that have more than 50%of African American children attending the schools and less than 5% African American teachers within that same particular school (Kunjufu, 2002). His views on teaching relevant topics for African Americans can prove to be hard for integrationists to cope with, but I believe that if the Black male does not understand the history of his great success, then there will be a disconnect between himself and his academic achievement.

The Disconnect
Kunjufu mentions that approximately 93% of the American teaching staff is White and 83% of elementary school teachers are White female teachers (Kunjufu, 2002). There is an increase in African American students, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there was an increase in the population of twelve year old boys from approximately 62,000 in 2000 to 70,000 in 2008 within the state of Georgia, a much larger increase than girls. At this rate, the increase in African American males will be a staggering amount compared to the demographic of the White teacher workforce. As there is this distinct disconnect between who is teaching and those who are being taught, it may be an issue when it comes to getting the children under control within the classroom. It can be very difficult teaching someone who may know nothing about your cultural background and does not reside in your same type of neighborhood. It has been this way for quite some time and until the change is made to lessen the separation between African American students and their instructors, there will most likely always be a disconnect within the classroom causing problems with the progress of adequate student learning, thereby contributing to more behavior problems.

My findings have been able to help shed light on an issue that has been plaguing the Black community, especially the community of Black male scholars. I believe that these findings and conclusion shall serve as a beginning for further research to seek out and understand ways of decreasing the behavioral gap between this Eurocentric school system and the culture of African Americans. By finding ways to do this, there may be a chance to decrease the academic achievement gap as well. The issues leading up to such behavioral problems within the classroom are plenty and are mirrored within the dichotomy of self for the African American male to identify with their own culture or assimilate with the Eurocentric school systems. Kunjufu (1986, 2002) gives a firm foundation of information on which I will be able to stand firm, including his sources that also give me the necessary background information to make a defined assumption on where to move from here. His research borders on diversity, but his articles and books focus heavily on the Black male. This is important for me to grasp because, not only is the African American male faced with these issues that determine the way he behaves in the classroom, it becomes important to note the many different historical aspects of educational behavioral problems. From the intricate tales of slavery which affected African Americans educational patterns for years, to surviving as a young male in a White patriarchal society (Kunjfu, 2002), it becomes a very interesting phenomenon to study concerning young Black male success within the school system. This literature review has been used as a mechanism to help me outline my future research goals and design a qualitative study including student observations
ahead of time


within various schools to ensure that the information received concerning the behavior patterns of Black males and its relationship to academic achievement is still relevant today.

works cited.
Clemmitt, Marcia. Fixing Urban Schools. 17.16 (2007). CQ Researcher. Web. 10 June 2010. <http://ezproxy.gsu. edu:2321/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2007042700&type=hitlist&num=2>. Clemmitt, Marcia. The Behavior Gap Between Black and White Students. 17.16 (2007). Web. 14 June 2010. Haycock, Kati. No More Invisible Kids. Educational Leadership 64.3 (2006): 38-42. Professional Development Collection. Web. 20 July 2010. <http://ezproxy.gsu.edu:2048/login?url=http://- ezproxy.gsu. edu:4518/login.aspx?direct=true&db=tfh&AN=23054700&site=ehost-live>. Irvine, Jacqueline Jordan. Research on Teacher-Student Interactions: Effects of Student Race, Gender, and Grade Level. Black Students and School Failure: Policies, Practices, and Prescriptions. New York: Praeger, 1991. 6367. Print. Jenkins, Toby S. Mr. Nigger: The Challenges of Educating Black Males within American Society. Journal of Black Studies 37.1 (2006). JSTOR. Web. 29 June 2010. Kunjufu, Jawanza. African American Students.Black Students-Middle Class Teachers. Chicago, Ill.: African American Images, 2002. 93+. Print. Lattimore, Randy. Harnessing and Channeling African American Childrens Energy in the Mathematics Classroom. Journal of Black Studies 35.3 (2005). JSTOR. Web. 29 June 2010. Masci, David. The Black Middle Class.Guarded Optimism8.3 (1998).CQ Researcher. Web. 14 June 2010. Ricciuti, Henry N. Single Parenthood, Achievement, and Problem Behavior in White, Black, and Hispanic Children. The Journal of Educational Research 97.4 (2004). JSTOR. Web. 29 June 2010. Stinson, David W. African American Male Adolescents, Schooling (and Mathematics): Deficiency,Rejection, and Achievement. Review of Educational Research 76.4 (2006): 482. JSTOR. Web



Great Poet
Shawn Deangelo Walton, Morehouse College Move me. Sooth me. Find me. Loose me. Relax my mental when my mind gets woozy. Show me the difference between love & hate. This is what I feel makes a poet great. Lead me to the water with your words and persuade me to drink. Lead me to the knowledge with your passion to make me think. Give me something real, because what the world gives is fake. This is what I feel makes a poet great. Ones gift Innate. Proverbial phonetic gab inherited by a heretic faith. Simply believing astute words of truth should not go to waste when the people are gathered to auscultate. Able to gestate love and articulate. Relaying messages spiritually that the Great Creator just stated through harmonious homonyms. Great poets produce psalms that beget hymns so soulful that the people want to hear them again on a sudden whim. A great poet is a syringe. Ejecting adrenaline through veins by speaking Often serving as the director to a church choir of those on the same accord, and alarms for those that were sleeping. They know the lean line between words spoken spiritually, and preaching, still lyrically teaching, reaching the soul of people. Turning our peoples caged voices into a free verse. Broadcasting live under ambient lights for our sick and tired allies, encouraging and being an example of how to rise or just raise your voice to say I too have unscripted feelings. It's just that poets use their words wisely simply as a way of dealing. Great poets are appealing, and we ask them to Move me. Sooth me. Find me. Loose me. Relax my mental when my mind gets woozy. Show me the difference between love & hate. This is what I feel makes a poet great. Lead to the water with your words and persuade me to drink. Lead me to the knowledge with your passion to make me think. Give me something real, because what the world gives is fake. This is what I feel makes a poet great.

Shawn Deangelo Walton is a Senior at Morehouse College majoring in Child Development. He is strongly motivated by community and educational outreach and has plans to utilize these passions in his career as an educator. To contact Mr. Walton, please email him at shawn.deangelo.walton@gmail.com.

ahead of time


A Discourse on Motherhood in the Black Church:

Socio-religious Cues from the Pulpit, the Ivory Tower, and the Media Lynn Hargrow, Emory Univerisity
Lynn Hargrow is a Senior at Emory University majoring in History. His current research interrogates the historiography of the Origins of the Colored Methodist Movement in the South from 1860-1918. To contact Mr. Hargrow, please email him at lhargrow@emory.edu.

n her book, Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk, theologian Delores Williams says the following about the evolution black motherhood: in the course of her long history in America, the black woman had often found herself trapped in a mesh of cultural redefinitions, role exploitation and black male-female crises that have seriously affected her well-being. Whatever her role as mother and nurturer in Africa, the new world of American slavery adjusted to it to meet American institutional needs at the time.1 Historians, sociologists, anthropologists, women studies, and African American studies scholars alike have studied how black female identity is being shaped and formed in American society. As Williams hints, the contexts that birth and nurture black womens understandings of Christian motherhood are and have been in flux. Motherhood is an essential component of black female identity. This can be traced back to before African slavery in the United States, albeit with evolving definitions. The essentiality of motherhood in black womanhood is maintained within the black church, a social, religious, and political institution of historic pertinence to black communities all over the continental U.S. (if not the world). This reality is, of course, in lock-step with the historic paring of womanhood and motherhood in America, across racial lines. Within the black church, womens roles vary from church founders to prayer warriors, from pastors wives to bishops, and yet all are called Mother.2 According to sociologist Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, the role of mother has encompassed a wide range of political, social, and (not least) spiritual roles within the black ecclesiastical framework. In this way, black church mothers are organizers, overseers, pray-ers, and preachers, among other roles. Gilkes postulates that the secular and sacred needs of African American communities have required black women to take on a myriad of responsibilities. It then becomes clear that the demands of black communal survival and nurture are directly related to notions of motherhood within the black Christian context. But are we to understand black (Christian) motherhood in a vacuum of black survival? Are there other factors that speak to black Christian notions of motherhood? Most certainly. Delores Williams in Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk challenges the expectations black churches have laid upon black mothers as well as the exclusion of black women from black liberation theology. Williams asserts that black church women should pay attention to biblical and theological imperatives regarding issues of motherhood. According to Williams, black women must read biblical texts, interpreted by black liberationists and Eurocentric mainstream Christians as salvific, critically it is wondrous how oppressed persons, especially black women, can take any liberationist or redemptive interpretation of the Bible seriously.3 Yet black church women are still receiving cues from other socially and religiously relevant voices. One of the most prominent voices, and the third interlocutor in our discussion, is that of movie director and playwright Tyler Perry. Perrys plays manfully speak to black Christian women on issues of spirituality, romantic relationships, and familyhood. Perry, through his forthright matriarch Madea, has proven to be a significant communicant to black women within the church. Our task is not to analyze the response and reception of these three communicators, but to put these voices in conversation with each other to better understand



what feeds black Christian notions of motherhood. In order to contextualize the legacy of motherhood within the black church we must look back to its origins in the pre-colonial African context. As Gilkes notes in her book, If It Wasnt For the Women: Black Womens Experience and Womanist Culture in Church and Community, any analysis of the position of black women within the black experience must take into account the admittedly unconscious presence of African processes within social organizations based upon Euro-American organizational models.4 Gilkes argues that the pre-colonial political, economic, and social experiences of African women were colored with themes of female independence and self-reliance.5 She insists that a non-European and gender-free realm of independence was sustained within a dual-sex political system. In this system, African mothers had political and social significance in the family and in the community. Although some Africanists like Ifi Amadiume would support that claim, we must be painstaking when conceptualizing this idealistic legacy of pre-colonial West African region. Gilkes even has difficulty proving how these legacies of motherhood transfer into the American context. It is clear, though, that motherhood for African women involved leadership in meaningful ways. The omu (queen or female king) is one example of a Queen Mother archetype found in the African context.6 For Gilkes, African concepts of familyhood and female power informed, in a fundamental way, black womens concept of motherhood.7 According to Delores Williams, these concepts were reinforced by American slaveocracy.8 She advances that the knowledge African women gained in Africa as both market women and nurturers of children became useful in American slave societies.9 Williams refines this idea, noting how one should not assume that African-American womens history is an immediate and unaltered link with an African traditional past.10 Gilkes and Williams create a frame of reference for us to further understand the historical forces that shape motherhood within African American communities. Both scholars charge American slavery with forcing African women to adapt their African-derived conceptualizations of motherhood. Williams outlines the creation of mammy and its reinstitutionalization in black denominational churches under its evolved form church mother. According to Gilkes, notions of black female independence survived the caustic brutalities of slavery and emerged in black holiness denominations. These, for Gilkes, are indicative of a broader trend in black churches.11 Williams helps us understand how this is possible, outlining how black mothers, although burdened by slavery, maintained pivotal roles in multiple contexts: Their [black mothers] roles were fixed. They were primarily to labor, reproduce and nurture. But mothering and nurturing tasks could range from birthing children to breast feeding white children, to caring for the family needs of the master and his household, to tending to children as she worked in the fields, to protecting the lives of hundreds of slaves she helped escape from slavery to freedom.12 Slaveocracies also pushed black mothering into what was traditionally understood as male-dominated or fathering territories, as women had to be protector and breadwinner in many cases. Slavery stretched every notion of black motherhood in ways that would prove problematic for black men and women after the institutions collapse. Despite its extension into traditionally male-controlled domains, black motherhood did not exist, by any means, in a socio-political system of matriarchy (at least not in any Western sense). At no point in the system of American slavery did black women (or black men) enjoy such power. To this point, Williams demonstrates how manifestations of surrogacy become defining themes within black motherhood. Surrogacys prevalence in black motherhood, even after slavery, highlights the lack of power black women had. She is clear, the antebellum black mother had no real power.13 Williams sees enslaved black women socially and culturally aligned with the biblical slave mother/mistress Hagar, who, like enslaved women, was politically and socially powerless to affect the conditions molding her family life. This brings to light an important distinction between how Gilkes and Williams (respectively) speak to the issue of power within the framework of black motherhood. According to Gilkes, black women existed historically and socially within multiple contexts and were a part of those power structures, whether they were secular pro-women organizations or black Pentecostal churches. On the other hand, Williams narrates the lack of power and influence black women had and the systems which maintained that reality within and without the black community. Thus, for Williams, black motherhood (in the American context) is very much riddled with themes of resistance and coercion. Critical to understanding this divergence are the two
ahead of time


scholars disciplinary backgrounds. Delores Williams is a Womanist theologian and bears a prescriptive voice. Cheryl Townsend Gilkes is a trained sociologist and privileges the social interactions of black women within social hierarchies. Nonetheless, these scholars are clear that we cannot have a discussion about the development of the black mother without including themes of power and powerlessness. It is here that Tyler Perry enters this important dialogue on black churchwomen. Although Perry offers virtually nothing in the way of discussable history on how notions of black motherhood are formed within or without the black church, he situates a number of his black female characters in the legacy of the mammy figure. The title character for many of his plays, Madea, fits snuggly in the mammy tradition, with a few key distinctions. She simultaneously embodies what historian Deborah Gray White describes as Sapphire, an angry, dominating, and emasculating figure who assertively wields power over her family.14 The most obvious difference between Madea and historical mammies is the formers social status. Madea is anything but a slave. Perry is clear in his book, Dont Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings, that Madea answers to no one and serves no master.15 I would add that she does seem to hold an acute deferential awareness to God. Perry asserts some definite ideas about black motherhood, especially within the context of African American Christianity. Madea makes both implicit and explicit statements about the roles and powers of black women, informed primarily by what Delores Williams would call a traditional black androcentric (and heteronormative) reading of the Bibles imperatives on motherhood and gender relations. For example, in the play Madea Goes to Jail Madea, while advising a young woman named Wanda on how she should pursue her love interest, loosely quotes Proverbs 18:22, he who findeth a wife, findeth a good thing.16 This message is reiterated through song in Perrys 2004 play Meet the Browns, where the eccentric protagonist Mr. Brown instructs his nephew, When you find a good woman, youve found yourself a good thang. Although Perrys This message has strong theological roots within the black church. dichotomous portrayal of Anthea Butler, religion professor and author of Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making a Sanctified World, critiqued this waiting black parenting does not jibe on the lord theme in a recent blog in Religion Dispatches: being entirely with Gilkes notion told to be like Ruth and wait until your Boaz finds you, and Let the of dual-sex political systems, Lord be your husband are just trite pacifiers designed to keep women Perry asserts that even though in the pews, sexually inactive, and their purses open.17 In the slaveocsingle-motherhood can be racy a portrait of a sexually unambitious and docile black mother was successful, with Gods help, it ideal for white families who were depending on mammies to occupy themselves with caring for white families. Williams remarks that after is not ideal. the abolition of slavery black men, especially in the black church, idealized a complacent church mother because she did not challenge male leadership.18 It serves to reason that black patriarchy cannot persist if black women are imposing on the male territory of sexual independence of black men, becoming the hunter instead of the prey. For Perry (and others) this type of role-reversal is simply unbiblical. What is undoubtedly biblical for Perry, however, is the incompleteness of black motherhood without a male figure. Although Perrys dichotomous portrayal of black parenting does not jibe entirely with Gilkes notion of dual-sex political systems, Perry asserts that even though single-motherhood can be successful, with Gods help, it is not ideal. One of Madeas key missions in Perrys plays is to match one of the single mother characters with a man. Often coupled with encouragement to move on after an abusive relationship with a man, Perrys directives convince women that: (a) they need a good man/father-figure to help them raise their children and (b) God has a man for every patient, chaste woman. In the play Madeas Family Reunion Madea constantly teases Vicki, a black college professor and single mother, who, according to Madea, cant find a man.19 Perry suggests that Vickis previous relationship with a bad man is partially to blame, rendering her with a closed-mind toward men. The ultimate solution for Vicki, like most of the single mothers in Perrys plays, is a good, Christian, heterosexual man. Without fail, Perrys female protagonists find their good man. For Perrys single mothers, until they find that good man, temporary emotional fulfillment and family support comes from God. Perrys predictable plot is in sync with what Williams identifies as an important religious feature of African slave wom-



ens struggle for survival within slaveocracies. In black womens lives, God often took the place of their disenfranchised black male counterparts. Williams notes that this socio-religious replacement becomes problematic after Reconstruction, as black men try to emulate white patriarchal family models and reassert themselves into the nuclear black family. The effort to construct black patriarchy within the community, the church, and the family solidified the notion that the success of the black Christian family depended on good black men supporting their virtuous (read passive) wives and children. Perrys plot-typologies still perpetuate this notion. There is no doubt that the dynamics of motherhood that Perry presents are saturated in black Christian patriarchy, which dictates womens submission to men. To Perrys credit, however, many of his female characters deviate from the dependent docile mother critiqued by Williams and Gilkes. In fact, Perrys female characters straddle, what Delores Williams describes as the historic tensionbetween the Hagar-in-the wilderness model of black womanhood and the Victorian Virgin-Mary-true-woman model of womanhood20 One staple character in Perrys plays is Cora, Madeas daughter. Cora is a survivor of abuse, an independent single mother, and a woman after Gods own heart. She exemplifies, more than any other character, the many complicated and conflicting positions black Christian mothers find themselves in. In Madeas Family Reunion, we learn that Cora occupies the surrogate role in that she is a mother to multiple families.21 Coras supervision and care for her crack-baby granddaughter is frequently mentioned in the play.22 Although Cora is a victim of sexual abuse and has had at least two children biologically, she still embraces the Virgin-Mary-true-woman model of pure womanhood. This is played out in Perrys play Meet the Browns, where Cora becomes romantically interested in the pastor presiding over her grandfathers funeral.23 Cora struggles with her sexual attraction to the pastor when she refuses to go away with him on a cruise for fear of being tempted to have sex with him. In this same scene, the pastor gives Cora a brief kiss and exits. Upon learning about the kiss, Mr. Brown, Coras father, accuses her of being fast. The implications of this scene are pertinent to our discussion. Coras interactions with the pastor are riddled with inner shame about the appearance of being fast, and thus unchaste. It is clear that Cora values celibacy, the foundation of the pure womanhood model. Coupled with this are her fathers accusations, which exist in two dimensions: obviously a superficial humorous one, but also another that operationalizes the virgin/ whore dichotomy. Thus, Perry, through Cora, portrays a black mother occupying multiple spaces as a black woman, a mother, and a Christian. The ways in which Perry, Gilkes, and Williams are speaking to black Christian women about their positions within the family and the church are important to consider. A close analysis thereof renders a complex picture of the multiple positions black Christian mothers occupy. Looking at Perrys contributions to this conversation convinces me that black mothers in the church are not just receiving social and religious cues from African pasts, slavery, or the black church, but also important media personalities like Perry who reinforce many of the patriarchal directives implicit within American Christianity. More academic work needs to be done in rigorously looking at the ways in which Perry, and others reinforce and contribute to factors informing black Christian notions of motherhood.

1. Delores Williams, Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk (New York: Orbis Books, 1993),44. 2. Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, If It Wasnt For the Women: Black Womens Experience and Womanist Culture in Church and Community (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2001), 68. 3. Williams, 144. 4. Gilkes, If it Wasnt for the Women, 63-64.
ahead of time


5. Gilkes, 64. 6. Glikes, 65. 7. Gilkes assertion of African womens self-reliance is not an assertion of independence from men. In fact, Gilkes notes slave traders observations of African womens loyalty to their male counterparts. See page 65. 8. Delores Williams, Sisters In the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1993), 34. 9. Williams, Sisters in the Wilderness, 34. 10. Williams, 35. 11. Gilkes, 68. 12. Williams, 38. 13. Williams, 39. 14. Deborah Gray White, Arnt I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South (1985; repr., New York: W. W. Norton, 1999). 15. Tyler Perry, Dont Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madeas Unihibited Commentaries of Love and Life (New York: Peguin Publishing, 2006), see foreword. 16. Madea Goes to Jail, Directed by Tyler Perry (2006; Peachez, 2006 dvd). 17. Anthea Bulter, August 18, 2010 (6:25 a.m.), Single, but Married to Jesus, Religion Dispatches, http:// www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/antheabutler/3162/single,_but_married_to_jesus/. 18. Williams, 155. 19. Madeas Family Reunion, Directed by Tyler Perry (2002; Peachez, 2002 dvd). 20. Williams, 129. 21. Madea occupies a similar role. It is also important to note that Cora has no apparent father; Madea is a single mother, as is Cora, and Coras daughter, Tina. Tina was raped by her father. Family Reunion, Directed by Tyler Perry (2002; Peachez, 2002 dvd). 22. Madeas Family Reunion. 23. Meet the Browns, Directed by Tyler Perry (2004; Peachez, 2006 dvd).



Interracial Relationships Between Black Women and White Men

Ashlin Randolph, Spelman College
Ashlin Randolph is a Senior at Spelman College majoring in English with a strong interest in Philosophy. Shes also a active participant in the ROTC program. To contact Miss Randolph, please email her at arandolph08@yahoo.com.

hrough researching topics to create my research paper the idea of what are some of the factors involved with black women that choose to have interracial relationships with white men, was a very fitting topic that correlated with the growing number of mixed race couples that continue to change the perceptions within society. As the daughter of a mother who was previously married to a white man, I have always been taught to be tolerant of others and never put a limitation on the people I could potential form relationships with By researching this question, I want to be able to have a clear understanding of some of the factors that come about when one chooses to date or even marry outside of their race. My question differs from others for the simple fact that it really focuses on black women who have been in or are involved in relationships with white men. The contrast of dating someone outside of your race is the complete opposite side of the spectrum and in fact is quite beneficial to both people involved. This can be seen through the statement of a good friend of mine by the name of Nicollette who expressed, there is something to be gained from every race-- a beautiful way of capturing the essence of what I wanted to research regarding black women and white men interracial relationships. In a time when our own president is of mixed heritage, it is important for people to honestly look outside of the boxes that many have created for themselves. As we continued to speak, Nicollette and I spoke on the perceptions within society that have in many ways portrayed the idea that people of the same race must stick together. Oh, it breeds confusion and can bring about issues such as racism, classism, and sexism. I felt It was very true how people especially within the African American community state that it might cause more issues to date outside of the race. My impression on this issue was that regardless of what relationship a person enters, there would always be things that come up that cant be avoided. The fact of the matter is that an individual must choose to deal with a person they love and respect regardless of their race rather than be faced with other issues such as distrust that could potential bring serious harm to their union. One of the last things that were talked about through our brief interview was the positivity that interracial couples represent within the world. From the outside interracial couple, specifically a black woman and white man showcase two people of different races coming together through commonalities despite the many differences that may separate them physically, as well as emotionally. This concept is very quite beautiful and forces people everyday to open their eyes to the world outside of what has been implemented within societys subconscious. Being open-minded to the idea of finding someone who truly loves and cares for you in the best ways-- regardless of race-- can change the world for the better and really bridge the gaps between countries and people today. It is an important change within people hearts and minds that we look at peoples hearts and character,instead of the color of their skin. Throughout the research that I have conducted on my topic of black women & interracial dating & marriage, I have seen how these types of relationships have given the United States nickname the melting pot new meaning. In the research that I found, especially in the book Dont Bring a White Boy Home, it is apparent that many black women have been put into a box so to speak in whom they should marry and raise children with. Dont Bring Home a White Boy is a very impressive book that discusses black women within interracial relationahead of time


ships and what society and even a womens family has imposed on her as a result. While researching I found it interesting that many black women continue to set standard of color on their potential mates. That a black woman would only date black men in order to find that one good brother is a saddening fact. Although she may find a guy to meet some of her requirements in order to be in a relationship with her, she may be blocking her chances of meeting a man outside of her race that will love her passed the standards and even expectations she has on marriage and her love life The book is also gives an accurate account of interracial relationships since the author herself is a black woman married to a white man. Through her own personal experience, I felt that the author Karyn Langhorne was really able to express ....[B]oth individuals enter- her own thoughts and experiences in regards to dating a black man . This all in all brought credibility to the book ing into this relationship must and made researching the topic that more fulfilling for myself. Another book that really understand that their love and expressed the experiences of women involved respect for each other should was Black Woman: Interracial and Intercultural in interracial relations be at the highest degree in Marriage Book 1: First and Foremost which gives an descriptive account of the many issues order to combat the opinions that come with dating outside of ones race. One of issues many people immediately think of when they see interracial of others. couples, especial black woman and white men is how do the two deal with the racist comments and stares. Though this is a reality many couple have faced in the past and even today, issues like race will always be apparent in the union of the two. The fact of the matter is that both individuals entering into this relationship must understand that their love and respect for each other should be at the highest degree in order to combat the opinions of others. This simply means that the couple has to have a strong trust and faith in making the relationship work for the good of both parties. Though things may seem difficult, both must always remember why they decided to take the risk of find love. The author also urges to black women to marry quality men and not settle for less than one is worth. With saying this, black women must understand that finding a good man does not necessary mean he has to be black with lots of money. This concept may not find a woman happiness at all and can potential be a beautiful dream or even a bad nightmare for other. The main objective for black women is to find a man that makes her better as a person and encourages her to continue for quest for knowledge and enjoyment within their life together. As stated in the introduction of the paper, I spoke with my mother who had dated and married a white man before my birth. Growing up in the small town of Waterloo, Iowa, my mother was raised by her mother and grandmother, who taught her the value of seeing people for who they are as individuals instead of the categories society had placed on them. As my mother grew up she began dating young men who were white during her teenage years. I felt a comfort and general interest in who I was as a person, instead of what I might have looked like or even what I had. With this quote, my mother spoke about how she perceived her attraction to white men and how this came about passed off of common interest and similar background values. I feel that black woman bring a certain presence and discipline that men admire and strive to obtain in a mate. Through this maternal presence and straightforwardness, black women have the ability to stand side by side with their male counterparts including white men, whether it is discussing raising children or even the running of a multi-million dollar corporation. While discussing her experiences with interracial relationships, my mom spoke to me about her ex-husband who she described as a, great man who loved me for the person I was outside of my brown skin. Through her explaining of her relationship with him, I was able to really see the fact that their love went passed the barriers that race has created amongst people. Their relationship was about two people who wanted to make the commitment to love and care for each other despite the odds. As I concluded my interview with my mother she stated the intentions she had in regards to raising my brother and me. As a mother who has experienced love outside of my own race, I feel that it important to instill within my children the ability to look at relationships outside of the lenses society had placed on the world to view. From that quote I learned a great deal from my mom and seen how being open-minded and focusing on the character of all people is an important tool within life that will allow me to find happiness and love through



my own eyes instead of others. As I continued my research, I found an scholarly article that really depicted race within an interracial relationship. In Interracial Relationships: The Womens Experiences, author Elaine E. Bauer does an excellent job of observing the factors and consequences of interracial relationships. The author also discusses the womens point of view regarding interracial relationships within todays society. Bauer begins the article by explaining black women and white marriages have been one of the consequences of migration for centuries, yet they are widely seen by society as problematic (Bauer 39). With this being expressed, interracial relationships have been the result of migrations of different countries for centuries now, blending cultures, as well as, origins of people. Within regards to history, many have been against these unions and have used countless efforts to bash those that have chosen to love outside of their own race. A black woman, Bauer emigrated from Jamaica and married a white Canadian at the age of 19. This information alone gave the author more creditability within this area of research because unlike most scholarly researchers, Bauer had first-hand accounts of the topic she choose to examine. Within this beginning of the article, Bauer thoroughly explains the concept of race and history. According to Bauer, it is important to recognized from the start that such categorizations such as black and white are social constructions rather than simply natural, (39). In this explanation the author simply states that there is truly no biological or historical proof that shows that there are pure races showing that no races had ever been combined with cultures for centuries. The fact of the matter is that the act of races mixing together has been a reoccurring way of life since recorded history has documented. Through this explanation, the author aimed to show how the idea of race was just a cleverly created idea that was used as a way to divide different cultures and place a hierarchy within the society of the moment. Within history, there have been many societies that have been constructed on their own opinion of race. For example, in many regions such as Latin America and the West Indies interracial mixtures produced the mass populations as a whole. Also mulattos, creoles, mestizos were terms used to describe these people within their respective cultures. With the lack of research on the topic of interracial relationships the author created a case study, which focused on the experiences of women. Using the case study allowed Bauer the chance to thoroughly examine the woman that were involved within interracial relationships. Based on the finding of the research and the little information that was available to begin with, I feel that the case study provided the research community with an in-depth portrayal of interracial relationships from the womans point of view versus the idea of others who may not be at all familiar with this type of union. The study took place in Canada , which is described as a diverse country filled with many different races and cultures. Within the study there were eight women who were chosen (six of the women were black and two of the women were white). In this group of women, Bauer posed many questions to the women that regarded a range of topics. The first topic consisted of family and cultural background, which allowed the women to discuss their familys attitude towards race and cultures. A commonality amongst the women was that they all seemed to come from families that did not place a heavy emphasis on the race of the individuals, their emphasis was on the character the person their daughters wanted to date or marry. Another topic discussed was why the women chose partners from a different race. Within this topic the majority of women, said that their chose for marrying white men or black men had nothing to do with race at all. The women felt that the men they had chosen to be with had qualities such a being intelligent, kind-hearted, and open-minded that they admired and strived for in a partner. The next question of how the families of origin reacted to their chose proves to be a very interesting question that shows the tolerance between black and white families. One of the women who were black recalls how her mother in law despised her and never wanted to have anything to do with her. From this fact, her husband cut off any type of communication with his mother because of her lack of support for his choose in partner. This experience alone showed that throughout the study, black families seemed to be more tolerant of interracial unions while some white resented it all together or gradually came to except the partner of a different race. The question of cross-cultural relationships was also a question that really tested the boundaries of interracial couple. Within the study the eight women discussed how their own cultures, as well as, their partners had strengthened and proven to be a challenge within their relationships. Many of the women agreed that though
ahead of time


their partner and they may have different interests as a result of their cultures, these same differences have proven to be a spice that has kept them interested in their partner. This statement was a positive outlook to the idea that many interracial couple face a higher divorce rate for the fact that they are two people have different cultures as well as two different understanding of life. One of the last questions focused on how people within the interracial couple life viewed them as a whole. For the majority of all women many felt that though they still do experience the occasional glance, most of their family and friends accept their partners and are happy for them. Also the group discussed how the couples are raising their children. This question opened up the floor for the women to discuss that some of their children identify as black, while others see themselves as white. One of the common things that was generally put across within this discussion was that all women discussed the importance of allowing their children to be exposed to both cultures which would give the children the freedom to identify with what they felt ... . [T]he women described was right for them. The last question discussed family strategies develteaching their children ways to oped to deal with racial issues. The eight women said that they received cope with they mixed heritage little to any racism but I noted that if they had experienced any, they felt it and how to address the queswas directed towards them and not their white spouses. Also the women tions they may encounter described teaching their children ways to cope with they mixed heritage and how to address the questions they may encounter The last article that I came across within my research spoke about some of the implications that race has in regards to dating someone outside of their own race. Within Interracial Dating: The Implications of Race for Initiating a Romantic Relationship the scholarly article discusses the dynamics communication skills of interracial dating between blacks and whites. The article also details the future of interracial dating which has had a steady incline within the last couple years, as well as, the effects of having interracial relationships within society as a whole. The way people interact with one another has always had a profound impact on the type of friendships individuals develop and the partners people choose to have for marriage and intimate relationships. External factors such as family and the views within a society also play a role in the involvement in an interracial relationship. The participants in the study that took place used more of their social communication skills in courting a mate outside of their race than if they were to date and marry within their own race. The different usages of communication is an interesting fact that shows the difference between black women and men as well as forces others to educate themselves on the reasons behind an interracial couple may be attracted to each other. As the article continues to expand the author explains the dynamics of interracial relationships. Research indicates that attitudes toward interracial romantic relationships are complex; however, minimal attention has been given to motivating factors for involvement in such relationships (Harris and Kalbfleisch 50). Within this statement the authors aim to show that interracial relationships are complex unions that involve people who have stepped outside of their races and have ventured to find mates that make them happy, regardless, of the color of their skin. The quote also goes on to say that there is a gap in research that shows the communication and other qualities that have proven to be vital within an interracial relationship. The next part of the article opens by discussing the future of interracial dating today. Over the last decade alone interracial dating has continued to become more accepted into society with the increasing numbers of people of color such as blacks and Hispanics becoming more prevalent in the workplace, schools, and other areas of life. This fact alone allows people of all races to find and meet people who do share similar interest and are able to meet each other in an integrated environment such as the places. Despite this advancement of diversity, though there is still a lack of research that touches on the topic of the role communication plays within the initiating of interracial dating amongst blacks and whites. This lack of information can be vital in the understanding of interracial attraction and also can give a voice to those who are involved within interracial relationships facing the views and opinions of society. As the world continues to advance and become more open, society will the see the benefits of having interracial couples as a part of everyday life. Not only do they stand for strengthening the bonds between people all over the world, mixed race unions breed children that are visual proofs of tolerance of all people regardless of color.



Breaking down these barriers of color is an important element within needed today, in order, for black women and white men all over the United States to understand that love is not always guaranteed based off the color of an individuals skin. At the end of the day, black women must make the best choices in their mates for the benefit of their well-being, not what society had carved out for them to live by. Lastly, within my research I have found that though there is quite a bit of research on interracial dating, the effect it has on society, as a whole is not as present within the research that is available today which leaves a gap between the identity of millions. By loving ones self and opening their hearts, love will find them regardless of age, race, or color.

works cited.
Folan, Langhorne Karyn. 2010. Dont Bring Home a White Boy. Simon & Schuster Publishing Group. Moore, Sharon Eve. 2009. Black Women: Interracial and Intercultural Marriage Book 1First and Foremost. Shareve Communications. Bauer, E. Elaine. 2010. Interracial Relationships: The Womens Experiences. oralhistoryforum.ca Harris, M Tina and Kalbfleisch, J. Pamela. 2000. Interracial Dating: The Implications of Race for Initiating a Romantic Relationship. Taylor & Francis. Butler, Eva. Personal Interview. Nov. 8, 2010. Maunganidze, Nicollette. Personal Interview. Dec. 2, 2010.

ahead of time


What Should You Believe? Chaina Dobbins, Spelman College
Chaina Dobbins is a Senior at Spelman College majoring in Philosophy with minors in French and Anthropology. Her current research concerns philosophical concepts of individuality and group thought and their relationship to the success/failure of the American public education system. To contact Miss Dobbins, please email her at ChainaNickole@yahoo.com.


believe that God exists. By that I mean I believe there is an ever-present power that far exceeds my own here on earth. I believe this power moves and informs my daily life without completely controlling that life. Something like Platos unmoved mover, I believe in an actuality that is the force behind all existence, but that this God-being has limited conscious contribution (whether intentionally or by nature) to our current world. This force is one with which I hope to be (re)connected upon my death from this world. This means that I believe in the eternality of the spirit or soul- that there is some part of me that is separate from my body or earthly mind. My beliefs are general and complete (for me), and while they coincide with my overarching perceptions of morality, they consider not such particulars as which actions in themselves are (im)moralnot, at least, until my conception of how to determine moral goodness is established, a formula that I have yet to officially discern. The evidentialist standard asserts that you should believe something if, and only if, you have good reasons, good evidence in favor for [that] belief (Nobis, emphasis mine). This means that all beliefs must be justified by sufficient reasoning or arguments. Generally speaking, the evidentialist standard is one that should be universally applied to maxims of belief because without such our beliefs would be arbitrary, and therefore unnecessary (and dangerous). While one may argue that following rules you do not believe in may prove beneficial (whether in the extreme case of heaven and hell or the simple desire not to be put in time out) I argue that a failure to provide reasons for ones beliefs equate to a failure to apply oneself to ones personhood appropriately. That is to say that a failure to provide evidence for belief is little less acceptable than failure to provide evidence for what one claims to be (definite- even if temporary) truth. What purpose is there for evidence if not to base our understanding of life thereon1? For me, there is no question as to whether one must have a reason to believe what they do, but the worth of those reasons are what must be explicated. For example, because mommy said so may be a childs sole reason for not eating from the cookie jar before dinner. The child may wholeheartedly feel that this restriction is ungrounded, unfair and may vow to never make her child endure such hardship. Yet the child will refrain from eating the cookie because she recognizes the authority of her parent, or perhaps because she wishes to avoid the wrath that will inevitably ensue. Here, we have an example that includes several kinds of reasons for not eating the cookie. Is respect for authority enough reason to do what that authority tells her? Does it depend on the particulars of what that authority has demanded, and how so? Are there different levels of authority that determine the scope of that authoritys command? Is not wanting to be punished sufficient reason for doing this act she would otherwise not have done? Or does the amount of punishment determine how justified her decision was? What about her own, natural convictions that tell her there is no logical reason why she should not eat the cookie- that it is in fact her natural right to be able to do so? Here we see the necessity of clarifying what is meant by evidence and what constitutes good evidence,

for every reason has many countering ones that put the former into question. Evidence, according to Dr. Nathan Nobis, comes in 3 forms: 1) empirical proof, 2) experience (which at times may be personal and unrepeatable) and 3) pure thought (a priori- as in 2 + 2 = 4) (Nobis). I agree with this assessment. To further this general make-up, I question whether certain of these forms of evidence are greater than the others and in what ways. I answer that no one form of evidence can be held in higher esteem than any other when it comes to belief. If someone were to say they had a strong feeling that the green leaves on a tree were blue, or even that their eyes told them so, that would not be reason enough to justify my understanding trees to have blue leaves. It would, however, serve as justifiable reasoning for that individuals belief that the leaves are, in fact, blue, because their personal experience tells them so, and all understanding, as aforementioned, must be based on some sort of evidence2. The reason why these forms of evidence are sufficient for justifying belief yet not truth (read: facts as ascerDiagram 1- Theory of Truth tained and maintained by society) is because they are personal and only have to be checked by the individual. The truth, then, must be TRUTH checked by a vast greater number of individuabsolute als before being considered valid or true. . . Allow me to insert a very brief explication . of my theory of truth (see Diagram 1) here, . for a familiarity of it will best help round out . and inform ones understanding of my asser------------belief-----------tions concerning evidence and belief. Absolute individually justified Truth exists. It consists of those actualities that cannot be proven here on earth. God (however defined) either exists or does not exist or exFact Lie ists in many forms (polytheism) but no two of particular these can be true and at least one of them must be. Whichever of these statements is an actuality is an absolute Truth that cannot be a fact (little t truth, if you will) yet nonetheless is evidence (empiricism, experience, pure thought) real. On earth, there are certain things that can be and are proven, or at least maintained. That trees (typically) bare green leaves is a universal fact that has been generally accepted by humankind. To (knowingly) assert that this is not so would be to lie- to offer a version of the facts that goes against what has been established as (little t true). Belief, then, rests somewhere between the absolute realm and earth. One must use the facts ascertained here to best determine what may be in the other realm (if such a realm exists). It would not be untrue or a lie, then, to assert that God does not exist- even if in all actuality God does exist, because such matters are weighed on a scale of empiricism that is limited to earthly matters. Such a belief, if unTrue, would rather be a misjudgment of the facts/evidence (that is three-fold) that have been provided us here on earth. It is important to note that while experiential evidence may ascertain fact (experiencing a pain in the leg that you cannot see or simply think, for example), certain experiences (those that are isolated, unrepeatable, and particular- in other words, those experiences that cannot be (easily) universally recognized or acknowledged as having happened- such as feeling or seeing Gods spirit) are often considered insufficient representations of reality. It is belief that makes room for such experiences and allows them to have meaning. I would like to take this time, then, to generally assert the following: The validity of belief can only be determined on a personal, particular scale. My reasons for believing what I do (or even that you should believe the same) do not have to be approved by any other person. Furthermore, they cannot be discredited by any other person3, for in believing what I do I am saying that I have ascertained the facts, judged accordingly, and come to a specific, resultant if not universal or provable conclusion. For this reason, my beliefs meet the evidentialist criteria. Simply put, I have my own reasons for believing
ahead of time


what I do and therefore am justified in believing them. I furthermore have reasons for believing my reasons are good enough from which to base my belief (based on the 3 forms of acceptable evidence). Specifically, for example, I believe in an eternality of the spirit or soul because of the utilization and pure existence of thought itself. I furthermore, feel as though the existence of a being as cognizant, critical, affective, and feeling as I could not exist, and would serve little purpose to exist, for such a limited amount of time. There must be, in my estimation, some grand scheme that gives worth to my temporary state (there must be some reason for goodness and growth that exceeds the good life of humans who arbitrarily ended up on a planet such as ours). While I justify my reasons (a proof, experience or thought) with deeper reasons (that such experiences are justifiable reasons for believing and why), the fact alone that a reason exists for someone is enough for me to appreciate and respect that belief (though I may, even vehemently, oppose such beliefs, based again on my own experiences). 4 Having outlined my theory of Truth, it is safe to say that my religious beliefs both should never change and may continue to do so- and this is no contradiction. That is, my beliefs are (currently) supported and confirmed yet will be so in a new way in the future. For, as my obtaining and interpretation of facts grow, so will the appropriate understanding of God (among other things) therefrom. Likewise, so long as any individuals belief system is informed by any of many reasons that are by their own estimation reasonable, that individual is justified in their belief.

1. Here I am reminded of arguments concerning the foolishness of lying (as a general (moral) axiom): poor communication, absence of any real (or relative) knowledge. The same ideas apply here with reference to belief. 2. Conviction (often confused with or written off as a mere feeling), where a priori thought meets (personal) experience, is an oft-belittled yet pertinent reason from which to form a decision or belief. 3. This is not to say that one cannot or should not take the arguments and claimed experiences of others into account when drawing their own conclusions. 4. This is not to say, I must add, that certain actions that are informed by beliefs should not be hindered, for actions, like earthly truths, can affect a much greater number of persons than those who hold the particular belief. Determining which actions should and should not be monitored is another conundrum of its own.


Nobis, Nathan. Lecture. Philosophy of Religion. Morehouse College. May 2011.



Steal Away to Jesus:

An Analysis of Double Meaning in Negro Slave Spirituals Alonzo Vareen, Morehouse College
Alonzo Vareen is a Senior at Morehouse College majoring in English. His current research uniquely explores the intricacies of the rhetoric of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and the effect it had on members of the Civil Rights Movement. To contact Mr. Vareen, please email him at valonzo12@gmail.com.

rguably, Africans and African Americans created the foundation of the very American culture into which so many Americans today are born and raised. This is nowhere more evident than in the music of this nation. Many forms of music that have dominated American culture throughout the past two centuries were birthed out of African-American culture. Hip hop, gospel, jazz and blues are all genres of this art form that have captured Americas music lovers, holding their attention until other African Americans became bored of their time periods mainstream musical genre and created something new. But from whence did these forms originate? There is only one conclusive answer Negro spirituals. All of the aforementioned forms manifested themselves out of Negro spirituals, for it is from within this genre that African and African-American slaves originally expressed their feelings, prayed to their God, renewed their faith and strengthened their morality. Negro spirituals allowed slaves to believe in the power of the omnipotent One, the One who disliked the sufferings of His people, the One who would soon usher them into their promised land, and the One of the Christian religion. These spirituals, which incorporate the parables and accounts of the Christian religion, helped many slaves endure the hardships and tragedies of the earth, for their faith encouraged them to believe in the glory, happiness and freedom of heaven, which is a utopia that Christianity describes as the place where the faithful Christians will spend eternal life after death. Many spirituals served as a testament to a slaves Christian faith and as a prayer of thanksgiving to the Christian God. However, all slaves were not as acquiescent to their situation. Many Africans and African Americans vigilantly defied their enslavement. When one thinks of the middle passages severity, the physical stripping away of clothing, the fingering of personal and private body parts, the auctions, the separation of families, and the lashes slaves received for remaining faithful to the gods of their ancestors and religion, the question of the African and African-American slaves true devotion to Christianity continuously props up from the cotton-packed fields of history. For those discontent and unhappy African slaves, the stark reality of their situation, as well as that of their African-American children, was truly as black and white as the skin that separated them from equality: they could either conform to their masters culture and keep their lives, or remain true to their African roots and die. In facing such an ultimatum, many slaves decided to create a faade of compliance. This duplicity, which showed itself in the form of Negro spirituals, helped many slaves simultaneously relay their plans for escape to other slaves while singing of biblical figures and stories. This essay will decode and display the double-meanings of Negro spirituals. Looking at Negro spirituals through this vein helps the metaphors and analogies become startlingly clear, for they pervade majority of the spirituals. When mentioned in everyday conversation, most people seem to believe that the double meanings of Negro spirituals only applied to Gods a-Gonna Trouble the Water and Go Down, Moses. The double meanings of these songs, however, extended to far more than these two token representatives of the genre. In fact, this essay argues that whenever a Negro spiritual references the physical world it is really referencing slavery. Contrarily, whenever the lyrics speak of heaven they are really speaking of the freedom land. As with majority of Negro spirituals, both heaven and the natural world are mentioned at some point; therefore, I posit that these double meanings that have been attributed to these common themes can be found in most
ahead of time


Negro spirituals. In the spiritual City Called Heaven, the singer laments the struggles of the earthly world and tells his or her listeners Ive started to make heaven my home (Gates and McKay 10). If this text were taken literally, the listener would be subject to the pain and sorrow of the singers earthly life. Furthermore, the listener would be obliged to state that this particular slave has no hope for the earthly world. He or she has given up on the belief that justice can be achieved or reached within the world and has decided to wait on the happiness of the afterlife. Im in this wide world alone. No hope in this world for tomorrow . . . My mothers gone to pure glory. My fathers still walkin in sin. My sisters and brothers wont own me . . . Sometimes I dont know where to roam (10) The singer of these lyrics can be viewed as a man or woman who has lost all desire for a better life. But if looked at through the lenses of double meaning, the same individual can transform from the singer of a dirge to the singer of determination. It becomes a song that almost promises a tangible outcome on earth, for each verse ends with the singer [t]ryin to make heaven . . . start[ing] to make it . . . tryin to get in . . . start[ing] to make it my home (10). Looking at heaven as the freedom land, the listener becomes aware of the fact that this slave is ready and willing to escape from bondage. Despite the fact that his or her father is too content to be persuaded, he or she is moving towards freedom. Another Negro spiritual that displays these double meanings exceptionally well is Steal Away to Jesus. Within this text the singer encourages him or herself, as well as those listening, that they must steal away to Jesus . . . steal away home (14). Heaven is not blatantly stated throughout this text, but one can infer that going to Jesus means going to heaven, for, in the Christian religion, heaven is the place where Jesus resides. Home is also a symbol of heaven for many Christians, for Jesus promised to prepare a home in heaven a home not made by mans hands for all those who believe in Him. So the singers determination to steal away to Jesus, to steal away home, becomes the singers proclamation to start his or her journey towards heaven. Continuing the usage of double meaning in interpreting this spiritual, one notes that this singers decision is really one to steal away to the freedom land, not heaven. It is difficult for one to believe that slaves smart enough to create songs with so many underlining meanings could have been nave or ignorant enough to believe that they could steal their way into heaven. These slaves were determined to obtain their freedom: I aint got long to stay here. My Lord, He calls me, He calls me by the thunder, The trumpet sounds within-a my soul, I aint got long to stay here. Green trees a-bending, Po sinner stands a-trembling. The trumpet sounds within-a my soul, I aint got long to stay here. (15)



The slaves singing this spiritual understood that their time in bondage was drawing near. They would soon be headed to a land of freedom the north. The aforementioned green trees give reference to nature; therefore, the slaves seem to be speaking of the institution of slavery, at least the plantation on which they worked. Those green trees were a-bending, and those sinners, much like the father that had grown content, as displayed in City Called Heaven, stands a-trembling. The trumpet, the clarion call within their own hearts, within their own souls, was the blast that alerted them of justices close proximity. In extending the connections and synonymous qualities between the words home, heaven and freedom land in the duplicity of Negro spirituals, one finds that Soon I Will Be Done is a spiritual that yearns to be decoded. The singer of this piece says time and time again that he or she will soon be done with the troubles of this world. Once this singers troubles have ended, he or she will go home to live with God (18). This world, or the slave plantation, is one that provides weepin and a-wailing, and through the considerable amount of repetitions, the singer seems to be heavily anticipating the time in which he or she will be done with the troubles of the plantation (18). However, the listeners, and even the singers of such a spiritual, know that there was only one certain way to leave the plantation: death. Purchasing ones freedom and escaping were other ways to be released from the rigors of the plantation, but such a routes were not certain, for masters often refused to allow their slaves to pay for themselves, even after the slave had received the masters word to do so, and slaves that absconded were often found and reprimanded inhumanely. Goin home to live with God, as the slaves sang, is a clear reference to going to heaven, for that is the only place the God of the Christian faith resides (18). Yet, as shown in Steal Away to Jesus, the duplicity of Negro spirituals suggests a synonymous relationship between heaven and the freedom land; therefore, the singer was really on his or her way to a free state. As previously suggested, the repetition of these spirituals also holds significance. For example, in the spiritual Soon I Will Be Done, each verse and chorus ends with either [G]oin home to live with God, or Im goin home to live with God. This is important, because it shows the determination of the slaves to make it to the freedom land. These phrases were repeated at least seven times throughout the song, and the fact that they were sung at the end of each new grouping of thought shows the slaves self-determination. There is a willingness and resolve presented through those lines that is seldom present in any other form of music. Furthermore, the chorus and verses are created in such a manner as to deny the slave any reason for remaining in bondage. Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world, Troubles of the world, the troubles of the world, Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world. Goin home to live with God. No more weepin and a-wailing, No more weepin and a-wailing, No more weepin and a-wailing (17) The chorus itself, a chorus that is repeated at least four times throughout this spiritual, is one that insists its singer be aware of the troubles such a situation harbors, for the phrase troubles of the world is repeated four times in the chorus alone. This means that such a phrase is repeated at least sixteen times by the completion of the song, and that number is contingent on which arrangement of the spiritual is being sung. The power of the first verse, [N]o more weepin and a-wailing, is in the simplicity of its lyrics. One can only imagine the degree to which slaves looked upon and regarded such a place where weeping and wailing were not the norm. The belief that one could obtain such a world by leaving the plantation had to have carried a great degree of persuasion. This reiteration of the slaves actual situation throughout the first verse serves as a verbal reminder of their actual predicament.
ahead of time


Another example of repetitions encouraging role in Negro spirituals is found in Walk Together Children. This is a song that promises a great camp meeting in the Promised Land (17). The Promised Land is a biblical reference to the promise God made to the Hebrews. After helping Moses persuade Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go, God promised the Hebrews a land overflowing with milk and honey, which is referred to as the Promised Land. This allusion is often found in Negro spirituals such as Go Down, Moses. It is believed that slaves used such an allusion because it related so closely with their situation. They also believed that God would also save them. In the context of Walk Together Children, however, getting to the great camp meeting in the Promised Land is the goal of the singer. Metaphorically, the Promised Land is actually the freedom land, and the repetition of [d]ont you get weary is a petition to those preparing, or to those in the act of running away, to continue on their journey. Walk together children, Dont you get weary, Walk together children, Dont you get weary. Oh, talk together children, Dont you get weary, Theres a great camp meeting in the Promised Land. (17) The primary focus of this spiritual is to positively motivate those individuals attempting to escape from slavery. Much like the ending lines in the choruses and verses of Soon I Will Be Done, the repetitive line that ends the choruses and verses in Walk Together Children is also a line of inspiration, for it is a description of what is to come: a great camp meeting in the Promised Land. The African and African-American slaves were introduced to a completely different society once they were dragged off the boats of the Atlantic Slave Trade and placed onto auction blocks. They were given new clothes, new food, a new language, and a new God. Many did the best they could to adjust to the novel and imposed lifestyle. Some slaves did so by acquiescing to the religious beliefs of their masters, finding what similarities they could in the God of the Europeans and the God(s) of their native land. They created songs to help them handle the brutalities of American slavery, a system much different than Africas slave system. Some sang these songs, these Negro spirituals, to celebrate and evoke the similarities they did find in the Gods they had come to know. But there were others. There were African and African-American slaves who refused to comply with the system of slavery. There were those who decided to escape and gain the little freedom they could in such a nation as America. They often found that in order to do so they had to live double lives. A slave might smile in his or her masters face. A slave might display some physical passion and lust with his or her body to his or her master. A slave might have sung songs of religious content with such fervor that the slave master and overseer felt their own souls become erect. Nevertheless, in reality, that same slave smiled because the soup placed in front of his or her master contained poison. In reality, that slave was really using his or her body to gain some level of authority and power over his or her own life. In reality, the passion that exuded from that slaves song was really due to the fact that the slave knew he or she was on his or her way to that great camp meeting in the Promised Land, for the Negro spirituals carry more than melodies, harmonies, and polyrhythmic beats. They also carry double meanings.

work cited.
Gates, Henry Louis Jr., and Nelie Y. McKay, eds. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004.



Within the Border:

Asylum-seekers in Uganda Whitney Skippings-Dupree, Spelman College
Whitney Skippings-Dupree is a Senior at Spelman College majoring in International Studies and Philosophy. Her current research concerns peace philosophies and their relationship to conflict resolution. The paper below is an excerpt from a larger paper entitled, Ugandas Facilitation of Peace in he Great Lakes Region To contact Miss Skippings-Dupree, please email her at wskippin.scmail@spelman.edu.

They may take my home, but they cannot take my future.

any research papers would overlook the treatment of asylum-seekers when detailing a nations foreign policy. Unlike in some other nations, the politics of Uganda outside of its borders are intricately interwoven with the treatment of refugees within its borders. The conflicts which bring refugees to Ugandan settlements are the same ones which Uganda fights to secure its borders. Furthermore, the status of these refugees are overwhelming influenced by the relationship Uganda has with their countries of origin (particularly in the case of Rwanda and Uganda, as will be discussed in detail later). For these reasons, it is extremely important to discuss such politics with those in the fields of refugee studies and international humanitarian aid. This paper uses Nakivale Refugee Settlement as a case study. By no means does it intend for Nakivales situation to indicate the status of all Ugandan-operated refugee camps. Variation among the various settlements that Uganda has operated in the past is acknowledged and accepted. However, Nakivale was by far the most suitable refugee settlement for the purposes of this research.

World Refugee Day

Governance and NGO Cooperation

Nakivale Refugee Settlement has been open for over fifty years to residents from Somalia, Rwanda, DRC, Ethiopia, Burundi and Eritrea, making it one of the oldest and largest settlements in Uganda. The settlement operates under Ugandas Office of the Prime Minster (OPM), with the aid of several organizations, among which are UNHCR, GTZ, Uganda Red Cross, and Danish Refugee Council. Each organization has a very specific mandate which, for the most part, it carries out on its own budget and with its own staff. UNHCR and GTZ present a very interesting symbiosis, wherein GTZ is the operating mechanism for most UNHCR initiatives. Funding for GTZ comes (approx.) 75% from the UNHCR, while 25% is from the German government. GTZ is the Republic of Germanys facilitator for humanitarian efforts, which explains its impressive resume of nations in which it operates.1 Danish Refugee Council, a new NGO in Nakivale with a decade-long history in Northern Uganda, is another operating partner of UNHCR. Contrasting a very broad mandate with a small staff, Danish Refugee Council is only just beginning to integrate itself into the governance of the settlement.2 The Ugandan Red Cross aids under the general Red Cross mandates. It helps primarily in tracking services, and reconnecting families which have been ripped apart during conflict. Compared to UNHCR and GTZ, their operation in Nakivale is pitifully small, but it also has an office in Kampala which oversees the Ugandan
ahead of time


Red Cross mission in the whole of Uganda. Not surprisingly, NGOs seem to have become accustomed to navigating the unique politics of the Ugandan government. When asked how organizations make due when working alongside the government of Uganda, GTZ Project Manager Gabor Dunajszky, said that all parties involved had come to an understanding. He also emphasized that it was much more effective to stay outside of the politics as much as possible. Interviews with refugees unsurprisingly reflected nationality-based stratification within the camp. Fingerpointing abounded, particularly at Somalis refugees from a diverse selection of nationalities agreed that the Somalis were favored. This could be for various reasons. The United States of America only accepts refugees from Somalia. As most refugees in Nakivale are resettlement-seekers, this is likely a large influence. Furthermore, the Somali diaspora benefits largely from resettled families abroad who send money and resources back to the Nakivale Somali community. These ideas are largely unsubstantiated, and further research would need to be done to truly validate these claims. However, it is worth noting that when asked how they make money to support their families, numerous women of varying nationalities said cited washing clothes or completing other household chores for Somali refugees in exchange for a few thousand shillings. The claims of inequality ended here. Food, refugees and Nakivale staff alike agreed, was at a mandated amount varying only by health issues and length of time spent in the settlement. As of January 2010, rations are as follows: EVIs and New Caseloads Cermaz (Maize): 15kg/person/month Pulses (Beans): 1.8kg/person/month Vegetable oil: 0.6kg/person/month CSB: 1.2kg/person/month Salt: 0.15kg/person/month Old Caseloads (Five years + in Nakivale) Cermaz: 7.5kg/person/month Pulses: 1.08kg/person/month Vegetable oil: 0.48kg/person/month CSB: 0.0 kg/person/month Salt: 0.0 kg/person/month -UN/WFP Standard Rations While beans and maize are provided per the ration allocations cited above, charcoal for cooking is the priority of the refugees. This is counterintuitive at best, and forces the refugees to wander into dangerous nearby forestry to gather firewood. NGOs play a large part in the logistics of the settlement, providing food and other goods for those who reside, but the security of the settlement lies mostly with the Ugandan government. Apparently the protection does not extend into the forest where the residents gather their firewood, as many accounts were heard of aggression faced while there. James3 presented one such story from his home in New Congo4. His daughter was one of many refugees who reported being raped in while gathering fire wood. The thirteen year-old birthed a baby this past January as a result of this defilement, and remains ill after the arduous birth. In most cases, the attackers remain unknown. Some refugees stated with certainty that the perpetrators were Ugandans from adjacent neighborhoods, while others never got a glance at their rapist(s). Another issue discovered in New Congo was of the prominence of prostitution within the younger generation. With few choices by way of income-generating activities or education, the fourteen year old daughter of Marie, a Congolese refugee, had taken to prostitution in order to earn a steady wage. According to her, other refugees in the settlement give her daughter money for sexual acts she also claimed that NGO workers had also benefited from services.5 Tears in her eyes, she cited the need for more youth-focused organizations to deter children from selling themselves. This are only a few of the security issues which were uncovered during interviews at Nakivale,



showing that reform is needed in the security provisions of the camp.

The peculiar situation of Rwandese6 refugees

On Wednesday, Ugandan police mounted an operation to round up and deport some 1,700 people from the Nakivale and Kyaka refugee settlements in south-west Uganda.7 This excerpt from a UNHCR press release is is direct contrast with Article 33 of the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees which bans refoulement in the following terms: No Contracting State shall expel or return (refouler) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, member- ship of a particular social group or political opinion.8 In relation to the July 14th incident, UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Flemming said, In the Nakivale settlement, Rwandese asylum-seekers were assembled on the pretext that they were to be informed of the results of their asylum claims. Panic spread among the group when police intervened, firing shots. Force was used to push people onto trucks, They were then driven across the border to Rwanda, where they arrived the following morning.9 This reflects a grave infraction on the behalf of the Ugandan government, and succeeded in simultaneously dismantling the trust of the refugees that reside within Nakivale. The Rwandese population has been particularly affected, and believe this to be only one of many government-facilitated security infractions against refugees. This is part of a larger issue underhanded partnership between the Ugandan and Rwandan officers, mentioned by a Rwandan asylum-seeker named Stefan, This office of OPM.... I cannot know if he is working for the government., he is working for himself, or Rwanda.10 According to the fears of many Rwandese refugees and asylum-seekers, corruption runs rampant, even in the organizations, such as UNHCR. Forced repatriation is also encountered by refugees living outside of Nakivale. Prominent Rwandese refugee leader Jean-Claude took it one step further, asserting that it could indeed happen to refugees of all nationalities. But he refuses to be taken without fighting first, and has already begun a petition to be sent to the OPM, which he hopes will influence their decision to revoke refugee status this coming December.11 Regardless, many refugees cited disappearances of refugees and asylum-seekers Jean-Claude claimed that financial compensation could be used to buy ones safety. Otherwise, refugees discovered by spies ran the risk of being one of the numerous disappearances hes noticed.12 While interviewing Rwandese refugees, many claimed the existence of planted spies in Nakivale and Kampala. These agents were living among the refugees, gauging their resentment toward the Rwandese government, and reporting their findings. Many of these claims remain unsubstantiated; while some percentage of their testimonies are likely hyperbolism, a large quantity of the refugees seemed to be terrified of an impending violent repatriation process. This process, according to a refugee named Alain, was inevitable, particularly with the impending revocation of Rwandese refugee statuses in December.13

Destination or Pit Stop?

Most of the subjects interviewed in Nakivale had no intention of being staying in Nakivale any longer than necessary, yet had little to no hope for the future of their original nations. However, life in the settlement, defined by lack of education and sufficient food rations has made Nakivale unsuitable for raising children. With these two major facts in mind, the only hope many of these people have for themselves rests on resettlement in
ahead of time


another nation. This is a source of much tension amongst the communities at Nakivale. Congolese, Rwandese, Ethiopians all claimed Somalis have the only ones to get resettled. This only continued to fuel the feeling of inequity throughout the camp. While interviewing the urban refugees in Kampala, the refugees said the same, and claimed that Somalis were the only ones to be repatriated. This claim has yet to be formally substantiated, however the Chairman of the Somali refugees in Nakivale was able to confirm that the Somalis were the only nationality currently undergoing resettlement en masse. Refugees come to Uganda out of necessity, with a large percentage of them having no intention of returning home. Ethiopian refugee, Solomon, came to Uganda after facing unwarranted jail time and torture at the hands of his government. Now suffering from appendicitis, he bides his time at Nakivale until he can be resettled to a place with the capacity to treat him. Hes been in Uganda for two years now, with numerous letters from the Ugandan government and settlement NGOs confirming his ailment, but also confirming a lack of funds and staff to treat him. For Solomon, Uganda holds no hope for him, only death as a result of his untreated condition. For Solomon, resettlement is the only savior from the pain and the continued manhunt.14 To those who feel as though Uganda does not help them, resettlement is the goal. For Jeanne, a Burundian asylum-seeker who has already been denied status once, she sees no other alternative. Uganda is not bad. They receive people, its peaceful. But people disappear, and children are sacrificed.15 Her suspicions seemed wild, but the concern for her two daughters was sincere. She thanks Uganda for doing what they have, but recognizes a need for she and her family to move to another nation. There is no life in Uganda, she said.16

Flying Under the Radar: Refugee vs. Undocumented Asylum-Seeker

For those denied refugee status, resettlement to another nation is not an option, forcing them to make a life in Uganda to the best of their abilities. In The Invisible Refugee Camp, author Lacey Andrews Gales introduces local integration as a solution to refugees who remain unwilling to return home even after origin and host states agree that conflict is ended. Local integration, as she describes it, was a wide phenomenon in Guinea following the deactivation of Sierra Leonian refugee camps.17 In some cases, it relied on the Guinea governments respect for naturalization clauses in the Refugee Convention of 1951, which reads: The Contracting States shall, as far as possible, facilitate the assimilation and naturalization of refugees. They shall in particular make every effort to expedite naturalization proceedings and to reduce as far as possible the charges and costs of such proceedings.18 While the scenario differs, this is the route that innumerable amounts of self-proclaimed refugees take after being denied refugee status. These people refugees by situation and self-proclamation, yet merely migrants by Ugandan law-- have found that returning to their country is not an option due to whatever conflict they have left behind. Furthermore, they lack the funds to continue to another country where they might try to earn their refugee status with a clean slate. Interviews conducted with those a part of the large community19 in Kampala revealed that they live a life startlingly similar to that of the highly contested undocumented citizens of the United States of America. Unable to legally work for the government (or at all), they make a living doing manual labor and other under-the-table jobs. Those that have the capability move from Kampala and mingle with the various village populations.20 After failing to earn refugee status, the Ugandan government gives asylum-seekers one month to leave the country. When asked whether these people actually leave, Stefan, a undocumented Kampala resident responded, Ah, they dont leave it is not okay to leave, because even, they do not have a passport, you do not have transport money, and you dont know where to go. So they flee to the villages. 21



These populations follow the theory of local integration, making small wages and renting homes from Ugandan citizens at inflated prices. As undocumented residents, they are exploited for their labor, because they cannot get help from the police or any other organization.22 The lives these undocumented asylum-seekers live are difficult; unable to ask for help, yet barely able to help themselves. However, each of these migrants will assert that they are in danger, and should be eligible for the illusive refugee status. With the violence and/or persecution theyve left behind them, there is little chance they will return, instead choosing to live this life, flying under the radar.

The Road Ahead: A comprehensive conclusion

To devote oneself to a holistic understanding of any facet of Ugandan politics is ambitious at best, considering the amount of knowledge that is kept from the public. A primary example of this was in the discussion of the June 14th incident at Nakivale. The final count of casualties remained unconfirmed; the range of answers given always varied between two and twenty. This, more than anything else, added a strong undertone of frustration to this research project. However, an analysis of surface politics shows that Uganda does much more than many of its neighbors to facilitate the peacefulness of the Great Lakes (and more inclusively East African) region. In the cases of Somalia and Sudan, it has definite self interest guiding its decision to work so diligently toward peace this is not necessarily a negative, as the safety of ones state is of the highest priority, and both states conflicts have previously spilled into Ugandan borders. This is in stark contrast to DRC, where the current barrage of treaties are an effort to cease a history of Ugandan malpractice within the country. In Rwanda, the situation is much less conclusive than the others politics between the Rwandan government and Ugandan government are seemingly underhanded, and fueled suspicions in Nakivale. Weighing negative against the positive actions, Uganda has clearly risen to the occasion under many circumstances, even if the motivations behind the actions may not be entirely altruistic. Hosting the 50,000 refugees at Nakivale is a case in point; the refugees are not treated with immense respect for their human rights, yet Uganda certainly allows them a safer livelihood than in their war-stricken homes. Provisions for food, while small, are provided at the behest of NGOs, who assert the Ugandan officials are satisfactorily cooperative (with noted exceptions). Taking all of this into account, it seems as though the Ugandan government recognizes, in taking the initiative within the Great Lakes region, a need which it has the capability to fill. For this reason, it hosted refugees from several East African nations and beyond. It continues to do so because it generates good favor and international attention (of national governments, supranational organizations, and non-governmental organizations). Uganda does little by way of acting as though it truly wants to help refugees, and that reflects in the number of refugees interviewed who see Uganda as merely a sojourn on their path to resettlement. However, Uganda wants development just as importantly, it wants acclaim and recognition on an international scale. The path it has chosen to this end is a potentially fruitful one, involving leadership positions in AU and UN peace initiatives, and instigation of pacts and treaties in the region. A great gesture in theory, these initiatives and treaties are useless unless Uganda takes further initiative in the functional internalization of the words which it signs.

Policy: Without implying that the systems which are successful in other nations will unquestionably work in all nations, it is asserted that Uganda would greatly benefit from a comprehensive, nationwide foreign policy. This would concretize the actions of the MoFA in the eyes of the international community, as well as provide an element of consistency across administration/regime change.
ahead of time


Whether or not such documents are ever drafted, it is imperative that Ugandan action echo what little foreign policy guidance is already in existence. The basic tenets of international cooperation and peace, and the stance against discrimination and corruption are judicial on paper, but honorable in practice. Refugees: Furthermore, Ugandas treatment of refugees within its borders could be greatly improved. Certain factors are out of the control of the government, as they are largely overseen by the NGOs on the base. Other changes are completely within their control. Security is one of the issues within Ugandan jurisdiction that should see renovation sooner rather than later. Many people reported rape in areas nearby the camp while getting firewood, and it seems ridiculous that a solution has yet to be implemented. Crimes within the camp particularly the prostitution of the young generation needs also to be addressed. Maries plea for youth-focussed organizations was completely warranted. With few students in school, Nakivale runs the risk of creating a lost generation of those who have grown up lacking formal education, or vocational training. Education needs to be a priority in the settlement, whether or it is conducted in English or French.

Limitations of Research
Time created the most unsurmountable barrier during this research period. While information was easy to gather at the Nakivale Refugee Settlement people were more than willing to tell the stories of their struggles-officials were less than forthcoming. As a direct result of the bureaucratic run-arounds, this paper lacks extensive discussion with officials and policy scholars. Time became a greater limitation when it became known that there was no written foreign policy guidance for Uganda. It then became necessary to comprise a policy by action. This was extremely time consuming, and took time away from the rest of the paper. Lastly, statistical information was another great limitation. Statistics add, amongst many things, validity to a research paper. While they were searched for endlessly, it seems the information is not there, particularly in regards to Nakivale. The cogency of claims made in relation to Nakivale would have benefited from the legitimacy of quantitative data.

1. Gabor Dunajszky. GTZ Project Manager. Personal Interview. 17 November 2010. 2. Jared. Danish Refugee Council Field Assistance. Personal Interview 18 November 2010. 3. In all cited refugee interviews, names have been changed to protect the subjects from negative repercussions. 4. Refugees in the settlement usually lived amongst those from their own nation.Various communities were referred to by the nation of origin, ie. New Congo or New Kigali. 5. Another refugee claimed that he knew of women who were impregnated by NGO workers at the settlement. Documentation was brought to the interview showing that he had indeed made the accusation at a joint refugee/NGO meeting, but that disciplinary action would be taken if he continued to make such claims without substantiating evidence. The letter gave him the burden of proof, alongside the phrase, UNHCR protects refugees from persecution, not prosecution. 6. In this paper, Rwandese is the term preferred over Rwandan. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, both present the same grammatical derivative of Rwanda. While the authors personal preference is for Rwandan, the decision to use Rwandese was made because the official name of the country is the Rwandese Republic, and the refugees refer to themselves as Rwandese, not Rwandan.



7. UNHCR condemns forced return of 1,700 Rwandans from Uganda .UNHCR Press Releases. UNHCR, 16 Jul 2010. Web. 27 Nov 2010. <http://www.unhcr.org/print/4c406edb6.html>. 8. United Nations.Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Geneva, 1951. 9. Ibid. 10. Stefan. Rwandan Asylum-Seeker. Personal Interview. 23 November 2010. 11. Jean-Claude. Rwandan Refugee Leader. Personal Interview. 12 November 2010. 12. Ibid. 13. Alain. Rwandese Refugee in Nakivale. Personal Interview. 16 November 2010. 14. Solomon. Ethiopian Refugee in Nakivale. Personal Interview. 18 November 2010. 15. Jeanne. Burundian Asylum-Seeker. Personal Interview. 12 November 2010. 16. Ibid. 17. Andrews Gale, Lacey. The Invisible Refugee Camp: Durable Solutions for Boreah Residuals in Guinea.Journal of Refugee Studies21.4 (2008): 537-552. Web. 24 Nov 2010. 18. United Nations.Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Geneva, 1951. 19. Figures confirming the actual number of denied refugees living in Uganda were not available. When asked to estimate, interviewees claimed upwards from 40,000 people from East African nationalities, particularly Rwandese. 20. Stefan. Rwandan Asylum-Seeker. Personal Interview. 23 November 2010. 21. Ibid. 22. Ibid.

works cited.
Alain. Rwandese Refugee in Nakivale. Personal Interview. 16 November 2010. Andrews Gale, Lacey. The Invisible Refugee Camp: Durable Solutions for Boreah Residuals in Guinea.Journal of Refugee Studies21.4 (2008): 537-552. Web. 24 Nov 2010. A Worsening Humanitarian Crisis.The Suffering of Somalia. UNHCR. Web. 27 Nov 2010. <http://www.unhcr. org/pages/4b603d826.html>. Dolan, Chris Dr..Uganda Strategic Conflict Analysis. SIDA Department for Africa. Edita Communications; 2007. Print. Durch, William, et al. Ending Congos Nightmare: What the US can do to promote peace in Central Africa.International Human Rights Law Group. October 2003 Eriksen, Stein Sundtl. The Congo War and the Prospects for State Formation: Rwanda and Ugande Compared.Third World Quarterly 26.7 (2005): 1097-1113. Web. 29 Oct 2010. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/4017806>. Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of DR Congo, 16 Oct 2002, UN Doc. S/2002/1146. Gettleman, Jeffery. Africas Forever Wars:Why the Continents Conflicts Never End..Foreign AffairsApr. 2010: Web. 22 Nov 2010. <http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/02/22/africas_forever_wars?page=full>. Jean-Claude. Rwandan Refugee Leader. Personal Interview. 12 November 2010.

ahead of time


The Presage is an independent student-produced publication. The documents within these pages remain the sole property of its authors. This issue of The Presage was created in Adobe InDesign, output as an Adobe PDF, and uploaded to Scribd. Additionally, diagrams were created and text edited in InDesign. The fonts used in this text are italic, bold and medium adaptations of Minion Pro and Travelling Typewriter. Spot colors are Pantones 619, 5753, 5813 373 and 607 EC. No version of this text was printed in any form.
Book designer: Whitney Skippings-Dupree

the presage.
thepresagejournal.tumblr.com vol. 1 | issue 1 September 2011

ahead of time