This month we're reading Jam on the Vine, LaShonda Katrice Barnett's fascinating and gripping novel of life as a female African American journalist in the early 20th century. A perfect complement to the age of "intersectionality", Jam on the Vine features Muslim characters, gay and bi-sexual characters, and feminist characters, unafraid to speak out and to be themselves. Like role model Ida B. Wells, Ivo and Ona, the heroines of Jam on the Vine take on racism without apology. In her fictional newspaper, Ivoe boldly states:
"Whitecappers, Ku Klux Klan, police, and lynchers beware! The black worm has turned. The United States has done much to stoke the embers of unrest. But a race that has furnished thousands of the best soldiers that the world has ever seen will no longer be content to turn the left cheek when smitten upon the right. Vigilante rule shall not prevail".
When we think of African Americans during this time period, we often leap to stereotyped images of quivering terrified victims, or docile servants. It's good to be reminded that even during the worst of the Jim Crow years, "The Nadir" of African American life, there were courageous men, AND women who stood up to injustice and tyranny.
For a brilliant nonfiction take on the significance of African American Newspapers, read The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America.
See you May 17th! We've still got copies of Jam on the Vine at the 2nd floor desk.