February 18, 2011
by Junior Tidal
Observe Black History Month by checking out the most recent library exhibit, which features books and posters celebrating the life and achievements of Harriet Tubman, Curated by Diane Wilson, Marta Effinger-Chrichlow and Karl Botchway. This exhibit is part of a series of events scheduled on campus this month.
Click below for a fuller reflection on Harriet Tubman by Dr. Tshombe Walker.
African cultural survivals refer to those elements of traditional African culture that arrived with African people enslaved in the Americas. Cultural survivals consist of both the tangible/artifactual as well as the intangible/ psychic aspects of African Culture. The tangible aspects include but are not limited to music, dance, language, folklore, medicine and cuisine; while the intangible refers to the various features of an African cultural orientation or worldview. Examples of the intangible aspects of culture include traditional values, spiritual beliefs, aesthetic sensibilities, and behavior patterns.
Examinations of African cultural survivals are fraught with controversy in that there are two schools of thought on the question. One school, characterized by the works of E. Franklin Frazier, holds that African Americans lost all traces of their past when they were violently uprooted from Africa and subsequently transplanted in the Americas. The other, lead by Melville Herskovits, rejects this notion that the enslaved African arrived in the Americas devoid of all aspects of their authentic culture.
The African American Studies Department’s celebration of African cultural survivals in the Americas focuses on Harriet Tubman’s heroic legacy of African liberation. Sister Harriet’s cultural legacy spans various aspects of African culture in America including the resilience of the African identity, music, spirituality, folklore and medicine. As such, her life’s work as liberator and freedom fighter dispels the persistent myth African cultural vapidity while pointing to a heretofore unacknowledged legacy of African humanism.