Black History Month: Black culture in literature

SALISBURY, Md. – A professor at Salisbury University is highlighting the importance of education and recognizing cultural contributions not only during the month of February, but all year long.

Dr. James King, who is currently teaching African-American Short Story and Intro to African Literature, among other classes says his students are learning about authors’ writings that facilitated change in the African-American community and created dialogue between that community and the dominant culture.

That change was rooted in creating Black characters that were not shameful or mocked, but had purpose, which spoke out against injustices.

Now, as a professor who teaches Black History, the importance of this month is not limited to February for King. However, he says this month nonetheless holds a strong significance that should not only be celebrated, but also taught and learned then put into action to make a change.

“The important thing to do in my opinion to do is to get from the standpoint of conversation,” said Dr. King. “We talk ourselves to death and we can impact people, we can change the way people think and feel to some extent, but until there is action connected up with that the sentiment is hollow, its empty. So March, April, May, and the rest of the year make things happen.”

An example of how Salisbury University is making things happen, according to Dr. King, is that faculty members are currently reviewing the addition of a new major and minor called Africana Studies.

They also recently had an Anti-Racism summit and there are discussions of a study abroad in Ghana after the pandemic.

He also says for anyone who wants to learn more about the African-American culture and the fight he recommends two books: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and James Baldwin’s Another Country.

Categories: Black History Month, Local News, Maryland