Bog 5 make up

A serious shrug, everything seems untouchable and incomprehensible at this point (surely a modernist anxiety). Winkiel does a good job of not being too prescriptive in her analysis of the anthology. Locating identity, history, and perspectives on race becomes increasingly difficult (considering how many are included in the anthology). In many ways, this seems to be beneficial to the discussion of race and social identity (of course over determination is always bad). I think the anthology is struggling with its position and determination of race in modernism. For instance, “The intention of the anthology, Cunard claims, is to speak from within and to a newly visible collective (“coloured people”) who announce their presence and engagement in modernity. (522) Note: I am confused initially by the use of the term modernity. Is this use of the word equating modernity with relevance? Winkiel aptly addresses the problems of romanticism and the otherwise suspicious editorial positions in the anthology. Her reading nonetheless exacerbates the problem (it must), even when her perspective and criticism is productive.

Winkiel repeatedly questions Cunard’s romanticism but instrumentation is equally dangerous. Her assessment of the anthology places it within the scope of modernism or counter-modernism (they seem very similar). She suggests that the incomplete and failed representation of coherent (ideal) black national perspective, identity, and voice is implicit in Cunard’s anthology, which in some way represents counter-culture. Trying to distill this perspective, consider “This politics of reading is not straightforward. Rather, it is angled, asymmetrical, and refracted through black relations to the white world. (522) The anthology’s deconstruction of black identity stems from a diverse list of topics and contributors. While I am fully aware, that text enmeshed in an ideology can nonetheless be used to subvert or deconstruct the dominant narrative. What I am trying to get at is that a text Like W.E.B. Dubois’s Black America, the task of deconstructing narrative is not explicitly a modernist behavior; rather his position and clarity elicit the anxiety of modernism. Identity, power and narrative is actually diffused throughout society it not just a characteristic of literature and a text.

I do appreciate Winkiel reinterpretation of productivity (I am swerving a bit). It becomes the duty of the reader to establish a better more productive reading. “These disparate pieces build a sense of unity in difference, a transnational allegiance against racism. Moreover, its “accumulative force” of meaning depends upon its readers’ experiential encounter with it. Nowhere is this more evident in Negro than in its diverse musical scores…that demand its readers’ participation to make meaning. One needs to “play” or “hum” Negro. By “arrangement,” each article, photo, and poem contributes to a heterogeneous, fissured understanding of the black diaspora. (522) Nonetheless, It is still through traditionally productive narratives that meaning and value is established. We need productive readers, who are intelligent enough to arrive at this same critical perspective. The problem most readers should face is Cunard’s conception racial identity and politic. This is a failure to recognize privilege. Fractured social identity takes precedent as a literary concept rather than a real lived condition.

I am trying to express in mild terms my anxiety about Winkle’s evaluation of the anthology and its place in modernism. In many cases, fracturing perspectives (seeing what is absent) contributes to a more comprehensive and critical perspective. One perspective may destabilize, challenge, or reinforce another, this is good. Yet, Winkle’s assessment minimizes the problem of Cunard’s editorial stance. The work of modernism can be done aside from the anthology. Winkle’s criticism does not fully grasp the problem of the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist agenda that is lends to the anthology. The material and social reality of life is bound by capitalist ideology, there is not a place outside of it, even in writing. What trouble me is that Winkiel’s reading cannot be reconcilable by a writer like Dubois who is largely concerned with the advancement of his people, whose well being depend on material conditions of living as well and intellectual advancement. That being said, I do feel that my position is produced more from anxiety inspired from modernism rather than any actual failure in Winkiel’s criticism. Everything feels so unstable, especially counter-modernism, where do I stand?

Amber Lee Blog 5 Make-Up

In the article, “Nancy Cunard’s Negro and the Transnational Politics of Race” Laura Winkiel very often makes a claim that Nancy Cunard’s Negro Anthology contains a multitude of “contradictions.” The “contradiction” that I find the most fascinating is “between detailing the horrors of colonization and racism and its jubilant and often primitivist celebration of popular black entertainers” (Winkiel 509) as if the experience of a black person in the modernist times cannot be both jaded and hardened by the world they live in and freely laude those who are successful and give them joy in life. I find that Laura Winkiel stating this as a contradiction when she also calls the anthology “far more than a rigid dichotomy, the anthology aims at a ‘panorama’ of black struggles and achievements against a racist modernity” (Winkiel 509) to be an interesting turn. It seems that Winkiel has some contradictions of her own in this article. It should be noted that while an anthology on a group of people should show the good times and the bad, we need to see the layers that go into them. The anthology shouldn’t be seen as a rigid dichotomy of joy and struggle because people’s emotions aren’t one or the other. I will explore what counts as a struggle and what counts as an achievement through the two sections “Hitting Back” by Henry Crowder and “Three Great Negro Women” by Gladis Berry Robinson to examine how the two explore the “panorama” of the struggles or achievements.

“Hitting Back” by Henry Crowder is formed as a series of vignettes (quite appropriate for an anthology) about times that he fought back against racism in his home. These events range from a joke that revealed the seriousness of the world to straight up brawls between white and black people. Even from the title, the reader can see this is a story of struggling against white superiority and racism. What is harrowing about these events is the casuality of them. The third vignette is about the author going home to where his father lives during the Atlanta riots and making a joke about demanding to be let in the house. After he realizes that the joke is going too far and gives his name, his father opens the door with a shot gun. The author solemnly states, “I will never try that kind of joke again” (Cunard 117) thus showing the audience that even joking about the riots under-cutted the seriousness of them and how they were affecting people. People were so riled up and afraid, that his father went to the door prepared to kill and die. This is particularly effective because it shows how people could become disconnected to what was happening around them because it was so common, but at the end of the day, people were dying and scared. The sixth vignette is about the narrator and his friends happening upon a group of white men beating one lone black man in the street, so they intervene and scare the white people away. Again, there is a casual tone about this story. Many of these stories are about one black man facing a beating from multiple white men for no good reason until more black men come and the white men back down. This story shows how common violence was. These stories make it especially clear that white men were very willing to beat a black man, but didn’t want to risk their own hides in a fair fight that the black men were willing to fight. This paints the white men as bullies, but also shows the kind of fear that a black man had when he was alone on the streets, because he could always get jumped. There is a bitterness in these stories, but I think they show a strong variety in the type of violence against black people that occurred and how common it was.

“Three Great Negro Women” by Gladis Berry Robinson is the telling of the lives of three great black women: Phillis Wheatley, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman. These women are inarguably some of the greatest women in American, if not world, history. Each section on each woman starts as historical retellings of the women’s lives and what they did that made them great with some personal comments from the author, especially for Phillis Wheatley. For Phillis Wheatley, the author takes note of how great her poetry and prose was despite the fact that she was born a slave and not appreciated for her talents. Truth and Tubman both fought for emancipation and freedom for black people and women’s rights. What is interesting about these women is that Phillis Wheatley sticks out a bit as not being as prominent and active as the other two, yet she is placed first. Her inclusion shows that the author doesn’t need great women to lecture presidents or be activists to make great strides for black women. Yet, she gets the most personal comments from the author, as if she feels the need to defend her choice to include Wheatley in the mix because she isn’t as obvious a choice as Truth and Tubman. Still, all of these women did what they did in during slavery and the Civil War where there was even more oppression for black women then when this article was written, so the author clearly wants to make a point that great women stand in the face of adversity even in the worst times.

What I like about these two writings is that they show diversity in what it means to succeed and struggle as a black person in America. They are snippets of a greater “panorama” but show great difference in what it means to be black. Both of these writings are anthologies themselves which proves how different the lives of black people can be, but they share enough commonality to be included in the larger work.

Daniel’s posting on Cunard’s NEGRO ANTHOLOGY

Winkiel’s reading of Nancy Cunard’s Negro: An Anthology suggests that the anthology is less concerned with race and more a “document of war against imperialism and capitalism” (Winkiel 50). Looking at some of the surrealist and communist pieces, I want to look at how Cunard’s use of “montage” and her politics of anti-capitalism create the potential to unite two separate movements to create a more disruptive, single movement. .

The gaps that Winkiel focuses on in the text, the non-hierarchical juxtaposition (513) are read not as a problem within the anthology but as a moment that strengthens the Transnational politics. Winkiel’s reading of the montage of the text suggests the possibility of the text creating the potential for a kind of strategic essentialism. By creating a movement unified through its difference. Such a reading allows a politics that fights against the destabilizing effects of slavery and its diaspora of Africans, but does so without risking the movement’s diversity which serves as the movement’s strength. A strength in diversity potentially makes a movement’s cohesion difficult, but Will Herberg’s “Marxism and the American Negro” suggests that class be one issue the movement can rally behind. Herberg’s Marxist reading of the position of the “American Negro” suggests that democracy will fail to produce a true liberating movement of race, and socialism is the best alternative for racial emancipation (Herberg, 134). It may be important to note preceding this article is a narrative interruption that reminds the reader of Nancy Cunard’s limited understanding of Marxism, and quotes her as saying she is more of an Anarchist. While Cunard’s communist influence may be more of a fashion statement, the communist influence by anti-imperialism makes it a necessary component to take her politics to the Transnational level. George Sadoul’s contribution of “Sambo Without Tears” makes this clear.

Sadoul’s article criticizes imperialist cartoons within French Bourgeoisie magazines published for children (yes, children, which makes the cartoons even more unsettling). Sadoul uses Lenin’s claim that the revolt of the proletariat is at one with the struggle of the “negro” (350-1), and his essay serves as an international counterpart to Herberg’s domestic, American politics. Sadoul uses the children cartoons to expose how the images project a savage, immoral, drunkard identity for the “negro” that justify colonial rule. He ends for a cry for workers across racial boundaries unite to connect their struggles.

The note that discusses Cunard’s preference for Anarchism over the dogmatic nature of Marxism suggests that these politics are guided by a more general anti-capitalism/imperialism that Wienkel supports. Wienkel’s discussion of the importance of montage suggests this notion, and what Cunard puts together is less a hierarchical, systematic critique of capitalism/imperialism, but a more de-centered and plural attack. Wienkel reads this move as “recontextualizing white avant-gardist and socialist rupture within an African and African-diasporic modernity”, and this makes me think of the surrealist manifesto within the anthology that attempts to redefine (France’s) colonial wars as civil wars. Bracketing the questions of internal/external that I think can be explored here through (trans)national politics, I think this creates an exciting possible connection between domestic and international politics.

Of course, the limits of Cunard’s politics are clearly exposed by the anthologies critics and its history. The anthology fails to remain historically significant, and Wienkel confirms its existence on the margins through her Walter Benjamin metaphor. Further, the romanticization and fetishaztion discussed in class continue to trouble the anthologies authenticity, but the anthologies ability to create a representation of a “negro” unity transcending nationality (and the racial author—all the pieces of the anthology read for this blog are written by Whites) creates a political possibility that counters the diasporic nature of black culture. The different racial “migrations” (as Helberg calls them, some word choice that may provide a critical distance by suggesting a sociologists perspective, but still rather troubling language) help repress a racial movements effectiveness and power. Cunard’s transnational politics as Wienkel calls them, though still very problematic, offer a good starting point to understanding how social movements can strategically be made up of difference. Instead of viewing such differences as a problem, Wienkel views them as potential symptoms rather than flaws (508). I think that such a reading of the gaps when coupled with the Marxist critiques of class in the anthology offer the potential for a political reading that helps cope with the anthologies problematic cosmopolitanism.

Blog 5 – Karisa Harris-Cleary

We have been and continue discussing the puzzling form of Negro: An Anthology, which contains not only the anticipated variety of writing, but photographs and historical documents as well, organized geographically. Winkiel first introduces the text as a scrapbook-like compilation “from a fringe area,” as Benjamin asserts, but later suggests that it be read more as an event (Winkiel 507). This performative text comes to life through a “juxtaposition between civilized and savage,” a collection of black history ranging from primitive Africa to the oppressions in America and Europe. The interwoven histories create a black transnational identity by opening the possibility of race as a historically and geographically determined conception (Winkiel 513, 514). With this anthropological motive of Cunard’s in mind, the observed romanticizing of the African-American culture throughout Negro remains indeterminately promising as much as it is pushes invasiveness.

There is a sort of disconnect between this black transnationalism and a retrieval of African diasporic life. While preserving African roots is imperative, there was a growing population of post-diaspora black identity that was rooted in America and Europe rather than Africa. Cunard does take this into account through the countless slavery art and archival writings, but she continues to convey this primitive essential notion of the culture. Take the entry, “Negro Sculpture and Ethnography,” which displays assortments of primal African artistic artifacts and even a few from Cunard’s own collection. This is followed by an excerpt from Ladislas Szecsi’s paper “The Term ‘Negro Art’: is essentially a non-African Concept,” where he claims that “The Negroes have been able to create works of art because of their innate purity and primitiveness,” but this was diffused at the intersection of the African and the European (Cunard 413).

This is exactly the type of romanticizing that Cunard and other modernists portrayed amidst this anthropological illustration of the African-American culture, which lead to the scrapbook reading of Negro. As Winkiel expounds, “…even as Cunard romanticizes the vanishing Africa- and African-diasporic ways of life, she… argues instead for an alternative modernity based on black transnationalism” (Winkiel 517). Still, there are moments within this romantic tone of various pieces within the text that construct an uncomfortable prickliness that almost contests those “alternative modernity” motives. Antheil’s “The Negro on the Spiral,” is a prime example of this phenomenon. He romantically declares, “…the Negro has a rhythmic sense second to none in the world… so intricate in rhythmic pattern, so delicately balanced in contra-rhythms and proportions, and so breath-taking in unisons and choral impact are these extraordinary performances” (Cunard 214-215). The uneasiness comes with phrases like “the special Negro throats” and his later notion of the mulatto child of the United States through African-American musical influence (Cunard 215). By elevating this culture so high above all others, Antheil is still othering the identity to an extent that becomes quite circular, just as he, in reference to the voice of African music, defines the throat as “Negro throats.”

Following, of course, is Cunard’s multiple representations of herself as an African-American. No matter how anthropological her perspective may be she will never be able to view the world from the underprivileged subject of the time. Winkiel’s included negative photograph of Cunard with ivory bracelets coiled around her neck does an excellent job of illustrating the borderline distaste of a possible fetishism. She include the caption, which reads: “With the older women these ivories are priceless treasures, and they will endure any hardships in preference to degrading themselves by selling them, however great the inducement may be.” Winkiel then states this noteworthy point that Cunard is referring to that suffering in which she may be partially responsible for in obtaining these artifacts, and then she poses for this photograph with a look of anguish and a symbolic notion of hanging, or potentially even lynching (Winkiel 515).

On the other hand, the geographical organization and historical representation of Negro presents this montage of disconnected pieces that poignantly embody significant and expansive pieces of the African-American identity (Winkiel 514). The gaps between each entry break the flow of a narrative and present an accurately fragmented history, with no room for a “single dominant perspective” (Winkiel 513). If Cunard’s romantic intrigue with this culture wasn’t embedded right into the pages of Negro, it could go without analyzing, but there’s something to be interpreted from this white romanticized perspective of the African-American.

Citations…

Cunard, Nancy. Negro. New York: Negro Universities, 1969. Print.

Winkiel, Laura A. “Nancy Cunard’s Negro and the Transnational Politics of Race.” Modernism/modernity 13.3 (2006): 507-530. Web.

Blog 5

“Negro is a document of war against imperialism and capitalism. It does not deconstruct the color line, but rather seeks to make clear the stakes involved for the underdeveloped world in a situation of on-going capitalist development and bourgeois forms of nationalism.”

This quote is what I’m going to be looking at in terms of analyzing this anthology.  The notion of being anti-capitalist (or, likely more accurately put, the restraints that the capitalism of the time presented the black community) is one that I believe can be dealt with.  Cunard shows an appreciation for the struggle of black people to survive in the economic structure of the time.  The anthology is large and the ways to interpret are myriad, but the way that she approaches the city of Harlem and the manner in which she describes it leads me to think that there was a genuine feeling of respect for the people there.

I’m more familiar with the poem “Harlem” than anything else here, and there is no shortage of controversy associated with Cunard’s time spent in that neighborhood.  There is power in Hughes’ poem, and the language that he used resonated with myself in, I think, a similar way to Cunard.  There is a feeling of being genuine in this poem, and it would appear that Cunard saw how accurately and profoundly Hughes was able to represent that experience.  She references her time, the things that she saw in Harlem, with language that is similar if not directly pulled from “Harlem.”

“This (the ‘negro renaissance’) is not the Harlem one sees.  You don’t see the Harlem of the romancists; it is romantic in its own right. And it is hard and strong; its noise, heat, cold, cries and colours are so, And the nostalgia is violent too; the eternal radio seeping through everything day and night, indoors and out, becomes somehow the personification of restlessness, desire, brooding.  As everywhere, the real people are in the street.”

I want to touch on the term “real” because I think it’s one that has transcended the cultural shifts and social adjustments that have taken place over the many years since this was written, as to how it relates to black culture and city culture, and a culture of poverty that has been a part of the black experience since people started to notice it. To put it plainly, there is a connection between modern black people, (I’ll say that it’s even more relevant with modern black men) and a lady from the 20’s who used the term “negro” on a regular basis. I can’t imagine that anyone would expect that.  However, if you were to walk into a largely black neighborhood and ask people out on the street to define the term “real,” they would have similar definitions, I think, as Cunard has mentioned.  An anti-capitalism sentiment is in effect here, with the results being in the form of describing the idea of living in poverty, of surviving in adverse conditions, of being “hard” and “strong.” People who understand, who get it, who know what life is like and what tough experiences are, are real.  And these people can identify others who have experienced the same.  How well we can label Nancy Cunard as being “real” is up for debate, but it seems undeniable that she is someone who saw black people in a different light, and she took the time and effort to go to these places and experience them genuinely, rather than, as she says, someone who is looking to “go slumming.”

“Notice how many of the whites are unreal in America; they are dim. But the Negro is very real; he is there. And the ofays [whites] know it. That’s why they come to Harlem—out of curiosity and jealousy and don’t-know-why. This desire to get close to the other race has often nothing honest about it. . . .”

Now, the controversy that arose from her trips to Harlem could have been a fair criticism of her “fetishization” of the black race.  It’s difficult to know what her true intent was in her efforts.  The quotes about the people of Harlem being “real” gives her some credibility, in my assessment.  The claim that she is waging war on imperialism and capitalism is fair, at least when I look at how she respected the people of a tough place.

Modernism and Race

For my final paper, I’ve been thinking a lot about why race is such a prevalent theme in modernism.  Other than the historical moment the movement found itself in, it makes sense that such a divisive social construct as race would be under a lot of scrutiny and redefinition by modernist writers.  However, in trying to break down how we had come to categorize human beings, modernists often turned to essentializing as a means to express the virtues of entire cultures and races of people.  Blatant racism is hateful, but well intentioned essentialism is reductive and neither convey the idea that race is truly a social construct.  We saw EM Forster grapple with this in A Passage to India in a very self conscious way and Stein handle it with not so much self consciousness in insisting that Four Saints have an all black cast.  Cunard’s a particularly strong example of this accidental hypocrisy where there seems to be a bit of a disconnect in her aims and her actually writings.  Undoubtedly, her ambitious project that became Negro stemmed from a genuine and admirable desire to show the ridiculousness of racial prejudice and explore the various experiences of black people throughout the world.  However, it is difficult to reconcile this with her blatant fetishization of black culture.  For Cunard, its not always possible to distinguish fetish from a kind of cultural appreciation or to know how aware of her privileged lens she was herself.
Still, it would be easy (and lazy) to see Negro as a sloppy collection of various medias that both fetishizes and victimizes blackness.  As Winkiel insists, Cunard was very conscious of the book’s structure and the pieces she decided to include in it.  By refusing to stick to a specific theme or natural flow in Negro, she creates a “‘refiguration of temporality’ that opens the present moment to its radical incompleteness, its ‘time out of joint”(Winkiel, 522) to reveal that black experiences had always existed and were not only given life by Western recognition.   More than that, it suggests that while much of the modern black experience was shaped by racism and tragedy inflicted by Europeans and Americans alike, there had long been many facets of black culture with a history and heritage independent of this narrative.
Despite the clear objective in Cunard’s ordering of the book, there has to be a deliberacy in her starting off Negro with Zora Neale Hurston’s “Characteristics of Negro Expression”.  It’s a smart choice because it evokes the importance of black self representation in the anthology.  While it appears that Hurston is really essentializing her own race, the essay is much more of a reclamation.  She destroys the idea that black culture is merely a product of failed white mimicry saying that “…the Negro is a very original being. While he lives and moves in the midsts of a white civilization, everything that he touches is re-interpreted for his own use”(Negro, 28).  This notion refutes the silly notion that blackness is only a reflection of whiteness.  It demonstrates that blacks are products of their surroundings just as any one else is, that does not stem from a “feeling of inferiority”(Negro,28).  Hurston explains that the love of mimicry exists independently of whites as though it were an innate quality by describing a group of black children imitating various animals “for the love of it, not because he wishes to be like the one imitated”(Negro,29).  She handles “negro folkore” in the same manner saying it “is not a thing of the past.  It is still in the making”(Negro, 27) forcing the reader to realize that although many white readers may be learning of this genre for the first time it exists outside of modernity and will continue beyond it.  Cleverly, she ends her essay on “dialect”, an oft critiqued “trademark” of African American culture saying: “I am mentioning only the most general rules in dialect because there are so many quirks that belong only to certain localities that nothing less that a volume would be adequate”(Negro 31).  More than just a comment on various dialects, it hints that this tome will not be a large amassment of generalizations about black culture, but an assertion that race is an ever evolving concept with no one absolute identity.  Cunard appears to be in agreement in her choice in beginning the book with Hurston’s essay.  It suggest that “blackness” is not a static concept but one that is ever evolving with a past, present and future, meaning many different things to different people at any given time that transcends temporality.

Winkiel and Slavery Papers

Winkiel comments on page 523 that, “Negro was deeply invested not only in breaking from narratives of Western progress and bourgeois complacency but in presenting an alternative history, that of color.” I found the phrasing here to be particularly interesting, especially her use of the term “alternative history” which others black history. Indeed, Cunard just by putting together this anthology and naming it Negro, she ignores the fact that Western history and African history are inextricably tied together. Negro: An Anthology, presents a “their history” and “our history” situation. This is strange because some of the documents presented in the anthology actually suggest otherwise.

One of the documents I chose to look at was the Slavery Papers, which combines first hand accounts of the horrors of the slave trade along with some commentary by Edgell Rickword, an English communist poet. Rickword’s forward clearly lines up with Winkiel’s claim that Negro sets out to debunk certain notions of Western history. Rickword opens the piece by referring to the “impetuous insolence of Europeans” and follows up moments later by pointing out that the slave trade really grew out of greed. Slyly working his communist agenda into the anthology. Rickword’s project with this compilation is generally without any demerits. He says he is out to show the basic inhumanity of the slave trade and indeed succeeds. It heavily contrasts in a sense with the uncomfortable (for the reader) observational style musings of Cunard’s Harlem Reviewed piece. The recounting put on display in this piece is almost too horrible to approach the idea of being fetishizing.

But even when mere facts are listed, they are still coded by the context of both the anthology’s production and the situation of the reader. One would think that the objectivity of this document would be clear, but in reality it is just as muddied as everything else in the anthology. Rickword clearly sets up some ideas of white culpability in the horrors of certain black experiences. However if we think about Zora Neal Hurston’s opinon as voiced by Winkiel that, “rather than inscribing these remnants onto a premodern past, Hurston demands that they be understood as a confrontation of dominant narratives of modernity in the present moment.” then Rickword’s piece becomes less powerful. He is so focused on presenting an alternative history and ascribing blame for past actions that he, and Cunard, fail to trace the problems of their present to these artifacts that Rickword is presenting.

And much in the way that Hurston explains the white adoption of black music, we can read Rickword’s piece and the entire anthology as whites “adopting and reinterpreting” black history. Rickword practically turns his forward into an anti-capitalist treatise. Had a black writer constructed the forward the context of the slavery papers would feel much different. Instead, we still have a white writer being the one with agency, presenting and interpreting purely black experiences. Moreover, much of the first person accounts from slave ships are from white witnesses who for the most part only account for what they can see, but occasionally attempt to assign motive or emotion to slaves, which is a troubling endeavor.

Slavery Papers certainly sets out to, as Winkiel says, break “from narratives of Western progress and bourgeois complacency.” It also succeeds at this, both in presenting a history that could otherwise be silent and being disturbing enough to shake some of that complacency. However, as Robert McNamara says, both seeing and believing are often wrong, which makes the project of developing “alternative histories” difficult. Rickword is trying to expound on something he really doesn’t have a firm grasp on and furthermore, the whites giving this primary accounts are troubled by their privileged point of view. Slavery Papers is still told through a white lens by nature of the forward and being in Cunard’s anthology. Yet, despite all of the problems surrounding the context of the piece, it remains an extremely powerful read. Rickword succeeds at laying bare the horror of the slave trade in a way that shakes and effects the reader. He ends up fulfilling the first half of Winkiel’s claim, but on the second account the situation remains much less clear.

– Julian Rosolie