February is a symbolic month for nostalgia, remembrance, celebration, and the teaching/learning of the past inorder to inform actions in the present and to prepare the young for the future.
Two books were published in 2015 that are remarkable in theirpresentation of the sophisticated public relations techniques enlisted by two icons of the abolitionist movement: Sojourner Truth
and Frederick Douglass
. Both people were very aware of, and concerned about, their public images, how they wished to be perceived, what uses could be made of the photographs taken of them and for what purposes. In September, 2015, a review in the New York Times
discusses Enduring Truths: Sojourner's Shadows and Substance by Grimaldo Grigsby
and Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century's Most Photographed American by Stauffer, Trodd and Bernier
.Which photographers they gave their business to, what backdrops were used and how they posed, were all part of how they wished to deliver their messages to the public and posterity.
Another book that attests to the both strengths and perseverance of the human spirit and the scholar who did the research is reviewed
by chef Alexander Smalls
in the New York Times. This labor of love, The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks by Toni Tipton-Martin,
is a tour de force. Ms. Tipton-Martin has surveyed 150 cookbooks by African American women from the time of slavery to the 20th century. She continues the conversation with a blog
of the same name. And, for a discussion of the newest wave of young African American chefs, be sure to check out this article
This post began with photos, books, then food. And now for the drink! This blog has previously covered African American winemakers
, of which there are few enough, but there are currently two breweries in the US that are owned and operated by African Americans: the Harlem Brewing Company
in New York City and the Cajun Fire Brewing Company
in New Orleans. Read an interview here
. A toast to these exciting entrepreneurs and artisans.