Founded 2010

This Blog is a companion component of CAT113 ~ AFRICAN AMERICAN TRADITIONS,
Bloomfield College, Bloomfield, NJ


Monday, March 16, 2015

SIGNS & SYMBOLS: Part II ~ African Images in African American Quilts

Special thanks to our guest speaker Wednesday, March 18th: 
Glendora Simonson 
of the Nubian Heritage Quilter's Guild
Exerts from 
SIGNS & SYMBOLS: African Images in African American Quilts 
by Maude Southwell Wahlman

This week we are looking at a study of symbols that impact African American traditions. The  above publication is the result of years of research study and travel to rural communities in the South, by author Maude Southwell Wahlman, who begin to analysis the relationship between African symbols and its American counter part in African American quilts... 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

LECTURE #3 :: SIGNS & SYMBOLS: Part I Adinkra West African Symbols

Our study of signs and symbols that have impacted African American traditions began with a survey of the stereotypical images in the DVD: "Ethnic Notions." How generations of African Americans were portrayed as the Mammy, Uncle, Coon, Pickaninny, or Sambo. Restrictive models and myths that characterized the African as fun loving, indifferent dancing darkies without dreams, born to serve the white populations of western society. Physically exaggerated caricatures who were either docile or savage depending on the political and social agenda of the time. Symbolism with such far reaching impact, that remnants of those stereotypes still remain to this present day...

Monday, February 2, 2015

LECTURE #2: Colonial America and the Gullah Culture....

Painting by Joshua Johnson, early African American portrait artist

Exerts from LECTURE and VIDEOS...
1700 -1820

When John Hawkins returned to England in 1562 with several hundred slaves captured in a buccaneering raid on the Spanish Main, Queen Elizabeth pronounced the deed 'detestable' and predicted that it would 'call down vengeance from heaven upon the undertakers of it.' But the when the profits which such ventures would bring were pointed out, she demurred in future opposition. Nonetheless, the English were of no significance in the Atlantic slave trade until almost a century later.

Slavery was crucial to the formation the of African-American identity, as well as the American identity.... Shaping the lives of white and black Americans, and providing the context in which the nation's economy, political and society context was developed... You have to understand, that in the midst of this economy driven depraved system of buy and selling human beings, American material culture was being born...

PROJECT #1 The African Mask (omitted)

Mask called "Obalufon", 14th-early 15th. century copper

Iron Technology

The use of iron and development of its technology in Benin kingdom has had influences in the state-building process. Iron technology led to the development of weapons which changed the character of war. Generally, in West Africa, the states that rose to power in the period between 1400 and 1700 AD such as Benin, Nupe, Igalla, and Oyo in present day Nigeria, dominated others partly because of the advantages in the development of iron technology. The earliest known iron working in sub-Saharan Africa was discovered at the site of Taruga in present day Central Nigeria, where an advanced iron technology existed as early as the sixth century BC. Archaeological excavations unearthed a number of iron-smelting sites at Taruga, with radiocarbon dates from the fifth to the third centuries BC.

Thursday, January 22, 2015



This blog will be the place I post most of the information important to this course. Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with its content, and sign up to be a follower, so I know that you have been here. CLICK the link below to read the rest of the article that shows you how to join the Blog.


THESE READINGS ARE NOT FOUND IN YOUR COURSE TEXT. The Following articles are meant to provide a foundation for all that we will study this semester. PLEASE READ THESE TWO ASSIGNMENTS BEFORE BEGINNING READINGS AND IN CLASS WORK:
(click words below to link to article.)