Black History Month: Selections from Special Collections

This year for Black History Month, the libraries have highlighted a range of research materials that could assist students and faculty studying black history in Canada and beyond.

There is a display of materials on the first floor of the Scott Library put together by librarian Patti Ryan, featuring a microfilm of archival material relating to the Black United Front of Nova Scotia.  You can read more about this material here.

For the month of February, adjunct archivist Julia Holland has gathered together a selection of front page news images from Contrast  from the 1970s, as well as a selection of photographs from the Toronto Telegram regarding the Caribbean-Canadian community in Toronto.  You can view these in the exhibit case outside the archives on the third floor of the Scott Library.

As always, researchers can use the great African Diaspora research guide   by YUL librarian Norda Majekodunmi. This research guide features library and online resources and databases for scholars searching for periodical information and primary source material regarding African Diaspora studies.  It also includes a section on Black History in Canada.

Research sources for black history, cultural movements, and expression

Canadian newspapers

contrast bannerhead

Contrast is a weekly newspaper “serving Canada’s Black Community” since 1969. Toronto is its major focus, but it does carry national and international news items. The newspaper switched to online publication in late 2012:  http://contrastnewspaper.com.

The Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections holds some copies of Contrast  while a more complete run is available in Scott Microtext.  Link to the catalogue record can be found here.

Other black Canadian periodicals of interest held in Scott Microtext

Dawn of tomorrow
call number: HT 1581 A2 D382 MFILM
London, Ontario
1932-1972

The Canadian Negro
call number: HT 1581 A2 C342 MFILM
Toronto, Ontario
June 1953 – Dec. 1956

The Black voice
call number: HT 1581 A2 B582 MFILM
Montreal, Quebec
1972 – 1974

Uhuru
call number: HT 1581 A2 U52 MFILM
Montreal, Quebec
1969 – 1970

Music

Scott Joplin ragtime compositions

The John Arpin Sheet music Collection contains many early pieces of jazz music, including some composed by Scott Joplin, one of the most famous ragtime composers.

Link to sheet music by Scott Joplin here.

Link to more digitized sheet music from this period available on YorkSpace here.

The historical context of ragtime, early jazz and minstrel music in North America is complex and problematic. When it comes to the digitizing historical sheet music, many of the more disturbing elements of cultural appropriation, race politics, stereotyping and stock characters such as Jim Crow, rise to the surface.  For more information about the challenges of making historical minstrel music available to online researchers, see Maurice Wheeler’s article “Politics and race in American historical popular music: contextualized access and minstrel music archives”, Archival Science (March 2011), 11 (1-2), pg. 47-75. Online article available to York University community members through the library website here.

Down beat

Cover issue of 1952 issue of Down Beat

A jazz music journal out of Chicago, there are a number of older issues held in Special Collections. Link to catalogue record available here.

Dance

Portrait of Katherine Dunham from "Panorama de la danse en mil neuf cent cinquante deux" by Magdeleine E. Cluzel.

Katherine Dunham is known as the ‘queen mother of black dance.’ The archives has a number of publications related to her work.

Katherine Dunham presents Bal Negre.
Link to catalogue record here.

Katherine Dunham and her company in tropical revue
Link to catalogue record here.

Las danzas de Haití by Katherine Dunham (Spanish version by Javier Romero)
Link to catalogue record here.

Panorama de la danse en mil neuf cent cenquante deux by Magdeleine E. Cluzel (features work by Katherine Dunham).
Link to catalogue record here.

Sheet music from John Arpin Sheet music Collection featuring work by Dunham for Albert Lewis’ production of Cabin in the Sky from 1940 available here.

Link to materials featuring work of Katherine Dunham in Special Collections here.

Early editions of work by James Baldwin

Uncorrected galleys of 1963 Dial Press edition of James Baldwin's Notes of a native son

Notes of a native son by James Baldwin.  “Uncorrected galleys distributed by Dial Press”.
Link to catalogue record here.

Nobody knows my name by James Baldwin.  From the library of Rabbi Gunther Plaut.
Link to catalogue record here.

Another country by James Baldwin. From the library of Margaret Laurence.
Link to catalogue record here.

Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin. From the library of Margaret Laurence.
Link to catalogue record here.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.
Link to catalogue record here.

A rap on race by James Baldwin and Margaret Mead.
Link to catalogue record here.

Full listing of work by James Baldwin held in Archives & Special Collections, see here.

Members of the Négritude movement in France

AimeCesaire

State of the Union by Aimé Césaire. Translated from the French.
Link to catalogue record here.

Poemes by Léopold Sédar Senghor .
Link to catalogue record here. English translations and introduction by John Reed and Clive Wake available here.

Anthologie de la nouvelle poesie negre et malgache de langue francaise by Leopold Sedar Senghor with essay “Orphee noir” by Jean-Paul Sartre.
Link to catalogue record here.

Lost Body by Aimé Césaire. Translated from the French. Featuring illustrations by Picasso.
Link to catalogue record here.

Pigments : Névralgies by  Léon-Gontran Damas. Featuring illustrations by Max Pinchinat.
Link to catalogue record here.

L’étudiant noir, student magazine started by Damas, Césaire and  that was main source for French colonial students in France involved in Négritude movement.
Link to online resource here.

Black Canadian poetry and performing arts

LillianAllan

Rhythm an’ Hardtimes by Lillian Allen. Link to catalogue record here.

Performance Bound by Wayde Compton. Available from SMIL.  Link to catalogue record here.

Illuminated Verses by George Elliott Clarke.  Link to catalogue record here.

Avec tes motes by Angèle Bassolé-Ouédraogo. Link to catalogue record here.

Showing Grit: showboating north of the 44th parallel by M. NourbeSe Philip. Link to catalogue record here.

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