The Oxford Companion to Black British History

Found this little gem in my local public, library. Well not little, it’s darn near textbook size. Can’t wait to read what it has to say about Arthur Murray and Dido aka Belle.

This volume serves as an encyclopedia of sorts, to subjects in Black British history. It is a must have for anyone wishing to research this topic. Simply look up an entry then head to the bibliography for more in depth info.

Rachel Miner and that ‘peculiar institution’

She was amazing in Roots; playing a southern planter’s wife who is secretly opposed to slavery. This is the sort of three dimensional portrayal I discussed in the prior post, although her character opposes the ‘peculiar institution’ for moral reasons and not the self interest that I mentioned before.

It may have been possible to show her attempting to appeal to other Southern women’s self interest and this potentially leading to her downfall. But that’s just me.


Watching Roots,got to admit I like this new interpretation. Especially, the way they used the same actor for Kunta Kinte. More believable that he never lost his accent. Wish, they’d done the same with Kizzy.

Another interesting point, is that they portray the female characters using a more feminist approach. Missy is shown to develop a friendly yet unequal relationship with Kizzy. Looking for a companion that will never turn on her, someone she can confide in who will never betray her to her peers, because she can never be one.

Later Kizzy has another similar relationship with the wife of her new master (despite her knowledge of his dalliances), teaching her to read. She does this, knowing that Kizzy has more knowledge of the upper class than she as well as the ability to read.

This is a curious viewpoint. White Women in slave narratives are often shown to be vengeful harpies, not as actors in their own right. They are, after all, the second most powerful group in 19th century American society,  albeit a distant second. We can assume they would make accomodations and foster relationships advantageous to themselves.

Finally, why this portrayal. Is it merely our more modern sensibilities that cause us to show women as not being so one-dimensional or is it to insure Black and White Women vote for Hillary, maybe a little bit of both.