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loisleveen's Comments

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'The Twelve Tribes of Hattie': Ayana Mathis' Debut Novel Is the Next Oprah's Book Club Selection

'The Twelve Tribes of Hattie': Ayana Mathis' Debut Novel Is the Next Oprah's Book Club Selection

Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 14:49:00 in OWN

“Congratulations to Ayana Mathis -- it's what every novelist dreams of!”
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Presumed Incompetent: Breaking the Silence of Racism in Academia

Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 11:02:17 in Books

“As a white woman whose field was African American literature, I had quite a view onto the way my colleagues of color were treated. As hard as it was for me to convince departments that ethnic lit was a legitimate field of study a white faculty member should "bother" specializing in and white students should study, my journey wasn't nearly as difficult as that of my colleagues who were courted by departments and then set on a path of extra advising, extra committees, skepticism regarding their research and teaching, and ultimately being denied tenure.

I've since left academia and publish about African American lit and history for mainstream audiences , but the loss of one more white woman from the academy isn't nearly as problematic as the loss of so many women of color (and men of color) who are indeed wrongly "presumed incompetent."

-Lois Leveen, Ph.D.

Langston Hughes on Mar 20, 2013 at 22:49:11

“Thank you for post and your work. I must point out, though, that *all* of us are "ethnic," not just some of us. This gets to the heart of the problem: the normalization of whiteness and white privilege, as well as racism and white supremacy, and all that flow from them, which makes . I'm not saying you are any of these things, but even the term "ethnic" used in the narrow way you are is problematic. I imagine that you do know this, though.”

GAYF on Mar 8, 2013 at 14:20:54

“Thank you loisleveen. When I proposerd courses in African American and other ethnic studies I was told, "We don't have enough black students to take the courses." My protest that the courses were not only for black students but for students, period, I was not heard--of course. We are less than tokens. Like the little blackamoors in Renaissance paintings, all dolled up--for show.”
huffingtonpost entry

How Historically Accurate Is "Lincoln" the Movie?

Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 21:28:34 in Entertainment

“One of the ironies about creating a "work of art that blends fiction (such as invented dialogue) with fact" is that you sometimes get more slammed for the fact than the fiction. In the final scene of THE SECRETS OF MARY BOWSER (HarperCollins), a novel based on the true story of a former slave who became a Union spy in the Confederate White House, Abraham Lincoln visits Richmond after the Confederates have fled the city. Entering the Confederate White House, he takes a seat behind Jefferson Davis' desk. Hokey? Maybe. But, historically accurate, according to Northern reporters who were in Richmond covering the visit. Readers can take it as a storybook ending, more metaphoric than believable--yet it's true.”
huffingtonpost entry

What, to a Novelist, Is the 4th of July?

Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 02:10:18 in Books

“Thanks, Marilyn. As the scene in Secrets of Mary Bowser suggests, even August 1 celebrations might become targets of racist violence. Is the Roper narrative newly released?”

Marilyn Wise on Jul 5, 2012 at 12:59:53

“No, it is included in "I Was Born a Slave", Volume 1.”
10 American Heroes You Didn't Know About

10 American Heroes You Didn't Know About

Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 02:11:28 in Books

“If you're interested in more on Bowser, check out the new novel THE SECRETS OF MARY BOWSER from William Morrow/Harper Collins

The New York Times will be running a piece in the next week or two that includes new research on Bowser's life before, during, and after the Civil War.

But the wikipedia entry--and many online and print sources--state "facts" about Bowser that are not actually proven. For example, although my research reveals that Bowser used several aliases, there's no source indicating she used the name Ellen Bond. Lots of places state that she did, but they do it without citing any reliable source. Still, a fascinating hero, by any name!”
10 American Heroes You Didn't Know About

10 American Heroes You Didn't Know About

Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 01:58:15 in Books

“For more on Mary Bowser, check out THE SECRETS OF MARY BOWSER, a new novel from HarperCollins/William Morrow that gives voice to this amazing woman. (

The New York Times will be running a piece by in the next week or so about Bowser, with new research on her life before, during, and after the War.

As for the Wikipedia, almost everything in that entry is unsubstantiated . . . for example, I've never found a source that documents the use of the name "Ellen Bond" by Bowser, although I've found evidence of her use of several other aliases throughout her life.

But the comments a're right--it makes a great novel, and may be a movie, too.”
huffingtonpost entry

Passover in 140 Characters

Commented Apr 14, 2009 at 21:53:47 in Healthy Living

“y matzh?y bitr herbz?y2x dip?whazzup w seatz? 1haste2slavry3brxNtearz4weRfree

78 characters with the spaces. sure it’s hard to decipher, but no harder than Hebrew, for those of us who are still reading that phonetically based on our lousy Hebrew school training oh so many years ago.”