September 15, 1963: A Poem

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Dear Readers: I wrote the following poem over ten years ago, after listening to John Coltrane’s “Alabama,“ a song he wrote in response to the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, an event which resulted in the deaths of four little girls. At that time, I was living in Talladega, Alabama, […]

Teachable Racial Moment ("Twerking" Late Edition): Forget Miley Cyrus. It’s ALL About Katherine Dunham.

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For the last few days, I’ve been reading about Miley Cyrus’s VMA—ahem—performance,  which included her attempt at the African/American dance called “twerking,” and which apparently convinced a lot of people that it was okay for women (of any race) without rhythm to try anything that involved booty-shaking. There were a lot of parents upset that […]