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  He loved Louisiana and told me stories about his upbringing in the state.  He also loved

New Orleans and this is truly reflected in his poem, "I  Am New Orleans." He also

had a keen interest in the unique  architectural design of various buildings in the city




Memories of Marcus B. Christian

New Orleans Poet, Historian, Educator

By Deborah Parker Cains


Marcus B. Christian was a unique individual in that he was both an intellectual and a gentleman from the "old school of thought."  Not only was he wise but also he was articulate.  Sometimes he appeared shy, but this was a part of his demeanor.      

He was very talkative, animated, and a captivating and inspiring lecturer.  Students enjoyed  visiting his office in the History Department, which was filled to the brim with papers, books, old machines, various clothing items, and several comforts of home.  

I remember sitting in his office-- which I did on numerous occasions-- just to talk or listen to him discuss history and read his poetry.  Sometimes as he read his poems, he would exclaim, "I have a new poem that I want to read to you."

There were folders and folders of papers in his office.  He typed on an old manual typewriter in his office and seemed to enjoy interacting with his students as he typed.

Sometimes I would see Mr. Christian as he walked down  Elysian Fields Avenue from the bus.  Some of my contemporaries said that he walked to the campus from his home in the 9th Ward.  Some even said that he often slept in his office.  He was always on campus very early and he usually was there late in the evenings.  

If I can remember correctly, I also saw him driving an old luxury car sometimes.  He had cups in his office for tea and coffee, and he would offer me a drink.  He was comfortable in his office.  

Many times during his conversations, he put his hand on the side of his face, close to his ear.  He never got tired of  sharing his countless stories, and I must admit that whenever I had a break I would visit his office  to listen to these interesting stories.  Sometimes he would share copies  of his poems with me.  

He loved Louisiana and told me stories about his upbringing in the state.  He also loved New Orleans and this is truly reflected in his poem, "I  Am New Orleans." He also had a keen interest in the unique  architectural design of various buildings in the city, and sometimes his stories focused on this interest as well.

Mr. Christian viewed poetry as beautiful and expressive, and he enjoyed reading poetry out aloud, and his love of poetry intrigued and influenced me a lot even to this day. I  too have  a great appreciation for the arts, and I find myself reading poetry out aloud to my students just to hear the beauty of it, just as he did.

I remember his swift walks in the  hallway of the second floor of the Liberal Arts Building, where the History Department was located then. He often wore a suit jacket, most times with unmatched pants. He was always on time for class.  

Mr. Christian's personality was meek, yet strong.  He was always busy, but never too busy for student visits. Sometimes we students would make attempts to clear space in his office, but that was  somewhat of a difficult task. His office was literally occupied with valuable piles of paper of his notes and other projects, books, and memorabilia.

Many UNO students were inspired, captivated, and impressed with him, and many visited his office just to hear his stories and appreciate his hospitality. A great number of students, including myself, admired Mr. Christian fondly, looked up to him for both his intellect and his eccentricities.  I am sure that if he were alive today, he would be ecstatic about having such an outstanding journal as a tribute to him!  I can close my eyes and see his humble but grateful smile.

During the 1970's, while Christian taught at the University of New Orleans (UNO), Deborah P. Cains was an undergraduate and student worker in the History Department.

Deborah P. Cains is a native New Orleanian.  She attended public schools in New Orleans.  She received her B.A. and M. Ed degrees from the University of New Orleans. She is presently working on her doctorate degree in English. Presently, she is an Assistant Professor of English and Administrative Assistant to the English Chair at Southern University at New Orleans.  She teaches various writing and literature courses.  She also teaches creative writing.  She is a published writer and  poet.  She has been invited to read her poetry and lecture about a book she co-authored about  the life of a civil rights activist from Louisiana throughout the city including the University of New Orleans among others.  She has been a guest poet on the SUNO's Library Annual Poetry program for the last several years.  She has presented papers and served as secretary and chair of sessions at several regional and national conferences in her field.  She has been a guest on radio and television programs as well.  She is co-editor of The SUNO Review, a scholarly journal of the Arts and Humanities.  She is the mother of two wonderful daughters and also has  a poodle, named John Shaft.

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 12 May 2012




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