“An extremely accessible and compelling work.”
Journal of Appalachian Studies
Red, White, Black, and Blue began as a collaborative memoir by William M. “Bill” Drennen, a European American, and Kojo (William T.) Jones, an African American. These Appalachian men grew up in the South Hills section of Charleston, West Virginia. As boys they played on the same Little League baseball team and experienced just one year together as schoolmates after the all-white Thomas Jefferson Junior High School was desegregated in 1955. After that, class, race, and choice separated their life experiences for forty-five years.
In 1992 both had returned to Charleston from lives mostly lived elsewhere. They decided to work together on a memoir of growing up through the trauma of desegregation. Their aim was to foster understanding between their distinct cultures for themselves and for their own and future generations. Dolores Johnson, in editing the two texts, observed two very different modes of expression: Bill Drennen’s narrative is threaded with references that connote wealth, status, and personal privilege; Kojo Jones’s memoir is interwoven with African American signification, protest, and moral outrage.
The stories of their Appalachian upbringing in homes less than a mile apart are anecdotal in nature, but their diverse uses of the English language as they endeavor to communicate shared memories and common meanings reveal significant cultural connotations that transform standard American English into two different languages, rendering interracial communication problematic. Dr. Johnson’s analysis is to the point.
Red, White, Black, and Blue is a groundbreaking approach to studying not only cultural linguistics but also the cultural heritage of a historic time and place in America. It gives witness to the issues of race and class inherent in the way we write, speak, and think.
A professor of English at Marshall University, Dolores Johnson is the author of Not a Story to Be Told: Discourse, Race, and Myth in Huntington, West Virginia Newspapers, 1872 and 1972 and articles on teaching strategies for the multicultural classroom. More info →
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The English middle class in the late nineteenth century enjoyed an increase in the availability and variety of material goods. With that, the visual markers of class membership and manly behavior underwent a radical change.
Opera houses were fixtures of Appalachian life from the end of the Civil War through the 1920s. The only book on opera houses that stresses their cultural context, Condee’s unique study will interest cultural geographers, scholars of Appalachian studies, and all those who appreciate the gaudy diversity of the American scene.
History · Appalachian Studies · 19th century · History | Modern | 20th Century · Americas · North America · United States · Appalachia · Theater - History and Criticism · Literature · American History · Ohio and Regional
Phu Rieng was one of many French rubber plantations in colonial Vietnam; Tran Tu Binh was one of 17,606 laborers brought to work there in 1927, and his memoir is a straightforward, emotionally searing account of how one Vietnamese youth became involved in revolutionary politics. The connection between this early experience and later activities of the author becomes clear as we learn that Tran Tu Binh survived imprisonment on Con Son island to help engineer the general uprising in Hanoi in 1945.
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