November 16, 2005

DuBois- Not Just a Town in PA

"The function of the Negro college, then, is clear: it must maintain the standards of popular education, it must seek the social regeneration of the Negro, and it must help in the solution of problems of race contact and co-operation. And finally, beyond all this, it must develop men."

Taken from W.E.B DuBois' The Training of Black Men, this quote struck me. The essay describes the importance of education for the African-American, as well as the struggles these men had to endure just to be educated in the first place. Originally, blacks were seen as less smart than whites, therefor they were not educated as well. However, with progression, they rose to do earn their right to learn.

DuBois has a lot of hope for educated black men, as evidenced by the quote. He believes they can change the ideas and assist in the development of men- all men, black or white. It is inspiring to see this attitude from a black writer. While others chronical their pain and struggles, as they rightly should, it is nice to see DuBois (and Washington for that matter) provide hope for black men.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 11:10 PM | Comments (2)

November 15, 2005


"In my early life I used to cherish a feeling of ill will toward any one who spoke in bitter terms against the Negro, or who advocated measures that tended to oppress the black man or take from him opportunities for growth in the most complete manner. Now, whenever I hear any one advocating measures that are meant to curtail the development of another, I pity the individual who would do this."

I enjoyed how Washington did not harbor any resentment towards those who oppose African Americans in Two Thousand Miles for a Five-Minute Speech. Instead of being like others who, in his situation, may have had ill feelings towards others and reveleved in these feelings, Washington rose above this to pity the other person. Those who deny the advancements of others, according to Washington, deserve to be pitied for their naive thoughts and actions rather than scorned for what they have done. An interesting thought, considering the time.

What caught me in both texts was the almost "celebrity" status Washington seems to have with his speeches. His take on the African American life at the time inspires others through his words- white and black alike. In a time when oppression towards blacks was incredibally prevelant, he became a strong force in changing the views of the ignorant.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 12:25 AM | Comments (5)

November 13, 2005

El Bloggingo Portfolio

Welcome to another installment of my amazing blog. Enjoy!


Walden Selections- Part one of the Walden readings
Conclusion-Part two...
Silly Bird-That crazy raven
Poe Poems-Thoughts on Poe's poetry
Dickinson- Emily Dickinson to be exact
Dickinson Round Two-Twice?
Huckleberry Finn- Amazing conclusions on an amazing novel
Huck Finn Essays- Every good book deserves a good essay
"The End. Yours truly, Huck Finn."- A good sign off I think
Zip-A Dee Do Dah- Not the Disney ride
John Henry- The steel driving man


Silly Bird
Huckleberry Finn
"The End. Yours truly, Huck Finn."
John Henry


Walden Selections


Walden Selections
Poe Poems
Dickinson Round Two
Huckleberry Finn
Huck Finn Essays
John Henry


Walden Selections
Silly Bird
Poe Poems
Huckleberry Finn


Stacy Estatico- Huckelberry Finn Intro
Stacy Estatico- Dickinson Selections
Meredith Harber- Emily D
Ashley Holtzer- End to Huck Finn
Ashley Holtzer- Hurray for Huck

Random Post- That it is

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

November 9, 2005

John Henry

I've heard the story of John Henry before, yet I don't exactly recall when or where. I was younger and, honestly, I'm surprised I remember it at all. At the time it was just another ballad. (Actually, I think I just heard the story and never the actual song until now.) Now, after I reread it again, I see there is much more meaning to it.

I read the original, prision crew, and folk version of the song. All were, of course, similar in there general theme. However, in the folk version, the language was distinctly different- "folkish" I guess one would call it. It just sounds like some traditional song one would sing in the back woods, while working. And it probably was. Since the song describes the hard plight of a working man, the ballad may have been used as a sort of encouragement.

The prison crew version almost seems like it is about honor. John Henry must make his father proud by being a steel-driving man, just as he was. He must work hard to keep his wife and father happy. In the pursuit to bring this honor to his family, he works himself to death. For a prison crew, the idea of honor and respect for their family may have been a consuming thought for the men.

Overall however, "The Ballad of John Henry" provides commentary on both technology and race at the time of it's creation. Henry dies because he is fighting to save his job from the technology which threatens to take it away. Technology at this time was taking many jobs away from the working, especially the African-American workers. The ballad gives insight on how these workers felt at the time (like they had to work to prove themselves) and what it meant for them (working still eventually lead to death or, on a less morbid note, loss of jobs).

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 1:49 PM | Comments (3)

November 7, 2005

Zip-a-Dee Do Dah

I love this ride at Disney World. I hate to say that my first encounter with this piece of literature is through a stylized amusement park ride, but it's true. Ah America...

These stories, while barely a page long, took me awhile to get through. Again, it's the language thing. (Always is, hm?) I know that it is written true-to-life in a dialect. I think that's great- better to be truthful than to make the characters talk in formal English. However, being raised in this era, in the north, I just can't seem to get a hold of the language very well.

I thought I sort of knew the story of Brer Rabbit, Fox, and Bear. Because I went on one Disney ride. I was so wrong. "Uncle Remus Initiates the Little Boy" was a great introduction into the saga of these characters. Brer Rabbit's whit is shown throughout, making him the protagonist of the story. Could he represent something else though? Most tales of this era had some inner meaning, some moral. What can we see from these?

"The response of Uncle Remus led to the earnest recital of a piece of unwritten history that must prove interesting to ethnologists."

I loved the "Why the Negro is Black" story. Instead of being another racist tale, this one attempts to unify the theory that "we're all the same". It's a lovely message now, and especially then. The idea of all people being the same and our only difference is whether or not we entered the pool is a nice thought for this time- one that surely wasn't the norm. A wonderful story to tell the little boy; I could see people using one with a similar message now.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 11:59 PM | Comments (4)

November 2, 2005

"The End. Yours Truly, Huck Finn."

I wish I could say the end of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was a surprise but, after reading the essay, I knew what was going to happen. Regardless, still an interesting ending.

"...and so there ain't nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I'd a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn't a tackled it and ain't agoing to no more."

For some strange reason, I love this quote. It doesn't exactly add much, or anything, to the overall story other than ending it. Yet I find it funny and highly original how Clemens uses the idea that it is Huck writing a book and not him. You didn't see that much in the literature of the time, or even now. Also, (since this is all I practically blog about with this novel) Clemens skill of using language is once again shown strongly, even in a short sentence. It's grammatically incorrect and almost makes me cringe while reading it, yet shows that as much as Huck may have grown throughout his adventure, he is still a boy and conncected to his "roots" and hadn't become too "sivilized".

"...because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can't stand it. I been there before."

Sorry Ashley, not to use your same quote, but it ties in with my previous one. For all the growing or changing Huck may have done throughout his journey, he is still the boy who wants to go out an have adventures- not be tied down by rules and conventions. Having to be "sivilized" means not being able to explore which, possibly, gives him more of an education about the world than he would learn in a "sivilized" school.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 11:10 AM | Comments (1)