As promised, I’ve been meaning to write a post specifically about the Philippines-related articles in the October, 1900 issue of Colored American Magazine (the issue with the Pauline Hopkins’ short story “Talma Gordon” in it).
But in the end, I can’t think of anything to say, except: read the articles for a view of what some contemporary Black American writers had to say about U.S. expansionist policies at the time, and about their various perspectives on the world in general. Read multiple issues from The Digital Colored American Archive, for that matter. I’ll just quote a passage that caught my eye, from the article “Negro and Filipino,” which was reprinted in the October 1900 issue from the Lewiston Journal (author unknown):
Political demagogues who cry upon the corners for liberty to the Tagalogs and the Sulus shut their eyes and ears to the disfranchisement of this people whom Lincoln freed.
Anti-imperialists who sweat blood because McKinley, in obedience to the Senate, assumes to place the flag in Manila and to defend it there, are silent over the act that Louisiana and Mississippi pass laws that admit the vote to white men who cannot read or write and deny it to black men because they cannot read or write.
The fact is, that here in this nation the very sins which they wrongfully impute to the Republican party in the Philippines, they cultivate and promote within the body politic of the states of the nation that hate the Negro and seek to relegate him to ignorance and superstition in order to perpetuate his servility and his dependence.
I’m still planning to read John Edward Bruce’s The Black Sleuth, another early Black American detective novel, but I got distracted by the arrival of Issues 14 and 15 of The Green Book, published by Swan River Press. Not this Green Book, of course; “green” as in Ireland. Issue 14 has some has some delightful reminiscences and a few ghost anecdotes by and about notable figures in Irish fantastic literature. Issue 15 is basically a little impromptu anthology of mostly supernatural fiction, whose only theme is “writers born in Ireland.” Fun stuff, and since I’ve been reading detective fiction for the last month or so, it was good to get back into some ghost stories.
I recently started taking Hula lessons (I’ve been wanting to for a while), and this inspired me to dig W.D. Westervelt’s Hawaiian Legends of Ghosts and Ghost-Gods (1916) up from the dusty depths of my ebook collection and start reading. Just a little bit at a time, but I’m enjoying it so far.
And while I was rummaging through my ebook collection, I found Zen Cho’s Spirits Abroad collection, which I’ve bumped back up near the top of my TBR list (my churning, ever-changing TBR list…). It’s on my Kobo now. I’ll probably start interleaving it with the Westervelt, which I suspect will create some interesting mis-rememberings of stories in my mind, at some point in the future.
But I’m not done with detective fiction yet. The Black Sleuth is sitting on my desk as I write this. I’m looking forward to reading it.
Hope you all are doing well in these interesting times. Cheers.