About Edward Carson

After finishing graduate school, I accepted a teaching appointment at CAC (N. Little Rock, AR) for four years before arriving at Houston Christian High School, where I taught a variety of courses in the Department of History and Social Science. I currently teach both Advanced Placement United States History and Advanced Placement World History, as well as a Modern World History course at the Brooks School. I have written and presented multiple papers and topics at various academic meetings. Furthermore, I am married to Janette Reeves and have two wonderful cats and a needy dog.

My Week at Fitchburg State University

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Here is my classroom while I am here at Fitchburg State University teaching an APSI European history seminar. Next week I am off to the University of Washington in Seattle to attend and deliver a conference paper at the Society for Values in Higher Education (SVHE). Oh — did I mention I was selected to SVHE society and conference board. I think they will be introducing me next week. I hope to offer my work on Black thought and religion, as well as a multicultural framing of intellectual and cultural thought. I am very confident in my ability to offer a lens aimed at promulgating topics centered along W.E.B. Du Bois’s color line narrative, and how we address that for what he described as the problem. Such notions are critical in the circle of dialogue, as people of color and LGBTQ folk continue to feel marginalized, while our voices are excluded from the cannon of thought and debate.

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Thanks, Brooks School

Dear Brooks Community,

Janette and I would like to thank many of you for helping us reach $750. For the 4th year in a row, we organized with another volunteer to raise money to cater what we call a “special meal” for a food insecure population at Cor Unum. Usually we start earlier in securing funds and organizing the dinner; however, that was not the case this summer. I say this because over the four years of doing this, most of the funds have come from many of you…who were able to give. And while we might not have reached out to everyone on this page, the fact that Brooks community people donated $750 in just two days, speaks for itself. This was a record. It says a great deal about this community. If you would like to participate in serving or assisting, please let us know. We will continue to do this for as long as we are living in the area.

Jim Crow, Minstrels, and Black Resistance

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My lecture in Cambridge titled, The Gospel of W.E.B. Du Bois: The Radical Savior of His People, extended the narrative of class and racial alienation by offering examples of continual forces that have morphed color line tension. If you look at the screen beside me, you will notice an image of JJ from Good Times, as well as an image of  Jim Crow, which was a fixture of the minstrel shows that toured the South; a white man, made up as a black man, sang and mimicked stereotypical behavior in the name of comedy. This behavioral norm continued into the 20th century. The mammy and sambo depictions were felt throughout the television run of Good Times, a popular 1970s sitcom. Though the intent was to showcase black folks in a positive and less stereotypical fashion, it quickly turned into a modern-day minstrel show. One of the main characters, JJ, often depicted the stereotypical buffoon often symbolized in a world driven by white supremacy. There were some good things about this show, as it depicted a hardworking black family working to maintain their unity, even in a world where there were struggles.

jimcrowI noted that W.E.B. Du  Bois addressed the centrality of evil, which was pervasive in an American society fueled with both class and racial divisions. He believed that capitalism was the culprit for such centrality. Du Bois articulated how little has changed in America. Being black and American is a measure in conflict with the ideals espoused by white America. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in America 1860 -1880, pointed to three common themes presented to whites about blacks: All Negros were ignorant; all Negros were lazy, dishonest, and extravagant; All Negros created elements of bad governments. This attitude continued as society advanced into the 20th century; it was here that Du Bois pointed to “the problem of the 20th century is that of the color line.”

1343329785_dynomiteThus, the presentation of black folks to white society continued to illustrate such a problem. Good Times took off when JJ’s actions became reflective of the Jim Crow perceptions and writings found in Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction. White supremacy claimed, as Du Bois noted, that negroes were responsible for bad government during Reconstruction. There are those who further that line of thought today, articulating black dependency on the welfare state. It is the fault of black people for their suffering and urban condition. Yet, the willingness to link modern problems to the ancien regime of Jim Crow is missing. The progressive notion of American liberalism is cloudy. Although assumptions have been made about racial matters of the past, those past matters continue to look us in the face today. They are present on TV shows that remind us of America’s dark history. They are a reflective reality. So when riots take off, I am not sure why folks are surprised. I have been impressed by those who have sat down to look at the extent of deep cyclical pattens and imbedded racism that has remained a constant predator to the color line. Du Bois shared his thoughts here on the just and need for riots.

Putting Wealth & Hate Aside

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At a protest rally in Boston earlier, I told a large crowd of folks that I am not an invisible man. I live in my identity as a Black man born of a Mother who worked crazy hours to support her family. I am a product of my Mother — a Black woman who faced and faces everything from the Jim Crow South to male supremacy. Men determined her wages and standard of living. With age I have continued to develop and grow in the faith of my ideology in working to eradicate struggle.

However, as I noted in an essay I published, working class struggles will continue unless we can address the divide and bring about solidarity. I noted that:

The search for solidarity has escaped white, black, and brown working class people, in part, due to white people’s historical reluctance to embrace shared experiences that cross racial boundaries. Because of recent political news, mass rallies by Black Lives Matter, and the growing concerns about the economic gap, I aim to resurrect past and present conversations about the “working class.” As we know, it is not monolithic. In order to confront working class issues, society must mend the color line through class, which is complex, as the American race question is the real problem.

Paper for the ASA Annual Conference

I have joined a distinguish panel of scholars for the 2018 American Studies Association (ASA) Annual Conference, held in the great city of Atlanta. Our panel, Du Bois Lately: Emergent Critiques of W. E. B. Du Bois at 150, brings together a collection of thinkers who spend a great deal of time pondering Black thought from a global and domestic framework.

Some of my most recent scholarship has explored the nomenclature of Black identity, Black radicalism, and ideology. In particularly, the relationship between Blacks and the Communist Party USA. I published an essay here that explored W.E.B. Du Bois and MLK Jr., and their relationship to race, religion, and communism.

My ASA conference paper, W.E.B. Du Bois’s Evolution into the Communist Party USA, delves into the dawn of the 21st century, in the year many celebrate the 150 anniversary of the birth of W.E.B. Du Bois, much is still to be learned about him as a communist. Carnegie Hall, February 23 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a commemorative speech on the 100th anniversary of the birth of W.E.B. Du Bois. In his speech, King stated, “it is time to cease muting the fact that Dr. Du Bois was a genius and chose to be a Communist”.

This paper provides insightful analysis into Du Bois’s imagination of world revolution. Both his Black Reconstruction and Dark Princess paint the greatness of the Russian Revolution, and the Soviet Union during the Comintern. Du Bois’s imagination after the Revolution shaped a vision for a better world for Black liberation, as Du Bois juxtaposed the Russian workers’ plight to that of oppressed Black Americans and those of the colonized world. However, his contradictions and concerns about communism and that of Josef Stalin denote his sense of self-ideological struggles. Though Du Bois offered a sharp critique of the Committee for International Labor Defense and the Communist Party USA during the Scottsboro trial in the 1930s and during their organizing strategies in the Deep South, his views and trajectory evolved, as his grasp of communism, both domestically and internationally, shaped his evolution toward his eventual membership in the Communist Party-USA.

A twilight Du Bois was energized by the larger stage of the color line and the problems presented by imperialism, and later at the dawn of the Cold War. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in America brought forth the forces that promulgated world revolution. However, he was guilty of miscalculations in making false parallels about the American race problem.