Telisha Dionne Bailey is a postdoctoral fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. Dionne lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has been a member since 2015.
By A J Aiséirithe
Before today’s protests against symbols of American nationalism, or debates about the place of the Confederacy in America’s history and memory, there was Frederick Douglass. In 1852, Douglass asked “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” and in 1870, he questioned the unceasing “laudation of the rebel chief” Robert E. Lee.
Beverly Bunch-Lyons is an associate professor of history at Virginia Tech, National Capital Region. She lives in Northern Virginia, and has been a member since 1995.
Daina Ramey Berry is an associate professor of history and African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas. She lives in Austin, Texas, and has been a member since 1996.
Ikuko Asaka is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois. She lives in Champaign, Illinois, and has been a member since 2005.
Joseph Reidy is a professor of US history and associate provost at Howard University. He lives in Laurel, Maryland, and has been a member since 1982.
Fred Carroll is a lecturer at Kennesaw State University. He lives in Acworth, Georgia, and has been a member since 2007.
In The Banjo: America’s African Instrument (Harvard Univ. Press, 2016), Laurent Dubois weaves a narrative of how this instrument was created by enslaved Africans in the midst of bondage in the Caribbean and Americas. He documents its journey from 17th- and 18th-century plantations to 19th-century minstrel shows to the bluegrass of Appalachia to the folk revival of the mid-20th century. In the process, Dubois documents how the banjo came to symbolize community, slavery, resistance, and ultimately America itself. A historian of the Caribbean and a banjo player himself, Dubois relied on the work of academic historians as well as insights from musicians, collectors, and banjo makers to tell this story.