Monday, Feb 19th

LATEST:
You are here: Supplements Weekender Shujah’s pick of books for “the ‘readingist’ month” of the year

Best_of_2015_587x57_Results

Shujah’s pick of books for “the ‘readingist’ month” of the year

shujah_8by Shujah Reiph

When I first glanced at the Facebook post from Nehesi House at the end of January, about February being "the readingist month" of the year, I had to laugh, because that is a big statement to make without any backup information.

I was about to call Lasana right away, for proof, since he always drills me about evidence and having "multiple sources" when I find some new historical information. Nehesi House is the Facebook page of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). Lasana Sekou is a poet and projects director of HNP. For the annual Black History Celebration (BHC), organized by Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF) in February, I've used a lot of facts and figures from HNP books over the last 24 years. But "readingist" month of the year?

Then I thought about the parts of the USA, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Africa with the extra amount of homework, book reports and interview projects that schools or community centre programmes assign to children in February. More than at any other time of the year, many more of us definitely hear, see and read more about history and culture in news and social media, in February. In St. Martin, as far as I know, only in February will you hear daily history readings, and only on SOS radio 95.9 FM.

Church, community council, library, bookstore, museum and cultural group events pump up the Black History activities calendar in a big way. Politicians big and small jump on the bandwagon, but some leaders in various fields are very conscious about their history and culture. The popularity of Black History Month is still spreading outside of the USA, where it started with historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. A February history programme or social media feed can now be found and shared in pockets of Brazil or Colombia as fast as in parts of England, France, or South Africa.

The overwhelming majority of the month's information for the people loving it, hearing about it for the first time, and those still denying it – comes mostly from books and great books too. Somewhere along the line, you got to read it to get it, to share it, and to benefit from it.

"With the majority of our history worldwide still not being a regular part of most schools as a normal part of history, where it belongs, Black History Month is a standard-bearer. The growing intensity of information feeds the month and the month feeds the year." That's what Lasana e-mailed to me earlier in the year when we were discussing the CLF theme for BHC 2015.

"The facts, figures, and fantasies about history and the history we continue to make in all areas of human endeavour are increasingly being packed into more books and delivered through reading and imaging devices. Don't forget the storytelling, theatre, dance and art exhibitions, movie screening and book launches in February. There're all kinds of new research being pursued, discovered, analyzed and released about many subjects, from history to romance to science. In all of these are the struggles and victories, fantastic stories, about African peoples, Blacks in the Diaspora, including right here in St. Martin – making history in the world." That's what Lasana wrote last weekend when I spoke about writing this article.

It's true that so much information is packed to the roof in February. So I figured that there is something to a statement about reading going up in February. This month I've been invited to speak to larger groups of school children than ever before. But if there's proof about a reading explosion in the shortest month of the year, I had to get my hands on it.

So, back to getting the proof. I took my time a few days after glancing at the Nehesi House post, to really read it: "February might be the 'readingist' month in some parts..." "Might"!? Okay, I had missed that word at the first glance. Then I thought, what kind of a word is "readingist"? Well, that word was between quotation marks, so we all know what that means. Plus, a lot of us know that Lasana's poetry is full of reconstructed words and "getting it" is usually in the context of the poem.

Then it hit me, St. Martin is one of the places in the "some parts" referred to in the post. For some of the same reasons given above, reading about our historical figures, places and events is at its highest across the island, because more than the usual numbers of people are hearing, seeing and reading about many more people, places, and things in history than usual. This is probably what "readingist" means in the context of a celebration of history, in February.

I also read more in February.

Here is my list of recommended good reads for the 24th annual Black History Celebration on the Caribbean island of St. Martin: The Republic of St. Martin and Friendly Anger – The Rise of the Labor Movement in St. Martin, both by Joseph H. Lake, Jr., and Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin by Rhoda Arrindell. If these exciting books are not in your libraries or bookstores, ask the librarians and store clerks for them.

Read on, my good people!

Ed. Note: Shujah Reiph is the founder/president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation, host of Conscious Lyrics radio magazine, and co-founder/coordinator of the St. Martin Book Fair.

Image
St. Maarten midday Weather Forecast for Saturday
Saturday, 17 October 2015
DATE ISSUED: Saturday, October 17, 2015 @ 12:00 LST (16:00 UTC) VALID UNTIL: Sunday midday (12:00... Read more...
Image
SHTA poll: Businesses want anti-ship-jumping legislation
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Click here for SHTA graph pdf PHILIPSBURG--The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association... Read more...
Image
Dominica’s tourism sector ready to welcome visitors after TS Erika
Friday, 16 October 2015
ROSEAU, Dominica--“Dominica is open for business and ready to welcome visitors to its shores.”... Read more...
Image
Reparations Committee: Withdraw Queens’ names from Suriname’s highest mountains
Thursday, 15 October 2015
PARAMARIBO--Suriname’s National Reparations Committee NRCS has filed a request with President... Read more...
Image
Ex-US House Speaker Hastert to plead guilty in hush-money case
Friday, 16 October 2015
CHICAGO--Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is expected to plead guilty in a hush-money case... Read more...
Image
Hillary Clinton to 'look hard' at Julian Castro as possible VP pick
Friday, 16 October 2015
WASHINGTON--Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton won the backing of Housing and Urban... Read more...
Image
Half a million Yemen children face severe malnutrition
Friday, 16 October 2015
GENEVA--More than half a million children in Yemen face life-threatening malnutrition as a risk of... Read more...
Image
Modi to open 70-year-old files in challenge to Gandhi dynasty
Friday, 16 October 2015
NEW DELHI--Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will seek to unravel one of India's most enduring... Read more...
Image
Cuba in cash crunch due to low commodity prices, Venezuela woes
Friday, 16 October 2015
HAVANA--Low commodity prices, a drought at home and Venezuela's economic crisis have created a cash... Read more...
Image
Apple's newest courtroom foe is patent-savvy university
Friday, 16 October 2015
NEW YORK--As a veteran of the global smart phone wars, Apple is used to courtroom battles with... Read more...
Image
Focus needs to be on fighting crime & helping unemployed
Friday, 16 October 2015
Dear Editor, With all of the political situation on the island, we can't lose focus on some of the... Read more...
Image
Had enough
Friday, 16 October 2015
Dear Queenie, My brother died years ago but his widow stayed close to our family. Eventually she... Read more...
Image
RBC St. Maarten Little League School Tournament
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Sister Marie Laurence defeated Leonald Conner in the RBC St. Maarten Little League School... Read more...
Image
Nadal trounces Wawrinka, Djokovic tames Tomic
Friday, 16 October 2015
CHINA-- Former world number one Rafa Nadal displayed more signs of a return to top form with a... Read more...
Image
Junk shop photo spurs quest to confirm Billy the Kid image
Friday, 16 October 2015
DENVER--For the $2 he spent to buy three old photographs, Randy Guijarro may have hit the mother... Read more...
Image
Few signs of improvement for NBA star Odom after collapse
Friday, 16 October 2015
LAS VEGAS--Pro basketball and reality TV star Lamar Odom spent a third day hospitalized on... Read more...
Image
Bruney cruises into retirement
Friday, 16 October 2015
~ After three decade in cruise industry ~   By Alita Singh   Frank Bruney has seen tiny... Read more...
Image
ALL HANDS ON DECK, WE MADE IT!
Friday, 16 October 2015
~ Fair Transport Sailing Vessel Nordlys is launched ~   St. Maarten has been graced by the... Read more...
Editorial - Anybody’s guess
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Governor Eugene Holiday has decided to seek legal clarity on the current constitutional impasse.... Read more...
Editorial - Time is up
Friday, 16 October 2015
With so much ongoing constitutional turmoil, the fact that more than 100 people attended the... Read more...
Image
Saturday Oct. 17, 2015
Friday, 16 October 2015
Image
Friday Oct. 16, 2015
Friday, 16 October 2015
Notices October 16
Friday, 16 October 2015
General Meeting St. Maarten Professional Softball Association (SMPSA) general meeting for the... Read more...
Notices October 15
Thursday, 15 October 2015
General Meeting S.M.P.S.A. general meeting for the softball season 2016 will be held at Sundial... Read more...