african americana


Ellis Island Immigrants
ca. 1905–14
Photographer: Augustus F. Sherman (American; 1865–1925)


Antique papier mache / composition / plaster topsy turvy doll (Victorian, roughly mid- to late 1800s). This is the fifth installation in a series of topsy-turvy doll pictures. Topsy-turvies were unusual dolls consisting of two heads and torsos, joined at the waist. A long skirt covered one of the characters while the other was on display. Often the two joined dolls represented different ethnicities.

This doll is interesting for the upper-class look of the two characters - it was more common for these dolls to be dressed in a ‘folksy’ style, with cheerful printed cottons. In particular, black dolls from this era are seldom seen in this style of clothing. Both characters are decked out in detailed formal ball gowns, as would have been worn by well-to-do English and American ladies. The black doll wears a cranberry red lace-trimmed gown with elegant tailored tucks in the bodice, while the white doll is lavishly decked out in pale pink silk. The detailed tailoring in this piece is ambitious and fairly accomplished. 

Photo credit: eBay seller ID “alacazander”



According to an 1890 account, the original John Brown lyrics were a collective effort by a group of Union soldiers who were referring both to the famous John Brown and also, humorously, to a Sergeant John Brown of their own battalion. Various other authors have published additional verses and/or claimed credit for originating the John Brown lyrics and tune.

At a flag-raising ceremony at Fort Warren, near Boston, on Sunday May 12, 1861, the John Brown song was publicly played “perhaps for the first time”. The American Civil War had begun the previous month.

Newspapers reported troops singing the song as they marched in the streets of Boston on July 18, 1861, and there were a “rash” of broadside printings of the song with substantially the same words as the undated John Brown Song! broadside, stated by Kimball to be the first published edition, and the broadside with music by C. S. Marsh copyrighted on July 16, 1861, also published by C.S. Hall . Other publishers also came out with versions of the John Brown Song and claimed copyright.

  • Some researchers have maintained that the tune’s roots go back to a “Negro folk song”, an African-American wedding song from Georgia
  • An African-American version was recorded as “We’ll hang Jeff Davis from a sour Apple Tree”.
  • Anecdotes indicate that versions of “Say, Brothers” were sung as part of African American ring shouts; appearance of the hymn in this call-and-response setting with singing, clapping, stomping, dancing, and extended ecstatic choruses may have given impetus to the development of the well known “Glory hallelujuah” chorus.
  • Given that the tune was developed in an oral tradition, it is impossible to say for certain which of these influences may have played a specific role in the creation of this tune 

The tune was later also used for “The Battle Hymn of the Republic (written in November 1861, published in February 1862; this song was directly inspired by “John Brown’s Body”), “Marching Song of the First Arkansas,” “The Battle Hymn of Cooperation,” “Bummers, Come and Meet Us” , and many other related texts and knock-offs during and immediately after the American Civil War period.

SOURCES: George Kimball, “Origin of the John Brown Song”, New England Magazine, new series 1 (1890) , Blood on the Risers From Wikipedia, James Fuld, 2000 The Book of World-Famous Music: Classical, Popular, and Folk Courier Dover, Pg 32. 

I need visual resources for the following archetypes;

  • an extremely powerful but inexperienced and reluctant mage, on quest to return himself and all his friends back to the world they know and love, uses any type of magic except dark/evil based, male, any race
  • a careful, kind and diligent knight who acts a shield-warden for a small rural forest village, using two-handed weapons, female, african/american
  • a passionate, fiery and fierce ranger/ rogue who works with the shield-warden to stave off threats to the village, using knives of any kind and bows, female, mexican
  • a studious, determined and calm samurai who trains deep in the forest away from civilisation in a monastery dedicated to swordsmanship, using naginatas, odachis, tantos and katanas, male, japanese
  • a formerly insensitive but now faithful, honest and courageous paladin who fights for the order of the sun and light on the edge of the desert, using heavy armours and any holy weapon bigger than he is, male, european
  • a passionate, loyal and fiercely determined healer (mage, apothecary and alchemist) who works for the paladin in the same order, following their moral code diligently and without question but will under no circumstances hurt no other living being, unarmed, female, arabian muslim (with hijab, if possible)

@wearemage @we-are-knight @we-are-rogue @weareranger @wearesamurai @wearepaladin @wearehealer @weareadventurers @wearecleric

Anyone can respond, and this isn’t urgent, but resources would be extremely helpful. 

The Washington Carver Institute, Accra, Ghana, 1951

Sr. Class and Faculty

Faculty L to R:  Mr. Ignatius Kwame Anyangeh (Assist to President), Dr. Ralph Shoneyeh Wright, Mr. Stephen Laweh Plokey (College Secretary), Mr. Constantine Kwesi Ansong (Dean of Students).

[Mr. A.W. Womack Family Album]

©WaheedPhotoArchive, 2013