Black Pearls from the 1970s by Prof. William H. Foster III, Comic Book Historian

Black Pearls from the 1970s by Prof. William H. Foster III, Comic Book Historian

 

A Tribute to Black Women

One of the best things about researching the historical Images of Blacks in Comics is that I never know when I am going to find an unknown treasure. Such was the case when I found the following two volumes written by Sister Carolyn Jetter Greene and illustrated by Don C. Eaton.

Her two books, “70 Soul Secrets of Sapphire (1974)” and “Sapphire’s Second Set of Soul Secrets (1977) are an absolute a joy to read. They contain such universal truths about the experiences of African American women they could have been written last night. For some of the painful anecdotes Sister Jeeter shares, that is not necessarily a good thing. The more times change, the more they stay the same it seems.

In addition to showcasing positive images and ideals of Black women, they also promote Black Sisterhood (The Sapphire Publishing Company, founded in 1973); something that many contemporary folks will be surprised to find is not just a current trend. That the message in these books has survived into the 21st century is a testament to their efforts.

Because these two precious tomes are going to be very hard to find, I have includes a few pages from both for your enjoyment. It is a special opportunity to celebrate the strength, endurance and humor of Black women.

William H. Foster III

 Black Pearls from the 1970s by Prof. William H. Foster III, Comic Book Historian Professor William H. Foster lll is a Professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Connecticut. Professor Foster has a BA from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, and a Masters degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. A long-time comic book collector and researcher, Professor Foster has been an expert commentator for both CNN News and National Public Radio. He was a consultant on the historical image of Blacks in both comic strips and comic books for the Words and Pictures Museum of Fine Sequential Art in Northampton, MA. He was also a consultant to the 2004 exhibit, “Heroes, Heartthrobs, and Horrors: Celebrating Connecticut’s Invention of the American Comic Book” presented by the Connecticut Historical Society.

His exhibit on the “Changing Image of Blacks in Comics” has been displayed at a number of venues across the country, including Temple University’s Paley Library, the 1998 Comic-Con International Comic Arts Conference, and the 2000 Festival of Arts and Ideas. He also has presented his research at the 2001 bi-annual conference of The International Association for Media and History in Leipzig, Germany and at the 2002 Conference on Analyzing Series & Serial Narrative at John Moores University in Liverpool, England. He is the author of “Looking for a Face like Mine” published in 2005 by Fine Tooth Press. His new collection of essays on Black comics, “Dreaming of a Face like Ours,” was published in 2010.

In 2006 Professor Foster was an invited panelist for both the Harlem Book Fair and the Studio Museum of Harlem.

In 2007 Professor Foster’s exhibit was displayed at both the Geppi Entertainment Museum in Baltimore, Maryland and at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York, New York. He was also an invited speaker to the 2007 International Symposium on Langston Hughes at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, China.

In 2008 he was appointed to the editorial Board of the International Journal of Comic Art.

Professor Foster is a guest contributor to The Museum of UnCut Funk.

 

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