“I consider all the work I’ve done self-portraits filtered through other people’s texts.”
“What we might call ‘identity’ or ‘the self’ is a storage room with a busted lock. We go in looking for ‘me’ and instead we find ‘we’.”
— Glenn Ligon
“The fact is that every writer creates his own precursors.”
— Jorge Luis Borges
“Genealogy … operates on a field of entangled and confused parchments, on documents that have been scratched over and recopied many times.”
— Michel Foucault
Bibliographies, as re-sources, pose the question of a work’s history.19 From what standpoint, whose perspective, and with what methods was it compiled? Can we trace a text back to a source—one, or many? How does the grouping of these sources inform, complicate, or reframe how we understand a text in the present?
In this section, Reading Resources offers a Text Bibliography of writing that Glenn Ligon cites directly in his paintings, as well as an Image Bibliography of visual works that resonate with the artist’s practice. Each Bibliography groups sets of references that influence and inform our understanding of Ligon’s work, as well as the contexts and histories in which he situates himself.
The sources referenced are not origins but rather points of rethinking and reorientation through which Ligon reorganizes, informs, and anticipates the works around him. Together, these collections suggest how Ligon transforms inheritance into affiliation through the process by which a writer (painter, artist, or author of any kind) self-fashions him or herself through reading.
History is a narrative made from extremely complex and intertwining lives, events, experiences, and viewpoints. Across the many different historical narratives we encounter throughout our lives, there are bound to be differences, contradictions, or separate versions altogether. How do these variances happen? Whose version matters more? If, as it is often said, the victors (not the vanquished) assert their version of the past as official history, what happens to the other historical narratives that do not make it into the official version of a particular history?
– Die, Nigger, Die! New York: Dial Press, 1969. Print.
– Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play. New York: Dial Press, 1964. Print.
– “The Devil Finds Work.” The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985. New York: St. Martin’s/Marek, 1985. N. pag. Print.
– “Interview with African American Writer James Baldwin.” The Studs Terkel Program. WFMT Radio Network. Chicago, Illinois, 29 Sept. 1962. Radio.
– “Stranger in the Village.” Notes of a Native Son. Boston: Beacon, 1955. N. pag. Print.
– The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985., 1985. Print
Bambara, Toni C.
– The Black Woman: An Anthology. New York: New American Library, 1970. Print.
Bannerman, Helen, and Fern B. Peat
– Little Black Sambo. Cleveland, Ohio: The Harter Publishing Company, 1931. Print.
– Home: Social Essays. New York: Morrow, 1966. Print.
– Tales. New York: Grove Press, 1967. Print.
– The Raw Pearl. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968. Print.
– Speak My Name: Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995. Print.
– White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1999. Print.
Botkin, Benjamin A.
– Lay My Burden Down: A Folk History of Slavery., 1945. Print.
Bradley, Mary H.
– I Passed for White. New York: Longmans, Green, 1955. Print.
– Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America., 1995. Print.
– Groove, Bang and Jive Around. U.S: Therion, 1998. Print.
– A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1973. Print.
– Soul on Ice. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967. Print.
– Ain’t No Ambulances for No Nigguhs Tonight. New York: R.W. Baron, 1972. Print.
Davis, Lorrie, and Rachel Gallagher
– Letting Down My Hair: Two Years with the Love Rock Tribe-from Dawning to Downing of Aquarius. New York: A. Fields Books, 1973. Print.
DeCarava, Roy, and Langston Hughes
– The Sweet Flypaper of Life. New York: Hill and Wang, 1967. Print.
– Through the Ivory Gate: A Novel. New York: Pantheon Books, 1992. Print.
– “White.” Screen 29.4 (1988): 44-65. Print.
Dyson, Michael E.
– Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Print.
– The Fall of America. Chicago: Muhammad’s Temple of Islam No. 2, 1973. Print.
– Invisible Man. New York: Vintage International, 1995. Print.
Gates, Henry L.
– Colored People: A Memoir. New York: Knopf, 1994. Print.
Genet, Jean, and Bernard Frechtman
– The Blacks: A Clown Show., 1960. Print.
– Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1994. Print.
– Nigger; an Autobiography. New York: Dutton, 1964. Print.
Griffin, John H
– Black Like Me. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1961. Print.
– Soul Sister. New York: World Pub. Co, 1969. Print.
– “The Tomb of Sorrow.” Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men. Ed. Joseph Beam and Essex Hemphill. Boston: Alyson Publications, 1991. N. pag. Print.
Himes, Chester B.
– Pinktoes: A Novel. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1965. Print.
Holiday, Billie, and Eddie Heywood
– Strange Fruit. Atlantic, 1972. CD.
Hughes, Langston, Arnold Rampersad, and David E. Roessel
– The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. New York: Knopf, 1994. Print.
Hurston, Zora Neale
– “How it Feels to be Colored Me.” World Tomorrow, 11 (May, 1928) 215-216.
– Death Certificate. Hollywood, CA: Priority Records, 2002. Sound recording.
– The Hipsters. New York: Corinth Books; distributed by the, 1961. Print.
– Some Changes. New York: Dutton, 1971. Print.
– Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1999.
Kaufman, Michael T.
– “Park Suspects: Children of Discipline.” The New York Times 26 Apr. 1989: n. pag. Print.
– People Who Led to My Plays. New York: Knopf, 1986. Print.
– Muhammad Ali, the Greatest: A Film. United States: Echelon Studios, 1969.
Sound of Da Police. Jive, 2010. CD.
– Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House: Comments At “the Personal And The Political” Panel: (second Sex Conference, October 29, 1979). : . Print.
Mapplethorpe, Robert, and Ntozake Shange
– Black Book. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986. Print.
– Redemption Song. Island Records, 1992. CD.
– The Bluest Eye. New York: Plume Book, 1994. Print.
Pryor, Richard, Reggie Collins, and Steve Pokorny
– … and Its Deep Too. Los Angeles, CA: Warner Bros. Records, Inc, 2000. Sound recording.
—is It Something I Said? New York, NY: Warner Archives, 1995. Sound recording.
– Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip. Burbank, Calif: Warner Bros, 1982. Sound recording.
– Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel? Classics Record Library, 1976. CD.
– Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1994. Print.
– Small Talk at 125th and Lenox: A Collection of Black Poems. New York: World Pub. Co, 1970. Print.
– Belafonte: An Unauthorized Biography. Philadelphia: Chilton Co., Book Division, 1960. Print.
– Ofay. New York: Delacorte Press, 1966. Print.
Stecopoulos, Harry, and Michael Uebel
– Race and the Subject of Masculinities. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997. Print.
– Three Lives. New York: Grafton, 1909. Print.
– Please Please Please. New York: Dial Press, 1999. Print.
– Jim: The Author’s Self-Centered Memoir on the Great Jim Brown. Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday, 1971. Print.
Van, Peebles M.
– The Making of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. Ann Arbor, Mich: Neo Press, 1994. Print.
– The Outsider. New York: Harper, 1953. Print.
X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley
– The Autobiography of Malcolm X., 1973. Print.
– “The Ballot or the Bullet.” God’s New Israel: Religious Interpretations of American Destiny. Ed. Conrad Cherry. U of North Carolina, 1998. 356-71. Web.