Georgetown University Professor, Dr. Lyndon Dominique's visit to CHS

Last Updated: Sunday, 30 September 2012 Published: Wednesday, 03 June 2009 Written by Daria Mitchell Sorhaindo. Photography Andre McAulay

On Wednesday June 3rd , Dr. Lyndon Dominique, editor of the book “The Woman of Colour A Tale” visited the Convent High School to give a talk as well as facilitate a very interesting discussion on the coloured woman and her impact on Slavery and Post Slavery.

ldominique.jpgDr. Dominique was born in East England of Dominican parents and resides in the United States where he lectures in Eighteenth Century Literature at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Convent High School was fortunate to intercept Dr. Dominique, who is on holiday here in Dominica, before he returns to the USA. Thanks to our Deputy Head Mistress, Mrs. Dianne Bannis, we were able to meet Dr. Dominique.

Students of the Fourth Form, teachers of History and Literature and an A’ Level student were captivated by the dynamic Dr. Dominique as he expounded on the many narratives of women of colour during the Eighteenth Century. We were carried back in time to Equiano, Cuguano, Cronniawsaw and the works of Aphra Behn. We were introduced to the latter’s “Orinoco" and her black heroine Imoinda. This brought back memories of Alex Bruno’s play, and the students were able to recapture the story of this great work. We were fascinated that this same Imoinda became the template for all the later versions of black heroines.

Dr. Dominique made reference to the Eighteenth Century being an age of Reason and Revolution while highlighting the many revolutions- French, American and the Haitian, which all took place during this era. During this time also the novel was born; we have all read “Robinson Crusoe” which was the first novel published. We were intrigued by the portrayal of women like Phillis Wheatley and Dido Elizabeth Belle, niece of Lord Mansfield famous for the Somersett’s Case in 1772. She was the daughter of English Captain John Lindsay of the Royal Navy and a slave woman. Phillis Wheatley was the first African American woman poet; she wrote in a time when women especially black women did not have a public voice. She was able to speak out against slavery and claim that indeed ‘all men are created equal’ as seen in her poem written when she was only fourteen years “On Being Brought from Africa to America”:

"Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain, May be refin’d and join th’angelic train."

The Students were fascinated to have met a doctor of Literature focussed on the historicity of Literature and asked many questions pertaining to West Indian history as well as his writings. We are all looking forward to Dr. Dominique’s new book “Imoinda Shade” and his current book “The Woman of Colour” will certainly be in demand.

In keeping with his profession we all were given some homework and are eagerly anticipating what we will find upon researching “the Dark Lady Sonnets” of William Shakespeare as well as getting a hold of “Adolphus the Slave”. It was with reluctance that we all left his class, still discussing the many captivating ideas he dealt with. As Tiffany, a student of 4 A acknowledged, Dr. Dominique ‘unlocked doors’ for us all this afternoon.

We wish Dr. Dominique God’s Blessings as he continues his research into those shades of colour that have so enriched our literary and historical world.

Some Sites to browse:

Aphra Behn:

http://www.theatrehistory.com/british/behn001.html

http://www.todayinliterature.com/biography/aphra.behn.asp

Phillis Wheatley’s biography and poem:

http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/whea-phi.htm

http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/webtexts/Wheatley/phil.htm

The Dark Lady Sonnets:

http://hudsonshakespeare.org/Shakespeare%20Library/sonnets/sonnets.htm

and her black heroine Imoinda. This brought back memories of Alex Bruno’s play, and the students were able to recapture the story of this great work. We were fascinated that this same Imoinda became the template for all the later versions of black heroines.

Dr. Dominique made reference to the Eighteenth Century being an age of Reason and Revolution while highlighting the many revolutions- French, American and the Haitian, which all took place during this era. During this time also the novel was born; we have all read “Robinson Crusoe” which was the first novel published. We were intrigued by the portrayal of women like Phillis Wheatley and Dido Elizabeth Belle, niece of Lord Mansfield famous for the Somersett’s Case in 1772. She was the daughter of English Captain John Lindsay of the Royal Navy and a slave woman. Phillis Wheatley was the first African American woman poet; she wrote in a time when women especially black women did not have a public voice. She was able to speak out against slavery and claim that indeed ‘all men are created equal’ as seen in her poem written when she was only fourteen years “On Being Brought from Africa to America”:

“Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,

May be refin’d and join th’angelic train.”

The Students were fascinated to have met a doctor of Literature focussed on the historicity of Literature and asked many questions pertaining to West Indian history as well as his writings. We are all looking forward to Dr. Dominique’s new book “Imoinda Shade” and his current book “The Woman of Colour” will certainly be in demand.

In keeping with his profession we all were given some homework and are eagerly anticipating what we will find upon researching “the Dark Lady Sonnets” of William Shakespeare as well as getting a hold of “Adolphus the Slave”. It was with reluctance that we all left his class, still discussing the many captivating ideas he dealt with. As Tiffany, a student of 4 A acknowledged, Dr. Dominique ‘unlocked doors’ for us all this afternoon.

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