Press "Enter" to skip to content

Rastus the Mechanical Negro (#BlackCodeStudies #FemDH)

Kidada E. Williams posted this image on Twitter nearly a year ago. I’ve come back to often since, to think about slavery, about black folks engagement with the digital era, technology, afrofutures, slavery. It brings to mind Sharpe’s call to live in the wake. It brings to mind Fuentes call to read the archive against the bias grain. In bringing these things to mind, I’m reminded and deeply grateful to all of the black feminist and black diaspora thinkers doing the work of pushing past the surface, under the water (subterranean routes), reading the dead books, and calling out alongside the murdered and the disappeared for justice.

I also recently shared it with the participants in the Feminist Digital Humanities course I co-taught with Liz Losh at this year’s Digital Humanities Summer Institute. Sharing much of that material over the next few days–because I can’t keep these browser tabs open any longer.

The thread below the tweet is as interesting as the tweet itself. Thank you Kidada for sharing.

“Desperate for “Old-Time Negroes” (docile, servile), Westinghouse created Rastus, “Mechanical Negro/Slave” in 1930.”