A Historical Play with Modern Significance (appeared in the New Orleans Tribune)

March 2, 2013

Tags: African-Americans, blacks, black history, new orleans, louisiana, civil rights, free people of color, culture

One of the biggest challenges for modern people trying to understand history is to conceive of the past beyond stereotypes. When we use Martin Luther King Jr. as an example of Civil Rights resistance, we must also consider the troops of housecleaners, preachers, construction workers, teachers and others earlier in the 20th century whose (more…)

Capturing Race

February 22, 2011

Tags: race, melitte, interracial, African-Americans, slavery, children's books, louisiana, new orleans, segregation, young adult, history, 18th century

Fatima Shaik: Writing Melitte

In my young adult novel Melitte, I did not let readers know that she was a slave until the third chapter. I wanted them first to identify with the soft-spoken, intelligent narrator.

Readers first learn that Melitte is running away with her sister, that the Chaouachas men are hiding them (more…)