Category Archives: Project #2

Project 2 Glossary Term

Avaricious: greedy of gain excessively acquisitive especially in seeking to hoard riches (Merriam-Webster)

In the first chapter, the preacher urged the students at Naxos not to become avaricious. He was basically telling them not to try to advance their social status in society. This in turn would keep them subservient to the whites. This relates to my annotation on the Jim Crow laws since the goal of the Jim Crow laws was to suppress the colored population

Project 2

Dear editor 


My name is Charles Tripoli and I’m a student at New York City College of Technology. Recently we read the story “Quicksand” by Nella Larson. And we used your online source for help.


This letter is to ask if you could update that source so people can annotate on it because as of writing this we can’t. Allowing people to do this would allow students to gather background information to help understand the text. One big example I will use is around Copenhagen. Understanding Copenhagen more would allow student to understand why Helga Crain feels like and outsider there not only because of her skin but the culture as well.


In the book Helga travels to Copenhagen after she has already been to New York and Chicago. So going to a Scandinavian area is a massive cultural shock. She barely speaks the language and is treated as an object more than a person.


Many of my fellow students didn’t really understand why she was treated so differently there but white people compared to in America. When you learn about Copenhagen more it makes sense. At that time a black woman wouldn’t be even remotely common so she was unique. And even though she was harmed or shamed she was being used by her family.

So an annotation explaining the culture of Copenhagen would help student understand why this happens more. Attached to this email is also a few examples of annotations that would help like one for Copenhagen it’s self as well a few words that if you don’t know you would lose what is trying to be said.


I hope this letter finds you and is taken seriously. Thank you for your time

Yours truly

Charles Tripoli


Project 2: Color of Fashion

Duane Lawrence

ENG 2001-D536
Prof. Rosen

Mr. Charles Tanner

Hathi Trust Inc.

432 Park Avenue

New York, New York, 10022


Dear Mr. Tanner,


There is always a thought, emotion, or belief that influences someone’s words. While Helga Crane is waiting to meet with Dr. Anderson she looks outside and sees working women wearing a colors that are dull which she does not agree with. While looking at the working women a thought came to mind when a woman she have heard say that bright colors should not be worn by colored people. The color of clothing is important for Helga, and there is a contrast between the ones who want people of color to blend in and the ones that want people of color to stand out. Knowing background about fashion trends, African American women’s fashion choices, and how color has a ‘symbolic’/emotional reaction to others will help readers consider Helga’s dilemma with her appearance and of other colored people. The book was published in 1928, taking that into consideration, the type of fashion that women had will help visualize them during that time. Here is a photo that shows the types of clothes that women wore during the 1920’s:

 Fashion Trend[3]

It is seen that women wore skirts at least just at or below the knees with a blouse and a hat. But during the 1920’s was what is known as ‘The Harlem Renaissance’ which had a major impact on fashion especially women of color. According to “Fashion During the Harlem Renaissance” it says that colored women’s clothing “was designed to express grace and elegance…silk gloves…” This shows that colored women during the Harlem Renaissance had their own way of fashion that was influenced not only by the fashion trend but also by the movement of music and art from their own people to help make their clothes represent themselves. Having this fashion in mind it will be useful to know that when Helga referred to the clothing of the working women, she said ‘Drab’ which means a dull, lifeless, or faded appearance or quality. Drab colors being “mostly navy blue, black, brown,..” (Larsen, pg 38). Which is the opposite statement the woman from her past memory said, she believes colored people should wear those colors in general, working or not because it blends in with the color of the skin and does not ruin the visual pleasure. While according to “How Adding Bright Colors To Your Wardrobe Can Help You Beat The Winter Blues”, it says, “Research has shown that both yellow and green evoke positive emotions, for example, while black and gray are reminiscent of mourning, sadness and depression.” The woman is underlying that the color of African American skin reminds or fills her up with negativity and believes that if their skin makes them feel that way then they should not wear colors like yellow that makes them feel happiness, joyful, positive because it contradicts their emotions. Since they can not change the color of their skin then she believes that they should all match the color so when others like herself look then there is no confusion of emotions. Helga mentioned the word ‘luminous’ which means emitting or reflecting usually steady, suffused, or glowing light. With that being said Helga, on the other hand, saying that when colored people wear those colors then they are not showing off their complexion because it is being blended in with those colored clothing. They should wear bright clothing to show off the melanin that is in their skin and stand out to those around them to show off the color of their skin because it is in fact a beautiful sight for them to dress the way they feel best represents themselves and the culture and should not confine their appearance for others pleasure sake.



Duane Lawrence

Creative Writing Student



Work Cited

  1. Julia Brucculieri, “How Adding Bright Colors To Your Wardrobe Can Help You Beat The Winter Blues”, Nov. 2017, HUFFPOST

2. Kelsey Ruckle, “Fashion During the Harlem Renaissance”, Feb. 2014, Prezi

3. Stevie McGlinchey, “Brief History of Women’s Fashion – The 1920s –”, Jun. 2014, Glamourdaze Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved



Research Letter – Kevin Palomeque

300 Jay Street

New York City





Sir Lilliam Pumpernickel

HathiTrust Project Editor

1001 North Buhr Building
200 Hill Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104


Dear Sir. Pumpernickel,

First off, I would like to say how much I appreciate the work that you and your company are doing. Providing a convenient way for users to access knowledge is important for preserving history and culture. I am contacting you today because I believe that with the addition of annotations in the digital version of “Quicksand” by Nella Larsen, the reader would have a better understanding of the text. The specific text I have in mind is regarding the protagonist, Helga Crane, and her resentment towards Christianity because of how it affected slaves in America. By providing an annotation that elaborates on the historical relationship between Christianity and slavery, readers could have a better grasp on the passage.


The text in question is found in chapter 25, page 160. Helga Crane reveals her feelings on Christianity.

“And this, Helga decided, was what ailed the whole Negro race in America, this fatuous belief in the white man’s God, this childlike trust in full compensation for all woes and privations in “kingdom.” Sary Jones’s absolute conviction, “In de nex’ worl’ we’sall recompnse’,” came back to her. And ten million souls were as sure of it as was Sary. How the white man’s God must laugh at the great joke he had played on them! Bound them to slavery, then to poverty and insult, and made them bear it unresistingly, uncomplainingly almost, by sweet promises of mansions in the sky by and by.”


Here Helga Crane expresses her distaste for Christianity (or “the white man’s God”). To Helga, this distaste stems from the unquestioning belief that some black people have in a God that enslaved them and impoverished them, just so that they can be rewarded with an afterlife that is much better than the current life they live. This passage has a lot of historical backgrounds that I feel would benefit the reader if they learned of it. Some readers may find themselves asking: how could Christian slave owners go against their own teachings and still consider themselves religious? What effect did Christianity have on slaves and black people? Why did slaves believe in a white man’s God in the first place?


Slavery was justified by Christian slave masters with the biblical story called “The Curse of Ham”. This story featured Ham who laid his eyes upon the naked body of his father, Noah and encouraged his brothers to join him. Once Noah realized this, he placed a curse on Ham and his descendants, damning them to servitude for eternity. Ham was described as having dark skin and slaves masters saw an opportunity. As Tony Evans puts it in “Are Black People Cursed? The Curse of Ham”: “This myth became an authoritative myth because it was rooted in theology, and slave owners used this twisted theology to sustain a perverted sociology. This process is known as sacralization, the development of theological and religious beliefs to serve the interest of a particular ethnic or racial group.”

Slave masters capitalized on using religion as a way to justify their cruel acts. Many people view the word of God as infallible so very few would doubt the legitimacy of using biblical stories as justification for slavery.


The second question a reader may ask themselves is “What were the effects that Christianity had on the slave/black population?” For W.E.B. DuBois, one of the greatest American scholars, the answer was “complacency”. In his work, “The Souls of Black Folk”, DuBois states the following: “By the middle of the eighteenth century the black slave had sunk, with hushed murmurs, to his place at the bottom of a new economic system, and was unconsciously ripe for a new philosophy of life. Nothing suited his condition better than the doctrines of passive submission embodied in the newly learned Christianity.”

Here the reader can see how Christianity suppressed feelings of rebellion and made the Christian slaves complacent and happy with their “place at the bottom of a new economic system.” By stripping slaves of their fighting spirit, they were much easier to control and much less likely to overthrow their masters.


Finally, a reader may find themselves asking why slaves would continue believing in Christianity despite being treated so poorly (huge understatement).  Here, Richard Reddie gives us some answers in “Atlantic slave trade and abolition”: “The Africans who embraced Christianity identified closely with the Bible’s view of freedom, equality and justice and especially drew parallels between their own situation and the Hebrew people in the Book of Exodus…for the Africans it demonstrated that God was on the side of the oppressed and would send a Moses to free them.”

The Christian slaves were able to relate to the enslaved Hebrews in the Bible and believed that God would send a Moses of their own, to liberate them. This is why some slaves still believed in the words of the Christian god.


These are the sources I believe would enhance the reading experience for the reader. By adding annotations to the text, a reader could have a better grasp on why Helga Crane holds her beliefs on the toxic relationship between Christianity and slavery. I hope my examples have encouraged you to add the annotations in the digital version of the book.


Thank you,


Kevin Palomeque



Virulent  (adjective) – actively poisonous; intensely noxious

Sources –

Found on page 108, chapter 18. “In her opinion,Helga had lived too long among the enemy, the detestable pale faces. She understood them too well, was too tolerant of their ignorance stupidities. If they had been Latin, Anne might conceivably have forgiven the disloyalty. But Nordics ! Lynchers ! It was too traitorous. Helga smiled a little, understanding Annie’s bitterness and hate, and a little of it cause. It was a piece with that of those she so virulently hated.”


This word was used to describe how Anne was a person and how she affected Helga emotionally. Earlier in the novel, Helga asked Anne why it was bad for a black woman to be with Dr. Anderson. Anne said that the Negro should stick together. Towards the end of the novel, Helga finally sees how toxic her friendship with Anne was. It made it harder for Helga to love herself and accept that she’s biracial and embraces it. 

Research Annotation – Kevin Palomeque

“And this, Helga decided, was what ailed the whole Negro race in America, this fatuous belief in the white man’s God, this childlike trust in full compensation for all woes and privations in “kingdom come.”Sary Jones’s absolute conviction, “In de nex’ worl’ we’sall recompnse’,” came back to her. And ten million souls were as sure of it as was Sary. How the white man’s God must laugh at the great joke he had played on them! Bound them to slavery, then to poverty and insult, and made them bear it unresistingly, uncomplainingly almost, by sweet promises of mansions in the sky by and by.”

The relationship between Christianity and slavery is a close one. Many Christian slave owners used biblical stories, such as “The Curse of Ham” to justify enslaving Africans (Evans). Despite Christianity being the religion of their cruel masters, many slaves embraced the religion with open arms which made them more subdued (DuBois 162). Although many slaves became subdued, some became hopeful. Being able to relate to the plight of the Hebrews in the Bible, many had hopes that one day, they too would have a Moses (Reddie).


Work Cited

“Of the Faith of the Fathers.” The Souls of Black Folk, by W.E.B. DuBois, Penguin Books, 1996, p. 162.

Evans, Tony. “Are Black People Cursed? The Curse of Ham – Resources.”Eternal Perspective Ministries, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 18 Jan. 2010,

Reddie, Richard. “Religions – Christianity: Atlantic Slave Trade and Abolition.”BBC, BBC, 29 Jan. 2007,