CALENDAR Winter/Spring 2016
Unless otherwise noted, all listed events are free and open to the public.
15 Brown Bag Series: “A Tradition of Excellence: The History of Bellarmine College Preparatory’s African-American Student Union,” Julian D. Howard, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In this presentation, Julian Howard, a young author and philanthropist, will discuss the history of African Americans in the oldest school in California. His 2013 publication, A Tradition of Excellence: The History of Bellarmine College Preparatory’s African-American Student Union sheds light on the African-American history of Bellarmine and honors the 25th anniversary of the first African American student union’s establishment at the second oldest Jesuit high school west of the Mississippi River. This historical event told through the eyes of the school’s first African-American employee, by way of one of his mentees, uniquely hides the name of this catalyst, teacher, coach, administrator, and moderator of the club until the end of the book, allowing the focus of the narrative to be on the actions of the students he mentored. Along with detailing the union’s history and involvement with different supporting organizations (including 100 Black Men of America, Inc and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)), the book also highlights the successes of Bellarmine College Preparatory’s African-American alumni, who are among some of Silicon Valley’s most inspirational and influential people. Most notably the book features the President Barack Obama’s nominated Acting Associate Attorney General of the United States, Tony West (Class of 1983), and the stand-out baseball player, Bellarmine College Preparatory’s Hall of Fame member, and current Director of Player Personnel for the Oakland A’s, William “Billy” Owens (Class of 1989). Howard is donating all net proceeds from this book to create a scholarship fund for graduating club members.
Julian D. Howard, obtained his B.A. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012 and has since published two books promoting education. Most recently he was also awarded the CollegeBoard Ned Tibby Award.
19 Lecture: “The Carceral Life of Gender: Convict Labor, Jim Crow Modernity, and Black Feminist Refusal,” Sarah Haley, PhD, University of California-Los Angeles, College of Charleston, Robert Scott Small Building, Room 235, 6:00 pm
Co-sponsored by: African American Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and the Avery Research Center
In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, imprisoned black women faced wrenching forms of gendered racial terror and economic exploitation on chain gangs. Professor Sarah Haley will deliver a lecture on January 19 based on her groundbreaking new book about imprisoned black women’s brutalization in convict labor systems. Drawing upon black feminist criticism, Haley illuminates how prisoners’ acts of resistance and sabotage challenged ideologies of racial capitalism and patriarchy and offered alternative conceptions of social and political life. She recovers black women’s stories of captivity and punishment to demonstrate how the system of incarceration was crucial to organizing the logics of gender and race, and constructing Jim Crow modernity.
Sarah Haley is assistant professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
29 Lecture and Book Signing: “Champions of Oneness: Louis Gregory and His Shining Circle,” Janet Ruhe-Scheon, Author, Avery Research Center, 6:00 p.m.
Co-sponsored by the Avery Research Center and the Charleston Baha’i Community. Free and open to the public.
In this presentation, author Janet Ruhe-Schoen describes her recent biography of Louis Gregory, Champions of Oneness: Louis Gregory and His Shining Circle. Gregory was one of South Carolina’s most distinguished sons, an African American lawyer who heroically dedicated his life to racial amity and integration in the U.S. Born in 1874, he was the grandson of Mariah (Mary) Bacot, a slave, and Senator George Washington Dargan, her owner and the owner of the Elysian Fields plantation near Darlington, South Carolina. During his early childhood he lived in a tenement in Blackbird Alley in Charleston, now historic Burns Lane, before he moved to 2 Desportes St., the home of George Gregory, his step-father. That house is now the Louis G. Gregory Baha’i Museum. After graduating from high school at the Avery Institute, he graduated from Fisk University in Tennessee. Gregory taught at Avery, then studied law at Howard University in Washington, DC. He became a noted writer and speaker among Washington’s African American intelligentsia, known for his radical views. In 1909 he became a Baha’i because of the faith’s core principle of oneness. His first move was to initiate a meeting with the all-white committee that, back then, ran Baha’i affairs in Washington, to challenge them to act according to the Baha’i insistence on full and complete integration. After that, he never stopped advocating for racial equality.
Janet Ruhe-Schoen is the author of four books of biography, most recently Champions of Oneness. She worked as a journalist in Chile as well as in the U.S., resided for thirteen
years in South America, and has traveled widely. She first learned of Louis Gregory when she became a Baha’i at the age of eighteen, and was inspired to start researching and writing his life.
4 Lecture: “The Preston Cobb Story: The Georgia Case that Changed Capital Punishment in America” Joseph Cobb, Avery Research Center, 6:00 pm
In this presentation, Joseph Cobb, the brother of Preston Cobb, discusses a historic legal case that changed laws concerning capital punishment for children. On June 1, 1961, Preston Cobb, an African American teenager, was arrested for the shotgun slaying of a white farmer. At the age of fifteen, Preston was convicted of murder. A Jasper County Superior Court jury of twelve white men deliberated only forty-five minutes before rendering a guilty verdict. Preston was to be executed by electrocution at the Reidsville State Prison less than forty days after the sentencing. Had the state of Georgia implemented this execution, he would have been the youngest person in Georgia’s history to die in the electric chair. Instead, the sentencing for Preston Cobb aroused national and international attention, which delayed and eventually stopped the execution. This landmark case played a significant role helping change how the US legal system views capital punishment for children.
5 Artist Talk, Performance, and Exhibition Opening: “Juxtaposition Planet: The Art of Amiri Farris,” Amiri G. Farris, Savannah College of Art and Design, Avery Research Center, 6:00 pm
Amiri Farris is a contemporary artist who uses a wide range of work that encompasses painting, drawing, video, performance and installation. His works are full of personal experiences and examines issues surrounding race, culture, memory, and perception. Farris received his Masters of Fine Art in painting, with his Bachelors of Fine Art in illustration and graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Farris’s academic appointments have included Georgia Southern University, University of South Carolina – Beaufort, and he currently works at the Savannah College of Art and Design. His exhibition, Juxtaposition Planet: The Art of Amiri Farris, is comprised of large scale paintings, assemblages and multimedia works. The opening reception is free and open to the public.
13 Film Screening: A House Divided: Denmark Vesey’s Rebellion, Avery Research Center, 2:00 pm.
To commemorate the second anniversary of the installation of the Denmark Vesey Monument in Hampton Park in Charleston, South Carolina, the Avery Research Center will host a screening of A House Divided: Denmark Vesey’s Rebellion. Filmed in Charleston, Yaphet Kotto plays the role of Vesey, a former enslaved person and carpenter who purchased his freedom with proceeds won in a lottery. In 1822 Vesey allegedly organized a slave insurrection in Charleston. Planning to sail to Santo Domingo, he and his followers were prepared to pay the ultimate price for freedom. The supporting cast includes Bernie Casey, Ned Beatty, Brock Peters, William Windom, Cleavon Little, Mary Alice and James Bone, III. This production premiered on PBS in 1982.
19 Brown Bag Series: “The Presentation of the Atlantic Slave Trade in U.S. and Brazilian School Textbooks,” Nafees M. Khan, PhD, Clemson University, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was the largest forced migration in human history and is critical to understanding the complexity of the history of slavery and indeed the history of the Atlantic world. This enterprise, based on racism, violence, and greed was responsible for the dispersal of millions of enslaved Africans throughout the Americas. Further, the legacies of the trade, including poverty and racism among others, have remained controversial and salient throughout many national contexts. Unfortunately, the slave trade often only receives limited coverage in either school curricula or in public memory, inhibiting students’ understanding of this centuries long episode in history. As a result, the global scale of the trade is not readily understood. In this presentation, Dr. Nafees Khan will address the problems with limiting the discussion on the slave trade in U.S. and Brazilian school textbooks, which misleads students and teachers on the patterns and scale of this global trade in humans. As one of history’s great injustices, the topic of slavery remains an enduring and controversial issue with legacies that transcend many contemporary concerns that include, but are not limited to race, class, gender, and identity.
1 Race and Social Justice Initiative Lecture: “A Conversation with Marian Wright Edelman,” Marian Wright Edelman, Author and President of the Children’s Defense Fund, Introduction by Former Senator Malcolm Graham, Sottile Theatre, 44 George Street, Charleston, SC, 6:30PM
Co-sponsored by the College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative funded by Google, the Women’s Resource Project, Inc., the Charleston County Public Library, the Phillis Wheatley Literary and Social Club, the Sophia Institute, and Sun Trust
Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The Children’s Defense Fund’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar and directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. She has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings which include: Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change; The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours, Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors, I’m Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children; I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children; and The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.
Edelman will be introduced by Former Senator Malcolm Graham, the brother of Cynthia Graham Hurd, one of the nine shooting victims at the Emanuel AME Church in June 2015. Hurd was a Charleston native who worked for the Charleston County Library for over three decades. The Measure of Our Success by Marion Wright Edelman was one of her favorite books.
31 Race and Social Justice Initiative Lecture: “American Injustice: Mercy, Humanity, and Making a Difference,” Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, Sottile Theatre, 6:00 pm
Co-sponsored by the College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative and the Coastal Community Foundation’s Lowcountry Unity Fund supported by Google, Charleston County Public Library, and the Sophia Institute
America has the largest prison population in the world – and the criminal justice system that puts the men, women, and children in these prisons is broken. Excessive punishment and abuse are widespread, and the collateral consequences are devastating lives and communities. An inspiring and unflinchingly honest speaker, in this presentation Bryan Stevenson talks about defending some of America’s most rejected and marginalized people. The stories he tells are heartbreaking, yet inspiring, and motivate audiences to make a change.
Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and one of the most acclaimed and respected lawyers in the nation. His memoir, Just Mercy, is the story of a young lawyer fighting on the frontlines of a country in thrall to extreme punishments and careless justice. It is an inspiring story of unbreakable humanity in the most desperate circumstances, and a powerful indictment of our broken justice system and the twisted values that allow it to continue. Stevenson is the recipient of numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant and the NAACP Image Award for Best Non-Fiction, and was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People for 2015. Stevenson is a tenured law professor at New York University School of Law. For more information on this speaker please visit www.prhspeakers.com.
14 Lecture: “Opening the Closed Society,” Susan Glisson, PhD, William Winter Institute at the University of Mississippi, Avery Research Center, 6:00 pm
Long known as the bastion of American racism, in recent years Mississippi has made efforts to create a culture of truth-telling, equity, and reconciliation. In this presentation, Dr. Susan Glisson, director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, will share community-based and institutional efforts she has supported throughout the state and beyond. These efforts have included prosecutions against racist violence, public ceremonies of commemoration and acknowledgment of past injustice, historical tours and markers that change the geography of memory, and the creation and implementation of school curricula on human rights. The William Winter Institute has also promoted healing work among previously segregated groups through community building to alter public collective narratives of areas known for racial violence. Finally, the Institute promotes academic investigations and scholarship on patterns and legacies of abuse, and initiates partnerships of advocacy and policy groups that seek new institutional reforms that undo the structures of oppression and replace them with more equitable solutions.
20 Brown Bag Series: “Reconstructing America’s Reconstruction Era,” Michael Allen, National Park Service, and Ciera Gordan, National Park Service Intern and Graduate Student in the College of Charleston‑Citadel History MA Program, Avery Research Center, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In this presentation, Michael Allen and Ciera Gordon will share their experiences working on the National Park Service Reconstruction Era Theme Study. In 2015, the National Park Service commissioned this project to look at historical sites that played important roles in the period of emancipation and Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War. The Reconstruction period in America continues to be an area of history that is minimized, overlooked, or misrepresented. Sites identified and approved through this theme study will become National Historic Landmarks that promote awareness and knowledge about this period. Both Allen and Gordon hold various positions in this theme study, and will talk about the progression of project, as well as its outreach, publications, and research.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2015 – JANUARY 25, 2016
Generations: African American Camp Meetings in South Carolina, traveled between 2001 and 2004. This Far By Faith represents the second phase of this exhibition, and has been displayed at the Charlotte Museum of History in North Carolina (2010), the Moore Methodist Center at St. Simon’s Island, Georgia (2010, and the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina (2008).
2015 Conference: Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) 8th Biennial Conference, “African Diaspora Circularities: Forging Communities, Cultures, and Politics,” hosted by the College of Charleston, North Charleston Campus
2013 Conference: Unleashing the Black Erotic: Gender and Sexuality—Passion, Power, and Praxis
2012 Conference: The Fire Every Time: Reframing Black Power Across the 20th Century and Beyond
2011 Conference: Daughters of the Dust: ‘We Carry These Memories Inside of We’
Avery Research Center 25th Anniversary Celebration