CALENDAR Fall 2015
Unless otherwise noted, all listed events are free and open to the public
3 Brown Bag Series: “Spiritual Wayfarers and Enslaved Africans: Readings and New Insights into Muslim Slaves Manuscripts in the American South and Gullah/Geechee Traditions,” Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, PhD Candidate, Howard University, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In this presentation, Muhammad Fraser-Rahim examines historic encounters between Africa, Islam, and American history—specifically in the antebellum U.S. South—and their role in an emerging American cultural and pluralistic society. Scholars estimate that between twenty to forty percent of slaves in the antebellum United States were Muslims. Forty-six percent of slaves in the American South were kidnapped from the west coast of Africa, and the majority came from Muslim countries on the continent. Fraser-Rahim’s research attempts to critically examine the role of the transmission of Islamic knowledge for enslaved people leaving West Africa, and the journey, legacy, and challenges of this transmission as it adapted and shaped roots in the Americas. Using original Arabic documents, this discussion will also examine the role of spiritual and religious traditions mastered by these enslaved Africans, and the intersection of Gullah Geechee traditions that allowed them to create agency in their experiences and adapt to the U.S. South.
3 Lecture hosted by the Graduate Students of Color Association: “Religious and Cultural Pluralism: Islam in America and Countering Violence,” Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, PhD Candidate, Howard University, Robert Scott Small Building Room 235, 6:30 pm
Fraser-Rahim will discuss his research on Islamic Thought, Spirituality, and Modernity. Event will also serve as a mixer with food provided.
3 Exhibition Opening: “This Far By Faith: Carolina Camp Meetings, An African American Tradition,” Minuette Floyd, Curator, University of South Carolina, McKinley-Washington Auditorium and the Cox Gallery, Avery Research Center, 7 pm
This exhibition represents a fourteen-year journey of research, photographs, and audio and video footage by Minuette Floyd, Associate Professor of Art Education in the School of Visual Art at the University of South Carolina-Columbia. This black and white photography exhibition explores both the history and traditions of camp meetings that take place annually in North and South Carolina. Since 2001, Floyd has traveled to seven African American campgrounds and captured the rich traditions of camp meetings through photography, video, and oral history interviews. Her first solo exhibition, entitled 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).
This Far By Faith: Carolina Camp Meetings, An African American Tradition will be on display at the Avery Research Center from September 3, 2015 to January 25, 2016.
9 Lecture: “William and Ellen Craft: The Georgia Fugitives after Slavery,” Barbara McCaskill, PhD, University of Georgia, Avery Research Center, McKinley-Washington Auditorium, 6 pm
In 1848, William and Ellen Craft escaped from central Georgia and bondage in a sensational fashion. After twenty years, the couple returned to the U.S. South, eventually to establish a school for the freed people in coastal Georgia. Barbara McCaskill’s presentation focuses on the triumphs and heartbreaks of their post-Emancipation years, from reuniting with family members separated by enslavement, to mounting a legal challenge against accusations of fraud. This couple and their family pursued goals of education, institution-building, and respectability that would dominate the agenda of African American leaders in the decades following the Civil War.
Barbara McCaskill is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Georgia. Her recent book publication is entitled, Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William & Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory (University of Georgia Press, 2015).
14 Race and Social Justice Initiative: Film Screening, 4 Little Girls, directed by Spike Lee, discussion moderated by Tracy Snipe, PhD, Wright State University and Jon Hale, PhD, College of Charleston, College of Charleston Addlestone Library, Room 227, 205 Calhoun St., Charleston, SC, 6:00pm
In response to the tragic shootings at the Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015, the College of Charleston and community partners will host a series of events to examine the history of racial violence targeting African American churches. For the first event, the College of Charleston will host a screening of Spike Lee’s Academy Award-nominated documentary, 4 Little Girls (1997). This documentary traces the events and aftermath of the bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, and features family members of the victims. Dr. Jon Hale from the College of Charleston and Dr. Tracy Snipe from Wright State University will moderate the discussion after the film screening.
The College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative is funded by Google and led by the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, African American Studies, and Addlestone Library. Additional supporters include SunTrust Banks and the International African American Museum (IAAM). Over the next eighteen months, the College will host various events to promote dialogue about race and social justice in Charleston, SC, and beyond.
15 Race and Social Justice Initiative: Community Form hosted by the College of Charleston, “Ties That Bind Two Holy Cities: Reflections in Charleston by Survivors of the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing,” Burke High School Auditorium, 244 President Street, Charleston SC, 6:30pm, doors open at 6:00pm
In response to the tragic shootings at the Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015, the College of Charleston and community partners will host a series of events to examine the history of racial violence targeting African American churches. This community forum will particularly reflect on the historic connections between the 1963 bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, and the 2015 shootings at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. Speakers will include Sarah Collins Rudolph, Junie Collins Williams, and Janie Collins Simpkins. Their sister, Addie Mae Collins, was one of the four victims of the church bombing that took place in Birmingham on September 15, 1963. A representative of the Emanuel AME Church will also speak. The Mother Emanuel Clara K. Washington Choir will perform musical selections beginning at 6:00pm to honor the victims and survivors of these tragedies.
Dr. Tracy Snipe from Wright State University in Dayton, OH, is a coordinator of these events and is currently completing a biography of Sarah Collins Rudolph, entitled The Fifth Girl: Sole Survivor of the 16th Street Bombing, and a biography of Junie Collins Williams, entitled Saving the Best Wine for Last: Remembrances of the 16th St. Bombing. For more information about these events, contact Jon Hale (email@example.com), Tracy Snipe (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the College of Charleston Libraries (843-953-8002).
The College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative is funded by Google led by the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, African American Studies, and Addlestone Library. Additional supporters include SunTrust Banks and the International African American Museum (IAAM). Over the next eighteen months, the College will host various events to promote dialogue about race and social justice in Charleston, SC, and beyond.
16 Brown Bag Series: “‘It Only Takes a Spark to Get a Fire Going’: The Life and Legacy of a Legendary Educator, Lois A. Simms, 1920-2015,” Jon Hale, PhD, College of Charleston, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In this presentation, Jon Hale examines the career and legacy of Lois Averetta Simms, a consummate educator who taught during the years of segregation and the tumultuous period of desegregation. Ms. Simms, born in Charleston in 1920, graduated as the valedictorian of the Avery Normal Institute in 1937. After completing her degree in education from Johnson C. Smith University in 1941, Ms. Simms taught at Archer Elementary School, the Avery Normal Institute, Burke High School, and Laing High School. She earned her Masters Degree from Howard University in 1954, the year the Supreme Court passed the monumental Brown v. Board of Education decision. She later taught as one of the first African American teachers in the formerly all-white Charleston High School. The life and illustrious career of Lois Simms provides crucial insights into the nuanced and integral role of secondary education in Charleston and the history of the Civil Rights Movement.
17 Lecture: “Charleston in Black and White: Race and Power Since the Civil Rights Movement,” Steve Estes, PhD, Sonoma State University, Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium, 6:00 pm
Co-sponsored by the Department of History at the College of Charleston
In the immediate aftermath of the massacre at Emanuel AME Church, the national media has shined an intense spotlight on race relations in the Lowcountry. Often missing from this media coverage is a deeper historical context. In his recent book, Charleston in Black and White, and in this public lecture, Steve Estes examines the ways Charleston responded to the twentieth century civil rights movement, embracing some changes and resisting others. Based on detailed archival research and more than fifty oral history interviews, Estes addresses the complex roles played not only by race but also by politics, labor relations, criminal justice, education, religion, tourism, economics, and the military in shaping a modern southern city. Despite the advances and opportunities that have come to the city since the 1960s, Charleston (like much of the US South) has not fully reckoned with its troubled racial past, which still influences the present and will continue to shape the future.
Steve Estes is a Professor of Modern US History at Sonoma State University. His recent book publication is entitled Charleston in Black and White: Race and Power in the South After the Civil Rights Movement (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).
17 Race and Social Justice Initiative: Dart After Dark Book Circle and Discussion, “The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours by Marion Wright Edelman,” John L. Dart Library, 1067 King Street, Charleston, SC, 6:30 pm
Join the John L. Dart Library for Part One of an engaging conversation about The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours by Marian Wright Edelman. Issues of parenting, the achievement gap, and social justice will be discussed. Special thanks to Karen B. Williams, Title 1 Parent Involvement Liaison, and Dr. Conseula Francis, Professor and Associate Provost for Curriculum and Institutional Resources at the College of Charleston, for facilitating this discussion.
7 Brown Bag Series: “Unsung Heroes: Now It’s Our Turn,” Cleo Scott Brown, Speaker, Author, Race Relations Strategist, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
Before the infamous march in Selma, Alabama, a group of African Americans in northeast Louisiana convinced Robert Kennedy to file suit on their behalf to obtain the right to vote. In 1962, they successfully won this right in Federal Court after almost eighty years of disenfranchisement. These plaintiffs helped shape the attitudes of Robert Kennedy and the newly assigned attorneys in the Justice Department about what and how much should be invested in helping southern African Americans gain their right to vote. To commemorate fifty years since the passing of the Voting Rights Act, in this presentation Cleo Scott Brown will discuss her book Witness to the Truth (University of South Carolina Press) and her own frightening experiences as the child of John H. Scott, a voting rights leader in northeast Louisiana. From being the place where black Union soldiers first engaged in battle with their former “masters” at Millikin’s Bend, to being the place where farmers caused a nation-wide protest that led to black farmers being able to buy land under Roosevelt’s New Deal program, the predominately black northeast corner of Louisiana, though unsung, has made its mark on history.
8 Ernest Just Prize Lecture: “Adventures and Misadventures in Understanding the Racial Disparities in the Risk of Stroke,” George Howard, PhD, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Avery Research Center, 6:00 pm
Co-sponsored by the Medical University of South Carolina
The black-to-white disparity in the risk of stroke is a major component of the cluster of cardiovascular diseases that are the primary contributors leading to a 5-year difference in life expectancy in African Americans compared to whites. Despite a 200% to 300% higher risk of stroke between the ages of 45 to 64 in African Americans compared to whites, there is little data providing insights to why this disparity exists. In this lecture, Dr. Howard will review what is known about the health disparities in strokes, describe current efforts to provide insights (including the REGARDS study (Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke)), and will discuss recent findings that may guide efforts to reduce these disparities.
Dr. George Howard is a Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. His research emphasizes observational studies of cardiovascular epidemiology with a focus on understanding and reducing disparities in stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Howard also directs coordinating centers for multi-center randomized clinical trials.
10 Symposium: “The Tradition of Black Midwives: Past, Present, Future,” Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium, 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Co-sponsored by: Global Birth Action Collective (formally Harlem Birth Action Committee); Women and Gender Studies at the College of Charleston; Gender & Sexuality Equity Center (College of Charleston); and the Tri County Black Nurses Association
The Avery Research Center will host a symposium, “The Tradition of Black Midwives: Past, Present, Future”. This symposium will honor the dedication and hard work of the “Granny Midwives,” who were an early core group of Southern Black midwives/healthcare providers/healers. There will be a panel presentation featuring practitioners and experts on the traditions of black midwifery, including Nonkululeko Tyehemba; Helen Phillips; Marie Milton; Nicole Wadlaw, Sarahn Henderson and Ifetayo White, and film screenings of “Bringin’ in da Spirit: A Film History of African American Midwives” and “All My Babies: A Midwife’s Own Story.” On display there will be materials from Avery Research Center collections including those of Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” Bear, Dewey Duckett and Turner McCottry. Registration begins at 9:30 am and lunch is brown bag, or place your lunch order at registration. This event is free and open to the public.
15 Race and Social Justice Initiative: Dart After Dark Book Circle and Discussion, “The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours by Marion Wright Edelman,” John L. Dart Library, 1067 King Street, Charleston, SC, 6:30 pm
Join the John L. Dart Library for Part Two of an engaging conversation about The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours by Marian Wright Edelman. Issues of parenting, the achievement gap, and social justice will be discussed. Special thanks to Karen B. Williams, Title 1 Parent Involvement Liaison, and Dr. Conseula Francis, Professor and Associate Provost for Curriculum and Institutional Resources at the College of Charleston, for facilitating this discussion.
22 Special Event and Reception: “A Conversation between Carolina Friends: About life, faith, hope, friendship, growing up in Carolina, show business, ‘permission’ & much more!”, Charles Randolph-Wright, director, writer, and film producer, and Pauletta Washington, actress, musician, and humanitarian, Avery Research Center, 6:00 pm, free and open to the public.
CHARLES RANDOLPH-WRIGHT has built a dynamic and diversified career in directing, writing, and producing for theatre, television, and film. Randolph-Wright directed the smash hit MOTOWN THE MUSICAL on Broadway, which is on tour throughout the United States, and will open in London in February. He is currently directing the world premiere of AKEELAH AND THE BEE at Arena Stage, and is also directing and co-writing BORN FOR THIS, a new musical by gospel icon Bebe Winans, premiering at the Alliance Theatre in the spring. More recently, Randolph-Wright is an executive producer and co-writer on an NBC miniseries, Freedom Run, based on Betty DeRamus’s 2005 book Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad. Charles Randolph-Wright is a native of York, South Carolina.
PAULETTA WASHINGTON, born in North Carolina, is an actress, musician and humanitarian. She is dedicated to undertaking initiatives that optimize the well-being of children and families. On Oct. 22 at the Avery Research Center, and on Oct. 25 at North Charleston’s Rose Maree Myers Theater, she continues her efforts as part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) global network to share innovative approaches to peace building, lifelong learning, and resilience.
31 Reception: Avery 150th Commemoration Event, McKinley Washington Auditorium, 3-5 pm
2015 is an important year at the Avery Research Center. The Center is located in a historic building that once housed the Avery Normal Institute, which served as a hub for Charleston’s African American communities from 1865 to 1954. 2015 marks the 150th Anniversary of the opening of this influential school, and the 30th Anniversary of the Avery Research Center, which was established at the College of Charleston in 1985 through Avery alumni and supporters. To commemorate this significant anniversary, the Avery Research Center will host a reception that is free and open to the public. This event will include a musical performance by Ann Caldwell and remarks from:
Dr. Patricia Lessane, Executive Director of the Avery Research Center
Dr. Bernard Powers, Professor in the Department of History at the College of Charleston
The Honorable Lucille Whipper, Avery Institute Alumna, former South Carolina State Representative, and former President of the Avery Institute Board
4-7 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
The African Diaspora is defined in great measure by the movement and circulation of African peoples, their cultures, and their ideas. African peoples in diaspora have created their own meanings and social-ideological geographies, forming new communities, dialogues and autonomous spaces within the global Black world and larger transnational communities. Whether it is the birth of Gullah culture in the Carolina Sea Islands from far-flung Atlantic colonial spaces or communities navigating the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and class, African peoples have been generating circuits that constitute intertwined histories with increasing dialogue among each other. ASWAD’s 8th Biennial Conference, hosted by the College of Charleston, will focus on related themes of circulation/migration and the importance of locality/place in shaping the human experience of Africans and African descendants around the world. This event requires conference registration. For more information please see: http://convention2.allacademic.com/one/aswad/aswad15/
12 Brown Bag Series: “Education: The Fabric of My Life,” Marlene Linton O’Bryant-Seabrook, PhD, Educator, Lecturer, Fiber Artist, iPad Artist, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In this presentation, Marlene O’Bryant-Seabrook will share her journey of love for Education—as a life-long receiver and giver. A third generation educator, O’Bryant-Seabrook will share both her rich experiences, and various documents and artifacts from her family of educators. These materials range from the 1868 school record of her maternal great-grandmother, to memorabilia from her time as a student at the Avery Normal Institute, which she attended from Pre-Primer through twelfth Grade. O’Bryant Seabrook will also discuss her years as the only African American, and one of only two women, on the faculty at The Citadel: Military College of South Carolina. Finally, she will present examples of her use of the iPad in conjunction with the designing and execution of her nationally and internationally exhibited art quilts. As an educator and artist, O’Bryant-Seabrook approaches quilting from a dual focus: all of her quilts, which she views as she did the bulletin boards of her elementary school teaching days, have overt or subtle lessons tucked in them.
13 Brown Bag Series: “I’ll Find a Way or Make One: Two Black Artists in 1920s Charleston,” Mae Whitlock Gentry, Journalist, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
Born in the late 1800s, just one generation out of slavery, an African-American couple – artist Edwin Augustus Harleston (1882-1931) and photographer Elise Forrest Harleston (1891-1970) – owned and operated a studio at 118 Calhoun Street in Charleston, South Carolina, throughout the 1920s. Edwin Harleston painted portraits, landscapes and images of the city’s iconic street vendors. Elise Harleston took photographs of paying clients and people whose faces she found interesting, including former slaves. Professionally trained and nationally celebrated, they were rendered invisible by Charleston’s power structure because of their race. They were also denied the opportunity to participate in the “whites-only” arts movement known as the Charleston Renaissance. In this presentation, Edwin and Elise’s great-niece, Mae Whitlock Gentry, will discuss and share images of the couple’s work, and she will talk about how Edwin Harleston was able to produce a series of Magnolia Gardens oil paintings in 1930, despite the fact that this tourism destination was off-limits to black visitors under Jim Crow segregation.
Mae Whitlock Gentry is the great-niece of Edwin and Elise Harleston. A retired journalist who spent most of her career as a writer and editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she has a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington, where she is working on a book about Edwin and Elise Harleston, drawing from their correspondence and images
3 Brown Bag Series: “Somebody Had To Do It: First Children in School Desegregation,” Millicent Brown, PhD, Somebody Had To Do It Project Director and Independent Scholar, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that de jure racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional on the federal level through Brown v. Board of Education. Despite this ruling, it took years for public schools on the state and local level to effectively begin to integrate. In South Carolina, school desegregation did not begin until 1963, when Judge Robert Martin ruled in Millicent Brown et al v. Charleston County School Board, District 20 to approve requests from Black students to be admitted to White schools. In this presentation, Millicent Brown, who is now a retired professor of U.S. History, will discuss her experiences as a “first child” in school desegregation, which led her to launch the Somebody Had To Do It project in 2006. Through oral histories with Black Americans who were the “first children” to integrate public schools in the mid-twentieth century, the Somebody Had To Do It oral history collection provides insights into the history of school desegregation in South Carolina and the U.S. South. In 2013, Brown donated this collection to the Avery Research Center, and in 2015 she co-authored an online exhibition through the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative with Jon Hale and Clerc Cooper that features excerpts from this collection, as well as an essay and timeline detailing the history of desegregation in South Carolina.
4 Public Discussion: “Moving from Crisis to Action: A Public Health Approach to Reducing Gun Violence,” Mother Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, SC, 9:00 am-7:30 pm
Co-sponsored by the Medical University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston, the Avery Research Center, Mother Emanuel AME Church, and the American Bar Association
In anticipation of the six-month anniversary of the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church, national and local public health, medical, and legal experts, along with faith leaders, will join public officials for a discussion on the gun violence crisis in South Carolina and our nation. Plan to attend for the full day or a portion of the day. On site registration opens at 8:15 am and the event begins at 9:00 am. Online pre-registration is now open. go.cofc.edu/dec4actionpanel
9:40 am | “Facing the facts: How Gun Violence is Shaping Life in America,” Dr. Daniel Webster, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
10:10 am | “Race and Guns,” Ron Sullivan, Harvard Law School
For full details: go.cofc.edu/dec4actionpanel
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).
FEBRUARY 21, 2015 – JULY 30, 2015
MALCOLM X: 50 Years and Counting-The Legacy Continues, Changing Gallery, Avery Research Center
Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965. This exhibition features materials from the James E. Campbell Collection (Avery Research Center, College of Charleston) and from the private collection of Imam Hakim Abdul-Ali, to commemorate the life and legacy of Malcolm X.
OCTOBER 16 2014 – AUGUST 31, 2015
Sweetgrass: A Living Legacy of Family and Community, Cox Gallery, Avery Research Center
Originally curated by the Avery Research Center staff in 2009, this exhibition will reopen in 2014 to feature recent acquisitions of baskets made by various African and African American artists in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The art of African American basket making in the South Carolina Lowcountry first began with enslaved Africans who arrived through the trans-Atlantic slave trade from the present-day Mano River, Senegambia, and Angola-Congolese regions of West Africa. Today basket makers in both the Lowcountry and various parts of Africa draw from their shared craft traditions to weave works of art from various materials. Items featured in the 2014 exhibition include a new collection of baskets donated by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Alliance that were featured in the Exhibits USA and NEH on the Road traveling exhibition, Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art; baskets made by children from the Lowcountry for the Avery Research Center’s The Next Generation sweetgrass basket making project in 2008; and various sweetgrass baskets from the Avery Research Center archival collections.
2013 Conference: Unleashing the Black Erotic: Gender and Sexuality—Passion, Power, and Praxis
Avery Research Center 25th Anniversary Celebration