CALENDAR Summer/Fall 2016
Unless otherwise noted, all listed events are free and open to the public.
25 Exhibition Opening: Avery: The Spirit That Would Not Die, 1865-2015, Avery Research Center, 4-6 pm
The Avery Research Center is pleased to announce the opening of our updated permanent exhibition Avery: The Spirit That Would Not Die, 1865-2015. This exhibition explores over one hundred and fifty years of Avery history—from its origins as a school for Black Charlestonians starting in 1865, to its current form as a center for promoting the history and culture of the African diaspora with an emphasis on Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry. The original exhibition of the same name was curated by Professors Lee Drago and Eugene Hunt at the College of Charleston in 1981. The Avery Research Center’s Public Historian, Mary Battle, co-curated this exhibition expansion and update with Museum Curator Curtis J. Franks, with special assistance from graduate student assistant Leah Worthington, and in collaboration with various scholars, graduate students, and members of the Avery Research Center faculty and staff. Sponsors for the exhibition update include the Avery Institute for Afro-American History and Culture and SunTrust. Exhibition opening is free and open to public, and will include a light reception.
7 Brown Bag Series: “Interpreting African American History at McLeod Plantation,” Shawn Halifax, Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) recently opened McLeod Plantation Historic Site in April 2015 as Charleston’s newest presentation of a southern plantation. The site has boldly set its focus on telling stories of the majority of people who lived there from 1851-1990 — the stories of the enslaved, freed people, and their descendants. In this presentation, Shawn Halifax, coordinator of public history programs for CCPRC, will discuss the development of the site’s interpretation, what County Parks has learned about the site’s history, and what the McLeod staff hopes to learn more about in the future — as well as some of the reactions from public audiences to the site’s stories.
21 Brown Bag Series: “SCETV’s Between the Waters: A Virtual Tour of Hobcaw Barony,” Betsy Newman, Patrick Hayes, and Kelly Hogan, 12:00-1:15 pm, Avery Research Center
“Between the Waters” is SCETV’s new interactive website, an immersive digital journey that introduces the historic South Carolina coastal estate, Hobcaw Barony, to a worldwide audience. Hobcaw was home to Native Americans; a land grant to the Lords Proprietors; part of the Rice Kingdom developed through the skills and labor of enslaved Africans; the hunting retreat of financier Bernard Baruch and a haven for world leaders, including Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Visitors to the website take a self-directed virtual tour of Hobcaw, moving down the roads and rice canals, entering the buildings, listening to the stories of former residents and relatives, both black and white. In an era when technology increasingly connects the present to the past, “Between the Waters”sets a new standard, making history feel like a lived experience. Produced by SCETV, the website is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Humanities Council of South Carolina.
22 Lecture and Book Signing: “The Freedom Schools: A History of Student Activism in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement,” Jon Hale, PhD, College of Charleston, Avery Research Center, 6pm
In this presentation, Dr. Jon N. Hale will discuss his recent publication, The Freedom Schools: A History of Student Activism in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (Columbia University Press, 2016). This book examines the history of the Mississippi Freedom Schools, a network of schools that advocated for full political, economic, and social equality in the 1960s by adopting a progressive curriculum and providing students with opportunities for political engagement during the civil rights movement. Drawing upon rich archival sources and dozens of oral histories, this book provides a social history of the Freedom Schools from the students’ and teachers’ perspectives to provide insight into how and why students enrolled, what their experiences were, how education was used to contest inequality, and what impact these schools had on the civil rights movement. Those who participated in the Freedom Schools subsequently joined the front lines by boycotting their schools, organizing protests in the hometowns, and demanding a quality education in the era of desegregation. The legacy of their work deepens our understanding of the civil rights movement and it demonstrates how many of the promises of the movement remain unfulfilled.
Dr. Jon Hale is an Associate Professor of Educational History at the College of Charleston. His research focuses on the use of education among activists during the civil rights movement of the twentieth century.
18 Race and Social Justice Initiative Lecture: “A Deeper Black: Race in America,” Ta-Nehisi Coates, Journalist and Author, Sottile Theatre, 44 George Street, Charleston, 6:30 pm
Co-Sponsored by the College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative funded by Google, Charleston County Public Library, South Carolina Humanities, the SC Community Loan Fund, SunTrust, the Avery Institute, and the Sophia Institute
Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most original and perceptive black voices today—“the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” (New York Observer). Coates is the author, most recently, of Between the World and Me, the #1 New York Times bestseller that “will be hailed as a classic of our time” (Publishers Weekly) and which Toni Morrison calls “required reading.” Coates writes Between the World and Me in the form of a letter to his teenage son, Samori. In 160 pages, it moves from Baltimore to Howard University to New York City to Paris, France, addressing what it means to be black in America. Slate calls it, “a book destined to remain on store shelves, bedside tables, and high school and college syllabi long after its author or any of us have left this Earth.” An Atlantic National Correspondent, Coates has written many influential articles, including “The Case for Reparations,” which reignited the long-dormant conversation of how to repay African-Americans for a system of institutional racism that’s robbed them of wealth and success for generations. New York called the George Polk Award-winning cover story “probably the most discussed magazine piece of the Obama era.” Coates’s debut book, The Beautiful Struggle, is a tough and touching memoir of growing up in Baltimore during the age of crack. In 2012, Coates was awarded the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. Judge Hendrik Hertzberg, of The New Yorker, wrote, “Coates is one of the most elegant and sharp observers of race in America. He is an upholder of universal values, a brave and compassionate writer who challenges his readers to transcend narrow self-definitions and focus on shared humanity.” A former Village Voice writer, Coates is the Journalist in Residence at the School of Journalism at CUNY. He was previously the Martin Luther King Visiting Associate Professor at MIT, and has been awarded the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. He is the winner of a 2015 MacArthur Fellowship.
26 Brown Bag Series: “Untold Stories: Enslaved People in the Home of the Grimke Family,” Louise W. Knight, Northwestern University, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
A major portion of the workforce and residents of Charleston in the antebellum era were enslaved people who worked in homes or trades connected to the city’s hiring-out system. A key question today is how best to represent their stories in the public history of Charleston? House museums in the city have begun to address this question in their tours, but historic houses that have no tours and only markers, including the Blake-Grimke House, face a different challenge. In this presentation, Louise Knight will discuss her research on eight of the enslaved people who worked in the home of the Grimke family — Dinah, Stephen, George, Bess, Betsy, Diana, and two unnamed people. Growing up, Sarah and Angelina Grimké knew all of them; once the sisters became abolitionists, they left behind descriptions of these individuals’ experiences in the Grimké family. Knight hopes those attending the session will join in a discussion of the different ways to incorporate the stories of these individuals into the public history of Charleston.
Louise W. Knight, is an author and historian. Her previous two biographies have been about Jane Addams; she is currently writing a biography of Sarah and Angelina Grimke that will be published by Macmillan in 2018. Knight is a Visiting Scholar in Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, at Northwestern University, and lives in Evanston, Illinois. Her website is www.louisewknight.com
2 Brown Bag Series: “The Path Not Taken—The Lost Promise of the South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1868,” Damon Fordham, MA, Historian, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In this presentation, author and historian Damon L. Fordham discusses his research on the South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1868, which took place in Charleston from January to April of that year. This Convention, which was attended by 76 blacks and 43 whites, nearly changed the course of American history. The 1868 South Carolina Constitution included progressive legislation that called for public education, universal male suffrage, integrated schools, an end to imprisonment for debt, and the prohibition of discriminatory laws. Today in South Carolina, many have not heard of this influential Convention, and fewer still know about the state leaders who advocated for these progressive reforms so soon after slavery. How did this happen? Why did this period not last? And why is this history still often hidden from popular understandings of Charleston’s history? Mr. Fordham will discuss these questions and sign copies of his book featuring this research, Voices of Black South Carolina (The History Press, 2009).
Damon L. Fordham, a local author, lecturer, and adjunct professor at Virginia College, is the author of three books. He obtained his undergraduate degrees at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and his MA in history at the College of Charleston.
10 Roundtable Presentation: “Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence,” Chad Williams, Kidada E. Williams, and Keisha N. Blain, Avery Research Center, 6:00 pm
In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel Church in June 2015, Professors Chad Williams, Kidada Williams, and Keisha N. Blain sought a way to put the murders, and the subsequent debates about it in the media, in the context of America’s tumultuous history of race relations and racial violence on a global scale. They created the Charleston Syllabus on June 19th, starting it as a hashtag on Twitter linking to scholarly works on the myriad of issues related to the murder. The syllabus’s popularity exploded and is already being used as a key resource in discussions of the event. Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence (University of Georgia Press, 2016) builds on this online resource to feature a collection of new essays and columns published in the wake of the massacre, along with selected excerpts from key existing scholarly books and general-interest articles. The collection draws from a variety of disciplines—history, sociology, urban studies, law, critical race theory—and includes a selected and annotated bibliography for further reading, drawing from such texts as the Confederate constitution, South Carolina’s secession declaration, songs, poetry, slave narratives, and literacy texts. As timely as it is necessary, this book is a valuable resource for understanding the roots of American systemic racism, white privilege, the uses and abuses of the Confederate flag and its ideals, the black church as a foundation for civil rights activity and state violence against such activity, and critical whiteness studies.
Chad Williams is an Associate Professor and the Chair of African and Afro-American studies at Brandeis University and is the author of Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era.
Kidada E. Williams is an Associate Professor of History at Wayne State University and the author of They Left Great Marks on Me: African American Testimonies of Racial Violence from Emancipation to World War I.
Keisha N. Blain is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Iowa. Her work has been published in the Journal of Social History; Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society; and Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International.
Juxtaposition Planet: The Art of Amiri Farris, McKinley Washington Auditorium
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.
Phyllis Wheatley Literary and Social Club: Books Are Our Friends, Cox Gallery
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