14 “SELMA”: Panel Presentation and Community Discussion, Beyond the Red Carpet, 6-8:00pm
The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the Civil Rights Movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s “SELMA” tells the story of how the revered leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others in the movement made and changed history. Sponsored by The Charleston Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
15 Brown Bag Series: “Discovering the Spirit of an Activist: I. DeQuincey Newman and South Carolina’s Changing Racial Climate,” Sadye L.M. Logan, DSW, LISW-CP, University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
The civil rights struggle in South Carolina was not simply an attempt to change the racial trajectory of South Carolina, but a challenge to a deeply engrained collective memory of the past that excluded South Carolina’s African American population. Reverend I. DeQuincey Newman (1911-1985) was a pastor, activist, and politician who worked diligently to change South Carolina’s racial climate during the twentieth century civil rights movement. He also realized that engrained collective memories, and the hearts of individuals, could not be changed through the legislative process. In this presentation, Dr. Sadye Logan draws from her recently published book, The Spirit of an Activist: The Life and Work of I. DeQuincey Newman (2014), to explore the following questions: (1) Can we ever expect to live in a world free from the distinction of country, language, sect, and race; that is based on love, respect for self, others, and the planet? (2) What has been our role in changing South Carolina’s racial climate? (3) What do we see as the role of the state and federal government in developing and supporting anti-racist policies and practices?
Sadye L.M. Logan is the I. DeQuincey Newman Professor of Social Work Emerita at the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work.
22 Lecture: “New Orleans Revisited: Tourism, Race, and Historical Memory after Katrina,” Lynnell Thomas, PhD, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium, 6 pm
By the eve of the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, collective dissent over the slow, uneven, and inequitable recovery was displaced by a blitz of favorable media coverage that refashioned a tale of national disaster into a fable of American resilience and rebirth. In this presentation, Lynnell Thomas explores how events, such as the election of a white mayor, the New Orleans Saints’ NFL Super Bowl victory, the critical acclaim and local fandom surrounding the launch of the HBO television series Treme, BP’s tourism promotional campaign following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and the positive national attention generated by the city’s neoliberal solutions to public education and affordable housing, relied on and reclaimed the racialized tourist tropes central to New Orleans’s place identity. The city’s post-Katrina tourism narrative advances an idea of recovery that obscures painful post-Katrina realities. As the script of New Orleans’ recovery is being written, the city is poised to emerge as an international symbol of rebirth, renewal, and racial unity or a harbinger of the systemic social, economic, and ecological disasters that plague all U.S. metropolitan areas. The nation – indeed the world – is watching (and touring) to see which symbol will win out.
Lynnell Thomas is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of American Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She is the author of Desire & Disaster in New Orleans: Tourism, Race, and Historical Memory (2014).
5 Film Screening, Performance, and Discussion: “WHY WE LAUGH: Great Black Comedians,” Darryl Littleton, Author and Comedian, Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium, 6 pm
This presentation features a screening of Why We Laugh, followed by a performance and Q&A with author, comedian, and executive producer Darryl Littleton. Littleton is the author of Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy (2008), a sweeping account of the evolution of Black comedy in America. He began his comedy career writing sketches for “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” on CBS Radio, became a regular at the “Comedy Store,” and adopted the stage name, “D’Militant” for his incisive social and political commentary. In 2009, producer and writer Quincy Newell and director Robert Townsend crafted a documentary based on Littleton’s book that included interviews with prominent scholars, politicians, cultural critics, and a host of notable comics, including Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Katt Williams, D.L. Hughley, and Steve Harvey. Why We Laugh tracks the way black comedy has evolved from Stepin Fetchit and minstrels in blackface to the politically tinged humor of Dick Georgory; and from the television success of Good Times and The Jeffersons to the big-screen accomplishments of stars like Eddie Murphy and Whoopi Goldberg.
18 Brown Bag Series: “Baseball Dreams Deferred: The Story of the 1955 Cannon Street Y.M.C.A.,” Ramon M. Jackson, PhD Candidate, University of South Carolina, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In this presentation, Ramon Jackson will share the story of the 1955 Cannon Street Y.M.C.A. All-Stars, an African American baseball team from Charleston, South Carolina. Once described by former Little League president and C.E.O. Dr. Creighton Hale as the “most significant amateur team in baseball history,” the All-Stars were key figures in an adult-led, direct action campaign to desegregate Little League Baseball in the American South. Nearly fifteen months after the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that segregated schools were unconstitutional, the Cannon Street Y.M.C.A. president Robert Francis Morrison entered the team into the “whites only” Charleston Little League tournament. In a show of “massive resistance,” white Little League officials, coaches, and parents gradually organized a mass boycott. Though they were ultimately denied the opportunity to compete in the LLWS, the All-Stars were invited to attend the final game as guests of Little League president Peter J. McGovern. The following year, teams in seven southern states seceded from Little League and formed “Little Boys Baseball, Incorporated,” a segregated youth baseball organization that later became known as Dixie Youth Baseball. This “Civil War” within youth baseball, sparked by the Cannon Street effort, was a powerful moment in the African American freedom struggle in South Carolina and the nation.
19 Panel Presentation: “The South Carolina Roots of African American Thought: A Reader,” Rhondda Robinson Thomas, PhD, and Susanna Ashton, PhD, Clemson University, Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium, 6 pm
Co-sponsored by the Avery Research Center, the Department of History, and the Department of English at the College of Charleston
In this presentation, Rhondda Robinson Thomas and Susanna Ashton will discuss their recent publication, The South Carolina Roots of African American Thought: A Reader (2014). This collection seeks to remedy the singularly narrow way in which South Carolina’s intellectual character has been defined in the popular imagination. Through this anthology, editors Thomas and Ashton have brought together writings that reveal a tradition of national prominence and influence with Black intellectuals, educators, journalists, and policy analysts from South Carolina. These native and adopted citizens mined their experiences to shape thinking about the state and the nation. Francis Grimké, Daniel Payne, Mary McLeod Bethune, Kelly Miller, Septima Clark, Benjamin Mays, Marian Wright Edelman, Jesse Jackson, and others have changed this nation for the better with their questions, challenges, and persistence—all in the proudest South Carolinian tradition.
26 Brown Bag Series: “More than Just a Game? Sports as a Means to Engage Charleston’s Youth of Promise,” Michael Hemphill, PhD, College of Charleston, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
Over the past three years, Michael Hemphill, an Assistant Professor in the College of Charleston’s Department of Health and Human Performance, has served as an advisor to a local non-profit organization called Chucktown Squash. Squash is a high intensity racquet sport most often played in affluent communities. Through Chucktown Squash, this game serves a way to engage Charleston’s “Youth of Promise”—students who attend Title 1 schools in the downtown area. These students often attend under-performing schools and face other challenges that may hinder their academic success. Chucktown Squash allows students to become engaged in athletics, academic enrichment, and community service projects four days a week on the College of Charleston campus. As a result of this program, many students have seen their grades improve, and several students have advanced into academically rigorous high school programs. In this presentation, Hemphill will discuss his experiences working with Chucktown Squash, and will consider the role of sports as a force for promoting improved academic performance for Charleston’s Youth of Promise.
12 Lecture: “Slavery and Freedom in Savannah,” Leslie Harris, PhD, Emory University, Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium, 6 pm
In 2014, Leslie M. Harris and Daina Ramey Berry, in collaboration with the Owens-Thomas House of Telfair Museums, published Slavery and Freedom in Savannah with the University of Georgia Press. This collection, which brings together thirty experts writing on the history of slavery and African Americans in Savannah and the surrounding region, is an important milestone in the ongoing efforts of the Owens-Thomas House to interpret more fully the history of slavery at the site. The Owens-Thomas House project on slavery serves as an example of how understanding slavery can expand our knowledge of historic homes. In this presentation, Leslie Harris will discuss highlights from the book, and the importance of public history projects that bring together academics, museum professionals, public historians and the general public to see familiar sites in new ways.
Leslie Harris is an Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Emory University, and is the co-founder and director of Emory’s Transforming Community Project, a multi-year program designed for the entire institution to rethink and confront its own race history.
17 Brown Bag Series: “Learn About the Digital Public Library of America,” Aaron Spelbring, Manager of Archival Services at the Avery Research Center, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
The Digital Public Library of America is a portal and platform for bringing together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums and making them freely available to the world. The Avery Research Center is proud to be a partner of the Lowcountry Digital Library, which is part of one of DPLA’s many digital library hubs. In this presentation, Aaron Spelbring, the Manager of Archival Services at the Avery Research Center and South Carolina’s DPLA Community Representative, will describe how DPLA engages local resources like Avery’s archives, and how this innovative project can be useful to large and small institutions throughout South Carolina.
26 Brown Bag Series: “The Power, Peril, & Politics of ‘Self’ Publishing,” Savannah Frierson, Author, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In this presentation, Savannah Frierson will discuss the journey and process of being a self-published author. Frierson is the author of eight novels, novellas, and short stories, including Being Plumville (2007) and Loose (2014). Her fiction highlights the experiences of Black women in historical and contemporary contexts as they relate to race, romance, and family.
9 Lecture and Book Signing: “Challenges of the Iraq War,” Ken Walden, PhD, Hood Theological Seminary, Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium, 6 pm
The Iraq War caused emotional, physical, psychiatric, relational, and spiritual challenges to an untold number of military reservists and their families. In this presentation, Ken J. Walden takes you through the war’s critical stages of pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment. Reservists’ families, usually living far from military bases with professional staffing, are often among the most affected wounded of the Iraq War. Injured reservists often return home to discover that civilian medical resources are insufficient and civic organizations are unequipped to help manage the range of combat-related wounds and psychiatric trauma, especially post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. As a military officer and academic scholar, Walden will analyze the various impacts of the Iraq War and recommend approaches for persons interested in participating in support for families suffering from experiences associated with the Iraq War.
Ken Walden is an Associate Professor of pastoral care and counseling at the Hood Theological Seminary, and the author of Challenges Faced By Iraq War Reservists and Their Families (2012).
10 Brown Bag Series: “Re-Making Gullah/Geechee Memory: Erasing Slavery and Jim Crow from the Gullah/Geechee Experience,” Melissa Cooper, PhD, University of South Carolina, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In this presentation, Melissa Cooper will examine the intellectual and cultural forces that inspired black and white scholars, researchers, and writers to explore the cultural world of African Americans in the Lowcountry region during 1920s and 1930s. From Julia Peterkin’s novels and stage productions like Porgy and Bess, to studies commissioned by the Federal Writers’ Project, Cooper will grapple with the way that evolving ideas about race and region shaped interest in the Gullah people.
Melissa Cooper is a Research Assistant Professor in the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina. Her current book project is an intellectual and cultural history that examines the emergence of “the Gullah” in scholarly and popular works during the 1920s and the 1930s.
11 DATE CHANGE: History Harvest, Avery Research Center, 10am-2pm, sponsored by the Avery Research Center and the Lowcountry Digital Library
Come join the Avery Research Center and the Lowcountry Digital Library (LCDL) for a History Harvest! Bring family documents, photographs, and artifacts to be scanned or photographed (limit of 10 items per participant). Participants will learn about the Digital Public Library of America, and how to preserve your family heirlooms from local professionals. Events will include demonstrations by local craftspeople and activities for children.
11-14 CLAW Conference: Triennial Meeting of the Southern Association of Women Historians, College of Charleston (Locations TBA)
The Southern Association for Women Historians (SAWH) will hold their tenth triennial conference June 11-14, 2015, at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. Co-sponsored by the College of Charleston, The Citadel, and Clemson University, the conference provides a stimulating and congenial forum for discussing all aspects of women’s history. Its program seeks to reflect the best in recent scholarship and the diversity of our profession, including university professors, graduate students, museum curators, public historians, and independent scholars. Sessions will address various aspects of women’s and gender history, and featured presentations will explore the conference themes: public history, tourism, memory, historic commemoration, and marketing history.
*Registration Information coming soon! Please see SAWH website for updates.
All Plenary Sessions will be Free and Open to the Public
Keynote Speakers: Renee Romano, Oberlin College; Susan Pearson, Northwestern University; Marcia Chatelain, Georgetown University; James Schmidt, Northern Illinois University; Stephanie Yuhl, College of the Holy Cross; Kat Charron, North Carolina State University; and Leslie Harris, Emory University
MARCH 1 - DECEMBER 21
Africa: Masks, Music & Motion, An Exhibition, The Changing Gallery, Avery Research Center
This exhibition draws from art objects and material culture from various parts of West and Central Africa that have been donated to the Avery Research Center over the past few decades. As one scholar notes, “Looking at an African mask in a museum, stripped of its costume and motionless inside an exhibit case, is in some ways like watching television with the picture tube removed.” In essence, “what one sees is to a greater or lesser degree incomplete, a fraction of what was.” Even so, by observing the masks that remain, one can learn a great deal about all that is missing. For example, in rural villages throughout West and Central Africa, performers use Kifwebe masks during celebrations and ceremonies at different times of the year. The masks and their transforming spirits appear during rites of passage as young men and women enter adulthood. Additionally, they appear at births and funerals, acknowledging the cycles of life. Mask wearers are accompanied by music played on flutes, ivory trumpets, slit drums, thumb pianos and marimbas. The masks, artifacts, and music excerpts featured in this exhibition ultimately afford us an opportunity to highlight diverse traditions in West and Central Africa. Some of these masks and artifacts can also be viewed through the Avery Research Center Collections with the Lowcountry Digital Library.
SEPTEMBER 18-JANUARY 31
Cleveland L. Sellers: The SNCC Years, Coming Through the Fire, Cox Gallery, Avery Research Center
Originally curated in 2009 as part of the Avery Research Center’s traveling exhibition program, this exhibition will reopen in 2014 in observance of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Freedom Summer. Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers was born in Denmark, South Carolina and attended Howard University. While at Howard, Sellers became a member of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG), an affiliate of SNCC (Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee). In 1964, Sellers joined SNCC’s Mississippi Summer Project (also known as Freedom Summer) to organize African-American voter registration in Mississippi. Three civil rights activists, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner were infamously murdered while working on this project. SNCC members eventually elected Sellers to be their Program Secretary in 1965. Today, Dr. Sellers is the president of Voorhees University in Denmark, South Carolina. This exhibition draws from the Cleveland Sellers archival collection at the Avery Research Center and features letters, newspapers, magazines, photographs, music, broadsides, and ephemera that document the Freedom Summer project.
OCTOBER 16 – JANUARY 31
Sweetgrass: A Living Legacy of Family and Community, McKinley Washington Auditorium, 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