8 Panel Presentation: “Organize the South,” Avery Research Center, 6:30-8:30 pm
A vibrant movement for labor rights and civil rights is spreading across the South. Union membership is on the rise, and more workers are fighting to demand respect and living wages. Come out and hear from local labor organizers, workers, faith leaders, and historians to discuss how we can seize this emerging political moment and organize it into a long lasting movement with strategic victories for working people.
18 Album Release Celebration: “Gullah Tings fa Tink Bout,” Ron Daise, Performer, Songwriter, Author, Avery Research Center, 6-9 pm
Ron Daise is pleased to announce the launch of his new album, “Gullah Tings fa Tink Bout,” which includes 14 selections of songs and readings that artistically promote Gullah Geechee culture and heritage. As former Chairman and Founding Commissioner of the federal Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, Daise is committed to celebrating and preserving Gullah Geechee culture. Many of the songs in his new album are inspired by the tunes of Gullah Geechee spirituals from his childhood, as well as by his travels to Ghana and Sierra Leone, West Africa, where he saw firsthand connections to his heritage. This project is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The original songs and poems recorded on the album are documented in Daise’s book Gullah Branches, West African Roots (Sandlapper Publishing, 2007). As of late June, CD copies will be available for sale at www.cdbaby.com as well as through www.rondaise.com for both retail and wholesale. This Release Celebration is free and open to the public.
10 Brown Bag Series: “East Side Story: A History of the Neck in Downtown Charleston,” Susan Williams, PhD, Trident Technical Community College, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
The East Side, Hampstead, the Neck—call it what you will, this historic Charleston neighborhood includes the site of Denmark Vesey’s African Church; the Cigar Factory (where “We Shall Overcome” was first sung as a civil rights anthem); Hampstead Mall (a favorite spot for African American political rallies and celebrations); master ironworker Philip Simmons’s home and forge; and many other fascinating but lesser-known landmarks. In this presentation, Dr. Susan Millar Williams and her colleagues from Trident Technical College’s Palmer Campus will provide a slide presentation about this dynamic neighborhood’s past, and Trident’s ongoing programs to preserve its history and collaborate with the people who live there. Williams is the author, with Stephen G. Hoffius, of Upheaval in Charleston: Earthquake and Murder on the Eve of Jim Crow.
18-20 Symposium: “The Marrow of Tradition: The Black Film in the American Cinematic Tradition,” Avery Research Center
The 2014 Avery Research Center Symposium, “The Marrow of Tradition: The Black Film in the American Cinematic Tradition,” will screen and highlight the work of African-American filmmakers and generate critical dialogue about the Black film tradition and the salient ways issues of race, class, gender, oppression, resistance, and liberation struggles have historically inculcated in the work of radical pioneers of race film and those that followed in their footsteps. Invited speakers include Julie Dash, Greg Tate, and Mark Anthony Neal. Featured screenings will include Nothing But a Man (1964), to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film’s release.
9 Lecture: “Celebrating Toni Cade Bambara: A Life Free of Political and Spiritual Boundaries,” Linda Holmes, Author of A Joyous Revolt: Toni Cade Bambara, Writer and Activist (2014), 6:00 pm, Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium
Toni Cade Bambara (1939-1995) was at the forefront of twentieth century black feminist literary movements. Her 1970 anthology, The Black Woman, challenged the chauvinism of the black community and insisted on allowing black women to speak in their own words. Her writing, film work, and activism amplified the power of black women speaking for themselves and challenged stereotypical black female roles, making Bambara among the first to contribute to the contemporary black feminist movement. In this presentation, Linda Holmes explores how the life and work of Toni Cade Bambara informs contemporary social and political movements that address challenges and opportunities at the intersection of race, class, gender, and spirituality. Throughout her creative career, Bambara wanted her writing and activism to spark transformation. This presentation will celebrate this groundbreaking writer, and offer suggestions for continuing the cultural work that Bambara felt called to do as a black woman, writer, mentor, community worker, and mother.
17 Performance: Fisk Jubilee Singers, 7:00 pm, Circular Congregational Church, Co-sponsored by the Avery Research Center and the Colour of Music: Black Classical Musicians Festival
The Fisk Jubilee Singers are vocal artists and students at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, who sing and travel worldwide. The original Jubilee Singers began performing in 1871, and were instrumental in preserving the unique American musical tradition known as Negro spirituals. In 2008, the Fisk Jubilee Singers were selected as a recipient of the 2008 National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artists and patrons of the arts. Today, they continue the tradition of singing spirituals around the world. This allows the ensemble to share this rich culture globally while preserving this unique music. Concert tickets will be available for purchase from the Avery Research Center in September 2014. Please see the Center’s website for updates.
23 Brown Bag Series: “The Benefits of Campus Dissent and the Downfalls of Co-opted Diversity,” Kristi Brian, PhD, College of Charleston’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
During the spring 2014 semester, a climate of dissent on campus propelled the College of Charleston onto the pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post and numerous other news sources. Nearly all the reports positioned “diversity” as central to the political battleground. Who supports it? Who is afraid of it? Who doesn’t get it? This Brown Bag conversation will consider how the turbulence of our “Cougar Spring” urged more of us to think critically about the College’s commitment to diversity. Let’s ask ourselves what it would take to create a campus culture in which support for diversity means more than simply celebrating differences or tokening particular identities. How might we assess the beneficial impact of the recent climate of dissent while also facing up to the entrenched social forces that use a superficial rhetoric of “multiculturalism” to gloss over legislative corruption? How do we move away from a culture in which “diversity” is merely a buzzword to one in which oppression is no longer normalized?
6 Panel Presentation: “Performing Antebellum Charleston: Racial Theatrics in the Holy City,” 6:00 pm, Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium, Co-sponsored by the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture and the Center for Southern Jewish Culture at the College of Charleston
This panel considers representations of race and slavery in Charleston, South Carolina’s literary and theater culture in the early 1800s. Scholars Jacob Crane (Bentley University), Douglas Jones (Rutgers University), and Radiclani Clytus (Brown University) will examine works by Mordecai Manuel Noah, Sarah Pogson, and Harriet Martineau to consider how these playwrights and journalists influenced antebellum popular culture—locally, nationally, and across the Atlantic— through their depictions of African American life as well as Jewish identity in Charleston. Panelists will explore Charleston as an actual site of performance, and as an imagined setting for staging popular beliefs about slavery and race in the early republic. Heather Nathans, chair of the Department of Drama and Dance at Tufts University and author of Slavery and Sentiment on the American Stage, 1787-1861 (2009), will serve as chair for this panel.
21 Brown Bag Series: “‘Cullah Mi Gullah,’ Re-Imagining Female Artists and the Sea Islands: Exploring Africanisms and Religious Expressions in Creative Works,” Rebekkah Yisrael, PhD Student, University of Memphis, Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm
In this presentation, Rebekkah Yisrael will discuss her master’s thesis work, which provides a historiography of Africanisms and religious expressions explored in Gullah Geechee literary traditions within African-American women’s fiction, particularly in the works of Julie Dash and Tina McElroy Ansa. This qualitative study of Dash’s 1991 film and novel Daughters of the Dust (1997), along with Ansa’s novels Baby of the Family (1989) and The Hand I Fan With (1996), highlights the sources and influences that these women drew upon from the Gullah Geechee culture and the landscape of the Sea Islands to construct their creative narratives.
20 Roundtable Discussion: “CAFÉ (Carolina Alliance for Fair Employment) and the Struggle for Economic Justice,” 6:00 pm, Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium. Details TBA.
2013 Conference: Unleashing the Black Erotic: Gender and Sexuality—Passion, Power, and Praxis
Avery Research Center 25th Anniversary Celebration