From the Legal History Blog, a review of LCRM panelist Mary Dudziak’s Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey.
Monthly Archive for January, 2009
In today’s Raleigh News and Observer, Timothy Tyson toasts the Reverend Joseph Lowery, who delivered the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration last week. Southern voters might remember Lowery’s sermons urging “good crazy” voters–those who actually believed that an African American might become president–to head to the polls.
Lowery used the benediction not just to weave together centuries’ worth of African-American and religious history, but also to gently joke about a country looking forward to a time when, for example, “when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around.”
Right-wing commentators got lathered up at the idea that Lowery might joke about our great nation, which in electing its first black president has so obviously matured into a “post-racial” society. But Tyson sees the value of Lowery’s humor, and his (rare) willingness to speak out for the civil rights of gay Americans, who had to brook the insult of Rick Warren’s invocation, which many hailed as evidence’s of Obama’s commitment to inclusion. Not to mention the fact that Bishop Gene Robinson’s opening prayer was omitted from HBO’s broadcast of the event. (HBO added it to rebroadcasts.)
In Jena, as throughout the rest of the US, we are supposed to believe that “race is no longer an issue” and that justice is colorblind. California fits the pattern perfectly. Out here, Martin Luther King Jr. commemorations have become exercises in remembering how bad racism used to be [in the South] but thank God almighty we are free at last!
Paul Ortiz shares a piece he published at truthout.org on the Jena Six, the African-American Louisiana youths who were charged with attempted murder after a fight with a white student. The fight was one of a series of racially-charged incidents’ at the youths’ high school. (Mychal Bell, one of the six, recently attempted suicide.) The case and the response of the African-American community, Ortiz believes, may mark a turning point in the black freedom movement, which has often operated in isolation from members of the white community.
Thanks very much to Paul for submitting his work. Other panelists are encouraged to do the same. Send panel papers or related materials to SOHP Digital Coordinator Seth Kotch: sethkotch [at] unc [dot] edu.
Rebecca Clark, community organizer and activist, died in Chapel Hill earlier this month. Clark was a local political force who worked to get politicians elected–and hold them accountable once they took office. She lived to see Barack Obama elected president, but not inaugurated. Read more here.
Listen to and read an interview with Rebecca Clark at Oral Histories of the American South, the SOHP’s collaboration with Documenting the American South.
The Faculty Focus Group scheduled for Tuesday, January 20th from 3 – 5 PM has been cancelled due to the inclement weather. We hope to reschedule the meeting shortly. Please contact Project Assistant, Russ Damian for additional information.
The deadline for graduate student presentation proposals for the Long Civil Rights Movement conference this spring has been extended to next Monday, January 19, 2009. This opportunity is open to UNC-CH graduate students only, so please participate!
Submit your proposals with this this cover sheet.
The Southern Oral History Program, in partnership with UNC Press, will host The Long Civil Rights Movement: Histories, Politics, Memories, a major, interdisciplinary conference, April 2-4, 2009. The conference will open Thursday evening, April 2, with presentations by three UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students working on research projects related to some aspect of the long civil rights movement. At an informal dinner, students will present brief, provocative talks that address the questions they are asking in their research projects and how they are going about answering them. Visiting scholars will provide ideas and feedback. This is a great chance to get informal feedback from some of the leading scholars in the field (while getting a free dinner). See a full list of conference panelists.
Submit your proposals, no longer than 250 words, your c.v., and this cover sheet, to the.lcrm.conference [at] gmail.com. Proposals are due by January 19, 2009. Applicants will be notified by February 13, 2009. This opportunity is available only to UNC-CH graduate students.
The conference will challenge the traditional understanding of the civil rights movement as a 1960s phenomenon, stretching its timeline to include the movement’s origins and the activism it inspired through the end of the twentieth century. This approach expands the regional focus of the civil rights movement beyond the South, stressing the region’s convergences with other parts of the U.S., and around the globe. It also incorporates study not just of the struggles for social justice, but also of the forces arrayed against them.