Monthly Archive for January, 2009

Exporting American Dreams

From the Legal History Blog, a review of LCRM panelist Mary Dudziak’s Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey.

“When White Will Embrace What Is Right”

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.”

The Revered Joseph Lowery

The Revered Joseph Lowery

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.)

Read Timothy Tyson’s piece here.

Events this week

There are two events of interest this week. First, on Wednesday, there is a meeting of the Triangle Labor and Civil Rights Working Group. Second, the symposium “Black Women in the Academy” is taking place on Friday and Saturday. Visit our Events Calendar for more details.

Paul Ortiz on the Jena Six

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 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.

Read the whole article here.

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

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.

Faculty Focus Group CANCELED

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.

Call for Papers

Deadline Extended!

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] 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.

Upcoming Lectures this week

There are three lectures this week that may be of interest to LCRM scholars. First, Kathryn Edin will be giving a lecture titled “Fragile Fatherhood: What Being a Daddy Means in the Lives of Low Income Men” at Duke on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, John Eason will give a talk entitled “Poverty and the Politics of Punishment: Prison Proliferation and the Emergence of the Rural Ghetto” at Duke and Fitz Brundage will present his lecture “Revisiting the Southern Past: Memory, Religion and History” as part of the Memory Studies series at UNC.

Check out the Events calendar for more details on these and many other excting events.

Stone Center Events added to the calendar

We have added three new events, hosted by UNC’s Sonja Haynes Stone Center, to our event calendar. They are:

  • He Was a Poem, He Was a Song – The Stone Center’s annual MLK holiday event celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 19th
  • Human rights round table – As part of their two day residency, human rights activists Grace Chang and Margo Okazawa-Rey will hold a round table discussion on human rights issues on March 19th
  • African Diaspora Lecture – The Spring installment of the African Diaspora Lecture series will be given by Anthony Bogues on April 7th

Continue to watch the events calendar for more information on these and other exciting events.