Monthly Archive for July, 2010

Civil Rights Roundup: Two New Pieces

First, an article about the little-known enough Charles Sherrod, who flew under the radar as a civil rights pioneer at SNCC, eventually taking up the cause in Albany, GA, and remaining in the fight long after many of his peers had returned to their comfortable lives. Charles never got much press (though he got his due in Taylor Branch’s work) but now his wife, Shirley, has been in the news because of her ludicrous firing following Andrew Breitbart’s hit job (A side note on that: Breitbart’s fraudulent character assassination should be read as exactly that, not a troubling blurring of the line between journalism and advocacy. What was he advocating? And how was that journalism?)

Second, a great piece on the long civil rights movement and the effort by conservatives to coopt the legacies and leaders of the civil rights movement. You’ll see SOHP Director Jacquelyn Dowd Hall’s name in there, as well as a nice summary of the radicalism of the civil rights movement, which really shouldn’t be news any more.

Remembering Pauli Murray

On the 25th anniversary of thinker, theologian, activist, and poet Pauli Murray, those who remember her and her work gathered at St. Titus Episcopal Church to reflect on her and her legacy. The Pauli Murray project has posted the readings and remarks here. Enjoy …

Neighborhood Voices

A few years back, the Southern Oral History Program recorded a series of interviews with residents of one Durham, NC, community changing because of Latino immigration. North Carolina has the eighth-largest immigrant population in the United States, and immigration has made it among the fastest growing states in the nation. The Southern Oral History Program wanted to use oral history to explore how new immigrants in one community were adjusting to the transition, and how longtime residents were reacting to their new neighbors. Neighborhood Voices chronicles life in Northeast Central Durham before the arrival of Latino immigrants, the experiences of those immigrants, and the challenges the Latino, black, and white communities have faced in trying to find shared space. We hope you enjoy it.

Neighborhood Voices from Southern Oral History Program on Vimeo.

Neighborhood Voices from Southern Oral History Program on Vimeo.

Juanita Kreps, 1921-2010

Juanita Kreps, who was born a Kentucky coal miner’s daughter in 1921 and who became the nation’s first female commerce secretary under Jimmy Carter, died yesterday (the Washington Post obituary is here) Kreps did not consider herself a feminist, but she lived the life of one, leaving the shambles of gender barriers in her professional wake. Growing up in Depression-era coal country, Kreps was familiar with poverty, and her decision to study economics at Berea College was easy, she remembered. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from Duke University, eventually returning there to teach.

Juanita Kreps, a woman of firsts. (Photo from James K. Atherton/The Washington Post)

After rising to full professor (the first woman appointed James B. Duke Professor) and becoming dean of the women’s college (the last before coeducation) and vice president (the first female one at Duke), she was invited by Jimmy Carter to join his cabinet. She was liked by the business community for ensuring that national security dealings did not interfere with international commerce, but she also pushed businesses to consider their treatment of women, the poor, and minorities and their impact on the environment.

Well before Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, Kreps was arguing that women required jobs that gave them personal satisfaction and a sense of professional accomplishment. In this 1986 SOHP interview, she encourages women to find professional satisfaction and not limit themselves to their roles as wives and mothers.