Monthly Archive for February, 2011

Renewed Funding for the LCRM Project

The following press release announces exciting news for the LCRM Project.

February 10, 2011—The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced today that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant of $500,000 to continue the activities of the “Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement” project through December 2012.  A grant from the Foundation in 2008 launched this collaborative, entrepreneurial online publishing experiment now poised to become a self-sustaining library subscription service.  Inspired by UNC professor Jacquelyn Dowd Hall’s formulation of the “long civil rights movement,” the LCRM Project’s online collection presents more than 70 books, articles, papers, and reports and tests the frontiers of scholarly publishing by enabling users to contribute commentary and insert hyperlinked cross-references to multimedia primary sources.

The original grant was one of several awarded in The Mellon Foundation’s Scholarly Communications Program to university press−library collaborations to support exploration of innovative modes of scholarly communication and creation of new publishing enterprises.  The four-way partnership at UNC, which included researchers at the Southern Oral History Program, archivists at the University Library, as well as lawyers and advocates at the UNC Law School’s Center for Civil Rights, made valuable materials available online and also invited the participation of the site’s users in creating meaningful connections among primary and secondary sources.  Total funds granted by Mellon to the project since its inception are nearly $1.5 million.

The central goal of the project’s second phase is to expand the online experiment and put in place business partnerships with other scholarly publishers Continue reading ‘Renewed Funding for the LCRM Project’

Injustice and Masculinity

In this interview clip, Wallace Roberts recounts a lesson he learned about the emasculating effects of racial segregation while staying in the home of the legendary activist Fannie Lou Hamer. This interview was conducted as part of the Southern Oral History Program’s interviewing project at the conference marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Pap Doesn’t Have Many Ways to Be a Man Any More from Southern Oral History Program on Vimeo.

Obama Administration Ends Defense of DOMA

In what could amount to a step forward for the civil rights of gay couples, the Obama administration will cease defending the Defense of Marriage Act against legal challenges. Read the story here.

Gaming Economic Justice

Although many remember the civil rights movement as a movement against segregated public facilities, we know, too, that Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders–maybe inspired by countless grassroots activists–were deeply concerned with economic injustice, from housing inequality in our nation’s cities, to hunger in rural areas, to the global impact of American economic behavior.

Recent news has dramatized the importance of economic justice; for instance, events in Wisconsin are reminding Americans, one hopes, of the remarkable gains made by the labor movement. These are the kinds of gains that gave American workers their weekends off, so Tea Party enthusiasts can take the time to stage counter-protests to those seeking to preserve collective bargaining. Another dramatic reminder comes in the form of Spent, a game created by the Urban Ministries of Durham (here in North Carolina). Spent puts the player in the shoes of someone who’s out of work, without a home, and without much in the bank. It’s not easy to get on your feet: work is scarce, health insurance premiums are high, the rent is (too damn) high, gas prices are high. And there are few protections against bad luck–a flat tire can mean lots of lost cash in hourly wages.

After about 10 days in the game, and after making some sensible decisions (I thought), I had just over $200 in the bank, and that was after receiving a pay check and skipping a student loan payment. By day 11, I was depressed by avoiding treatment because of the cost, and popping Tylenol to deal with a bad tooth instead of seeing a dentist. On day 16, I splurged on a plane ticket to attend a friend’s wedding, and that was it–I was broke.

Spent is a stark reminder of the many, many people who are just a few days or a few decisions from abject poverty. And a reminder of the urgency of addressing economic justice in substantive ways, not just peddling soundbites about deficits.

“I Was So Afraid”

The effect of the civil rights movement on American life was so profound that it’s easy to forget the movement had other effects, too: on those who participated in it. Being a fieldworker in Georgia or Mississippi in the early 1960s was not just an act of conscience–it was an act of courage. In this excerpt from an interview conducted during the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s 50th anniversary conference, Penelope Patch describes the profound and lasting fear experienced by civil rights activists in the segregated South.

I Was So Afraid from Southern Oral History Program on Vimeo.

Taking the Civil Rights Movement Seriously

Could we do so, argues Taylor Branch, the activists of the 1960s would not be struggling for recognition.

Taking the Civil Rights Movement Seriously from Southern Oral History Program on Vimeo.

Branch spoke with the Southern Oral History Program last April. See his full interview here.

Shirley Sherrod Sues Andrew Breitbart

Or, depending on how you look at it, Andrew Breitbart bravely defends himself from attempts to stifle his God-given right to free speech. Salon has the story.

Minrose Gwin on “Remembering Medgar Evers”

Minrose Gwin, Kenan Eminent Professor of English at UNC, talks about her current scholarly project, Mourning Medgar Evers, which focuses on central Mississippi during the summer of 1963. This project brings together imaginative writing about the life and death of NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers, whose assassination ignited a powder keg of racial frustration across the country. Gwin’s talk is part of the Hutchins Lecture series, exploring key questions in southern history and culture.

Minrose Gwin – Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement from CSAS on Vimeo.

For more Hutchins Lectures, visit the Center.

Ours Is a Hell of a Story: Francoise Hamlin on the Long Civil Rights Movement

From our friends at the Center for the Study of the American South, Francoise Hamlin (Brown University) delivers “Ours Is a Hell of a Story: Civil Rights at the Crossroads.” Her talk is part of the Hutchins Lecture series, talks sponsored by the Center that delve into big questions about southern history and culture. For more Hutchins Lectures, look here.

Francoise Hamlin – Ours is a Hell of a Story: Civil Rights at the Crossroads from CSAS on Vimeo.

Timely “Courage”Exhibit in Charlotte

The “Courage” exhibit about school desegregation has returned to the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, N.C. after touring the United States and picking up some interesting improvements from other cities, such as panels depicting the 1940s struggle of Hispanics in Southern California for equal schools, developed while the exhibit was in Los Angeles at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance.  Read  more:

This expansion of the exhibit’s scope fits the LCRM Project’s ambition to study civil rights for all people.  I call it timely because of the closely observed and much-studied ongoing struggles in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district.  In addition, all eyes will be on Charlotte as the host of the 2012 Democratic National Convention; an honest and nuanced presentation of history is appropriate and useful while we continue to make crucial decisions about the future of our country.