From the Center for the Study of the American South: Adam Gussow, Associate Professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, gives a lecture entitled “The Devil and the Blues” as part of the Center’s Hutchins Lecture series.
Monthly Archive for April, 2011
NPR’s Talk of the Nation featured a discussion yesterday with Thomas Allen Harris, whose new documentary, “Marriage Equality: Byron Rushing and the Fight for Fairness,” addresses the debate over gay marriage in the African American community. Byron Rushing is an African American from Massachusetts trying to align the African American community with the idea that gay marriage is a civil rights issue. It’s a nuanced question: The African American community was blamed in part for the passage of Proposition 8 in California; yet in Washington, D.C., where black voters wield considerable influence, gay marriage is a reality.
From the Center for the Study of the American South: John T. Edge (food columnist for the New York Times and a contributing editor at Garden & Gun) delivers this year’s Charleston Lecture on the history and lore of the pitmaster and southern barbecue.
From WUNC’s The State of Things, Appalachian State University Professor Matthew Robinson on the costs and inequities of the death penalty, which is today as visible as it’s ever been as a pressing civil and human rights issue. Professor Robinson has aggregated a number of death penalty studies into this damning report.
Southern Oral History Program founding director Jacquelyn Dowd Hall has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Hall, who is also Julia Cherry Spruill Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, began building the Program in 1973. At the time, oral history was a relatively new field and its practitioners were fighting for recognition and respect in the academy. Thirty-seven years later, oral history is well established as a research method and the Program, now part of the Center for the Study of the American South, has grown into an institution of national influence. Read the announcement here.
Nearly seventy years after she was raped by seven white men in Jim Crow Alabama, Recy Taylor, an African American woman, has received an apology from Alabama’s house.
The move is being rightly hailed as a long-overdue gesture of closure for Ms. Taylor. She is of course owed an apology from the entire state, not just the House, and by the federal government for failing to protect her when Alabama would not. For the century following the Civil War, African American women in the segregated South were given little formal protection from the law, and African American men could face violent repercussions for offering informal protection. The only people prosecuted and convicted for raping black women tended to be black men; violence by white men against black women was widely tolerated. For example, in a state like North Carolina, where elites cultivated a reputation that had many believing the state to be more enlightened than Alabama, not a single white man was ever sentenced and executed (a conviction for rape carried a mandatory death sentence) for the rape of an African American woman during Jim Crow.