In 1956, John Hope Franklin was appointed Professor and Chair of the History Department at Brooklyn College, a predominantly White institution. Franklin’s appointment marked the first time that an African American was appointed chair of any department at a traditionally White institution. The New York Times found Franklin’s appointment so newsworthy that on February 15, 1956, they published an announcement with his photograph on the front page. The headline read: “Negro Educator Chosen to Head Department at Brooklyn College. Howard University Professor Will be First of Race to Hold That Rank Here.” The article noted that Franklin was the first African-American chair of any academic department in the New York State college system.
Franklin was a professor at Brooklyn College from 1956 to 1964 and served as chairman of the History Department over that period. During his tenure at Brooklyn College, Franklin published three important books: The Militant South, 1800-1860 (1956), Reconstruction after the Civil War (1961), and The Emancipation Proclamation (1963).
After leaving Brooklyn College, Franklin maintained strong ties with the institution. In 1981, he was invited to be the commencement speaker, and in 1990 he delivered the second Charles R. Lawrence II memorial lecture of the Department of Sociology and President’s Office of Brooklyn College.
After Franklin’s death, in an obituary published in The New York Times, Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, one of Franklin’s former students, said of him: “Having John Hope Franklin at Brooklyn College in the 1960’s was like having a real star in our midst. Students who were lucky enough to get into his class bragged about him from morning until night.”
Aurelia Whittington and John Hope Franklin first met in 1931 when they were students at Fisk University in Nashville, TN. Aurelia was introduced to John Hope by his sister, Anne Franklin, who was her classmate. They remained college sweethearts throughout their time together at Fisk. Aurelia and John Hope were married on June 11, 1940.
Aurelia Elizabeth Whittington was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina in July 1915. Her father, Samuel W. Whittington was a U.S. Postal railroad clerk, and her mother, Bertha Kincaid Whittington, was a piano teacher. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in Goldsboro in 1931, she enrolled as a student at Fisk University, where she majored in English. Following her graduation in 1935, Aurelia taught English in schools around eastern North Carolina, and further pursued her education. She graduated from Hampton Library School in 1939, and later earned a Master’s degree in Library Science from Catholic University.
Aurelia was a devoted homemaker, but also served as John Hope’s adviser and editor, and was often by his side helping him navigate the library stacks when he was doing research.
Aurelia and John Hope had one biological son, John Whittington Franklin, in 1952. The couple fostered Bouna Ndiaye, a student from Senegal.
In her later years, Aurelia faced many health challenges and her husband took an active role in providing care for her. Aurelia passed away in 1999 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
This series is a part of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin@100: Scholar, Activist, Citizen year-long celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin.
Submitted by Gloria Ayee, Franklin Research Center Intern
While I processed a collection of correspondence between two lovers, a handful of letters stuck out. Martha Simpson, then Martha Eleanor Booker, a young African American woman working on her teaching degree at Elizabeth City Teachers College, had a penchant for writing in code. Paul Simpson, her love interest, did not share the same inclination, but did indulge her in his responses. As I read through the letters, the code used in three of them piqued my curiosity. My search revealed that the code used seems to be a form of carnival Pig Latin, also known as Czarny, Z-Latin, or Carny (Hautzinger 30).
Martha first sneaks in her secret code at the closing of a letter from January 10, 1951, with a little taunt, “Ha, ha, I bet you can’t read it.” Paul’s response to this letter, dated January 13, 1951, briefly acknowledges that he, indeed, could read her secret language with the opening line “Dizear Cizheré,” before continuing his letter unencumbered by the extra z’s.
But Martha doesn’t give up. She continues the code in a response from January 17, 1951, written half in this “z-language,” eventually switching back to conventional English.
Martha’s next letter clearly was not on pink paper (did you catch that one?), but she did keep on with her code. The secret language was formed by inserting iz after the first consonant, and if there was no consonant present, beginning the word with biz. In linguistic circles, this is known as iz-infixation and has been linked to rap and hip-hop music. Examples include Frankie Smith’s 1981 hits DoubleDutch Bus and Slang Thang (or Slizang Thizang), both of which boast the iz-infix in their lyrics. More recent examples include work by Snoop Dogg and Kanye West (Viau 1). But these letters come decades before the iz-infix made it big in music, and the question remains: Where did this secret language come from?
We think the answer is this: carnival slang. Published accounts of Carny go back to 1926 (Russell and Murray 401), well before Martha was writing to Paul. It was a language immersed in the subculture of the carnival, intended to distinguish between outsiders and the true Carnies, given the questionable legality of the carnival. Sarah Hautzinger describes it as a dialect that “rearranges English to make it unintelligible to the unenlightened ear” (32). In Czarny, “a Z-sound is inserted after the first consonant, and if the word begins with a vowel, before the vowel sound, in the first syllable only” (32). This certainly seems a lot like the iz-infixes found in the letters between Martha and Paul. Rumor has it that this carny talk found its way into popular culture years later.
Whether or not their secret language was descended from Z-Latin, the coded (and uncoded) correspondence between Martha and Paul D. Simpson provides an interesting read. Recently acquired by the Rubenstein, these roughly 300 letters detail the love, life, and struggles of a young African American couple on their way to becoming teachers.
The grants are open to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, independent scholars, artists, and activists who live more than 100 miles from Durham, NC and whose research projects would benefit from access to collections held by one of the centers.
The Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Filmmaker Series will be sponsoring screenings of four films directed by Stanley Nelson prior to his visit to Duke on October 16-18. Co-sponsors of the series are the Archive of Documentary Arts, Center for Documentary Studies, Franklin Research Center, Screen/Society and the Program in Arts of the Moving Image. Voter registration will be available before and after the screenings. Each screening begins at 7:00pm and is free and open to the public.
Date: Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Location: Richard White Lecture Hall, Duke University East Campus
Film: The Murder of Emmett Till
Introduction by Mike Wiley, past Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Location: Griffith Theatre, Duke University West Campus
Film: Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple
Date: Thursday, October 2, 2014
Location: Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville St, Durham, NC 27701
Film: A Place of Our Own
Date: Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Location: Durham Public Library, Main Branch, 300 Roxboro Street, Durham, NC 27701
Film: Freedom Summer
Discussion will be lead by SNCC veteran and Visiting Activist Scholar, Charlie Cobb
Post contributed by John B. Gartrell, director John Hope Franklin Research Center
In October, the Rubenstein Library will host the third Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Filmmaker and the inaugural Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Artist.
This year’s filmmaker is award-winning director/producer, Stanley Nelson. Nelson is the director and/or producer of over a dozen documentary films, principally highlighting the life and history of African Americans. His most recent release is the acclaimed Freedom Summer, and this past summer he was recognized as a 2013 National Humanities Award winner. Nelson will visit Duke’s campus from October 16-18 and will engage in a public conversation with Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel on his career and work at the Nasher Museum of Art on October 17 at 6:00 pm, reception to follow.
As the inaugural Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Artist, internationally known sound and visual artist, Steve Roden will participate in a three-week residency in the Rubenstein Library from October 13-30. Roden’s residency will include extensive research in the Rubenstein Library collections to inform his process of artistic creation. Roden will also engage in two public events during his visit. On October 18 at 6:30 pm, he will present an overview of his work entitled “Ragpicker” at the Full Frame Theater at American Tobacco Campus. And on October 23 at 5:00 pm, he will share his experiences working in the Rubenstein Library at the Center for Documentary Studies.
All of these events will be free and open to the public and are made possible through the generous support of Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel. They are additionally co-sponsored by the Archive of Documentary Arts, Center for Documentary Studies, Franklin Research Center, Program of Arts of the Moving Image and Master of Fine Arts and Experimental and Documentary Arts Program.
More details to come soon.
Post contributed by John B. Gartrell, director, Franklin Research Center
In the Rubenstein Library, sometimes we primarily judge books by their covers, be they bejeweled, finely bound, or otherwise interestingly decorated. And sometimes we certainly do not. Case in point: the book below.
The Library wouldn’t acquire most copies of the third edition of Langston Hughes’s Shakespeare in Harlem, especially not a copy without its original dust jacket and rather heavily worn. But this was no ordinary copy. This appears to be Hughes’s own copy of the last edition of this book issued during his lifetime.
Not only that, Hughes made changes to fifteen of its poems, some of them dramatic shifts in the tone, rhythm, length, or meaning of the text.
The copy recently turned up in a sorority house at Lincoln University, from which it was sold at auction and entered the rare book trade. Much about the volume remains to be discovered. The changes that Hughes made in this volume have not been published or incorporated into any of the later editions of Hughes’s collected works or poems.
The Rubenstein Library’s three research center annually award travel grants to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars through a competitive application process. Congratulations to this year’s recipients, we look forward to working with all of you!
History of Medicine
Cali Buckley, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Art History, for dissertation work on, “Women of Substance: The Materiality of Anatomical Models and the Control of Women’s Medicine in Early Modern Europe.”
Alicia Puglionesi, Johns Hopkins University, Institute of the History of Medicine, for dissertation work on “The Astonishment of Experience: Americans and Psychical Research, 1885-1935.”
Courtney Thompson, Yale University, Department of the History of Science and Medicine, for dissertation work on “Criminal Minds: Medicine, Law, and the Phrenological Impulse in America, 1830-1890.”
John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
FOARE Fellowship for Outdoor Advertising Research
Craig Lee, Department of Art History, University of Delaware, “Letter Building: Signage, Supergraphics, and the Rise of Semiotic Structure in Modern American Architecture”
Daniel Towns, Department of History, Stanford University, “The View and the Value: Historical Geography of Signs in San Francisco”
John Furr Fellowships for JWT Research
Lisa Haushofer, Department of History, Harvard University, “Edible Health: ‘Health Foods’ in Science, Industry, Culture in Britain and the United States, 1884-1950
Alvin A. Achenbaum Travel Grants
Dr. Cynthia Meyers, Department of Communications, College of Mount Saint Vincent, “Advertising Agencies and the Decline of Sponsorship in the Network Era of Television”
Dr. Cristina Ziliani: Economics, University of Parma, Italy, “Premium Sales Promotions: A History of Practice and Research, 1890-1990”
Cara Fallon, Department of History, Harvard University, “The Emerging Concept of Healthy Aging in the United States, 1920-1990”
Catherine Hennessey Wolter, Musicology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, “Sound Conversions in Print: A Cultural History of the Player Piano and Early Radio in America Through the Lens of Print Media”
Kelly Jones, History of Medicine, State University of New York – Stony Brook, “’New Hope for Headache Sufferers’: Pain and its Control in Advertisements for Headache Remedies, 1950s-1970s
Daniel McKay, Independent Scholar, “Trading Fears: Marketing the ‘Japan Brand’ to American Tourists and Consumers”
John Hope Franklin Research Center 2014-15 Travel Grant Awardees
Emilye Crosby, State University of New York-Geneseo Topic: “Anything I Was Big Enough To Do: Women and Gender in SNCC”
Paul Grant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Topic: “Unimagining the Christian Nation: Alienation, Memory, and German-African Reciprocity in Akropong, Ghana 1835-1938”
Nicole Maurantonio, University of Richmond, Topic: “Ombudsman for Humanity: Chuck Stone, Mediation, and the Graterford Prison Hostage Crisis”
Gilet Rosenblith, University of Virginia, Topic: “Low Income African American Women in the South and the Carceral State”
Nicholas Syrett, University of Northern Colorado, Topic: “American Child Bride: A History of Minors and Marriage in the United States”
Adam Wolkoff, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Topic: “Possession and Power: A comparative social and legal history of capitalist social relations in the late nineteenth-century United States”
Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture Mary Lily Travel Grants
Dr. Georgina Colby, linguistics and cultural studies, University of Westminster, for a book on Kathy Acker combining philosophical analysis with literary and critical theory, exploring connections between feminist theory, Acker’s use of philosophy, and her experimental writing practices.
Dr. Donna Drucker, civil and environmental engineering, Technische Universität Darmstadt, for a journal article on sexual behavior and the science of contraceptive testing in the mid-twentieth century United States.
Sara Mameni, Ph.D. candidate, visual arts, University of California, San Diego, for dissertation research on Iran-US relations in the 1960s and 1970s—leading up to Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979—through the lens of queer theory, feminist theory, and postcolonial studies.
Ivy McIntyre, Ph.D. candidate, history, St. Louis University, for dissertation research on South Carolina families in times of personal crisis in the early Republic.
Andrew Pope, Ph.D. candidate, history, Harvard University, for dissertation research on radical social movements and the New South in Georgia from 1968-1996.
Dr. Jason Scott, Dr. Annalisa Castaldo, and Jennifer Lynn Pollitt, for an edited collection of essays looking at how kink identities, behaviors, and lifestyles are represented in popular and cultural studies.
Mairead Sullivan, Ph.D. candidate, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, Emory University, for dissertation research on questions of breastedness in feminist and queer theory.
Hope Tucker, independent scholar, for an artist’s video on the fragility of reproductive rights in the American South, as seen through the work of those who documented and labored for these rights in the second half of the twentieth century.
Dearest readers, do you ever feel that there’s not enough Rubenstein Library in your social media day? True, we’re on Facebook, and we have this wonderful blog, and many of our collecting centers also have extensive social media presences (check out the list in the right-hand column) . . . but what if you could follow our every rare-book-and-manuscript action on Twitter?
Well, do we have good news for you! We’ve joined the twitterverse! Come follow us @rubensteinlib, let us know about your research projects and your latest special collections discoveries, and get a behind-the-scenes look at how we spend our working days (and sometimes our non-working days).
Charles “Chuck” Stone Jr. died on April 6 at the age of 89. Stone was a pioneering journalist, a long-time columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News, and co-founder and first president of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Among his notable career accomplishments, Stone was a Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, served as special assistant to Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. from 1965-67, and was a key mediator between alleged criminals and the Philadelphia Police Department. Stone served as Walter Spearman Professor of Journalism at the University of Carolina-Chapel Hill from 1991-2005.
The Chuck Stone Papers were donated to the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture in 2004.
Post contributed by John Gartrell, Director of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture.
Dispatches from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University