Category Archives: Human Rights Archive

NEH grant will fund Voices of Change Project at the Rubenstein Library

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University has received a grant of $200,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support Voices of Change: Preserving and Presenting Radio Haiti.  This two-year project, set to begin in July 2015, will preserve and make widely available the written- and spoken-word archives of Radio Haiti Inter, the country’s oracle of democracy from the late 1960s until its closure in 2003. The announcement of the award coincides with the fifteen year anniversary of the assassination of the station’s owner and Haiti’s most prominent journalist, Jean Dominique, and amidst continuing news coverage about the ongoing trial of his accused murderers.

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Jean Dominique and Michèle Montas at Radio Haiti Inter, 1995

 

The Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library received the archives of Radio Haiti in late 2013 as a gift from Michèle Montas, the station’s co-anchor and widow of Dominique.  “To me, Duke University was the most welcoming environment for these unique archives, with knowledgeable teams of scholars and archivists able to preserve the past and help to use that recent past as a tool to re- imagine the future,” commented Montas about her decision to place the archives at Duke.

As evidenced in the more than 3,000 recordings and 70 linear feet of paper records comprising the collection, Radio Haiti distinguished itself from other media outlets in Haiti by covering not only events in Port-au-Prince but news from the rural areas of Haiti, including a grassroots democratic movement that eventually overthrew the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986. It was the first independent radio station in Haiti, and the first to broadcast in the language of the people, Haitian Creole, instead of the French spoken only by Haiti’s elite.

The collection is one of the most important and comprehensive resources available for studying and understanding the recent history of Haiti. Primary materials related to Haiti are relatively rare, and the archives of Radio Haiti are particularly distinct both for the depth and breadth of their coverage. According to Laurent Dubois, project advisor and Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke, “The Radio Haiti Archives represent a tremendous resource for scholars, educators, and the general public interested in culture and politics in Haiti from the late 1970s to the present. Under the leadership of Jean Dominique and Michèle Montas, the station served as a critical voice for reportage, debate, editorials, and news for several decades.” Access to these important primary materials will allow scholars to write the history of the country in nuanced and participatory ways.

beth doyle
As part of preparing the grant proposal, Library staff completed a pilot project cleaning and digitizing a selection of tapes from the Radio Haiti Archives.

 

Grant funding will support a full-time project archivist fluent in both Haitian Creole and French to oversee the arrangement, description, digitization and preservation of these materials. To support multilingual and international research, audio recordings will be described in French, Haitian Creole, and English, and will be made freely available online via Duke’s Digital Collections, the Digital Public Library of America, and the Digital Library of the Caribbean.

In order to promote easy access to these materials in Haiti, the Library will partner with the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke and FOKAL (La Fondation Connaissance et Liberté/Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libète), a community organization in Haiti, to place digital copies of the recordings in libraries throughout Haiti. The team will also explore creating podcasts from the recordings to allow for easier access in regions with intermittent internet connectivity.

The Radio Haiti collection is a singular resource supporting a nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the last 50 years’ of Haiti’s history. By preserving and making accessible these archives, Duke University Libraries seeks to advance the dialogue not only about Haiti’s past but also about its future.

Those interested in learning more about the archives of Radio Haiti are encouraged to visit the pilot site developed collaboratively between the Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Library at http://radiohaitilives.com/.   This site includes access in Creole and English to all the recordings reformatted as part of the planning phase of the grant.

Post contributed by Kat Stefko, Head of Technical Services. 

R!C!A! Film Screening: Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare

Date: Thursday March 19, 2015
Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm
Location: Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Franklin Garage
Contact: Patrick Stawski, patrick.stawski@duke.edu 919-660-5823.

Rights!Camera!Action presents Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare , 2012 winner of the Full Frame Film Festival Human Rights Award.  Directed and produced by Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke, Escape Fire tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: how can we save our badly broken healthcare system?

escape-fire-poster

It’s not surprising that healthcare tops many Americans’ concerns and is at the center of a political firestorm in our nation’s Capitol. But the current battle over cost and access does not ultimately address the root of the problem: we have a disease-care system, not a healthcare system. Escape Fire examines the powerful forces maintaining the status quo, a medical industry designed for quick fixes rather than prevention, for profit-driven care rather than patient-driven care.  After decades of resistance, a movement to bring innovative high-touch, low-cost methods of prevention and healing into our high-tech, costly system is finally gaining ground.  A panel discussion will follow the screening.

Sponsored by the Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library, and the Duke Human Rights Center @ FHI.

 

Presentation and Reading of The Beast by 2014 WOLA-Duke Book Award Winner Óscar Martínez

Óscar Martínez, the winner of the 2014 WOLA-Duke Book Award, will give a talk and read an excerpt from The Beast: Riding The Rails And Dodging Narcos On The Migrant Trail. This book is Martínez’s account of the thousands of migrant disappearances that occur between the remote desert towns of Altar, Mexico, and Sasabe, Arizona, and the stories that he garnered during his two years traveling along the migrant trail to the U.S.

theBeast

Martínez is the seventh author to win the annual WOLA-Duke Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America, which honors the best current, non-fiction book published in English on human rights, democracy, and social justice in contemporary Latin America. According to Holly Ackerman, Librarian for Latin American, Iberian and Latino/a Studies at Duke University and one of this year’s book prize judges, “Martínez has written a definitional book with raw authenticity and graceful prose. The Beast does for Central America’s migrants what Michael Harrington’s The Other America did for the poor in mid-20th Century America; what Randy Shilts’ The Band Played On did for those affected by the AIDS epidemic and what Lincoln Steffens’ The Shame of the Cities did to confront corruption in turn of the century urban America. It uses frank encounters to promote outrage at social injustice.”

Oscarmartinez

Óscar Martínez writes for ElFaro.net, the first online newspaper in Latin America, and is currently investigating gang violence in Latin America. In 2008, Martínez won the Fernando Benítez National Journalism Prize in Mexico, and in 2009, he was awarded the Human Rights Prize at the José Simeón Cañas Central American University in El Salvador.

There will be a book signing and reception immediately following the reading.

Sponsored by the DHRC@FHI, the Duke Human Rights Archive, the Washington Office on Latin America and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Date: Thursday February 12, 2015
Time: 5:00pm-6:30pm
Location: Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Franklin Garage

For more information contact Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist, Duke University at patrick.stawski@duke.edu or 919-660-5823.

Rights! Camera! Action! Presents: “The One Who Builds”

theonewho

Rights! Camera! Action! Presents: “The One Who Builds” (2013)

Directors: Hillary Pierce, Peter Carolla, and Nick Gooler

Total Running Time: 40 minutes

Date: Wednesday, February 5, 2015

Time: 7:00-9:00 PM

Location: Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, FHI Garage

The One Who Builds is a film about the life and work of Dr. Omer Omer, once a Sudanese refugee, now an American citizen who is paying it forward as the director of a refugee resettlement organization.  Through the North Carolina African Services Coalition in Greensboro, Omer has transcended boundaries dictated by society, race and religion to build a new village, one friendship at a time.

Co-Directors Hillary Pierce, Peter Carolla, and North Carolina African Services Coalition Executive Director Million Mekonnen will lead a panel discussion will follow the screening.

Presented by the Duke Human Rights Center@FHI, John Hope Franklin Research Center, Human Rights Archive and Archive of Documentary Arts, Rubenstein Library, and Screen/Society

For more information please contact: John B. Gartrell, 919-660-5922, john.gartrell@duke.edu

Rights! Camera! Action! Presents “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator” (2011)

Date: Thursday January 22, 2014
Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Location: FHI Garage, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse
Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, 2011 (Total Running Time: 103 minutes)
Directors: Director: Pamela Yates Producers: Paco de Onis

In a stunning milestone for justice in Central America, a Guatemalan court recently charged former dictator Efraín Rios Montt with genocide for his brutal war against the country’s Mayan people in the 1980s — and Pamela Yates’ 1983 documentary, When the Mountains Tremble, provided key evidence for bringing the indictment. Granito: How to Nail a Dictator tells the extraordinary story of how a film, aiding a new generation of human rights activists, became a granito — a tiny grain of sand — that helped tip the scales of justice.

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The screening will begin at 7 p.m. A panel discussion with Director Pamela Yates and Producer Paco de Onis follows the screening. Date:

Sponsors: Duke Human Rights Center@ FHI, the Human Rights Archive, and the Archive of Documentary Arts and Screen/Society. Cosponsored by Commissioning Truths, a Trent Foundation project.

For further information contact Patrick Stawski, Duke University patrick.stawski@duke.edu  919-660-5823.

Jewish Voices from the Selma-to-Montgomery March

“For many of us the march from Selma to Montgomery was about protest and prayer. Legs are not lips and walking is not kneeling. And yet our legs uttered songs. Even without words, our march was worship. I felt my legs were praying.”

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote these words soon after returning from participating in the Selma-to-Montgomery March on March 21, 1965—indelibly connecting his activism with his faith. According to Professor Eric Meyers, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke, “The participation of so many Jews in the civil rights movement was formative for an entire generation of American Jews. It is a shame that the movie Selma and associated celebrations overlook this element in the movement. It was the participation of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a leading Conservative theologian, and close friend of Rev. King, that gave further momentum to the march in Selma after which Rabbi Heschel famously proclaimed that as a result he had learned to ‘pray with his legs.’ Rabbi Heschel’s writings before and after the march espousing human rights for all still inspire and Duke is proud to have his writings housed at the University in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.”

Rabbi Heschel saved accounts written by several of the rabbis and laypeople who had also answered Dr. King’s call to come to Selma. These accounts are now part of the Heschel collection at Duke. All were written and published within weeks of the march. The accounts emphasize fear and danger in equal measure with exhilaration and gratitude. Rabbi William Frankel (Wilmette, Illinois) remembered that the night before he left for Alabama, “a Synagogue officer called me to inform me, in the name of the Board of Directors, that I would be going south not merely as an individual but as a representative of my congregation.” This support pleased him, but he recognized that racism was not found solely in the South. In words that sound prescient today, he asked, “How will we [in Illinois] react when the battleground will not be in distant Alabama but in our own backyard, even in the suburbs of Chicago?”

In another account from the Heschel collection, Barbara R. Krasner, a mother of five from Radnor, Pennsylvania, who had been jailed in North Carolina for participating in a sit-in one year earlier, writes that she was under no illusions about what lay ahead. She went despite being told that women were being discouraged from going to Selma. She remembered the ways in which the march, confronted by violence, resulted “in the communion of black and white, Christian and Jew, believer and non-believer, as our hearts linked together in prayer.”

The rabbis were easily identified among the protestors. Albert Hoschander Friedlander (then the rabbi for students at Columbia University) noted in his account, “Since the ministers generally wore ‘collars,’ we wore yarmulkes. But a problem presented itself: the yarmulke was becoming fashionable! Called ‘freedom cap’ by the Negroes, it became a mark of distinction in Selma—and the hottest item on the market.” Several of the rabbis remembered Sabbath services with particular warmth. Rabbi Herbert D. Teitelbaum (Redwood City, California) described one service in his journal: “Toward evening, as the Sabbath approached, my fellow rabbis appointed me to conduct the shabbat service we had planned to hold in Brown’s Chapel. As we worshiped, I was amazed at the extent of the participation. Quite a few of the people, it turned out, were Jewish. We sang the closing hymn, Adon Olam, to the melody of ‘We Shall Overcome.’” Many of the rabbis remember services attended by people of all faiths—some in jails.

Rabbi Friedlander noted that the participation of the rabbis in the protests rekindled an interest in Judaism among some of the students. He recorded his surprise in an article he wrote for The Reconstructionist (April 30, 1965): “Students crossed the street to talk to us! For years they had stayed away from synagogues, had thought of them as ‘bar mitzvah factories,’ having no relevance to their lives. Now they saw their rabbis in Selma; and they felt a deep pride in this. Their religion, after all, was still relevant. And we would sit down on the doorsteps of ramshackle houses and talk about a living Judaism that had dealt with these problems since the days of Amos.”

Dan Bockman, editor of The Voice of Temple Beth Jacob (Redwood City, California), introduced excerpts from Rabbi Teitelbaum’s Selma journal by reminding readers that the Selma march was part of a longer struggle: “We suggest that you make this edition of the VOICE available to your children. This struggle will soon be theirs.”

“Reading these contemporary accounts adds nuance to our understanding of the motivations and experiences of those who participated,” writes Naomi Nelson, Director of the Rubenstein Library. “We are pleased to be able to make these accounts available to the public as the nation recognizes the 50th anniversary of this historic protest.”

For more information about the Abraham Joshua Heschel papers please visit http://bit.ly/1u20k3z.

In photograph, leaders of the third Selma-to-Montgomery March being interviewed by the press. Front row: Ralph David Abernathy; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Ralph Bunche; Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel; Frederick Douglas Reese. Photographer unknown. Abraham Joshua Heschel papers.

“Human Rights, Truth Telling, and Justice” Symposium

Date: Friday November 14th, 2014
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Location: Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Franklin Garage

The Human Rights Archive is co-sponsoring a symposium that will focus on truth telling and justice in the context of human rights. The exciting list of speakers includes representatives from two of the Archive’s partners:

Eduardo GonzalezEduardo González is Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice’s (ICTJ) Truth and Memory Program, which provides advice to countries on truth commissions, declassification of archives, memorialization activities, museums, and other instruments. He has provided technical and strategic support to truth-seeking initiatives in places as diverse as East Timor, Morocco, Liberia, Canada, and the Western Balkans. Before joining ICTJ, he helped organize and carry out the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Previously, he worked as an advocate for the establishment of the International Criminal Court. The historical records of ICTJ are also part of the Human Rights Archive in the Rubenstein Library.

Pamela MerchantPamela Merchant is the Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), and an attorney with 25 years of experience in the conduct and management of complex state and federal litigation. She joined CJA in October 2005 and has overseen a period of significant growth – both programmatically and financially. Under her leadership, CJA has grown from an organization devoted solely to human rights litigation in the U.S. to one that also engages in human rights litigation in foreign jurisdictions, such as Spain and Cambodia. Ms. Merchant has testified before Congress on accountability for human rights abusers and other human rights issues and received degrees from Georgetown University and Boston College School of Law. Ms. Merchant will explore changes in the field over the past 30 years with a particular focus on the resilience of survivors and their communities and the critical role they play in building high impact human rights cases.

All sessions are open to the public. For a free lunch, please RSVP to emily.stewart@duke.edu by Thursday November 13th.

Schedule

9:00 am- Coffee and Pastries
9:30-10:30 am- Andrea Petö, “Revised and Revisionist Histories in Eastern Europe” (followed by Q & A)
10:30-11:30 am- Kimberly Theidon, “Incarnations: Legacies of Violence in Peru” (followed by Q & A)
11:45-1:00 pm- Lunch
1:00-2:00 pm- Pamela Merchant, “Truth telling, Human Rights Litigation and Resilience” (followed by Q & A)
2:00-3:00 pm- Eduardo Gonzalez Cueva, “Truth Orthodoxies: The Truth Commission Model, 30 Years after Argentina” (followed by Q & A)
3:00-4:00 pm- Roundtable discussion

Sponsored by The Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library, the Duke Human Rights Center at FHI the Trent Memorial Foundation. Cosponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies, Duke History Department, and Duke Cultural Anthropology.

For further information contact Patrick Stawski, Duke University patrick.stawski@duke.edu 919-660-5823.

Rights! Camera! Action! presents “Wasteland”

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Rights!Camera!Action! Presents “Wasteland” (2010)
Director: Lucy Walker Producers: Angus Aynsley and Hank Levine
Full Frame Audience Award 2010
Total running time: 95:00

Artist Vik Muniz, known for painting with nontraditional materials, returned to his native Brazil to portray workers in one of the world’s largest garbage dumps, Jardim Gramacho, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. He collaborated with these “catadores”–self-designated scavengers of recyclable materials–to create portraits of them made entirely of garbage, returning the profits from their sale to his subjects. Over three years, the filmmakers followed Muniz and this eclectic band of catadores, revealing both the dignity and despair of their lives, in a multivalent collaborative work engaging with issues of artistic process, social justice, responsibility to one’s subjects, class mobility, activism, and beauty. In English and Portuguese with English subtitles.

There will be a reception at 6:30 p.m. and the screening will begin at 7 p.m. A panel discussion with Professor Pedro Lasch follows the screening.

Date: Thursday October 30th, 2014
Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm
Location: Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Franklin Garage

Sponsors: The Duke Human Rights Center@ FHI, the Human Rights Archive, and the Archive of Documentary Arts and Screen/Society. Co-sponsored by the Global Brazil Humanities Lab.

For further information contact Patrick Stawski, Duke University patrick.stawski@duke.edu 919-660-5823.

Defending Haitian Rights: A Transnational Challenge

The National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) papers documents this NGO’s advocacy for human rights in Haiti and for Haitian refugees in the United States. NCHR has conducted its mission reaching out to congressmen and international organizations to influence policy, using its connections and credibility to assist Haitians, whether in their individual immigration issues or as this recent discovery notes, to flee persecution in Haiti and reach safety.

 

Let’s start with a little bit of context. In 1992 Haiti democratically elected its first president ever, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was subsequently forced out of the country for about 6 months. A military regime came immediately into power. Human rights violations became more prevalent, particularly toward supporters of former President Aristide.

 

Logo for the National Front for Change and Democracy
Logo for the National Front for Change and Democracy of Haiti, found in the National Coalition for Haitian Rights Records

During this tumultuous period, three Haitian members of the Aristide’s political party FNCD (National Front for Change and Democracy) [whose names will be withheld for their protection], decided that, for safety reasons, they had no other option than to flee Haiti. They arrived in Guantanamo, Cuba which at that time was used as an immigration transit camp to assess the validity of asylum claims made by Haitians. The asylum process required an initial interview in Guantanamo that would assess whether an immigrant had a credible fear of persecution, and then a second interview in Miami that would assess whether this fear was well-grounded. The screening process was tough, as it is estimated that only 2% of Haitian applicants were granted asylum between 1980 and 1992.

 

It is in Guantanamo that the three Haitians first came in contact with NCHR. Living conditions at the camp were difficult, and several reports documented humiliating treatments, separation of families or refusal of medical care. As the founding members of the Association of Haitian Political Refugees, the three Haitians asked NCHR to witness and then advocate for better treatment of Haitian refugees inside Guantanamo’s camps. The three Haitians successfully passed the first step of the asylum process. However, accounts of mistreatment during the second interview in Miami, especially directed towards members of the Association of Haitian Political Refugees, made them refuse to submit to the second interview. Additionally, the omnipresence of the US military in the camps made many Haitians nervous about telling their stories to immigration officials.

 

Having abandoned the asylum process mid-way, the three Haitians were sent back to Haiti. Beatings by the police on their day of arrival confirmed their fears of political persecution. They decided to go into hiding and attempt to leave Haiti one way or another. They were unable to apply for asylum from within Haiti, and the American embassy was not a sanctuary. The three Haitians called NCHR for help.

 

NCHR’s strategy was first to get them into the Dominican Republic,

Logo for Radio Enriquillo, a station in the Dominican Republic
Logo for Radio Enriquillo, a station in the Dominican Republic

where the United Nations had set up a refugee camp, and then try to obtain permanent residency in the United States, Canada or another Caribbean nation. In a parallel to the American abolitionist Underground Railroad, NCHR resorted to Haiti’s own underground railroad dedicated to helping persecuted Haitians cross the border and enter the Dominican Republic. The underground railroad was managed by a priest on the Haitian side, and by a radio station on the Dominican side.

 

By means of the underground railroad the three Haitians arrived safely in the Dominican Republic. They were greeted by a team of lawyers, enlisted by NCHR to build their asylum case; further complicated by the three being HIV positive at a time when both the United States and Canada had a practice of rejecting asylum claims of HIV positive individuals unless a waiver was obtained.

 

That is the last update in the archives about the three Haitians. We do not know how significant the underground railroad was, as so far we haven’t found any other account of its use in NCHR’s archives. We also do not know whether their asylum claims have been successful, or whether they managed to get permanent residency in the Dominican Republic. Nevertheless, we have been able to reconstruct this story using a variety of documents present in NCHR archives: letters of the three Haitians to NCHR written in Haitian Creole, communication between NCHR’s Haiti and New-York teams in English, status reports coming from the underground railroad in Spanish, interview transcripts in French. This diversity illustrates the fact that the issue of Haitian rights encompasses much more than just the Haitian territory: the flow of refugees coming to the Dominican Republic and to the United States has made the protection of Haitian rights a multinational challenge.

Post contributed by Marie Veyrier, student assistant in Technical Services

@rubensteinlib Joins Twitter!

Our first tweet!
Our first tweet!

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).

See you in 140 characters or less!