The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection, featuring topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and/or highlighting authors’ work from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to briefly sample titles rather than provide a comprehensive topic overview. This month, Librarian for Visual Studies and Dance, Lee Sorensen, has selected five titles focusing on Five Black Artists that we should know. Check out Lilly Library’s Current Exhibition Catalog section to discover additional established Black artists and emerging BIPOC artists.
Beauford Delaney: A Retrospective (1978). Delaney is the finest example of an early, crucial Black artist noticed by great writers of his time. James Baldwin and Henry Miller discuss his work, and Delaney was a friend of Georgia O’Keefe. This edition is a catalog from the Studio Museum in Harlem, one of the earliest venues where Black artists could be shown. Delaney painted in Harlem in the 1930s and 1940s but moved to Greenwich Village, partially to hide from his ethnic community that he was gay. Poor and introverted his whole life, he died a year after this show.
Howardena Pindell: Rope/Fire/Water. Howarden Pindell is one of the principal Black abstract expressionist painters. This book is a catalog of a German exhibition of her work, located in the Current Exhibition Catalogs section of the Lilly. Pindell’s multimedia exhibition includes a film mentioned in the catalog; she says, “I wanted the title to be a clear and obvious reference to what takes place in the film. Rope represents being hung during a lynching. Fire represents lynching where a flammable substance is applied to the body, such as coal, tar, oil, and the victim is burned alive. … Water represents the Middle Passage from Africa to the Americas of kidnapped and enslaved African men, women and children. Indigenous people were also kidnapped and sent to Europe to be sold.” The ‘Rope/Fire/Water’ catalog is in English.
Rashid Johnson: Message to our Folks (2012). Rashid Johnson is a multi-media artist best known for his paintings and conceptual drawings. His technique is powerful brush strokes (“slashes”) on larger canvases giving a feeling of immediacy to his work. However, in 2008, Johnson produced a series of clean-line metal sculptures of giant gun sights. Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos (2008) is at the Whitney (and an even larger one at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond). Gun sights have been a constant theme of Johnson’s work, but this larger-than-life sculpture makes it possible to see anything through the crosshairs of a gun. “Johnson explores the complexities and contradictions of black identity in the United States, incorporating commonplace objects from his childhood in a process he describes as “hijacking the domestic” and transforming materials such as wood, mirrors, tiles, rugs, CB radios, shea butter and plants into conceptually loaded and visually compelling works that shatter assumptions about the homogeneity of black subjecthood.”
McArthur Binion: Re:Mine (2015). Binion lived at the edge of art fame for most of his 74 years before becoming iconic–his name appears in nearly every survey of art by Artists of Color–he worked steadily. Taking his inspiration from machines, i.e., geometric forms, Binion returns them to the humanness of hand painting. Stand back from the paintings; they seem to be color field work, move in closer, and see micro and macro simultaneously. “Influenced equally by music, storytelling, and individual history, McArthur Binion has described his approach to painting from the position of a “rural Modernist” and one through which he “bridges the lyricism of colour with a Black rural sensibility.” Binion’s paintings, predominantly composed of oil paint stick and paper on board, form the nexus of place and history, from Binion’s childhood in the South to his time in New York in the early 1970s and his current home of Chicago.”
Beverly McIver: Full Circle (2021). Duke faculty member Beverly McIver’s work is some of the most powerful paintings of any era. Her themes include the Black clown (based on learning that the circus didn’t hire Black people as clowns) and the painter’s layers of Black identity. Commissioned to paint the portrait of retiring NC Museum of Art Director Larry Wheeler, she painted him in blackface and red high heels. “From early self-portraits in clown makeup to more recent works featuring her father, dolls, Beverly’s experiences during COVID-19, and portraits of others, Full Circle illuminates the arc of Beverly McIver’s artistic career while also touching on her personal journey. McIver’s self-portraits explore expressions of individuality, stereotypes, and ways of masking identity; portraits of family provide glimpses into intimate moments, in good times as well as in illness and death.”
The 5 Titles series highlights books, music, and films in the library’s collection featuring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or highlighting the work of authors from diverse backgrounds. Each post is intended to briefly sample titles rather than provide a comprehensive topic overview. This month, the five titles have been selected by Graduate Humanities Intern Rebekah Cowell.
Audre Lorde wrote, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” Discussing social justice issues without including disability justice and its intersections with race, sexuality, gender, and socioeconomic class is impossible. According to 2015-2016 data from the U.S. Department of Education, over 19 percent of all enrolled undergraduate students and 11.9 percent of post-baccalaureate students self-identified as having a disability. In higher education, disability justice is another access point to achieving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Disability at Duke is a robust student and faculty collaboration bringing disability justice and pedagogy together. These five titles selected for consideration come from Duke University Libraries and feature the lived experiences of activists who have fought and continue to fight for disability justice.
Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life by Alice Wong. In Chinese culture, the tiger is deeply revered for its confidence, passion, ambition, and ferocity. Drawing on a collection of original essays, previously published work, conversations, graphics, photos, commissioned art by disabled and Asian American artists, and more, Alice uses her unique talent to share an impressionistic scrapbook of her life as an Asian American disabled activist, community organizer, media maker, and dreamer. From her love of food and pop culture to her unwavering commitment to dismantling systemic ableism, Alice shares her thoughts on creativity, access, power, care, the pandemic, mortality, and the future. As a self-described disabled oracle, Alice traces her origins, tells her story, and creates a space for disabled people to be in conversation with one another and the world. Alice is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project and the editor of the acclaimed anthology Disability Visibility.
Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. A personal collection about creating spaces by and for sick and disabled queer people of colour and creative “collective access” — access not as a chore but as a collective responsibility and pleasure — in our communities and political movements. They write, “When we do disability justice work, it becomes impossible to look at disability and not examine how colonialism created it. It becomes a priority to look at Indigenous ways of perceiving and understanding disability…” Bringing their survival skills and knowledge from years of cultural and activist work, she explores everything from the economics of queer femme emotional labor to suicide in queer and trans communities to the nitty-gritty of touring as a sick and disabled queer artist of colour. Care Work is a mapping of access as radical love, a celebration of the work that sick and disabled queer/people of colour are doing to find each other and to build power and community, and a toolkit for everyone who wants to build radically resilient, sustainable communities of liberation where no one is left behind.
Exile and Pride by Eli Clare. Exile and Pride is essential to the history and future of disability politics. With a poet’s devotion to truth and an activist’s demand for justice, Clare deftly unspools the multiple histories from which our ever-evolving sense of self unfolds. His essays weave together memoir, history, and political thinking to explore meanings and experiences of home: home as place, community, bodies, identity, and activism. Here readers will find an intersectional framework for understanding how we actually live with the daily hydraulics of oppression, power, and resistance. At the root of Clare’s exploration of environmental destruction and capitalism, sexuality and institutional violence, gender and the body politic, is a call for social justice movements that are truly accessible to everyone. With heart and hammer, Exile and Pride pries open a window onto a world where our whole selves, in all their complexity, can be realized, loved, and embraced.
Haben: The Deafblind Woman that Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma. Haben is a human rights lawyer advancing disability justice. She believes disability is an opportunity for innovation and teaches organizations the importance of choosing inclusion. Haben grew up spending summers with her family in the enchanting Eritrean city of Asmara. There, she discovered courage as she faced off against a bull she couldn’t see and found in herself an abiding strength as she absorbed her parents’ harrowing experiences during Eritrea’s thirty-year war with Ethiopia. Their refugee story inspired her to embark on a quest for knowledge, traveling the world in search of the secret to belonging. Haben defines disability as an opportunity for innovation. She learned non-visual techniques for everything from dancing salsa to handling an electric saw. She developed a text-to-braille communication system that created an exciting new way to connect with people. Haben pioneered her way through obstacles, graduated from Harvard Law, and now uses her talents to advocate for people with disabilities.
Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist by Judith Heumann. One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her personal story of fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human. A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn’t built for all of us and of one woman’s activism–from the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington– Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumann’s lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance, and inclusion in society. Paralyzed from polio at eighteen months, Judy’s struggle for equality began early in life. From fighting to attend grade school after being described as a “fire hazard” to later winning a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teacher’s license because of her paralysis, Judy’s actions set a precedent that fundamentally improved rights for disabled people. As a young woman, Judy rolled her wheelchair through the doors of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in San Francisco as a leader of the Section 504 Sit-In, the longest takeover of a governmental building in US history. Working with a community of over 150 disabled activists and allies, Judy successfully pressured the Carter administration to implement protections for disabled peoples’ rights, sparking a national movement and leading to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Please join us as the 2021-22 Rosati Fellow and award-winning poet Threa Almontaser reads from her recent work. Maha Houssami, Interim Arabic Program Director & Lecturer in the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department, will host a Q&A following the reading.
Duke University Libraries is pleased to welcome Ms. Almontaser to Duke and Durham as the recipient of the 2021-22 Rosati Fellowship. Ms. Almontaser holds an MFA and TESOL certification from NC State University and is a writer, editor, and teacher. Her first full-length book of poetry, The Wild Fox of Yemen, was published by Graywolf Press in 2021 and has received widespread national recognition, including the Maya Angelou Book Award, the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize, and the Walt Whitman Prize from the American Academy of Poets, as well as being longlisted for the National Book Award for Poetry and the PEN/Voelcker Award for a Poetry Collection.
In 1949, after living and working in the US for 30 years and making his home in Durham for over 10 years, Der Wo, the owner and operator of Durham’s first, very popular, Chinese restaurant was joyfully reunited with his family for the first time in 18 years.
Der Wo was originally from the Chinese province of Guangdong (called Canton by Westerners of the time) near Hong Kong. He immigrated to the US to work in Chinese restaurants in Washington DC. Before he came to Durham, he had 16 years of experience in the Chinese/American restaurant business. Der Wo brought his skills and joined a venture in Durham backed by the very successful sister restaurant, also the Oriental, based in Charlotte NC. Although the term “Oriental” is no longer used to identify people of Asian ancestry, in the period of the founding of this cafe, the term was widely used. The term “Chinese /American” more accurately reflects the people born in China who lived and worked in the United States.
Chinese /American cuisine had been a national fad in urban areas across the United States since the early 1900s. By the mid-1930s, Chop Suey, the common name for a Chinese/American adaptation of stir fry, was only available in Durham as a canned good from La Choy, founded in the US midwest in 1922, or from the Pines Tea Room near Chapel Hill, run by a Mrs. Vickers.
The Immigration Act of 1790 and the Chinese Exclusion Acts, in force from the 1880s until 1942, meant that Der Wo could not become a US citizen. In 1915 a court action opened the door for more Chinese restaurant workers to enter the US, but this immigration was tightly controlled. In the 1930 US Census, Durham had only 3 people identified as Chinese-born.
Nonetheless, by 1938 downtown Durham had the Oriental Restaurant, a thriving Chinese/American eatery. The Oriental, like other Chinese-owned businesses, followed Exclusion era practices by employing Chinese “bachelor” cooks and staff, several of whom lived on the premises. In the 1940 Census, Der Wo and five of his employees were listed as living above the restaurant on Parrish St.
A system of mutual support developed among Chinese/Americans and among business owners and restauranteurs called Huiguan. This relatively informal association system was similar to clans or a guild system for the management of both the supply of Chinese food and specialty products, and the flow of restaurant workers into the United States. The small staff of Chinese men gathered in Durham in the mid-1930s to open the new Chinese restaurant.
The Oriental was essentially a 90-seat `white tablecloth restaurant well-sited in downtown Durham about equidistant from the two largest hotels in the downtown area and two blocks from the busy passenger train station. The Oriental was whites only. The operators chose Parrish St, also known as the “Black Wall Street,” because of proximity to patrons via the railroad and hotels, but the business did not make any accommodation for black patrons. The presence of Black Wall Street in a white downtown was an anomaly as was a segregated Chinese Restaurant just steps from the two largest black-owned enterprises in the city.
By the early 1940s, a Chinese restaurant for black patrons, the Asia Cafe, was established about a mile from the Oriental. Located in Hayti, Durham’s black business district, the restaurant was near the important intersection of Fayetteville St and Pettigrew St. The Asia Cafe was operated by Hugh Wong. The site was taken under urban renewal as part of Durham Freeway.
The Oriental used many of the marketing tools available in the 1930s. Der Wo advertised his restaurant in the Duke Chronicle, UNC’s Daily Tar Heel, and the Durham newspapers as well as the City Directories and the telephone books. Der Wo arranged for civic groups to hold meetings and banquets in his facility. In addition to supporting the American war effort during World War Two via war bond drives and other donations, Der Wo’s earlier activism included support for the nationalist Chinese cause including holding a banquet at the Oriental in honor of a barnstorming Chinese aviatrix raising funds for the support of the nationalists against the Japanese.
A grand opening for the Oriental was held on Saturday June18th 1938 and the restaurant was a hit from the start. Der Wo with the backing of the owner of the Oriental in Charlotte had rented a white brick two-story restaurant building with granite details likely built in the late teens or early twenties. Since he came from restaurants in more architecturally sophisticated urban Washington DC, the Oriental exterior was modernized in the Moderne style with full plate glass doors and windows surrounded by opaque panels of pigmented structural glass, probably Vitrolite, in ivory and black . The name “The Oriental Restaurant” was in a green bamboo style script in the glass panel above the front facade and there was a neon sign. The colors of the renovated interior were cream and brown and the main dining room seated 60 and included both high booths and tables. There was an adjoining dining room seating 30 for meetings. The restaurant was fully air-conditioned at a time that many offices and hotel rooms were not.
The preferred Chinese/ American dish in the 1930s remained Chop Suey, but in a recent survey on social media of long-term Durham residents now in their 60’s and older, the Oriental’s Chicken Chow Mein is the most frequently remembered dish. The owner of a local plumbing company was so fond of the Oriental that his family ate there once a week throughout the 1950s and 1960s and many survey respondents remembered special Sunday lunches at the Oriental. The judgment concerning the popularity of the Oriental’s Chow Mein is verified in a 1950s newspaper article about the long-time cook at the Oriental, Frank Dea Toy.
George Lougee, a local newspaper reporter for the Durham Herald Sun, wrote affectionately not only about Der Wo, but also about the kitchen workers like Frank Dea Toy over several decades. Lougee’s primary beat was the Courts, and the Oriental was just around the corner from the Courthouse and jail.
Among the most interesting aspects of the Oriental story is Der Wo and his family’s path from China to Durham which was detailed in Lougee’s 1949 feature newspaper story about the reunion of Der Wo and his family after the long separation because of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the disruption of World War II.
In 1919, Der Wo immigrated from China via San Francisco to Washington DC to make his way in the restaurant business. No doubt he improved his English and he learned about the operations of restaurants.
In 1931 Der Wo was successful enough to make the two-month journey to return to China to marry. Der Wo’s parents had arranged his marriage to Wu Mei On, an eligible young woman. Before Der Wo returned to the US about a year later, Wu Mei On had had a daughter and was pregnant. Wu Mei On and her children lived with Der Wo’s parents. Der Wo returned to the restaurant business in Washington DC in 1932 before coming to Durham in late 1937.
In 1941, the Japanese bombed and invaded the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The danger and brutality of the attack prompted the extended Der Wo family to flee into the interior of China. After a few months, they returned to Hong Kong to find their home intact and they resumed their lives there.
In some of the records of the census and other Federal agencies from the 1930s and 1940s, Der Wo is listed as white. In 1949 Der Wo began Naturalization proceedings and was finally reunited with his wife and met, for the first time, his 18-year old son. Part of the delay in the reunion was because of immigration restrictions. Both his wife and son had to come to the United States on temporary visas. The family lived together for a number of years and two other sons were born.
In 1953 Der Wo, suffering from heart disease, died of a sudden heart attack, and his wife and older son were forced to take over the operation of the restaurant.
In 1954 Federal Immigration and Naturalization authorities contacted the family about possible deportation because of the lapsed visa status of both Der Wo’s wife and older son. Lougee wrote about the family’s immigration situation and gathered local support. With the assistance of Congressman Carl Durham, a private bill was introduced and approved by Congress and signed by President Eisenhower to allow the family to stay together in Durham.
With the help of her son and the restaurant staff, Mrs Der Wo operated the restaurant successfully throughout the 1950s despite her limited English language skills.
In a mid-1950s feature story, Frank Dea Toy, cook at the Oriental, was featured. Dea Toy claimed, to newspaperman Lougee’s astonishment, that after living in Durham for over twenty years he had never been to any sort of ball game nor had he attend more than one movie a year. Radio and television were, he said, too “noisy.” The isolation of the Chinese workers was further illustrated by Lougee’s reporting on a 1944 fatal hit and run accident that killed an Oriental employee who was walking in Durham with two Chinese colleagues. The death was never solved.
By the early1960’s a shift in the primary shopping areas from downtown Durham to the suburbs north and south of Durham’s city center was well underway and the lunch and dinner trade at the Oriental were likely a fraction of what they had been. Urban renewal was in the planning stages and the face of Durham was changing.
Civil rights protest was also rising, and in May 1963 the Oriental was a site at which Black students, primarily from North Carolina Central University (then College), staged a late afternoon peaceful sit-in. Sit-in leaders asked to be served on behalf of their 60 followers and were refused by management. Some students left, but 48 waited for the police to charge them with unlawful trespass. All were charged and released without bond.
By 1964 the formal process of downtown Durham redevelopment using Federal funds was underway. The passenger train station in downtown Durham was closed and one of the two major downtown hotels closed as well. No doubt redevelopment was a part of the decline of the Oriental. Mrs. Der closed the Oriental in 1966. The building itself was not demolished until the early 1970s. The ultimate causes of the closure of the restaurant may have been the aging of the staff and owner, but other factors may have included the aging infrastructure and the changes in the surrounding business climate. In the face of public accommodation laws, urban renewal programs, the Durham Freeway, and the end of official segregation, the Oriental did not survive.
Many thanks to my colleagues, Yunyi Wang and Luo Zhou, and to Prof. Calvin Cheung-Miaw for their editorial assistance.
Native Americans in North Carolina:
the Path from the Past to the Present
The research and suggested resources presented in the article Imagining Duke’s Campus in 1000 AD inspire the Lilly Library exhibit: Native Americans in North Carolina: the Path from the Past to the Present. Tangible artifacts and reference material highlighting the history of Native Americans in North Carolina carry us together on a journey over time to the campus experience of today. The exhibit presents historical evidence predating European contact, records and accounts of the university’s Native American student experience, and a look at the extent of Native American tribal reach in present day North Carolina.
North Carolina: The Arrival of Europeans
When the first Europeans arrived in what they called Carolina, the 16th century surveyor John White depicted in detail the established villages and individuals living on the land near Roanoke. A century later John Lawson catalogued the peoples and bounty of the land he traveled. His account A New Voyage to Carolina (produced in 1709) revealed the diversity of nature especially flora and of the nations of Native Americans. An original edition of Lawson’s book is found in the Rubenstein Library collection but does not circulate.
For Duke community members with NetIDs who wish to examine Lawson’s work, reprints and online versions are readily available.
Duke: The Arrival of Joseph S. Maytubby
The relationship between Duke and its Native American constituents goes back further in history than one might expect. In 1892, Trinity College (the predecessor to Duke University) saw the arrival of Joseph S. Maytubby on its campus in Durham. Maytubby, a member of the Chickasaw tribe became the first Native American to receive a degree from Trinity College. An excellent student, he served as president of the Hesperian Literary Society, was involved with the Trinity Archive literary magazine, played football, and, as a capstone to his stellar academic career, his oratory skills won the Wiley Gray Medal competition for the 1896 commencement.
In present day, the Duke Native American Student Alliance serves as a resource and advocates on behalf of Native American Students on campus. Read its mission statement to learn more. One element of NASA’s stated mission is to advance the awareness of Native American culture throughout campus and the state.
It is not generally known that North Carolina has the largest Native American population east of the Mississippi River. North Carolina is home to eight tribes recognized tribes by the state, including the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation – the only federally recognized Native American community in North Carolina. This exhibit offers a glimpse into the complicated and often uncomfortable history of the Native American tale.
The Lilly Library exhibit Native Americans in North Carolina: the Path from the Past to the Present is on display until March 1, 2022.
Curated by Librarians Greta Boers and Carson Holloway. Artifacts on display are from the collections of Carson Holloway and Greta Boers.
A podcast about a Native American activist convicted of a double-murder he might not have committed is the winner of the 2021 Human Rights Audio Documentary Award sponsored by Duke University’s Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Leonard: Political Prisoner tells the story of Leonard Peltier, who in 1977 was sentenced to consecutive life sentences for killing two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Through a mix of archival audio, interviews, and narration, the podcast revisits the facts and irregularities of the case against Peltier, who has spent the last 44 years in federal prison. Told in the wake of the 2020 murder of George Floyd and the world-wide calls for racial justice it inspired, Peltier’s account of his mistreatment at the hands of the U.S. government and American legal system takes on a new light.
Leonard: Political Prisoner was produced and hosted by Rory Owen Delaney and Andrew Fuller of Man Bites Dog Films, with Kevin McKiernan serving as consulting producer.
Responding to news of the award, the producers said, “When we set out to create this documentary podcast series, the ultimate goal was to create the quintessential, permanent, spoken-word account of the case of Leonard Peltier within the historical context of the ongoing fight that Native Americans have and continue to endure in the United States today. The preservation and access that Duke University’s Rubenstein Library will provide is an essential resource in keeping this audio time-capsule for generations to come, so that the human rights issues of indigenous peoples are never forgotten.”
Leonard is more than a true crime podcast. It deploys the language of audio storytelling to indict centuries of broken treaties, stolen land, and a racist legal system that denies Native Americans their legal and human rights. The podcast foregrounds Native American voices and follows them down related storylines, like how Mount Rushmore is perceived as an insult and desecration of the Lakota Black Hills, or how the Custer Courthouse Riot of 1973 was led by activists of the American Indian Movement. Delaney and Fuller create a rich archival world of contemporary and archived interviews, news footage, and other sonic artifacts that goes beyond the question of Peltier’s guilt and asks listeners to consider the broader crimes against humanity committed against Native Americans.
The theme of this year’s inaugural Human Rights Audio Award was language and human rights. Leonard engages language as part of their storytelling strategy. For example, Delaney and Fuller discuss why they opted to use the term “Indian” versus Native American. They also review the history of tribal names such as the Sioux, explaining how such names can be used to foster a sense of self-identity or as a tool of repression. Peltier, through the voice of actor Peter Coyote, explains how as a child at an Indian Boarding School he was forbidden from speaking his own language, “You could say that the first infraction in my criminal career was speaking my own language, there’s an act of violence for you.” Weaving together historical research, oral histories, and contemporary voices, Leonard utilizes the strengths of the podcast medium to present complex histories and their aftermath.
The Human Rights Audio Documentary Award is sponsored by the Human Rights Archive and the Archive of Documentary Arts at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The award seeks to support outstanding documentary artists exploring human rights and social justice and expand the audio holdings in the Archive for long-term preservation and access. Winners receive $2,500 and are invited to present their work at Duke University, where a team of archivists will preserve their work.
The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Library has a strong commitment to human rights and the documentary arts through collecting and making available works by creators from around the world. Its collections document the impact that organizations and individuals have to motivate the thinking of others and influence private and government policies.
In 1954, Frederic Wertham published the now infamous Seduction of the Innocent, linking juvenile delinquency to comics. Testifying before Congress in 1954, Wertham stated emphatically that “it is my opinion, without any reasonable doubt, and without any reservation, that comic books are an important contributing factor in many cases of juvenile delinquency.” The ensuing uproar on comics’ deleterious effects on the nation’s youth led to the creation of the Comics Magazine Association of American which in turn issued the Comics Code Authority (CCA).
While the adoption of the code by publishers was voluntary, comics without the CCA logo faced an uphill battle in terms of distribution. This de facto censorship system was wide-ranging, touching on such things as how persons in authority could be portrayed, how crimes could be presented, directives on illustrations, and the portrayals of marriage and sex.
The CCA had a long-term chilling effect on the portrayal of LGBTQIA+ characters in mainstream comics; However, its creation led to the vibrant underground comix movement where artists and authors ignored the strict code. Though the CCA was revised several times in the 1970s, loosening some restrictions, it wasn’t until 1992 in Alpha Flight #106 that Marvel’s Northstar stated, “I am gay.” The CCA was totally abandoned in the early 2000s.
Today, though there is still progress to be made, LGBTQIA+ persons and characters are found in graphic novels from superhero-themed to memoirs. The Lilly Graphic Novel Collection is a great place to begin your exploration. Below are a few highlights from our vast collection. Enjoy!
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. In this award winning graphic memoir, Bechdel chronicles her relationship with her distant father, an English teacher and director of the town’s funeral home, “Fun Home” to the Bechdel family. From childhood through her coming out to her parents, Fun Home explores Bechdel’s fraught relationship with her father, the exploration of her sexuality, and a tragedy that leaves her much to reckon with. Fun Home was adapted for Broadway and has the distinction of being the first Broadway musical featuring a lesbian protagonist. It won the Tony award for Best Musical in 2015. Bechdel is also the author of the critically acclaimed Dykes to Watch Out For series.
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin (author) and Jenn St.-Onge and Joy San (artists). In 1963, Hazel and Mari meet at church bingo, and their friendship grows into love. This new found love, however, is unacceptable to their families and their community, and Mari’s family moves away. Many years later, after Hazel and Mari each married and raised children, they reconnect at a bingo hall and realize that their feelings are unchanged. Fifty years later, through strength and determination, they claim the life that they always wanted. Bingo Love started as a Kickstarter project until it was picked up by Image Comics.
Our Work is Everywhere by Syan Rose. This graphic non-fiction work highlights the diverse voices in the queer and trans communities. Rose has a broad definition of work, not just what we do in our professional careers but also the ways that we improve ourselves, our communities, and our world. Interviews with queer and trans organizers, health justice activists, martial artists, and more are included, accompanied by Rose’s beautiful and expressive illustrations.
Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe (author) and Phoebe Kobabe (colorist). Both a memoir and an introduction to eir family and readers on what it means to be non-binary, Kobabe (e/em/eir pronouns) chronicles eir journey of self-identity. Kobabe’s touching and honest story is a useful guide on gender identity for everyone.
HeartstopperbyAlice Oseman. Begun as a serial webcomic in 2016, Heartstopper, available now in two printed volumes, introduces readers to Charlie and Nick who meet and develop a friendship at a British all-boys grammar school. The friendship grows into love. Optioned by Netflix, Heartstopper is slated for live-action adaptation in the near future.
These influential and impactful works are among the hundreds of titles in the Lilly Graphic Novel Collection, located in the first floor Carpenter Room.
The Docuseekstreaming video platform provides a window into subjects and content from around the world and across disciplines. Here is a selection of titles that examine indigenous peoples of North America. Available through Duke Libraries with netid/password authentication, explore new cultures and topics through the lens of award-winning filmmakers.
A powerful look at the untold story of the involuntary sterilization of Native American women conducted by the Indian Health Service and lasting well into the 1970s.
(Bullfrog Films, 2019, dir. Lorna Tucker)
Awake : a dream from Standing RockStream Online or Lilly DVD 31281
Moving from summer 2016, when demonstrations over the Dakota Access Pipeline’s demolishing of sacred Native burial grounds began, the film documents the story of Native-led fight for clean water and the environment. The film is a collaboration between indigenous filmmakers: Director Myron Dewey and Executive Producer Doug Good Feather; and environmental Oscar-nominated filmmakers Josh Fox and James Spione.
nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up Stream Online
The story of the killing of young Cree man Colten Boushie and his family’s pursuit of justice weaves a profound narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own adoption. (National Film Board of Canada, 2020, dir. Tasha Hubbard)
Follows the historic campaign of Paulette Jordan, the first Native American candidate — as well as the first woman — to win the Idaho Primary for Governor. (Women Make Movies, 2020, dir. Heather Rae)
Sisters Rising Stream Online Native American survivors of sexual assault fight to restore personal and tribal sovereignty against the backdrop of an ongoing legacy of violent colonization. (Woman Make Movies, 2021, dir. Willow O’Feral)
Tribal Justice Stream Online
Anne Makepeace documents an effective criminal justice reform movement in America: the efforts of tribal courts to return to traditional, community-healing concepts of justice. (Bullfrog Films, 2017, dir. Anne Makepeace)
Without a Whisper Stream online
The untold story of the profound influence of Indigenous women on the beginning of the women’s rights movement in the United States. (Women Make Movies, 2020, dir. Katsitsionni Fox)
Lilly Library presents a sampling of films in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which recognizes the contributions and influence of Hispanic and Latinx Americans. Creative members of this community include actors, directors, and screenwriters, represented in the vast array of films in the Duke Libraries collections. Lilly shines its spotlight on just a few of our many documentaries, dramas, and animated films to illuminate the perspective of this vibrant and vital community.
Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century–and she continues to fight to this day, at 87.
Symbols of Resistance Stream with Duke NetID This documentary illuminates the untold stories of the Chican@ Movement with a focus on events in Colorado and New Mexico. Through interviews with those who shaped the movement and rare historical footage, the film opens a window into a dynamic moment in history and movement building.
Maria, a poor Columbian teenager, is desperate to leave a soul-crushing job. She accepts an offer to transport packets of heroin – which she swallows – to the United States. The ruthless world of drug trafficking proves to be more than she bargained for.
A BoyCalledSailboatLilly DVD 33374 In a slanted dwelling beyond the outskirts of a drought-ridden town, a close Hispanic family accepts an impossible blessing and name their only son Sailboat. Sailboat stirs new love and hope in his family as they forge a simple but proud life in the American Southwest.
La Misma Luna / Under The Same Moon Lilly DVD 12186 or Stream with Duke NetID
This film follows the parallel stories of nine-year-old Carlitos and his mother, Rosario. In the hopes of providing a better life for her son, Rosario works illegally in the U.S. In Mexico, her mother cares for Carlitos.
This film is an exquisitely crafted coming of age tale following a pair of Latina teens who fall gradually in love against the backdrop of East L.A.
Real Women Have CurvesLilly DVD 2281 Should she leave home, go to college and experience life? Or stay home, get married, and keep working in her sister’s struggling garment factory? It may seem an easy decision, but for 18-year-old Mexican-American Ana, every choice she makes this summer will change her life.
Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector, and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
The Book Of LifeLilly DVD 27605 and Ford 6902 or Stream with Duke NetID Embark on a journey with Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart.
Many more films by, and about, the Hispanic and Latinx communities can be found in the Duke University Libraries collections. Honor and celebrate Hispanic and Latinx themes all year long and continue your exploration through our collections.
This post was written by Sydney Adams, current practicum student in the Research and Instructional Services department at Duke and second year graduate student in the School of Information and Library Science at UN Chapel-Hill.
This week (September 26th-October 2nd, 2021) is Banned Books Week, which is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. The theme for Banned Books Week this year is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” While censorship creates barriers between us, sharing stories allows us to forge connections with one another.
This year, we have compiled a collection of commonly banned and challenged books for Mystery Date with a Banned Book. Below is a list of books that were either banned or challenged during 2020, but instead of telling you the book titles, we’ve provided a summary of each book and the reason(s) why it was banned or challenged. If any of these books sound interesting to you, click on the “Mystery Book” link to check out that book from Duke University Libraries.
Mystery Book 1: In this novel, two teens—one Black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism and because it was thought to promote antipolice views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”
Mystery Book 2: Japanese animation is more popular than ever following the 2002 Academy Award given to Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. It confirmed that anime is more than just children’s cartoons, often portraying important social and cultural themes. This book will be the authoritative source on anime for an exploding market of viewers who want to know more.
Reasons: Challenged because it includes pornographic content in a chapter that explores the subject of bodies in hentai, a sub-genre of anime.
Mystery Book 3: This is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove—a Black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others—who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.
Mystery Book 4: Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.
Reasons: Challenged in North Carolina for being “anti-Christian” and on the grounds that the school’s use of the novel violates constitutional safeguards against government endorsement of religion.
Mystery Book 5: This autobiography charts the author’s journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.
Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content.
Mystery Book 6: The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons their love, their sacrifices, and their lies.
Reasons: This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
Mystery Book 7: Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas—and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
Reasons: Banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.
Summaries courtesy of Syndetic Solutions, Inc. Reasons for ban or challenge courtesy of the American Library Association and the Office for Intellectual Freedom.
Explore films from the Duke Libraries to educate yourself about the significant contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to U.S. culture, and as a reminder of ongoing challenges they face, along with the anti-racist work that we have yet to do.
The Celine Archive Streaming video – Duke netid/password required The Celine Archive is simultaneously an act of journalism, a journey into family and community memory and archives, a love poem, a story of grief and trauma, and a séance for the buried history of Filipino-Americans. Filmmaker and scholar Celine Parreñas Shimizu artfully weaves together her own story of grief with the story of the tragic death of Celine Navarro, which has become lore. In 1932, Navarro was buried alive by her own community of Filipino-Americans in Northern California, but the circumstances surrounding her death were and are unclear and have oft been spun, sensationalized, and dramatized. The filmmaker, a grieving mother with ties to the same community, finds resonance with Navarro’s memory and long-lost story, and she sets out to first learn — and then tell — the truth about Navarro’s death, ultimately portraying her as a feminist heroine.
Asian Americans Lilly DVD 33607 | Streaming video – Duke netid/password required
Asian Americans is a five-hour film PBS series that delivers a bold, fresh perspective on a history that matters today, more than ever. As America becomes more diverse, and more divided, while facing unimaginable challenges, how do we move forward together? Told through intimate and personal lives, the series will cast a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played in shaping the nation’s story.
The Chinese Exclusion Act DVD 31536 | Streaming video – Duke netid/password required
This American Experience documentary examines the origin, history and impact of the 1882 law that made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America and for Chinese nationals already here ever to become U.S. citizens. The first in a long line of acts targeting the Chinese for exclusion, it remained in force for more than 60 years.
Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege
Streaming video – Duke netid/password required
Inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for 2020. Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege paints a portrait of a mountain that has become a symbol of the Hawaiian struggle for physical, cultural and political survival. The program explores conflicting forces as they play themselves out in a contemporary island society where cultures collide daily. In an effort to find commonalities among indigenous people elsewhere regarding sacred mountains, the documentary visits Apache elders of Arizona who face the reality of telescope development on their revered mountain, Dzil Nchaa Si An, known as Mt. Graham.
Who Killed Vincent Chin? Lilly DVD 28025 | Streaming video – Duke netid/password required
This Academy-Award nominated film is a powerful statement about racism in working-class America. It relates the stark facts of Vincent Chin’s brutal murder. Outrage filled the Asian-American community, after his accused murderer received a suspended sentence and a small fine, to the point where they organized an unprecedented civil rights protest. His bereaved mother, brought up to be self-effacing, successfully led a nationwide crusade for a retrial. This tragic story is interwoven with the whole fabric of timely social concerns. It addresses issues such as the failure of our judicial system to value every citizen’s rights equally, the collapse of the automobile industry under pressure from Japanese imports, and the souring of the American dream for the blue collar worker.
Looking for Feature Films and more?
Lilly Library’s collection of feature films about Asian American and Pacific Islanders is rich and deep! Classic films, romantic comedies, family dramas, etc., created by Asians and Asian Americans are available to entertain and inspire you.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, Lilly Library shines a spotlight on Women in Sport. Books and movies – including e-books and streaming film – which feature women athletes are “teeming” in our collections. The titles featured here give a sense of the breadth of the issues and themes present in the world of women’s athletics.
To discover more about women athletes, browse the Duke Libraries catalogue. A basic subject search of women athletes reveals hundreds of titles available. Your Duke netID is your ticket to read, learn, witness, and celebrate the wide range of women and their athletic challenges and achievements!
Based on the Instagram account @TheUnsungHeroines, this book focuses on the pioneering, forgotten female athletes of the twentieth century as featured in Instagram. Rarely seen photos and in-depth interviews feature past and present game changers such as Abby Wambach and Cari Champion.
This online book offers a sweeping look at the experience of Black women athletes. Through the stories of six groundbreaking women– Alice Coachman, Ora Washington, Althea Gibson, Wilma Rudolph, Wyomia Tyus, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee– author Jennifer H. Lansbury outlines the careers of these women and their experiences with attitudes of race, class, and gender.
What do we know about the communities of women in sport in Latin America? Futbolera weaves the stories of these women as athletes and fans in the tapestry of social class, national and racial identities, sexuality, and gender roles in countries better known for male athletes of global fame.
Kicking Off: How Women in Sport are Changing the Game
There’s a battle being fought. It’s raging on the sports fields, in the newsrooms and behind the scenes at every major broadcaster. Women in sport fight for equality, but are they breaking down the barriers? Writer Sarah Shephard looks behind headlines to see whether progress is really being made.
Film – Documentary and Feature
Films exploring and illuminating the challenges faced by women athletes the world over are highlighted here:
Offside Streaming or DVD14381
During the 2006 Iran-Bahrain match, the Tehran soccer stadium roars with 100,000 cheering men and, officially, no women. According to Islamic custom, women are not permitted to watch or participate in men’s sports. Many ambitious young female fans manage to sneak into the arena but are caught and sent to a holding pen, guarded by male soldiers their own age. Duty makes these young men and women adversaries, but duty can’t overcome shared dreams and an overriding sense of national pride and humanity.
Examines the post Title IX media environment in terms of the representation of female athletes. It demonstrates that while men’s identities in sports are equated with deeply held values of courage, strength and endurance, the accomplishments of female athletes are framed very differently and in much more stereotypical ways.
Dr. Donnis Thompson, coach, Patsy Mink ,U.S. congresswoman, and Beth McLachlin, team captain of the University of Hawaii volleyball team, battle discrimination from the halls of Washington D.C. to the dusty volleyball courts of the University of Hawaii, fighting for the rights of young women to play sports. The film reveals how change-makers overcome injustice with wisdom, an innovative spirit, and without becoming victims to their circumstances.
Best Films about Women in Sport?
In a less serious vein – do you have a favorite film about women in sports?
Nine of the titles most frequently named in “Best” or “Top” lists are in our collections:
“Created in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic — and curated by 29 librarians throughout the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation and beyond — the Archive documents regional, social responses to the pandemic, which are critical in understanding the scope of the pandemic’s humanitarian, socioeconomic, and cultural impact. With an emphasis on websites produced by underrepresented ethnicities and stateless groups, the Archive covers (but is not limited to): sites published by non-governmental organizations that focus on public health, humanitarian relief, and education; sites published by established and amateur artists in any realm of cultural production; sites published by local news sources; sites published by civil society actors and representatives; and relevant blogs and social media pages. At the time of its launch, the Archive featured over 2,000 websites from over 80 countries in over 50 languages.”
This is the largest and most diverse Ivy Plus web archiving project ever created under the auspices of the thirteen-member library confederation. The Covid-19 web archive contains a multitude of materials—most of which are born digital—in all fields of research. The task of preserving such materialsis essential for future researchers. That is why the task has been assumed by the subject specialists of numerous research libraries, including here at Duke University. Four librarians from the International & Area Studies Department of Duke University Libraries are taking part in this digital initiative: Heather Martin, Miree Ku, Luo Zhou, and Sean Swanick. Each librarian also helped curate a subject guide hosted by Princeton University. The guide is divided by region and includes further information about the project and Ivy Plus Web Archiving.
Unfortunately, until the pandemic is over and some semblance of normalcy returns, this Ivy Plus web archiving project will continue to grow. If you have recommendations please send them along via this form.
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