Post Contributed by John B. Gartrell, director, John Hope Franklin Research Center
Black Lives in Archives Day 2023 – “I Got a Story to Tell: Black Lives in Print 2.0”
Monday, April 3, 2023
11:00am – 2:00pm
Gothic Reading Room, Rubenstein Library, Duke West Campus
Free and open to the public
The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is pleased to announce it’s second Black Lives in Archive Day.
This one-day only exhibition allows visitors to browse special selections from the library’s collections, chat with library staff, and explore Black authored primary source materials. From rare first editions by Sojourner Truth to published works exploring Black life in Durham to publications by Black students at Duke, the event will give attendees a hands-on experience with the richness of Black print culture!
Post contributed by Tyler J. Goldberger, Human Rights Archive Travel Grant Awardee
“Diplomatic Dip,” reports the Staten Island Advance on March 9, 1966, covering the remarkable story of United States Ambassador to Spain Angier Biddle Duke swimming alongside Manuel Fraga, Spanish Minister of Information and Tourism, in hydrogen bomb-contaminated water. “Envoy Swims to Prove No Radiation,” states the Chicago Defender to describe the same event. Clippings within the Angier Biddle Duke Papers as well as a Palomares, Spain scrapbook, part of the Angier Biddle Duke collection, illustrate the national and international coverage, consciousness, and attention garnered by the accidental dropping of four American hydrogen bombs during a routine fly off the coast of Spain, where the bombs were held, in January 1966. To minimize the political, economic, and diplomatic disruptions caused by dropping potentially hazardous and radioactive bombs on another nation’s coastline amid the Cold War, Biddle Duke and Fraga participated in a brief swim to showcase to the world that the United States did not corrupt the Palomares ecosystem. This public relations stunt sought to protect the image of strong ties between these two nations and support Spain’s tourism economy. This American faux pau serves as an exemplar of the contradiction between warming United States-Spain relations during the second half of the twentieth century and private citizens and organizations bringing awareness to Francisco Franco’s dictatorial, repressive regime in Spain from 1939-1975.
Due to the generosity of the Human Rights Archive Grant within the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, I had the opportunity to explore various manuscripts and rare books to support my dissertation. My project, tentatively entitled, “‘Spain in Chains’: Transnational Human Rights, Remembering, and Forgetting of the Spanish Civil War and Francisco Franco Dictatorship within the United States in the Twentieth Century” argues that American individuals and organizations outside of the diplomatic sphere promoted human rights activism and humanitarianism in regards to the terror, repression, exiles, and murders perpetrated by Franco Spain. While historiography traditionally ends dialogue of United States-Spain relations in 1898, when the United States defeated the Spanish Empire in the Spanish-American War, my project, supported by many resources at the Rubenstein Library, asserts that we have much to learn from how Americans fought against fascism through war, suffering, fundraising, attention-raising, consciousness-building, and caring, even despite the budding diplomacy between these two nations.
United States-Spain relations showcase how the priorities of Cold War anti-communism quickly and continually subsumed notions of human rights over the course of the Spanish Civil War and Franco dictatorship. While the civil war pitted leftist, anti-fascist Republicans against a conservative Nationalist coup d’état spearheaded by Franco, the outcry from the world resulted in sending approximately 40,000 volunteers from over 50 countries to fight against fascism, including around 2,800 volunteers from the United States in a battalion eventually known as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. The American Rescue Ship Mission within the J.B. Matthews Papers and various rare books published by the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, including, They did their part; let’s do ours! Rehabilitate the veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, illustrate not only that many within the United States knew the stakes of the Spanish Civil War, but also that there were large humanitarian currents during and following the war to support suffering Republicans within dictatorial Spain. Activities such as fundraising to secure clothes and food for ailing victims and exiles of the brutal war and post-war conditions, as well as organizing rescue ships to safely export Spanish Republican refugees out of Spain, highlight the space that Spain’s civil war occupied in American and global consciousness.
While incorporating humanitarian work during the Spanish Civil War and World War II, my project also seeks to expand this timeline by following United States-Spain relations over the course of the Franco dictatorship. I will contrast the ways in which the United States government intentionally forgot about Spanish human rights violations while private citizens continued to fight to support Spanish Republican victims and their families. Thus, newsletters from the Committee for a Democratic Spain ranging from 1961-1970 provide crucial information on the continued American attention given to human rights violations perpetrated by Franco Spain despite diplomatic allyship. These newsletters shed light on the continued crimes, atrocities, and imprisonment enacted by the regime, educating American readers on the “Unfinished Fight” that more should be aware of between the Spanish people and their own government.
The gaffe of United States hydrogen bombs dropping in Palomares tells just one side of the story of United States-Spain relations over the course of the twentieth century. My project utilizes the contradictory narratives of contaminated swims and condemnation of Franco Spain to contextualize individuals and organizations in the United States supporting and providing resources to suffering Republican Spaniards amidst improved diplomatic relations. The Spanish Civil War was global in its fighting, legacies, and consequences, illustrated by the many Americans advocating for increased aid to and awareness of Spanish Republican victims far past 1939.
Post contributed by John B. Gartrell, Director, John Hope Franklin Research Center
Please join this two-day conference convened over Zoom on March 6 and March 7 will gather the interviewers and project staff of the Behind the Veil project, conducted in the 1990s, to discuss their experiences capturing the stories of African Americans who lived in the US South during the Jim Crow Era. There will also be conversation from scholars who have recently used the Behind the Veil archive for their research and sharing the lessons learned from the interviews.
The Behind the Veil oral history project, which contains over 1,000 interviews and 1,500 images is archived in the John Hope Franklin Research Center at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Duke University Libraries received a grant in 2021 to digitize and publish the archive in the Duke Digital Repository with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Post Contributed by – Molly Carlin, Ph.D. candidate, School of Media, Arts and Humanities, University of Sussex, 2022 Marshall Meyer Human Rights Travel Grant Recipient
My research centers around the suppression of political voices in US prisons. Through archival research I am identifying the principal mechanisms employed by prison officials to prevent political organization and expression within institutions from 1964 onwards. Much of the earlier period looked at in my work has been focused on the Black Power movement, and the use of solitary confinement, tactical transfers and censorship to prevent key political activists in the movement from organizing within prisons. Many of these practices can be seen to continue throughout the period into the twenty-first century, and have been used, albeit less explicitly, to separate politically outspoken prisoners and establish obstacles to their activism.
The Rubenstein Human Rights Archive’s collection of incarceration zines elucidates varied prison experiences, and in particular the institutional responses to political writing. The recently acquired Tenacious Zine collection has provided an invaluable insight into the experiences and writing of incarcerated women and non-binary people. Commonalities in incarcerated experiences of ableism, discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people, and the difficulties of parenthood are evident across the country. These collections have been pivotal to my research on two counts: firstly, in exposing shared contemporary experiences of prisoners over the past twenty years, and secondly, in prioritizing the voices of marginalized identities within prison activism.
Primarily, what can be drawn from the hundreds of experiences recounted in the Tenacious Zine Collection, the Inside-Outside Alliance Records, and the Incarceration Zine Collection at the Rubenstein, is a resounding and unrelenting commitment to fight back against the systemic oppression seen in the carceral state. These sources come from prisons across the country, and from the 1960s right through to the 2020s, yet exhibit similarly oppressive experiences despite continued efforts to organize. Incarcerated activists have started writing campaigns, hunger strikes, work stoppages, and collaborated with ‘outside’ protesters to form a robust prisoners’ rights movement over the years. This chain of personal knowledge exchange moving within and stemming from prisons combines political theory and understanding of systemic oppression with communication of everyday lived experience.
Rachel Galindo wrote in Tenacious Zine in 2011: ‘Over these years of incarceration, I have realized the value in writing with the purpose of sharing with others my experiences in a women’s prison. I hope my stories stand as examples that can be applied to a broader consideration of the role of prisons—locally, nationally, and globally—and their collective effort.’ She continued ‘This is the importance of writing. It is neither static nor a one-sided activity. It lends a forceful hand of connection through reaching out and receiving. In reading others’ writing, I am provoked, informed and inspired. This dynamic exchange is a part of our ongoing exploration and forward movement as a people… When we write we are participants engaged in change and building something better together.’[i]
Galindo’s perception of writing as a valuable tool to engage activists outside and build community amongst prisoners with shared experiences reflects long-standing approaches to prison protest from decades prior. Another Tenacious Zine writer recalled realizing that ‘just because we are in prison doesn’t mean that we don’t have a voice,’ when formerly incarcerated poet and writer Jimmy Santiago Baca came to visit at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center.[ii] Baca’s influence here exhibits the vital impact of activist networks and writerly collaboration, and the importance of words as a tool for organization, community, and resistance within the constraints of the penal system.
Yet this political writing, and activists’ repeated demands for core rights and respect have been met consistently with resistance and suppression from prison authorities. Vocal dissenters have been repeatedly placed in extensive periods of solitary confinement, hunger strikers force fed, labour strikers inadequately fed, visitations stopped, activists transferred, letters withheld and reading censored. Patterns in prison responses focus on blocking political activism and knowledge exchange through physical barriers and manipulation. The zine collections at the Rubenstein have unveiled these barriers, with writers exposing the ‘immediate surveillance,’ interception and censorship of prison writing.
One account in Tenacious Zine exposed escalating responses from prison officials to their writing on prison abuse. Beginning with interception of mail containing a drawing for a manuscript on sexual assault in prison, Barrilee Bannister recounted continued efforts by prison staff to prevent their writing from leaving the prison. Officers filed misconduct reports, searched Bannister’s bunk to find the manuscript, faked allegations of violent threats, removed privileges and transferred Bannister to an increased security wing.[iii] Bannister’s experience marks just one in a sustained effort to inhibit political expression and freedom in writing from prison, with many other instances recounted in the Rubenstein’s collections and beyond. On 26th September 2022, thousands of Alabama prisoners began a labor strike to protest understaffing, violence, sexual assault and unpaid labor within the carceral system.[iv] Prison authorities responded with withheld meals and visitation stoppages, and prisoners were forced to mobilize outside communities to help fundraise for commissary supplies to ensure protesters were fed.
Prisons continue to remove all but the most basic of rights and necessities from those within, and so the need for adequate avenues for political expression remains pivotal. Yet what has been seen in varied forms throughout this period is a system which functions to prevent this and which ignores or prohibits prisoners’ voices from being heard. The rise of mass incarceration coupled with the growth of supermax prisons has vastly increased the scale of this issue, to the point where this can now be seen as widespread political suppression. As prisoners across the country continue to take action against these injustices, it is important to identify the mechanisms that have long been employed to silence incarcerated political voices and how these have shifted.
*Molly Carlin’s grant project for the 2022 Marshall Meyer Human Rights Travel Grant is entitled, “How to Jail a Revolution: Theorising the Penal Suppression of American Political Voices, 1964-2022.”
Post contributed by John B. Gartrell, Director, John Hope Franklin Research Center
Duke University Libraries is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Civil Rights Movement Archive (CRMA) that designates the Duke Libraries as the stewards who will preserve and sustain the CRMA when the current managers are no longer able to carry the work forward. The Civil Rights Movement Archive is accessible at www.crmvet.org and was established by the Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement in 1999 as a web-based platform that is an active social network for movement veterans and a primary resource for those interested in the history of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s-1960s. The site is populated by a roll call, reflections, documents and images all contributed by movement participants. There are also teaching resources and bibliographic sources designed to assist visitors with teaching and understanding this period. The CRMA recently launched a CRMA Video Channel on Vimeo to provide videos created by Freedom Movement veterans (or their immediate families). The site is visited by nearly 350,000 visitors annually, peaking during the school year, proving the value of the site as a research destination.
The John Hope Franklin Research Center will be the curatorial home for the CRMA. This partnership with CRMA is part of the Center’s commitment to preserving the history of grassroots organizing. The Franklin Research Center is a partner in the Movement History Initiative and also stewards the SNCC Digital Gateway.
Under the terms of the MOU, Duke Libraries is committed to maintaining the site as a free source of Freedom Movement materials and information that is open to all with no paywall, commercial advertising, login requirements or subscription to continue documenting the Civil Rights Movement from /up-from-the-bottom/ and /inside-out/ perspectives and viewpoints.
The Behind the Veil collection has immense research value for historians and lay researchers who want to know about the lived experience of African Americans during the period of Jim Crow segregation. This collection of rich, personal narratives adds nuance to the long freedom struggle by broadening the localized perspectives from varying cities offering insight into Black communities beyond normative civil rights narratives. That allows listeners to gather a new perspective of the movement and leaders.
As the processing intern, I have had the pleasure of going through the Behind the Veil photograph, A/V, and administrative project files. Simply going through the records of each interview offers insight into the person’s life and the effects of Jim Crow. I noticed that although the interviews were collected in the 1990s, many interviewees were still fearful of retaliation for speaking about their experiences from the early to mid-twentieth century. The records also show that the narrative of Black life portrayed in textbooks and movies as subservient and second-class citizens are not necessarily actual lived experiences. Many of the interviewees were well-educated, owned businesses, and community leaders.
Looking at the records of each interview also expands the discourse of different facets of the long struggle for freedom. For example, they capture complex layers of the Great Migration, revealing how passing –Black people who assimilated into whiteness –affected the nuclear family. Additionally, the records expand our knowledge on Black Wall Streets’ throughout the United States and highlight the dilemma of integration v. desegregation v. equalization. Perhaps most importantly, Behind the Veil exudes the need for a localized approach to history and how everyday people make a change, and why the project in its entirety should be available to the public.
The process of collecting oral histories is not an easy task. Still, as a historian, I get the pleasure of using my sneak peek to draw new connections for my research while thinking of the new connections future scholars will uncover.
Submitted by Caitlin Margaret Kelly, Curator, Archive of Documentary Arts
The Archive of Documentary Arts is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 Collection Awards. We will be adding four projects related to environmental (in)justice to the Archive, including three photographic portfolios and one video.
Alphabetically the awardees are:
Crystal Z. Campbell, A Meditation on Nature in the Absence of an Eclipse, 2020, Digital Video
A Meditation on Nature in the Absence of an Eclipse is a poetic glimpse of how centuries of extraction, racism, pollution, and commoditizing nature has altered our relationship to sacred land and resources. How has nature been historically shaped and imaged for pleasure, status, and control by many hands of invisible labor? Constellated and intersectional histories and source material include testimony from a Water Protector at Standing Rock protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, contaminated water in Flint Michigan, original footage of Hierve el Agua near Oaxaca, Mexico revered for its healing properties, archival images of gardens and hands of artists who resided in Tulsa, Oklahoma and children brushing their teeth––a reflection of the innocuous ways which contaminated water and resources shapes the lives of individuals completing banal, daily, routine tasks.
Critical to the film is the intentional use of unlicensed footage, bearing a brand across the center that detracts from what’s happening in the actual footage, and becomes a viewfinder for how that footage is read or deemed important enough to view because there is a branded stamp of approval. Historically, the watermark is used to connote ownership and authenticity. The film is a consideration of how documentary practice can be another form of resource extraction, of which this filmmaker is implicated. Licensing fees are an example of the barriers to access, ultimately deciding who will control critical narratives of environmental racism and discourse. Originally commissioned by Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center, the work was made in 2017 and reedited in 2020.
Crystal Z Campbell (they/them) is currently a 2021–22 UB Center for Diversity Innovation Distinguished Visiting Scholar, multidisciplinary artist, experimental filmmaker, and writer of Black, Filipinx, and Chinese descents. A 2021 Guggenheim Fellow in Fine Arts, Campbell finds complexity in public secrets—fragments of information known by many but undertold or unspoken. Using archival material, recent works revisit counternarratives of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, questions of immortality and medical ethics with Henrietta Lacks’ “immortal” cell line, ponder the role of a political monument and displacement in a Swedish coastal landscape, and salvage a 35mm film from a demolished Black activist theater in Brooklyn as a relic of gentrification.
Their work in film/video, performance, installation, sound, painting, and text, has been exhibited and screened at The Drawing Center, MOMA, Nest, ICA-Philadelphia, Bemis, Studio Museum of Harlem, SculptureCenter, and SFMOMA. Honors and awards include a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship, with Pollock-Krasner Award, MAP Fund, MacDowell, Skowhegan, Rijksakademie, Whitney ISP, Franklin Furnace, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, UNDO Fellowship, and Flaherty Film Seminar. Campbell’s writing has been featured in World Literature Today, Monday Journal, GARAGE, and Hyperallergic. Campbell, a former Harvard Radcliffe Film Study Center & David & Roberta Logie Fellow, was recently named a Creative Capital Awardee, and is founder of the virtual programming platform archiveacts.com. Campbell lives and works in New York and Oklahoma.
Stacy Kranitz, Fulcrum of Malice, 2017, Photographs
Fulcrum of Malice is the story of one community’s fight against the 25 polluting facilities that surround them. For more than fifty years, Alsen, LA has been caught in an environmental discrimination struggle that disproportionately burdens it with environmental hazards unparalleled in nearby white communities. Within a four-mile radius there are 11 petrochemical plants, 3 Superfund sites, 5 hazardous waste pits, 2 city garbage dumps, and 3 privately owned waste facilities surrounding them. Residents first began complaining of breathing problems, spontaneous nose bleeds, and headaches in the late 1970’s. High cancer rates, asthma, birth defects, stillbirths, and miscarriages continue to plague the community to this day. Many of the historic African American neighborhoods along the 140-mile Cancer Alley petrochemical corridor were developed after the Civil War when the government established small land grants for former slaves working on sugar cane plantations along the Mississippi River.
Alsen was established in 1872 as a small agrarian community on the outskirts of Baton Rouge. The environmental threats first began in the early 1900s when Louisiana politicians enticed large petroleum companies to the region with lenient environmental policies. In the 1950s, the government voted to rezone the farmland around Alsen from agriculture to industry. The rezoning faced little opposition since there were very few registered voters in Alsen at the time and no elected officials of color in the parish. The petrochemical industry became the backbone of the state’s economy and government officials were eager to bring in more companies. They did this by relaxing industrial zoning regulations near low-income Black communities along the Mississippi river. This method has been used to justify and grow petrochemical corridors around the world. This work is a testament to what has happened. Even if the government and industry continue to refuse to address this problem, the community itself deserve a visual record of the damage that details those responsible for it. This work is for them. And this work is for the rest of us because it is time, we all take responsibility and collectively acknowledge our complicit role in this pattern of systemic racism. The portfolio will be accompanied by a book containing the complete series of images and an investigative narrative detailing the histories of the 25 polluting facilities surrounding the community of Alsen.
Stacy Kranitz’s work explores representation and otherness within the documentary tradition. Her work focuses on the complex relationship between land and people. Kranitz was born in Kentucky and currently lives in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Tennessee. She has received funding support from the Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography, Southern Documentary Fund, Magnum Foundation and the National Geographic Society. In 2019 her work was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Discovery Award. She has presented solo exhibitions of her photographs at the Diffusion Festival of Photography in Cardiff, Wales and the Rencontres d’Arles in Arles, France. Her work has been written about in the Columbia Journalism Review, British Journal of Photography, Journal of Appalachian Studies, Time, The Guardian, Liberation, and the Royal Photographic Society Journal. Her photographs are included in permanent collections at the Harvard Art Museums and the Museum of Fine Art, Houston. She works on assignment as a photographer for publications including Time, Vanity Fair, The New York Times and National Geographic. For the past twelve years, she has been working on a project called As it was Give() to Me. A monograph of this work will be published by Twin Palms in 2022.
Emilio Nasser, La Cornuda de Tlacotalpan, 2016, Photographs
“Times have changed and the story of La Cornuda de Tlacotalpan has been disappearing. People say that when you don’t believe in something, it ceases to exist”
This project re-imagines the story of La Cornuda de Tlacotalpan in the face of its possible disappearance through collaboration with the community of Tlacotalpan, Mexico. La Cornuda is the mysterious being who lives in the depths of the Papaloapan River in Veracruz Mexico, who appears to disappear, frightens, scares away and explains the unexplained.
Through a collective, playful and participatory re-construction, La Cornuda is reinvented. In its attempt to survive the forgetfulness of modern times, it makes a decision that requires courage. Leaving the river, crossing the threshold of the shore, transforming itself, and entering into Tlacotalpan. While La Cornuda walks around invisible to the eyes of the community, the photographic lens reveals its new life.
La Cornuda de Tlacotalpan documentary project is part of an ongoing series called Memory is a Swamp (2016-ongoing), focused on myths, urban legends, local stories and oral histories that adopt, retell and re-interpret these narratives in a changing contemporary world, opening a space for experimental visions, re-framings and collaborative working contexts.
Through photographic practice, video, drawing and diverse collaborative strategies, Emilio Nasser’s projects have been attempted to navigate the infinite and multiple possibilities in visual narratives. Embarking on different paths, his works are based on and with local histories, re-visited myths, oral memories, identities, belonging, imagination, community, and some other things that are still complicated to explain with words on a conscious level. Graduated in Photography at Spilimbergo School of Applied Arts in Argentina. Then, at the outbreak of the 2001 socio-economic crisis, he became a cook. While living between Latin America and Europe, he has engaged in multiple educational experiences; such as Criticae-Max Pinkers, Folio Phmuseum, Laura El-Tantawy-Sybren Kuiper, Experimental’s Photobook-Julián Barón, 20Fotógrafos, Estudio Marcos López, Rodrigo Fierro-Gabriel Orge, among others. Currently in ISSP Masterclass-Rhizoma: Political Constellations with Lisa Barnard. Exhibited at spaces like Phmuseum Days (IT), Verzasca Foto Festival (CH), Emergentes International Photography Award-Encontros da Imagen (PT), Valongo Festival Da Imagen (BR), Yet-Magazine (CH), PHEspaña (ES), SCAN PhotoBooks (ES), Ojo de Pez (ES). Twice awarded grants by the Fondo Nacional del Arte (AR).
Lawrence Sumulong , “No Longer Can I Stay; It’s True.” The Marshallese in Springdale, Arkansas, 2016, Photographs
No longer can I stay; it’s true. No longer can I live in peace and harmony.
No longer can I rest on my sleeping mat and pillow
Because of my island and the life I once knew there. The thought is overwhelming
Rendering me helpless and in great despair. My spirit leaves, drifting around and far away
Where it becomes caught in a current of immense power –
And only then do I find tranquility
-The Bikinian Anthem (1946) by Lore Kessibuki (1914-1994)
In 2016, I looked at daily life in Springdale, Arkansas, where the largest community of Marshallese in the United States currently resides. Specifically, I focused on the traumatic history of the Bikinians, a community of about 5,000+ Pacific Islanders, whose homeland in the Bikini Atoll remains radioactive and uninhabited due to years of deadly US nuclear testing.
The Bikinians have lived in exile on the islands of Kili and Ejit in the Marshall Islands for 76 years. Currently, there are only a few remaining Bikinians out of the original 167 who were asked to leave their homeland in 1946 by the US military.
The relatively recent emigration to the United States entails yet another significant move away from their ancestral homeland. Their migration was motivated by the ability to live, work, and study in the United States according to the Compact of Free Association. However, as a new immigrant and historically exploited community, the Marshallese American livelihood remains entwined with blue collar work in the poultry industry of Northwest Arkansas.
Pre and post covid-19 pandemic, the successes and struggles of both the Bikinian and general Marshallese population offer a complicated look into what it means to be a part of American society. I wanted to learn from an adjacent and related ethnic experience, to foster empathy across cultures, and understand who we are as Americans in this new administration and era. To that end, I saw the use of printing on banana fibre paper to be a visual way of connecting my own heritage with the Marshallese experience in that it is a crop endemic to both the Marshall Islands and the Philippines.
I am a Filipino American photographer based in Brooklyn, New York City. I also run a commercial studio with my wife, Sarah, and our two Siamese-Maine Coon cats, Miko and Oliver. My personal work looks for ever-shifting approaches to documentary storytelling and imagery as a means of both questioning my own point of view as well as depicting reality. My perspective reflects how particular historical moments alter, disrupt, and shape one’s society and sense of self. Despite the United States existing as both my place of residence and birthplace, my work for over a decade had focused exclusively on my relationship to the Philippines. Most recently, I’ve been documenting emerging Asian American and Pacific Islander communities at a time where it feels absolutely necessary to depict the nuances within the panoply of AAPI experiences and histories, while also thinking about intersections.
Join the Rubenstein Library as we open our collections for “I Got a Story to Tell: Black Voices in Print.”
Visitors will be able to browse special selections from our collections, chat with Rubenstein Library staff, and explore Black primary source materials. From rare first editions by Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass to published works exploring Black life in Durham to publications by Black students at Duke, the event will give attendees a hands-on experience with the richness of Black print culture!
This event is open to the public. Please register for a free timed-entry pass for attendance, but visitors are welcome to stay for the duration of the event. Space is limited so reserve yours today.
Date: Monday, April 4, 2022 Time: 11am-2pm Location: Gothic Reading Room, Rubenstein Library, West Campus Contact: John Gartrell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Post contributed by John B. Gartrell, Director, John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History & Culture
The 2021-2022 academic year marks the 25th anniversary of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History & Culture. The Franklin Research Center, which is based in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, will use the theme “Black Lives in Archives” as the thread for a slate of programming and projects that will build upon the center’s mission of advancing scholarship on the history and culture of people of African descent.
The anniversary will begin on September 14 with a virtual lecture by Dr. Emilie Boone, Assistant Professor of African American Studies at New York City College of Technology, CUNY. Her talk will respond to the exhibition James Van Der Zee and Michael Francis Blake: Picturing Blackness in the 1920s, currently on display in the Rubenstein Library’s Photography Gallery. The exhibit highlights resonances between the work of James Van Der Zee and Michael Francis Blake, two African American photographers working in the 1920s at the height of the “New Negro Movement.” Register for this event here.
Additional programs this semester will include a Black Lives in Archives virtual speaker series featuring four scholars who were previously awarded research travel grants to come to the Rubenstein Library and utilize the center’s collections. This “return to the archive” by each scholar will highlight the critical importance of Black collections as a foundation for new directions in the field of African and African American Studies. The tentative schedule includes:
September 22 – Brandon K. Winford, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee Knoxville
October 27 – Lisa Bratton, Assistant Professor, Tuskegee University
November 9 – Erik S. McDuffie, Associate Professor, University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign
December 8 – Emilye Crosby, Professor of History, SUNY-Geneseo
Earlier this summer, the center announced two exciting projects that will continue to drive the work of preserving the Black archives. “Documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South: Digital Access to the Behind the Veil Project Archive” is a National Endowment for the Humanities grant-funded initiative to digitize and publish the Behind the Veil archive. The Behind the Veil project, which was led by the Center for Documentary Studies 1992-1995, was one of the largest oral history archives documenting the African American experience of living in the American South during the early to mid-twentieth century. The project will digitize analog cassette tapes containing close to 1,200 interviews with African American elders from twenty distinct communities. In Spring 2022, there will be a virtual gathering of Behind the Veil project staff and interviewers to reflect on their work and the impact of the collection.
The second project is a three-year Mellon Foundation funded project entitled, “Our Stories, Our Terms: Documenting Movement Building from the Inside Out,” which extends the partnership between Duke University Libraries and the SNCC Legacy Project through the Movement History Initiative. Our Stories, Our Terms will document how movement veterans from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and today’s activists built their social and political movements. The project will also build capacity for archival practice among current activist organizations and share documentary pieces from inter- and intra-generational conversations among activist and organizer communities.
In 1995, Dr. John Hope Franklin, the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University, donated his own personal archive to Duke. In his honor, the Duke University Libraries founded the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American Documentation as a designated collecting area specializing in rare book and primary sources documenting people of African descent, with endowment funding from GlaxoWellcome Inc. Franklin’s archive and his scholarship have been the guiding lights of the center’s engagement in public programming, teaching, exhibitions, and collaborations. This celebration of “Black Lives in Archives” will honor the center’s role as a premiere destination for researchers near and far over the last twenty-five years.
This post was contributed by John B. Gartrell, Director, John Hope Franklin Research Center
The Franklin Research Center and Rubenstein Library mourns the loss of Robert “Bob” Parrish Moses, who passed away on July 25, 2021. Moses was giant in the fight for civil and human rights, who began working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as an organizer soon after the organization’s founding in 1960. He worked in tirelessly on a range of issues including voter registration and community organizing in the Deep South, particularly Mississippi, Alabama, and Southwest Georgia. He would later found the Algebra Project in the 1980s, which was evolution of his work with SNCC, using mathematics as an organizing tool while seeking to expand access to a quality education in the United States.
You can use the following resources in our archives and supporting projects like the SNCC Digital Gateway to learn more about Moses’ life and experiences in the struggle for freedom –