Category Archives: Human Rights Archive

Research for Human Rights

A continuing goal of the Archive for Human Rights at the RBMSCL is to explore how archives can help sustain and nurture human rights and social justice. Over the past few months, we have had the exciting opportunity to provide our knowledge and services to the staff of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation (CDPL), a Durham, NC-based non-profit that provides post-conviction legal representation to indigent defendants accused or convicted of capital crimes in the state of North Carolina.

On August 11, 2009, Governor Bev Purdue signed into law the North Carolina Racial Justice Act, which will allow defendants facing the death penalty to present evidence of racial bias, including statistics, in court. Since the act was signed into law, CDPL lawyers have been working with the CDPL case files archived here at the RBMSCL to uncover evidence of such bias. CDPL staff easily accessed the well-arranged collection through its online finding aid to determine which boxes and files contained relevant material. They then worked with RBMSCL staff to call boxes for review in our research room and to take advantage of our duplication services.

In addition to research for the Racial Justice Act, CDPL and ACLU lawyers have been reviewing case files in our reading room to research how broader discovery and prosecutorial issues may impact future death penalty cases. We hope our services will continue to aid their efforts.

Post contributed by Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist.

Rights! Camera! Action!: Brother Towns

Date: Monday, 1 November 2010
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Carolina Theatre
Contact Information: Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu, or Kirston Johnson, 919-681-7963 or kirston.johnson(at)duke.edu

Brother Towns / Pueblos Hermanos (59 min.) is a story of two towns linked by immigration, family, and work: Jacaltenango, Guatemala, a highland Maya town, and Jupiter, Florida, a coastal resort town where many Jacaltecos have settled. The docunmentary film chronicles how and why people migrate across borders, how people make and remake their communities when they travel thousands of miles from home, and how people maintain families despite their travel. To learn more, visit the film’s website.

This screening is part of the Latin American Film Festival sponsored by the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University, the Center for Documentary Studies, and the Carolina Theater and will be followed by a panel discussion (panelists TBD).

The Rights! Camera! Action! film series, which is sponsored by the Archive for Human Rights, the Archive of Documentary Arts, the Duke Human Rights Center, the Franklin Humanities Institute, and Screen/Society at Duke’s Arts of the Moving Image Program, features documentaries on human rights themes that were award winners at the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The films are archived at the RBMSCL, where they form part of a rich and expanding collection of human rights materials.

Rights! Camera! Action!: After Innocence

Date: Thursday, 23 September 2010
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu, or Kirston Johnson, 919-681-7963 or kirston.johnson(at)duke.edu

The Rights! Camera! Action! film series begins its fall season with this screening of After Innocence, the compelling story of seven men wrongfully imprisoned for decades and finally exonerated after DNA evidence proved their innocence. The men—including a police officer, an army sergeant, and a young father—are thrust back into society with little or no support from the system that put them behind bars. After Innocence shows that the human toll of wrongful imprisonment can last far longer than the sentences served.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring recently-exonerated Shawn Massey and Theresa Newman, co-chair of Duke School of Law’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic.

The Rights! Camera! Action! film series, which is sponsored by the Archive for Human Rights, the Archive of Documentary Arts, the Duke Human Rights Center, the Franklin Humanities Institute, and Screen/Society at Duke’s Arts of the Moving Image Program, features documentaries on human rights themes that were award winners at the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The films are archived at the RBMSCL, where they form part of a rich and expanding collection of human rights materials.

Hostage Nation Receives WOLA-Duke Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America

Hostage Nation: Colombia’s Guerrilla Army and the Failed War on Drugs, written by Victoria Bruce, Karin Hayes and Jorge Enrique Botero, has won the third annual WOLA-Duke Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America.

The book, published last month by Alfred A. Knopf, is the story of three American contractors and Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt held hostage by the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) for over five years before their rescue in 2008. The book draws on Botero’s exclusive interviews with the American contractors, as well as extensive research on the FARC and the Colombian drug trade, to illustrate the impact of Colombia’s war and the U.S. war on drugs in Colombia.

The Washington Office on Latin America and Duke University created the prize to honor the best current, non-fiction book published in English on human rights, democracy and social justice in contemporary Latin America.The WOLA-Duke Book Award aims to draw the general public’s attention to good writing on contemporary Latin America. Francisco Goldman won the first award in 2008 for his book, The Art of Political Murder. Heraldo Muñoz’s The Dictator’s Shadow was last year’s winner.

Later this fall, the authors will visit the Duke University Libraries for an event co-sponsored by the Archive for Human Rights at the RBMSCL and the Duke Human Rights Center. We’ll have all the event details as they are announced here at The Devil’s Tale!

To read the entire press release from the Washington Office on Latin America, click here.

Rights! Camera! Action!: Trouble the Water

Date: Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Sarah P. Duke Gardens (map and directions)
Contact Information: Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu, or Kirston Johnson, 919-681-7963 or kirston.johnson(at)duke.edu

As Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans, 9th Ward resident Kimberly Rivers Roberts, an aspiring rap artist, and her husband Scott, used their Hi 8 camera to film their experience of the storm, from the trepidation of the day before the storm’s landfall to the failing of the levees. Trouble the Water weaves this home movie footage with archival news segments and verite footage shot over the next two years to tell the story of a community struggling to rebuild itself.

The film screening will be preceded by a panel discussion with Wahneema Lubiano and Mark Anthony Neal, both of Duke’s Department of African and African American Studies.

The Rights! Camera! Action! film series, which is sponsored by the Archive for Human Rights, the Archive of Documentary Arts, the Duke Human Rights Center, the Franklin Humanities Institute, and Screen/Society at Duke’s Arts of the Moving Image Program, features documentaries on human rights themes that were award winners at the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The films are archived at the RBMSCL, where they form part of a rich and expanding collection of human rights materials.

Patricia Derian Papers Coming to Duke

The Archive for Human Rights has signed an agreement with Patricia Murphy Derian to serve as the repository for her papers, which document her long career in human rights.

Patt, as she is known to friends and family, was involved in the civil rights struggles in Mississippi prior to being tapped by President Jimmy Carter to head the newly-minted Bureau for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. In 1977, she became the nation’s very first assistant secretary for human rights.

Her papers consist of country files, general files, correspondence, and a collection of audio and video interviews. Processing of the collection will begin immediately and should be complete by summer of 2010. If you’d like to arrange a visit to view the collection, or if you have any questions, please e-mail us at special-collections(at)duke.edu.

Post contributed by Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist.

Solidarity with Incarcerated Women

Date: Monday, March 29, 2010
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Duke Women’s Center (map and directions)
Contact Information: Kelly Wooten, 919-660-5967 or kelly.wooten(at)duke.edu

When we think of prisoners, we generally think of men. Yet according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 114,000 women are currently incarcerated in the United States.

In Monday’s discussion, Victoria Law, author of the newly-released Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women and publisher of Tenacious: Art and Writings from Women in Prison, will examine the particular challenges facing incarcerated women and discuss their past and present strategies of resistance.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Duke graduate student and member of the organizing committee for Durham’s Harm Free Zone, will talk about the Harm Free Zone process and facilitate interactive writing exercises based on some of the writings in Tenacious.

This event is co-sponsored by Duke’s Women’s Center, the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, and the Archive for Human Rights.

Rights! Camera! Action!: The Self-Made Man

Date: Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu, or Kirston Johnson, 919-681-7963 or kirston.johnson(at)duke.edu

The Self-Made Man, the fifth film in the Rights! Camera! Action! series, Bob Stern decides to end his life after being diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness.

Susan Stern, the film’s director (and Bob’s daughter), will lead discussion following the film.

The Rights! Camera! Action! film series, which is sponsored by the Archive for Human Rights, the Archive of Documentary Arts, the Duke Human Rights Center, the Franklin Humanities Institute, and Screen/Society at Duke’s Arts of the Moving Image Program, features documentaries on human rights themes that were award winners at the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The films are archived at the RBMSCL, where they form part of a rich and expanding collection of human rights materials. Additional support for this screening is provided by the Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Divinity School Institute on Care at the End of Life.

Rights! Camera! Action!: Escuela

Date: Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu, or Kirston Johnson, 919-681-7963 or kirston.johnson(at)duke.edu

Courtesy of Women Make Movies


Rights! Camera! Action! is starting off the spring semester with a screening of Hannah Weyer’s 2002 documentary, Escuela. This film centers on Liliana Luis, the daughter of Mexican American farm workers, as she begins her first year of high school.

The Rights! Camera! Action! film series, which is sponsored by the Archive for Human Rights, the Archive of Documentary Arts, the Duke Human Rights Center, and the Franklin Humanities Institute, features documentaries on human rights themes that were award winners at the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The films are archived at the RBMSCL, where they form part of a rich and expanding collection of human rights materials.

Rights! Camera! Action!: No Umbrella and Please Vote for Me

Date: Tuesday, 3 November, 2009
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu, or Kirston Johnson, 919-681-7963 or kirston.johnson(at)duke.edu

Celebrate Election Day at the second installment of Rights! Camera! Action! This monthly film series, which is sponsored by the Archive for Human Rights, the Archive of Documentary Arts, the Duke Human Rights Center, and the Franklin Humanities Institute, features documentaries on human rights themes that were award winners at the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The films are archived at the RBMSCL, where they form part of a rich and expanding collection of human rights materials.

No Umbrella (26 minutes) shows Fannie Lewis in action on November 2, 2004 as she struggles to manage a polling station in a predominantly African American precinct in Cleveland, Ohio. Facing record numbers at the polls, Ms. Lewis spends her day on a cell phone begging for the machines and the technical support Ward 7 needs to handle the throngs of frustrated voters. This documentary won the Jury Award for Best Short at the 2006 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Please Vote for Me (58 minutes) is a portrait of a society and a town in through a school, its children and its families. In Wuhan, China, a 3rd grade class at Evergreen Primary School has their first encounter with democracy by holding an election to select a Class Monitor. Eight-year-olds compete against each other for the coveted position, abetted and egged on by teachers and doting parents.

Kerry L. Haynie of Duke’s Department of Political Science and Ralph Litzinger of Duke’s Department of Cultural Anthropology will lead discussion following the films.