Saturday, March 31, 2012

Alternative Voices: Black Media and the Communities They Serve

Alternative voices: New university archives exhibit showcases recent finding of African-American newspapers, magazines

MANHATTAN -- African-American media have a rich history in the U.S. with specific coverage and a large readership. While the number of such media sources has declined considerably over the years, a recent discovery and an upcoming exhibit at Kansas State University will help demonstrate the important role played by African-American media.

The exhibit, "Alternative Voices: Black Media and the Communities They Serve," will launch with a panel discussion and formal event at 11 a.m. Friday, April 13, on the fifth floor of the university's Hale Library. The Dow Chemical Multicultural Resource Center in the library will host the event, which runs until 1 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The exhibit, in the department of special collections' reading room, runs through the end of the spring semester.

The exhibit is possible because of a recent discovery of African-American media materials collected by Robert Bontrager, a former interim head and faculty member of the department of journalism and mass communications, now the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Bontrager collected materials from around the U.S. throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. The material was often used in his course, The Black Press, which focused on African-American newspapers. Publications ranging from Essence to the Kansas City Call, an African-American weekly that has been published since 1919, are represented in the collection.

Kansas State University Logo

The materials were donated to the university archives, part of the Richard L.D. and Marjorie J. Morse department of special collections, in Hale Library.

"Cliff Hight, university archivist, called the collection a treasure trove," said Kimetris Baltrip, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications. "The challenges that face media that are dedicated to alternative voices make their survival more uncertain than that of traditional media. It is likely that much of the collection features media no longer in publication. It is always wonderful to have material evidence of the past."

With such a wide range of materials represented in the collection, the exhibit will feature a small selection of the publications. All materials from Bontrager's collection are currently available for researchers through the university archives.

Guest speaker for the panel discussion will be Lewis Diuguid, a columnist and editorial board member of the Kansas City Star. He has worked at the Star for more than 35 years and is a passionate voice in the Midwest for African-Americans, Baltrip said.

"Whether he is discussing education, politics or media, he is one of the most recognized black journalists in the Midwest region of the country," she said.

Also participating in the panel will be Melia Fritch, multicultural literacy librarian at Hale Library, and Cheryl Ragar, assistant professor of American ethnic studies. Fritch oversees the Dow Chemical Multicultural Resource Center. Ragar frequently conducts research into the African-American press.

Following the exhibit, the materials will remain with the university archives for future generations to research and examine. Baltrip calls Bontrager a forward thinker for assembling the collection.

"Because of his research and scholarly interests, he has enriched the historical collection of the university and reminded all of us of the importance of understanding and celebrating diversity in the media," Baltrip said. "I hope K-Staters will come out and support this historic find and learn about the role and contributions of African-American media and why Bontrager's collection is such a gift to the university."

Source: Kimetris Baltrip, 785-532-3596, News tip: Kansas City, Mo. News release prepared by: Tyler Sharp, 785-532-2535,

News and Editorial Services. Kansas State University 128 Dole Hall Manhattan, KS 66506 785-532-2535, 785-532-7355 fax,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stephanie Batiste Darkening Mirrors –– Imperial Representation in Depression-Era African American Performance

Stephanie Batiste Darkening Mirrors –– Imperial Representation in Depression-Era African American Performance.

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– As an undergraduate at Princeton University, Stephanie Batiste saw a photograph of seven African American performers dressed in leaf costumes for a 1930's production of "Macbeth." She wondered how it could be that "these black men were dressed up like savages in a black show." That image became the genesis of her doctoral dissertation, and now serves as the cover art for her new book, "Darkening Mirrors –– Imperial Representation in Depression-Era African American Performance" (Duke University Press, 2011).

In her book, Batiste, an associate professor of English and of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara, examines ways in which African Americans imagined themselves as empowered, modern United States citizens and transnational actors in Depression-era plays, operas, ballets, and films. "That image had me asking in a lot of different ways how these people who were treated as second-class citizens could participate in what are essentially racist, nationalist, global imperialist cultural formations," she explained.

As Batiste describes it, the book is about the promises and failures of American national identity, and the cultural gestures through which that identity is sustained. "Imperialism is about nationhood and power, not only about race," she said. "I don't cast African Americans as perpetrators as racism, it is just one way of framing the question. Instead, they emerge as people who operate fully as Americans in their use of U.S. symbols meaning."

Stephanie Batiste

Stephanie Batiste. Credit:Lluvia Higuera

Darkening Mirrors Book Cover
In studying early 20th-century African American film and theater, Batiste takes historical as well as cultural perspectives. Focusing on the period between World War I and World War II –– and, more specifically, on the Depression –– she studies film and theater productions as manifestations of ideologies, desires, and beliefs that African Americans held during this period.

"That era was so important to me because, in a way, all bets were off," Batiste explained. "We didn't know what direction we were going in politically, no one was making money, huge segments of the population were out of work, labor was being reconfigured, and people's relationship to space was being reconfigured. Then we had the government sponsoring the Works Project Administration, which paid people to make art."

The book brings attention to the Harlem Renaissance, the literary and intellectual movement that spanned the 1920's and 1930's and fostered a new black cultural identity. "I'm finding it the case that students don't know about the Harlem Renaissance," Batiste said. "Students make this jump between slavery and the civil rights movement, but African American history between those two watershed periods has been sort of forgotten."

In her exploration of what she describes as "African Americans' investment in and resistance to American imperial and expansionist projects through stage and screen performance," Batiste has organized the book into six chapters, each focusing on a different imperialist discourse. She begins with the American West and a study of how African Americans were using the discourse of the frontier to articulate their own American national identity. She then focuses on primitivism and exoticism, examining how African Americans represented West Indians, particularly Jamaicans and Haitians.

Batiste presents a chapter on orientalism, which studies "The Swing Mikado," a version of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera put to swing music and performed by African Americans in yellow face. "The argument I make is that this is a conduit through which the United States appropriates a British imperial past and activates its own imperial present and future in the Pacific," she said.

From there, she takes a look at ethnographic anthropology as one of the foundational imperialist discourses from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During that period, African Americans made strides in anthropology, she noted, including formal training with notables in the field such as Franz Boaz, whom scholars have referred to as the father of modern anthropology.

Finally, she examines the film "Stormy Weather," and discusses how the various resistant and imperial operations of black culture were appropriated by a dominant discourse to reclaim black people as citizens.

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TEXT and IMAGE: University of California CONTACT: Andrea Estrada 805-893-4620 George Foulsham 805-893-3071. FEATURED RESEARCHERS Stephanie Batiste 805-893-5666

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Two-time Tony Award Winning Choreographer Bill T. Jones to present the annual Toni Morrison lectures at Princeton University

Two-time Tony Award Winning Choreographer Bill T. Jones to present the annual Toni Morrison lectures at Princeton University.

Bill T. Jones, Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Executive Artistic Director of New York Live Arts, will deliver a three part series for the annual Toni Morrison Lectures entitled “The Life Of An Idea: Investigating Belonging, Appropriating And Adapting In The Context Of Time” at 8:00 p.m. on April 17, 19, and 24, 2012 at Princeton University. Sponsored jointly by the Center for African American Studies and Princeton University Press, the lecture series is free and open to the public. Tickets are required for admission and can be ordered from the University Ticketing Office by calling (609)258-9220.

[Media who would like to attend the lectures should RSVP to Jennifer Loessy at the Center for African American Studies no later than April 16 at 5:00 p.m. for the April 17 lecture; April 18 at 5:00pm for the April 19 lecture; and April 23 at 5:00 p.m. for the April 24 lecture by emailing or calling (609) 258-3216.]

The first lecture entitled “Past Time” will take place on April 17, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. Jones will address creative practice and history through the lens of dance and body-based art making. Questions of identity, aesthetic value, and criticism will also be explored.

On April 19, Jones will read a selection of sixty original stories, each one minute long, from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s newest work, Story/Time (2012). The performance lecture will be held in McCosh Hall, Room 10 at 8:00 p.m. Story/Time composer and musician Ted Coffey (MFA, PhD Princeton University) will accompany, and Story/Time set designer and Creative Director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Bjorn G. Amelan, will also participate by creating a drawing in real-time as part of the performance-lecture.

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones
The final lecture entitled “With Time” will take place on April 21, at 8:00 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. Jones will discuss how his thinking about art making has evolved over time while addressing the constant fight for relevance, inspiration, and the tenacity needed to sustain a creative life.

“We are delighted to have Bill T. Jones deliver the Toni Morrison lectures,” said Eddie Glaude, Chair of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University. “Jones is one of the finest choreographers and dancers of our time. We are looking forward to an amazing journey that only he can direct.”

Jones is a multi-talented artist, choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer whose major honors include a 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2010. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2009 and named “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure” by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2000.

His ventures into Broadway theater resulted in a 2010 Tony Award for Best Choreography in the critically acclaimed FELA!, the musical co-conceived, co-written, directed and choreographed by Mr. Jones. He also earned a 2007 Tony Award for Best Choreography in Spring Awakening, as well as an Obie Award for the show’s 2006 off-Broadway run. His choreography for the off-Broadway production of The Seven earned him a 2006 Lucille Lortel Award. In addition to his role as Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Jones serves as Executive Artistic Director of New York Lives Arts, an organization that supports the nation’s dance and movement-based artists through new approaches to producing, presenting and educating.

“I am deeply honored to deliver this year’s Toni Morrison Lectures and it is particularly exciting to share my thoughts about a lifetime in the creative arts and the particular journey represented by Story/Time," said Bill T. Jones. "I hope that in reflecting on my creative process, audiences will be encouraged to further engage and participate in the world of ideas.“

Ted Coffey is a composer of acoustic and electronic chamber music, interactive installations, and songs. A graduate of Princeton University (MFA, PhD), Coffey is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Virginia, where he teaches courses in composition, music technologies, critical theory, and pop.

Coffey’s electroacoustic composition has been featured at ICMC (2004, 2005, 2006), SEAMUS (2001, 2009, 2010, 2011), the Spark Festival (2009), the Third Practice Festival (2005, 2008, 2009), and the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (2010), among others. Story/Time is Coffey's first collaboration with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.

Sponsored jointly by the Center for African American Studies and Princeton University Press, the Toni Morrison Lectures will be held annually and spotlight the new and exciting work of scholars and writers who have risen to positions of prominence both in academe and in the broader world of letters.

The lectures presented by Bill T. Jones will be compiled and published in book form by Princeton University Press to celebrate the expansive literary imagination, intellectual adventurousness and political insightfulness that characterize the writing of Toni Morrison.

Additional information about the Toni Morrison lectures and other events can be found on the Center for African American Studies website at:

Posted Mar 22, 2012By Jennifer Loessy, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Media contact: Jennifer Loessy, (609) 258-3216

IMAGE CREDIT: By Russell Jenkins [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Martha Biondi to deliver inaugural lecture for ‘Reflections on African American Studies’ series at Princeton University

** Professor Martha Biondi to deliver inaugural lecture for ‘Reflections on African American Studies’ lecture series at Princeton University **

Martha Biondi, an associate professor of African American studies and history at Northwestern University, will deliver a lecture titled “The Black Revolution on Campus” at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26 in McCormick Hall, Room 106 on the Princeton University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

[Media who would like to attend the lecture should RSVP to Jennifer Loessy at the Center for African American Studies no later than Wednesday, April 25 at 5 p.m. by emailing or calling (609) 258-3216.]

Biondi will address topics from her forthcoming book “The Black Revolution on Campus” in which she describes an extraordinary but forgotten chapter of the black freedom struggle and examines the explosive emergence of black studies from 1967 to 1975, when direct action protest by African American students led to the creation of more than 250 African American studies programs, departments, and institutes. Vividly demonstrating the critical linkage between the student movement and changes in university culture, the book illustrates how victories in establishing black studies ultimately produced important intellectual innovations and had a lasting impact on academic research and university curricula over the past 40 years.

Biondi’s discussion inaugurates the Reflections on African American Studies lecture series at Princeton. This annual lecture offers an opportunity for the Princeton community to reflect on the current and future direction of the field of African American studies. Its aim is to bring scholars to campus who are thinking at the cutting edge of the discipline and who are taking up vexing questions about its past, current and future trajectories. The lecture exemplifies the role of the center as a model for African American studies for the 21st century.

Professor Martha Biondi

Professor Martha Biondi
“Biondi is a wonderful inaugural speaker for our new lecture series,” said Professor Eddie Glaude, chair of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton. “The work Biondi has done is critical to advancing the dialogue surrounding the direction of African American studies programs and their importance in the modern context.”

Biondi received her B.A. from Barnard College and her Ph.D. from Columbia University. Her research interests include 20th-century African American history with a focus on social movements.

Biondi’s previous book “To Stand and Fight: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City” (Harvard University Press, 2003) demonstrates how black New Yorkers launched the modern civil rights a full 10 years before the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in the South. The book won the 2004 Myers Outstanding Book Award and the 2003 Thomas J. Wilson Prize.

The event is sponsored by the Center for African American Studies at Princeton. Launched in 2006, the center expands upon the initiatives begun by the Program in African American Studies. Since its founding in 1969, the program has offered an interdisciplinary certificate that has allowed students to draw on the insights and techniques of various disciplines in an effort to understand the experience, history and culture of African-descended people. The center builds upon that earlier vision and extends its reach broadly across the campus and throughout the curriculum.

Additional information about the Reflections on African American Studies lecture series and other events can be found on the Center for African American Studies website at:

Posted Mar 22, 2012By Jennifer Loessy, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media contact: Jennifer Loessy, (609) 258-3216,


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Leading the Way - Loyola and the Desegregation of New Orleans

While much of the South was resisting desegregation in the mid-20th century, Loyola University New Orleans students and faculty actively advocated for social reform and civil rights, making the university a model for other New Orleans institutions, as well as city government.

As a part of Loyola’s Centennial Celebration, the university presents “Leading the Way: Loyola and the Desegregation of New Orleans,” a candid discussion about the role Loyola played in the civil rights movement in New Orleans during the 1950s and 60s on Tuesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, with free parking available in the West Road Garage.

The panel discussion will include Xavier University New Orleans President Norman Francis, J.D. ’55, H’82, who was one of the two African-Americans selected to integrate Loyola’s College of Law and its first black graduate. The panel will also feature former mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu ’52, J.D. ’54, H’79, H’05, who led the fight to desegregate city government and public facilities, and Loyola’s first African-American student body president and former vice president of Dillard University, Edgar L. “Dooky” Chase III ’71, J.D. ’83. The Rev. Bentley Anderson, S.J., Ph.D., associate professor in the African and African-American Studies Department at Fordham University and current member of Loyola’s Board of Trustees, will moderate the discussion. Anderson is also the author of “Black, White, and Catholic: New Orleans Interracialism, 1947-1956.”

Dr. Norman Francis
Dr. Norman Francis
For 100 years, Loyola University New Orleans has helped shape the lives of its students, as well as the history of New Orleans and the world, through educating men and women in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence. The Centennial Lecture Series seeks to explore Loyola’s rich history as being a catalyst of change in social justice and ethics reform in this community and beyond.

For more information, contact Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5448 or

IMAGE CREDIT: University of Louisiana at Lafayette Public Relations and News Services · Martin Hall Room 319 Post Office Box 41009, Lafayette LA 70504-1009, USA. 337/482-6397 · 337/482-5908 (fax) ·

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

From Alabama to Obama: A Critical View of the Civil Rights Movement

Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY … Julian Bond, former NAACP Chairman of the Board and professor of history at the University of Virginia, will present a talk at Hofstra University titled “From Alabama to Obama: A Critical View of the Civil Rights Movement.” This will take place on Thursday, March 29, 2012, 7 p.m., at the Guthart Cultural Center Theater, first floor, Axinn Library, South Campus.

The talk is presented by the Hofstra chapter of NAACP, the Pride Network and Hofstra’s Debate 2012 programming. Additional sponsors include the Hofstra Cultural Center and the Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information email or call the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669.

About Julian Bond:

From his college days as a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to his role as former Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Julian Bond has been an active participant in the movements for civil rights, economic justice, and peace and an aggressive spokesman for the disinherited.

While still a student, Bond was a founder in l960 of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COAHR), the Atlanta University Center student civil rights organization that directed three years of non-violent anti-segregation protests that won integration of Atlanta's movie theaters, lunch counters, and parks. Bond was arrested for sitting-in at the then-segregated cafeteria at Atlanta City Hall.

Julian Bond
Julian Bond
Elected in 1965 to the Georgia House of Representatives, Bond was prevented from taking his seat by members who objected to his opposition to the Vietnam War. He was re-elected to his own vacant seat and un-seated again, and re-seated only after a third election and a unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court. Bond ultimately served four terms in the Georgia House of Representatives and later six terms in the Georgia Senate. In the Senate, Bond became the first Black Chair of the Fulton County Senate Delegation, the largest and most diverse in the upper house, and was Chairman of the Committee on Consumer Affairs and a member of the Committees on Human Resources, Governmental Operations, and Children and Youth.

In 1968, Bond was Co-Chairman of the Georgia Loyal National Delegation to the Democratic Convention.

The Loyalists, an insurgent group, were successful in unseating the handpicked regulars, and Bond was nominated for Vice-President of the United States, the first Black to be so honored by a major political party. He withdrew his name because he was too young to serve.

Bond was Chairman of the Premier Auto Group (PAG) (Volvo, Land Rover, Aston-Martin, Jaguar) Diversity Council and has served on the Advisory Boards of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Corporation for Maintaining Editorial Diversity in America, the Nicaragua/Honduras Education Project, the Earth Communications Office, the National Federation for Neighborhood Diversity, the Southern Africa Media Center, the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Center for Visionary Thought Advisory Team and on the Advisory Committees of the American Committee on Africa and the Human Rights Defense Fund.

Bond has served as commentator on America's Black Forum, the oldest black-owned show in television syndication and his poetry and articles have appeared in numerous publications. He has narrated numerous documentaries, including the Academy Award-winning A Time for Justice and the prize-winning and critically acclaimed series Eyes on the Prize. He has been a commentator onThe Today Show and was author of a nationally syndicated newspaper column called “Viewpoint,” and was a commentator for radio's "Byline," syndicated to over 200 stations. The widely published author of many books of poetry, Bond is also author of A Time to Speak, A Time to Act, a collection of his essays as well as Black Candidates Southern Campaign Experiences.

Serving from 1998 until 2010 as Chairman of the Board of the NAACP, the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States, Bond worked to educate the public about the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the struggles that African Americans and the poor still endure.

In 2002, he received the prestigious National Freedom Award. He has also been named one of America's top 200 leaders by Time Magazine. In 2008, he was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress.

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Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution of higher education where more than 12,000 full and part-time students choose from undergraduate and graduate offerings in liberal arts and sciences, business, engineering, communication, education, health and human services, honors studies, a School of Law, a School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.

HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY. Hempstead, NY. 11549-1000 (516) 463-6600. Media Contact: Ginny Greenberg University Relations 202 Hofstra Hall Phone: Cultural Center 516-463-5669 Send an E-mail

Monday, March 19, 2012

23rd National African American Read In

Early Childhood Education Majors Participated in African American Read-In in Farrell.

Twenty-one Westminster College early childhood education/special education majors participated in the 23rd National African American Read-In Feb. 15 at Farrell Elementary School.

The students are enrolled in a literacy methods class taught by Dr. Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, Westminster professor of education.

The read-in is sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English to help students value diverse children's authors. Klassen Endrizzi selected books by African American authors that the Westminster pre-service teachers shared with students in grades one-four. Each classroom received a copy of the book that was read, donated through funding from Westminster's Drinko Center for Experiential Learning.

"I think activities such as Read Alouds are beneficial for students to learn how to think outside of their own personal experiences and promote respect for all people," said senior Christine Moudry.

"I imagined myself feeling very out-of-place, but the minute I stepped into Mrs. Long's fourth-grade classroom my preconceived notions were put to rest," said junior Samantha Garrity. "The fact is that children are children, no matter their race, class, or gender."

"I think teachers should make lessons more culturally relevant to their students as well as students from different ethnic backgrounds," said junior Marah Alouise.

23rd National African American Read In

Twenty-one Westminster College early childhood education/special education majors participated in the 23rd National African American Read-In Feb. 15 at Farrell Elementary School

"In order to connect with children, I have to know where they are coming from and be able to see life through their eyes," said junior Hannah Garvey-Staiger.

In addition to current Westminster students, several Westminster alumni participated. Farrell Elementary Title I teachers Nicole Stabile Lombardi and Valerie Morrison worked with Klassen Endrizzi to organize the ongoing collaboration and Japraunika Wright is elementary principal.

"As I reconsider Ralph Waldo Emerson's idea that ‘the secret of education lies in respecting the student,' I keep realizing how some of our pre-service teachers have never worked with children in urban schools," Klassen Endrizzi said. "Considering the increase in English language learners and ethnically diverse students, even in western Pennsylvania, our students need opportunities focused on respecting the unique cultural perspectives of these powerful literacy learners."

Klassen Endrizzi, who has been with Westminster since 1993, earned undergraduate and master's degrees from Fresno Pacific College and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. She is the author of Becoming Teammates: Teachers and Families as Literacy Partners.

Contact Klassen Endrizzi at (724) 946-7189 or email

About Westminster College ... Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Westminster, a top-tier liberal arts college, ranks third in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 6th among liberal arts colleges in social mobility, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 376 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 42 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus.

Monday, March 19, 2012 Visit to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020 +sookie tex

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dr. Clara Small nominated to the Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture

SALISBURY, MD---Dr. Clara Small, professor of history at Salisbury University, has been nominated to a four-year term on the Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture.

Her service begins Sunday, July 1.

“I am honored to have been selected to serve on the Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture for doing what I consider to be a labor of love,” she said. “To preserve the past by researching and teaching history to present and future generations is my passion, and I hope to inspire some of my students to become historians to do the same.”

Also a member of the Maryland Governor’s Commission to Study the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland, Small is well known in the community for her talks on African-American and women’s history, averaging about 90 each year at schools, churches, prisons, halfway houses and civic meetings. Last year, she earned the African-American Tourism Council of Maryland’s prestigious Harriet Ross Tubman Lifetime Achievement Award. She also was honored by the Maryland General Assembly during the 11th annual Harriet Ross Tubman Day of Remembrance in 2011.

Small is the author of an article, “Abolitionists, Free Blacks and Runaway Slaves: Surviving Slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore” in the book A History of African-Americans on Maryland’s and Delaware’s Eastern Shore, and two books: A Reality Check: Brief Biographies of African-Americans on Delmarva and, with the Rev. David Briddell, Men of Color, to Arms! Manumitted Slaves and Free Blacks From the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland Who Served in the Civil War.

Dr. Clara Small

Dr. Clara Small
In addition to her scholarly work, she has held a leadership role in a number of local organizations, including Pemberton Hall Manor, SU’s Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture, and the Thomas E. Polk Sr. chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers. Through a grant from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, she helped promote and sponsor the annual Buffalo Soldiers Summer Youth Workshop to educate area children.

At SU, Small has been a noteworthy professor both in and out of the classroom. She has served as an advisor to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first African-American sorority on campus. She was the long-time advisor for SU’s Union of African-American Students and was a catalyst for establishing a student chapter of the NAACP.

She also organized the Maryland Gamma chapter of the Pi Gamma Mu honor society in the social sciences at SU, serving as its co-advisor since 1982. Nationally, she was named its chancellor of the northeastern region in 1991 and has been re-elected to the post every three years until 2011, when she became national second vice president. In 2005, the international organization honored her with its Faithful Service Award.

Beyond her service to the campus, Small has provided food and comfort to those in need. She coordinated efforts in the Salisbury community to send more than 140 boxes of relief supplies to victims of Hurricane Floyd in her native North Carolina, going beyond local collection to drive three vanloads of food, blankets, clothing and other needed items to the stricken area. She was the first person at SU to organize relief efforts for victims in Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. At the local level, she continues to coordinate the collection of non-perishable goods for the Maryland Food Bank in Salisbury and other agencies.

Small is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the University System of Maryland’s highest faculty honor, the Board of Regents Award for Excellence, and the Community Foundation’s Frank H. Morris Humanitarian Award. She also has earned the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council’s Tee O’Conner Award for outstanding contributions to African-American heritage issues, as well as the Wicomico County Commission for Women’s Community Service Award and the SU Alumni Association’s Faculty Appreciation Award.

Currently, she is working with the National and Maryland park services to help establish the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park near the site of Tubman’s birthplace in Dorchester County, MD.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at Salisbury University · 1101 Camden Ave. · Salisbury, MD 21801 · 410-543-6000 +sookie tex

Thursday, March 15, 2012

African-American women make up a disproportionate number of HIV/AIDS cases in the United States

African-American women make up a disproportionate number of HIV/AIDS cases in the United States. Researchers from North Carolina State University are trying to change that, leading a National Science Foundation project aimed at developing HIV/AIDS prevention materials that resonate with African-American female college students.

African-Americans represent approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for an estimated 44 percent of new HIV infections in 2009. The estimated rate of new HIV infections among African-American women was 15 times that of white women and over three times that of Latina women.

“We want to know how we can improve the language and communication strategies used in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts targeting African-American female college students,” says Dr. Fay Cobb Payton, an associate professor of information systems at NC State and primary investigator (PI) of the project. “Our goal is to help craft messages that will be resonant with these young women,” says Dr. James Kiwanuka-Tondo, an associate professor of communication at NC State and fellow co-PI of the effort.

The National Science Foundation awarded a two-year grant supporting the project, which is being conducted at NC State and Pennsylvania State University.

“Our previous research found a lack of ‘cultural competency’ in online prevention materials,” Kiwanuka-Tondo says. “Meaning the materials were not culturally relevant to the African-American population in general, and women in particular.”

Drs. James Kiwanuka-Tondo and Fay Cobb Payton

Drs. James Kiwanuka-Tondo and Fay Cobb Payton.
The researchers have already begun conducting focus groups in an effort to define guidelines for prevention content and messaging that is culturally relevant to African-American female students.

“These guidelines will help us develop online content targeting this specific audience,” Payton says. The researchers plan to test the newly developed content and messaging with the focus groups at the beginning of the fall semester.

“This is an iterative process,” Payton says, “and we will incorporate feedback from the focus groups to fine tune these communication tools.”

Meanwhile, co-PI Dr. Lynette Kvasny of Penn State will be leading a similar effort on her campus – which should help the research team identify any regional differences among African-American female students.

The NC State research team also includes Kathy Gore of NC State’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, as well as graduate and undergraduate students – several of whom are volunteering their time and effort to work on this important issue.


For Immediate Release: Matt Shipman | News Services | 919.515.6386 Dr. Fay Cobb Payton | 919.513.2744 Dr. James Kiwanuka-Tondo | 919.513.1477

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Searching for African Ancestors: Extraordinary Discoveries

For African Americans Seeking to Reclaim Family History, UB Workshop Offers Hope. Two extraordinary women will share their remarkable discoveries of their forebears

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Because so many of their ancestors were slaves, African Americans have often had a difficult time tracking down documentation of their early roots through public and genealogical records and, as a result, early family histories may be unavailable to them.

However, those who have succeeded in this endeavor have sometimes succeeded spectacularly.

Two of those searchers will be at the University at Buffalo for a free public workshop entitled "Searching for African Ancestors: Extraordinary Discoveries" on March 23 in 1004 Clemens Hall, on UB's North Campus, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Lunch will be served.

On that day, Rhonda Brace of Springfield, Massachusetts, and Regina Mason of San Francisco, California, will meet for the first time and share their unique stories of genealogical research and academic collaboration.

Brace discovered that her ancestor, Jeffrey Brace, had published a memoir of slavery in 1810. She worked with Kari Winter, PhD, UB professor of American Studies, the editor of "The Blind African Slave; or Memoirs of Boyereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffery Brace," to gather information about the Brace family's history in New England from the Civil War to the present.

United States slave trade, 1830

United States slave trade, 1830

After years of searching for her family roots, Regina Mason discovered an ancestor named William Grimes, who like Jeffery Brace, had published a memoir of his experiences as a slave (his in 1825).

Mason formed a partnership with William L. Andrews, PhD, E. Maynard Adams Professor of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and devoted years of research to the production of a new edition of Grimes' book, "Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave

In addition to the discussions by Brace, Mason and Winter, three respondents will offer comments on the presentations: Barbara Nevergold, co-founder of the Uncrowned Queens Institute; Christopher Lee, PhD, associate professor of Health Studies, University of Western Ontario, and Candice Reynolds-Lee of Ontario, a descendent of Jeffery Brace.

Sponsors are the UB Humanities Institute, UB Institute on Research and Education on Women and Gender, the UB Canadian-American Studies Committee and the government of Canada.

Those interested in attending should R.S.V.P. via email to Chenelle D. Massey at

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Contact: Patricia Donovan 716-645-4602 +sookie tex

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Frankye Adams-Johnson Black Panther Party Collection

Jackson, MS—The Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University announces the opening of its newest archival acquisition, the Frankye Adams-Johnson Black Panther Party Collection. The official unveiling will take place on Friday, March 23, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Ayer Hall on the Jackson State campus and will feature a reception and exhibit about the collection.

Adams-Johnson is a noted poet, fiction writer, and playwright. Various literary journals have published her poetry, including A Love Supreme, Poetry in Performance 20, City College, Poem for Daddy Sugahboy, Poetry in Performance 19, City College, and Maw-Maw. At the First Annual National Black Writers Conference of New York in 1986, she received the John Oliver Killens Fiction Award for excerpts from her memoir, Daughter of the Whirlwinds.

Adams-Johnson is a past Chairwoman of the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, one of the Margaret Walker Center’s partners in Ayer Hall at Jackson State University. The unveiling will be in conjunction with the Veterans’ annual conference and the grand opening of the COFO Civil Rights Education Center.

Both an archive and museum, the Margaret Walker Center is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of the African-American experience. Founded by Margaret Walker in 1968, the Center seeks to honor her artistic and academic legacy by expanding and promoting its manuscript holdings and oral history collections, interpreting African-American history and culture through its museum and exhibits, coordinating public programs on campus and throughout the community, preserving historic structures central to the African-American experience, and advocating Black Studies at Jackson State University.

Jackson State University LogoFor more information, visit the Center’s website at or contact the Center’s staff at 601-979-2055 or Contact: Dr. Robert Luckett, Director Margaret Walker Center Jackson State University 601-979-2055 For Immediate Release March 5, 2012.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Minority students face harsher discipline, less access to rigorous school curricula, & are more often taught by lower-paid, less experienced teachers

U.S. Department of Education Releases New Data Highlighting Educational Inequities Around Teacher Experience, Discipline and High School Rigor, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali present at Howard University

WASHINGTON (March 6, 2012) – Today, at the iconic Founder's Library of Howard University, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali presented new data from a national survey of more than 72,000 schools serving 85% of the nation’s students. The report is the first of its kind, representing findings from school districts nationwide.

Minority students across America face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curricula, and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

The event at Howard University was attended by civil rights and education reform groups. The self-reported data, Part II of the 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), covers a range of issues including college and career readiness, discipline, school finance, and student retention.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the CRDC findings are a wake-up call to educators at every level and issued a broad challenge to work together to address educational inequities.

"The power of the data is not only in the numbers themselves, but in the impact it can have when married with the courage and the will to change. The undeniable truth is that the everyday educational experience for many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise. It is our collective duty to change that,” Duncan said.

Howard University LogoFor more information and details of the report visit

About Howard University: Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 12 schools and colleges. Founded in 1867, students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholar, a Marshall Scholar, 19 Fulbright Scholars and 10 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African- American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University’s Web site at

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Rachel Mann Communications Specialist 202.238.2631 WEB:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Trinity University has acquired the papers of San Antonio civil rights activists the Rev. Claude William Black Jr.

SAN ANTONIO - Trinity University has acquired the papers of San Antonio civil rights activists the Rev. Claude William Black Jr. and his wife, ZerNona Stewart Black.

The collection includes a breadth of topics, including local and national civil rights and social and civic issues from the mid-1800s to 2009, when Black died. After preliminary work to process and prepare the materials for access, the collection will be housed in the Coates Library, Special Collections and Archives.

The collection was donated to Trinity by the Black's grandson, Taj Matthews, executive director of the Claude & ZerNona Black Developmental Leadership Foundation.

"The late Rev. Claude and ZerNona Black have left an immeasurable legacy of service to our nation. As Christian leaders, civil rights leaders, political leaders, and humanitarians, they worked for over 60 years to improve the lives of others," Matthews said. "I am extremely excited about the partnership with Trinity University to bring their life work to a broader audience."

The collection was acquired through the efforts of numerous individuals, including Trinity President Dennis A. Ahlburg; Trinity University Librarian Diane Graves; Amy Roberson, special collections and archives librarian at Trinity; and Carey H. Latimore IV, associate professor and co-chair of history and co-director of the African American Studies program at Trinity.

Rev. Claude William Black Jr. "Trinity's acquisition of this collection is a sign of our commitment not only to scholars and students but the wider community to which we belong," Ahlburg said, adding, "Reverend Black, I am told, held our institution in high regard. He was particularly fond of our Urban Studies program. Throughout his life he was a strong advocate of the value of teaching, scholarship, and engagement with the community. These are values to which our institution is committed. We expect that this collection will help us further develop connections between Trinity and our extended community."
Latimore also is an associate minister at Mount Zion First Baptist Church, where Black served as pastor for 49 years. Latimore will be the first researcher to examine the collection. "I knew ZerNona and I knew Claude Black, and I served on the pulpit with Reverend Black," Latimore said. "So I know him not only as a civil rights activist, but also as a Baptist preacher and an amazing human being." As a historian, Latimore said he is excited to review a collection that will offer a window into the life and legacy of two African American leaders in San Antonio, and he added, "This collection will make a valuable contribution to our understanding of race relations in San Antonio and beyond."

The collection also contains handwritten notes and recorded audio sound cassettes that document Black's many sermons, memorial services, and explorations of religious doctrine. Scrapbooks include photographs, pamphlets, political ephemera, and newspaper clippings of Black's campaigns and election as a San Antonio city councilman in 1973, his appointment in 1974 as the city's first African American mayor pro tem, and his participation in city events. Notebooks, photographs and memorabilia reveal the history of the African American community in San Antonio and surrounding areas. The civic activism of both Reverend Black and ZerNona in areas such as elder care and the well-being of the community is present throughout the collection.

Text provided by Donna Morales Guerra, project archivist assigned to the Claude and ZerNona Black Papers at Coates Library, Special Collections and Archives. She previously was the city archivist for the San Antonio Municipal Archives & Records and the senior curatorial assistant at the Archive of World Music, Loeb Music Library, Harvard University.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: The Office of University Communications (210) 999-8406

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dr. Arlette Miller Smith accepts the Black Heritage Pioneer Award

On Saturday, February 25, Dr. Arlette Miller Smith, Associate Professor in the English Department, accepted the Black Heritage Pioneer Award. This year, the award was given to four women, all of whom have shown leadership and commitment in support of the theme: “Year of the Black Woman/Celebrating the Black Woman.” The award is sponsored by the City of Rochester’s Black Heritage Committee.

According to the committee, they were looking to recognize African American women who have made great strides in “lifting up the idea, identity, and voices of black women.”

The award criteria included: individuals and/or organizations that have deliberately demonstrated their appreciation of/for, and/or their support and commitment to the empowerment and development of African-American woman/girls in one or more of the following areas:

• Educational attainment;

• Professional development (including but not limited to improved political awareness; business and career development; and personal development skills);

• Faith formation & spiritual development;

• Parenting and family development skills;

• Improved health and wellness outcomes (includes athletic development and sports involvement);

• Artistic expression and appreciation (all forms and mediums, including but not limited to the performing arts, visual arts and literary arts).

Dr. Arlette Miller Smith

Dr. Arlette Miller Smith
Other winners included: Keischa Higdon, Founder and Executive Director, Sisters Together Achieving Results; Dr. Cynthia McGill, Author, Former Assistant Provost, Rochester Institute of Technology and Pastor, New Life Fellowship; and Melanie Silas, Assistant Professor, Monroe Community College, Author, Playwright, and Pastor.

Marketing & Communications Kate Torok, Senior Communication Specialist Email: Phone: (585) 899-3801 Anne Geer, Director of Marketing & Communications Email: Phone: (585) 385-8070

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Howard Dodson Jr. movement to preserve African-American history, named director Moorland-Spingarn Research Center & Howard University Library System

Howard Dodson Jr. Named Director of Moorland-Spingarn and Howard University Libraries
Scholar Noted for Raising the Profile of Harlem’s Schomburg Center

WASHINGTON – Howard Dodson Jr., a national leader in the movement to preserve African-American history, has been named the new director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center and director of the Howard University Library System. Dodson retired last year from his position as director of Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture after 27 years of service.

"Dodson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise as the new leader of Moorland-Spingarn Research Center and University Libraries," said Howard University President Sidney Ribeau. "He will be instrumental as we execute our research agenda and preserve our cultural treasures."

The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) is recognized as one of the world's largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world. As one of Howard University's major research facilities, the MSRC collects, preserves, and makes available for research a wide range of resources chronicling the Black experience.

“We have too few centers that are documenting the global Black experience. Moorland has been one of the most important ones for nearly 100 years,” Dodson said.

Its collections include more than 175,000 bound volumes and tens of thousands of journals, periodicals, and newspapers; more than 17,000 feet of manuscript and archival collections; nearly 1000 audio tapes; hundreds of artifacts; 100,000 prints, photographs, maps, and other graphic items. The collections are used by scholars, museums, students, and other researchers from Howard University and throughout the world. Information provided by the MSRC is regularly used in exhibitions, video productions, news programming, and a wide range of publications.

Howard Dodson Jr.

Howard Dodson Jr.
Dodson’s immediate priorities at Howard University include increasing Moorland’s hours: providing twenty-four hour service in Founders Library, and enhancing the interior environments of both. He also plans to expand access to collections and make the libraries more active partners in student learning and university research. Finally, he plans to revitalize and upgrade the University’s library system, the newest member of the Washington Research Library Consortium.

Dodson is credited with extending the reach and reputation of the Schomburg Center through major exhibitions and acquisitions. Today, the Center is recognized as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world.

Dodson became chief of the Schomburg in 1984. Under his direction, the Center’s holdings doubled to 10 million. Acquisitions included the collections of Malcolm X, Lorraine Hansberry and Maya Angelou.

Publishing projects Dodson spearheaded have included numerous microform editions of collections of original documents, a six-volume encyclopedia of African American history and culture, and a 30-volume collection of writings by African-American women.

Under Dodson’s stewardship, the Schomburg Center has been an innovator in using the Internet to increase access to library materials. He enhanced the quality of the Schomburg Center’s exhibitions, public programs, and special events. Attendance tripled to 120,000 people per year.

Dodson was born in Chester, Penn., in 1939. He graduated from West Chester State College in 1961 with a degree in social studies and secondary education and in 1964 received a master’s degree in history and political science from Villanova University. Dodson joined the Peace Corps in 1964, serving for two years in Ecuador and later as a national Peace Corps staff member. He then entered a doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley where he focused on the comparative history of slavery in the Western Hemisphere.

Through the years, Dodson has lectured widely on various topics nationally and internationally. His books include Becoming American: The Africa-American Journey; In Motion: the African-American Migration Experience; Jubilee: the Emergence of African-American Culture; and The Black New Yorkers: The Schomburg Illustrated Chronology.

In recognition of his contribution to the development of the Schomburg Center, Dodson has been awarded honorary doctorates by Villanova University (2007), the City University of New York (2004), West Chester State University (2004), Adelphi University (2004) and Widener University (1987). In 2010, Dodson was designated a New York City “Living Landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

ABOUT HOWARD: Howard University is a private research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Founded in 1867, students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 24 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University’s Web site at:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Rachel Mann Communications Specialist 202.238.2631 WEB: