Blog

Meet Intern Bailey Wood

Posted on September 25, 2019

          Hi! I’m Bailey Wood, and I’m a senior African American Studies major at the College of Charleston. When I was a freshman, Dr. Jon Hale offered a class that focused on Charleston and the American Civil Rights Movement. After taking Dr. Hale’s class, I chose to follow this path of study. It was during Dr. Hale’s class that I first learned African American history was more extensive than what I was taught in high school. I chose this major to further my education on this topic and to teach others as well. This fall, I will be interning for the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. While working at Avery, I hope to learn much about social programming, event planning, and outreach. As an African American Studies major, I am excited to work closely with Charleston’s finest social justice leaders as they seek to better our society through education. I also hope to make Avery more visible to the greater campus community because it is important for my fellow students to know why Avery was established and the many learning experiences it has to offer. Through my work at Avery, I expect to see social justice awareness grow on campus as well as in Charleston’s community. 

        For me, this semester is a full-time commitment. In addition to planning my wedding, I am a student, sever, and intern, which can be overwhelming at times. However, I am driven and determined to do well here at Avery and to gain some life-long experience. I am excited to be working with such a wonderful team this semester. There is a sense of pride that comes with working at Avery. It stems from the long history of wonderful men and women who attended the school and later fought for civil rights, many of whom still continue that fight today. 

        At Avery, I will be doing a couple different things. Right now, I am mainly helping with moving and organizing for the grand reopening. I will also be assisting with social outreach events. When Avery does reopen, I will potentially be giving tours and retrieving artifacts for researchers and patrons. It will be a fun experience here at Avery this semester!

The Avery in April: Upcoming Events

Posted on April 2, 2019

Black Lives Matter: Looking At Charleston

Thursday, April 4, 2019 | Stern Center Ball Room | 71 George St. | 6:30 PM

Black Lives Matter: Looking at Charleston will examine how institutionalized racism affects Charleston’s African-American community in the form of police brutality and race based violence. Assessing both the City of Charleston and the College of Charleston, students, faculty, staff, and members of the greater Charleston community will have the opportunity to hear from local Black Lives Matter activists. Furthermore, attendees will be able to utilize campus and community resources to work towards intersectional and systematic change. With knowledge of these resources, attendees will have the tools to deconstruct racial disparities and engage in social justice activism themselves.


Land & Labor Acknowledgement

Monday, April 8, 2019 | William Blacklock House | 18 Bull St. | 5:00 PM

Sponsored by the College of Charleston’s Office of Sustainability, the seventh annual Sustainability Week aims to pay due respect to the indigenous and enslaved communities of the Lowcountry. This year the Office of Sustainability is working to educate and empower the college community about the intersections between social justice and sustainability. This event will acknowledge that the college and its buildings were built on indigenous land with enslaved labor.


My Food is My Flag: A Conversation about Jewish, African-American, and Southern Foodways

Thursday, April 9, 2019 | Simons Center Recital Hall | 54 St. Philip St. | 7:30 PM

Join the College of Charleston’s Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture and the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture for a night of food and education! Featured speakers include Marcie Cohen Ferris and Michael W. Twitty.


It Was Never About Slavery: A Reading Discussion with Dr. Wes Bellamy

Friday, April 12, 2019 | Education Alumni Center | 86 Wentworth St. | 2:00 PM

Monumental: It Was Never About A Statue, the new memoir from Dr. Wes Bellamy, explores the abhorrently violent and explicitly racist motivations behind the Charlottesville Riots of 2017. Dr. Bellamy, former Vice-Mayor and Current Charlottesville City Councilor, invites you to step into his shoes and read what it felt like to be in the midst of a war for the soul of a community.

In Monumental, Dr. Bellamy covers the year leading up to the Charlottesville Riots and the year after. Travel with Dr. Bellamy, the only African-American city councilor at the time of the attack, on this deeply personal journey through a city fighting for equity, past and present.


Healthcare Workers United for a March & Rally

Saturday, April 13, 2019 | MUSC Horseshoe | 196 Ashley Ave. | 11:00 AM

Did you help organize, join in a march, get arrested, or participate in the 1969 Hospital Workers Strike in any way? Would you like to help us honor those courageous hospital workers, primarily women, who refused to be treated unfairly on the job and fought back?

Fifty years later, join us as we honor the 1969 Hospital Strike workers.
IN THE SPIRIT OF 1969, WE MARCH AGAIN!


Confronting Racism Face-to-Face: A Reading Discussion with Mo Asumang

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 | Arnold Hall | 96 Wentworth St. | 6:00 PM

German filmmaker, television personality, and author Mo Asumang will read and discuss passages in English from her book Mo and the Aryans: Alone among Racists and Neo-Nazis. The memoir describes her making of the 2014 documentary film The Aryans (Die Arier). The Aryans (Die Arier) is a daring journalistic experiment in which Mo Asumang seeks out and conducts face-to-face conversations with neo-Nazis and white nationalist hate groups across Germany and the United States.


The Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI)
2018-2019 Student Leadership Award Symposium

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | Addlestone Library, Room 306 | 205 Calhoun St. | 6:00 PM

The 2018-2019 recipients of the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) Student Leadership Award will present the findings of their travel and research projects at our second annual symposium. Come support RSJI’s work in student development and the work of the award recipients in race and social justice activism. Click here to read profiles of the award recipients and synopses of their projects.


The Student Leadership Award was created as a means to foster systemic change across the College of Charleston campus and greater Lowcountry community. The RSJI Student Leadership Award is a $600.00 travel and research stipend awarded to student leaders who recognize the importance of social justice activism and who are driven to become organizers of change.

Black History Month 2019

Posted on February 5, 2019

Interested in learning more about the African-American experience this February? Check out these upcoming Black History Month events: 


    • February 5, 2019, @ 6:00 PM: Join us for an evening of discussion as we explore how more people of color can take a seat at the table in Charleston’s tourism industry. Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham, co-founder of Museum Hue, and panelist will explore what’s needed to make cultural institutions more affordable for families of color and If there’s a way to create an inclusive narrative at plantations and other heritage sites. This event is sponsored by the Office of Institutional Diversity, the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the African American Studies Program and the Arts Management Program.

 

      • February 8–10, 2019, Known to scholars mainly as a conspiracy of Carolina slaves, the “Denmark Vesey Conspiracy” also ensnared free black people and should be treated as a part of the broader black anti-slavery movement. The “Denmark Vesey Conspiracy” is the subject of the 2019 Carolina Lowcountry in the Atlantic World Program (CLAW). CLAW at the College of Charleston was established in 1994 to promote scholarship and public engagement with the history and culture of the Lowcountry region, the Atlantic World, and the connections between the two. The keynote lectures on Friday by Dr. Bernard Powers and Saturday by Michael B. Moore, evenings are free and open to the public. To register for the conference, click here.

     

 

  • February 11, 2019, @6: 00 PM: Spring 2019 Film Festival Beasts of the Southern Wild. Join the African American Studies Program for the 2019 Spring Film Festival. Discussion following the film will be led by Lisa Young. This screening will be held in room 118 of the Education Center (25 St. Philip Street) Free popcorn and refreshments

    • February 12, 2019, @ 4:30 PM: Peterson Toscano and Corina Newsome talk on Faith, Justice, Race and Climate Change. Sponsored by Sustainability Literacy Institute, Office of Institutional Diversity, and Freshman Year Experience. The event will be held in room 118 of the Education Center (25 St. Philip Street).

 

  • February 12, 2019, @6:00PM: A Conversation with Nikky Finney. Nikky Finney, Professor of Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina and 2011 winner of the National Book Award for Poetry, was commissioned to create new work in response to photographs from the Southbound project. Finney wrote four new poems that she will read, along with readings of other work. This event will take place at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park (34 Prioleau Street) For more information click here.

    • February 14, 2019, @ 5:00 PM: A screening of Academy Award-winning movie Moonlight. Sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center. The screening will be held in room 206 of the Stern Center (71 George Street).

 

  • February 18, 2019, @ 6:00 PM: Spring 2019 Film Festival: Pumzi and Other Shorts. Discussion following the screening will be led by Mari Crabtree. Sponsored by the African American Studies Program. The screening will be held in room 118 of the Education Center (25 St. Philip Street). Free popcorn and refreshments!


    • February 18, 2019, @7:30 PM: More Than Just Sports: The 21st Century Black Athlete. Featuring Dr. Jamal Ratchford, assistant professor of history at Colorado College, this lecture will examine trends of activism and social justice among African-American athletes such as Serena Williams, Colin Kaepernick, Muhammad Ali and 1968 track and field Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos. This will be held in room 251 of the Robert Scott Small Building (175 Calhoun Street).

 

 

  • February 20, 2019, @6:00 PM: Hate Crime Forum: The Charleston Police Department in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League will come together with community stakeholders to discuss the topic of hate as a crime motivator. The purpose of the forum is to share the narratives of those impacted by hate crime and to hold space for dialogue about the state of hate crime legislation in the City of Charleston and the State of South Carolina. This event will take place at The Charleston Museum (360 Meeting Street). Click here to register.

  • February 21, 2019, @ 6:00 PM: Curator-led tour of the Southbound exhibit. Sponsored by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. This tour is open to Halsey members only. To join the Halsey family, click here. The event will be held in City Gallery at Waterfront Park (34 Prioleau Street).

      • February 25, 2019, @ 6:00 PM: Spring 2019 Film Festival: Black Panther. Discussion following the screening led by Gary Jackson and Matthew Cressler. Sponsored by the African American Studies Program. The screening will be held in room 118 of the Education Center (25 St. Philip Street). Free popcorn and refreshments!

 

  • February 28, 2019 @ 4:00 PM and March 1, 2019 @ 4:00 PM: Diversifying the Classics. This colloquium focuses upon the ways in which Classics opens a window into a diverse and multicultural world, and how this diversity allows for a variety of methodological approaches and applications for cross-comparative cultural study. Discussion also turns to the structural elements that have constrained these approaches, and a discussion on how to move the discipline (and the perception of the discipline) forward into a redefinition of Classics for the 21st century. Please see Diversifying the Classics flyer for all scheduled lectures. The colloquium will be held at Alumni Center (86 Wentworth Street).

We hope to see you there!

The Race and Social Justice Initiative’s Student Leadership Award Recipients

Posted on January 15, 2019

The Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2018-2019 Student Leadership Award. The Student Leadership Award recognizes and supports College of Charleston students with a passion for race and social justice activism. Click here to learn more about the Student Leadership Award.

RSJI’s Student Leadership Award Recipients: 

Vanity Reid Deterville (Political Science, Public Policy)

Click to view Vanity’s proposal: Vanity Reid Deterville Student Leadership Award Proposal.

AIDSWatch: AIDS United Annual Conference in Washington D.C.

Synopsis: I will be attending the AIDS United AIDSWatch annual conference in Washington, D.C., which will be held April 1 & April 2, 2019. AIDSWatch is the largest annual constituent-based HIV/AIDS national advocacy convening in the nation. It is my hope the information I gain at the conference will further my work with HIV/AIDS policy in the State of South Carolina. With the help of Palmetto Community Care and the Ryan White Wellness Center, I plan to use this information to develop better means of community collaboration and to address the prevalence of AIDS in Charleston. AIDSWatch strives to connect healthcare professionals, concerned citizens, and congressional leaders in a common space. By facilitating this shared ground, the conference fosters diplomatic discussion of AIDS as a complex virus as well as the medical, social, and political factors it affects. Having made instrumental connections through AIDSWatch, I plan to study the plan of legislative action Senator Scott Wiener of California took to lessen the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and to treat the disease as all other communicable diseases are.

Biography: Vanity Reid Deterville is a native of Charleston, South Carolina. She is currently a junior pursuing a degree in Political Science with a concentration in Public Policy from the College of Charleston. Through her efforts with We Are Family, an organization dedicated to Charleston’s LBGTQ youth, the Charleston YOUth Count, and The College of Charleston Joseph P. Riley Center for Livable Communities, Deterville has dedicated much of her time as an activist to LGBTQ initiatives and to populations in the Lowcountry who are experiencing housing and food instability. She believes tradition has sometimes maintained a restrictive stronghold on Southern families and queer youth of color. As a new Facilitator of the “Transformative Teaching Collective,” she is an advocate of restorative justice. Defined as the art for social change and the appropriate implementation of those changes for inclusive and progressive thinking, restorative justice provides support and professional development for marginalized groups like the LGBTQ community and people of color. Through her work with the Eastside Community Development Corporation, Deterville has become a steadfast activist for equitable and accessible housing for marginalized communities in Peninsular Charleston, SC.


Sylvie Baele (Master of Public Administration, Nonprofit Management)

Click to view Sylvie’s proposal: Sylvie Baele Student Leadership Award Proposal.

2019 National Bike Summit: Hosted by The League for American Bicyclists in Washington D.C.

Synopsis: I am seeking a grant from the Race and Social Justice Initiative to provide funding for my participation in the 2019 National Bike Summit. Attending the Bike Summit will allow me to better understand the methods, challenges, and practices of increasing bike use as a means of transportation for college students and minority populations in the area, specifically those who are negatively affected by gentrification, urban food deserts, and unequal housing and employment opportunities. I am deeply passionate about the empowerment and opportunity that bike transportation provides users, and I believe that making those benefits accessible to populations in need can ameliorate some of the racial disparities that exist in Charleston County and set a precedent for the region. Providing these beneficial transportation and economic opportunities is not a zero-sum game as it will not negatively impact others on campus or in the greater Charleston area. While it may seem strange to some, I know that bicycles can be the link between resilient social, economic, and environmental development. They are instruments of social justice because they revolutionize mobility, provide economic freedom, and bring physical and emotional health benefits to riders, especially to those with no other form of efficient transportation.

Biography: Sylvie is a Charleston native and completed her undergraduate studies at the College of Charleston, graduating with a B.A. of International Studies and a minor in Environmental Studies. Throughout her time as an undergraduate student, she found her calling as a local activist with a focus on social justice, academic freedom, and institutional accountability. In 2015, she was awarded the College of Charleston’s Pat Kelly Award for Outstanding Leadership in Social Activism. After graduating, she took a break from academia and dove into the world of adventure travel and ski bum life. She spent winters in Alta, Utah and worked as a guide in the San Juan Islands in Washington, as well as in Crater Lake, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Yosemite National Parks. Sylvie is currently a graduate student at the College, pursing a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Management. Her passions revolve around all things related to bicycles and social justice. One of her most recent accomplishments was winning the First Annual Sturcken Oratorical Competition, in which she detailed her proposal to implement a “Better Bicycling Initiative” at the College of Charleston. In her free time, she volunteers as the Director of Development & Marketing in the local nonprofit Second Chance Bikes and as the local liaison for Bicycle Benefits. She is dedicated to cultivating her vision of a more bicycle friendly world in all she does and is eager to lead others to develop a deeper appreciation of bicycles as tools of social justice, strengthening and empowering users and communities in a myriad of meaningful and intersectional ways.


Thomasena Thomas (Political Science, Public Policy)

Click to view Thomasena’s proposal: Thomasena Thomas Student Leadership Award Proposal.

Rwandan Reconciliation Research

Synopsis: This past December, I traveled to the East African nation of Rwanda to engage in international missionary work. Through my efforts in Rwanda, I was able to gain insight into the nation’s reconciliation process following the tragic Rwandan genocide of 1994. Because reconciliation is still a relevant topic in our current society, I wanted to bring the knowledge I learned while overseas back to the College of Charleston. My experiences in Rwanda have given me a nuanced perspective on reconciliation in general and what that means for resolving the current differences that exist within our campus community. While in Rwanda, I worked with Hope On A Thousand Hills, an organization with the mission to provide native Rwandans with education, agriculture, and nutrition classes, and Slum Ministry, which works to provide women with entrepreneurship classes to further their societal advancement. The purpose of both organizations is to provide the people of Rwanda with the tools for a holistic and sustainable lifestyle. Since returning home, I have reflected on the people of Rwanda. Although Rwandans may look physically different from one another, they are keenly away of the past pains in their country. Above all else, they strive for oneness. By sharing the lessons I learned while in Rwanda, I hope to show my fellow College of Charleston students why reconciliation is important.

Biography: Thomasena Thomas is a junior at the College of Charleston. She is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in Public Policy. Thomasena is from Florence, South Carolina and comes from a family of entrepreneurs. When she was 15 years old, Thomasena founded a cupcake and confectionery company, FairyCakessc, with her sister, Thessalonia. They created the company with a unique mission and purpose to provide the youth of South Carolina with the skills, knowledge, and encouragement to pursue their career goals through culinary and leadership classes as well as mentoring programs. Inspired by the creation of FairyCakessc, Thomasena became involved with educational policy reform. She is proud of her advocacy work as a student ambassador for the Save the Children Action Network and as Secretary of State for the South Carolina Student Legislature. In the future, Thomasena hopes to become a Teach for America Corps member, Broad Residency leader, and, potentially, the United States Secretary of Education. Through career and technology education programs, she aspires to provide the students of South Carolina and residents in underserved communities with access to vital career shaping resources. In her free time, Thomasena enjoys teaching baking classes and growing in her faith walk by writing devotional pieces for Seele Magazine. Click here to view Thomasena’s personal website.


Allie Stern (Public Health)

Click to view Allie’s proposal: Allie Stern Student Leadership Award Proposal.

Black Lives Matter: Looking at Charleston

Synopsis: Black Lives Matter: Looking at Charleston will examine how institutionalized racism affects Charleston’s African-American community in the form of police brutality and race based violence. Assessing both the City of Charleston and the College of Charleston, students, faculty, staff, and members of the greater Charleston community will have the opportunity to hear from local Black Lives Matter activists. Furthermore, attendees will be able to utilize campus and community resources to work towards intersectional and systematic change. With knowledge of these resources, attendees will have the tools to deconstruct racial disparities and engage in social justice activism themselves.

Biography: Allie Stern is a senior at the College of Charleston, pursuing a B.A. in Public Health. Following graduation, Allie aims to become a racial health disparities educator and to utilize her experience as a student activist in her work. She is interested in the way institutionalized racism threatens equity, particularly health equity, in African-American communities. More specifically, Allie is passionate about Black Lives Matter and the need to bring intersectional and systematic change to the College of Charleston as well as the greater Charleston community. Allie is a Ketner Emerging Leaders Scholarship recipient and holds a dual internship in public health and racial equity at YWCA Greater Charleston.


Ebony Venson (Master of Public Administration)

Click to view Ebony’s proposal: Ebony Venson Student Leadership Award Proposal.

Taste of Emerge Conference: Hosted by the Emerge America Organization

Synopsis: I am seeking the Student Leadership Award from the College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative to pursue research on Black women in elected office. I aim to identify and analyze barriers that impact the electoral success of Black women. Through examining these circumstances, I hope to gain insight on how to create a framework that will help advance Black women’s political participation and attain a reflective representation in elected office at various levels of government. By attending the Taste of Emerge Conference, I hope to expand my knowledge on creating an environment for Black women to run, win and lead. Participating in this conference will encourage me to harness my power as a Black woman, run for office, and become the lifeblood of my community, fighting for a just and racially equitable society.

Biography: Hailing from the All-American city of Hartsville, South Carolina, Ebony Venson is a first year Master of Public Administration student with a focus on local government. A recent graduate of The College, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with minors in Criminal Justice and Urban Studies. Fighting on the front-lines for diversity, Venson participated in several campus organizations to recruit, retain, and empower students of color at The College of Charleston. Fueled by her desire to delve further into the field, she obtained a position as an Undergraduate Assistant for the Race and Social Justice Initiative at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. Venson currently works as a Graduate Assistant with the Community Assistance Program and interns at the Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth, and Families. Upon graduating from the MPA program, Ebony hopes to land a job in the public sector and continue furthering her education.


Malayna Nesbitt (Public Health, African American Studies)

Click to view Malayna’s proposal: Malayna Nesbitt Student Leadership Award Proposal.

Environmental Racism in The Lowcountry 

Synopsis: For my research project, I have chosen to focus on the issue of environmental racism and its direct causation of health disparities in minority communities in the Lowcountry area. I plan to visit facilities and organizations who study these issues while interviewing residents of the Lowcountry area on their experiences with environmental injustices. With my findings, I hope to inform and engage the community, particularly those who do not experience these disparities, and devise a possible solution to eliminate this issue.

Biography: Malayna Nesbitt is from Washington, DC. She is currently a junior at the College of Charleston, majoring in Public Health and minoring in African American Studies. At the College of Charleston, she serves as the Co-President of the Human Rights Alliance, Recording Secretary of the Black Student Union, Student Alumni Associate, and a Student Ambassador for the Office of Admissions. She has been interested in public health issues since high school and has focused on equal access to healthcare, disease prevalence within underserved communities, and environmental racism. After completing her undergraduate studies, she plans to continue working in Public Health. Malayna is also an accomplished violinist and pianist.


Ethan Davis (African American Studies, Political Science, Jewish History)

Click to view Ethan’s Proposal: Ethan Davis Student Leadership Award Proposal. 

Synopsis: I will generate a comprehensive presentation informed by key points from two main research projects I will be conducting this semester. The first project will provide a theoretical framework for community development. The second project will host A) a critical analysis of the methodology researchers have used to identify obstacles to community growth and progress and B) two honest dialogues with long-term residents of Chicora, a socially and economically disadvantaged community in North Charleston. The second project will provide a unique perspective of a historically silenced peoples by allowing them to speak for themselves and articulate their own thoughts on best practices to develop their own disadvantaged and abandoned communities.

The overarching goal of my work is to gain a holistic understanding of theories on community development and the ideal way to execute community development efforts by taking into consideration the lived experiences of those long-term local residents who have already been working to better their community environments. This will require the questioning of methodology in how society approaches the work of developing vulnerable communities. The presentation will include recommendations to identify best practices for tools and methods to reimagine local community development in multi-faceted and asset-based ways.

Biography: Ethan Davis has lived in the South his entire life. He spent his elementary school years in Columbia, South Carolina and enjoyed middle and high school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. College brought him back to South Carolina when he enrolled at the College of Charleston. Currently, he is a senior double majoring in African American Studies and Political Science with a minor in Jewish History. On campus, he is a Cougar Ambassador and a member of the Leadership CofC cohort. Ethan’s most meaningful experience during his college career has been his participation with the Bonner Leader Program, a civic engagement and leadership development program that connects students with local partnering nonprofits. It aims to transform college students into active citizens within their own communities by facilitating an honest dialogue. This program introduced Ethan to Metanoia, a community development cooperation with which Ethan has partnered since the fall of 2016. Metanoia operates under an asset-based community development model, which focuses on economic regeneration and establishing quality housing and youth programs. Through this holistic approach, Ethan has had the privilege of realistically applying themes and concepts he has learned in his academic courses to the greater community.

The Race and Social Justice Initiative Student Leadership Award Symposium

Posted on April 17, 2018

The Race and Social Justice Initiative Student Leadership Award Symposium
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Thaddeus Street Jr. Education Center
Septima P. Clark Auditorium | Room 118

 

Join the College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) as we highlight two student researchers during the Student Leadership Awards Symposium. Each semester, RSJI grants Student Leadership Awards to recognize and support students working in areas of race and social justice. Students David Rothmund (History) and Cora Webb (Public Health, Women’s and Gender Studies) Will discuss their research and their connections to RSJI’s mission, as well as the recently released Charleston County Racial Disparities Report. RSJI promotes public awareness and open dialogue about race and social justice issues in the Charleston area, the state of South Carolina, and beyond.

 

“The First 365: Analyzing the First Year of the Trump Administration” moderated by MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid on February 1st, 2018

Posted on March 1, 2018

The Race and Social Justice Initiative was proud to present “The First 365: Analyzing the First Year of the Trump Administration” moderated by MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid on February 1st, 2018. This discussion was a multidisciplinary look into the first year of the Trump Administration featuring distinguished faculty members from the College of Charleston.

 

Scroll through the photos taken by the College of Charleston’s Reese Moore:


 
 
Watch the main event here:

This event was proudly Cosponsored by the College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) funded by Google, the College of Charleston Division of Marketing and Communications, the College of Charleston Department of Communication, the College of Charleston Department of Political Science, the Avery Institute of Afro-American History and Culture, and the Tri-County Women’s Project.

“A Conversation with Marian Wright Edelman,” Author and President of the Children’s Defense Fund, Introduction by Former Senator Malcolm Graham


Marian Wright Edelman Opens the Race and Social Justice Initiative 2016 Speaker Series

“A Conversation with Marian Wright Edelman,” Author and President of the Children’s Defense Fund, Introduction by Former Senator Malcolm Graham

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Sottile Theatre, 44 George Street, Charleston, SC
6:30PM  Free and open to the public!

MWEHeadShot
Marian Wright Edelman, author and founder
of the Children’s Defense Fund

Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families.  The Children’s Defense Fund’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar and directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. She has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings, which include: Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change; The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours, Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors,I’m Your Child, God:  Prayers for Our Children; I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children; and The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.

Malcolm_Graham
Former North Carolina Senator Malcolm Graham

Edelman will be introduced by Former Senator Malcolm Graham, the brother of Cynthia Hurd, one of the victims of the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in June 2015. Hurd was a Charleston native who worked for the Charleston County Library for over three decades. The Measure of Our Success by Marian Wright Edelman was one of her favorite books.

 

Throughout the month of February, the Charleston County Library will also host additional outreach events in honor of Marian Wright Edelman through the “I Can Make A Difference Initiative.”

This event is part of the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) at the College of Charleston. In late June 2015, the Avery Research Center, Addlestone Library, African American Studies, and the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative (LDHI) at the College of Charleston received a major grant from Google to launch the initiative in response to recent tragic events in the Charleston area, including the shooting death of Walter Scott by a police officer in April 2015 and the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in June 2015. With this support, RSJI is working with numerous partners to facilitate public events, exhibitions, and various projects that promote awareness of the history and ongoing struggles of racial injustice in Charleston, South Carolina, and throughout the United States. 

Thanks to our event co-sponsors: Google, the Women’s Resource Project, Inc., the Charleston County Public Library, SunTrust, the SC Community Loan Fund, the Phillis Wheatley Literary and Social Club, and the Sophia Institute.

“American Injustice: Mercy, Humanity, and Making a Difference,” Bryan Stevenson, Author and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative

 

 

 

American Injustice: Mercy, Humanity, and Making a Difference,” Bryan Stevenson, Author and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative

Thursday, March 31, 2016
Sottile Theatre, 44 George Street, Charleston, SC
6:00PM 

Photograph by Nina Subin
Photograph by Nina Subin

America has the largest prison population in the world – and the criminal justice system that puts the men, women, and children in these prisons is broken. Excessive punishment and abuse are widespread, and the collateral consequences are devastating lives and communities. An inspiring and unflinchingly honest speaker, in this presentation Bryan Stevenson talks about defending some of America’s most rejected and marginalized people. The stories he tells are heartbreaking, yet inspiring, and motivate audiences to make a change.

New York Times Bestseller and winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction and the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction
New York Times Bestseller
and winner of the Carnegie
Medal for Nonfiction and the
NAACP Image Award for
Nonfiction

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and one of the most acclaimed and respected lawyers in the nation. His memoir, Just Mercy, is the story of a young lawyer fighting on the frontlines of a country in thrall to extreme punishments and careless justice. It is an inspiring story of unbreakable humanity in the most desperate circumstances, and a powerful indictment of our broken justice system and the twisted values that allow it to continue. Stevenson is the recipient of numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant and the NAACP Image Award for Best Non-Fiction, and was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People for 2015. Stevenson is a tenured law professor at New York University School of Law. For more information on this speaker please visit www.prhspeakers.com.

Through funding support from Starbucks and the Coastal Community Foundation, the Charleston County Public Library will be distributing a limited number of free copies of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson starting February 15th, 2016, at all sixteen branch locations. CCPL will also be hosting various events throughout the month of March, please see their Programs calendar for more details.

This event is part of the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) at the College of Charleston. In late June 2015, the Avery Research Center, Addlestone Library, African American Studies, and the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative (LDHI) at the College of Charleston received a major grant from Google to launch the initiative in response to recent tragic events in the Charleston area, including the shooting death of Walter Scott by a police officer in April 2015 and the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in June 2015. With this support, RSJI is working with numerous partners to facilitate public events, exhibitions, and various projects that promote awareness of the history and ongoing struggles of racial injustice in Charleston, South Carolina, and throughout the United States. 

Thanks to our event co-sponsors: College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative funded by Google, Charleston County Public Library, SunTrust, the Avery Institute, and the Sophia Institute, SC Community Loan Fund, and South Carolina Humanities. 

FORMS AND MOTIFS IN AFRICAN ART: WORKS FROM THE AVERY RESEARCH CENTER’S JOHN R. DUPREE AFRICAN ART COLLECTION

February 25 through December 1, 2017

 


 

Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library

John R. Dupree began amassing his extensive African art collection in 1972 while living in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and working for the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Dupree was a member of a small group of FAA employees sent to Zaire to assist with building and establishing a civil aviation program at the request of then-President Mobutu. Dupree’s living quarters in Kinshasa, the capital city, was close to a major open-air market that he frequented. He acquired African artifacts during the three years he was in Zaire.  The John R. Dupree Collection, housed at the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, contains more than 150 items, the majority of them in ebony and mahogany. There are also remarkable pieces of ivory in the collection and brightly colored works on canvas that will be on view as a part of the exhibition.

Forms and Motifs in African Art: Works from the John R. Dupree Collection gives visible evidence to Susan Vogel’s powerful observation made in her seminal work on the Baule culture of the Ivory Coast.  In her book, Beauty in the Eyes of the Baule: Aesthetics and Cultural Values, Vogel explains the importance of the head in Baule sculpture and statuary, writing, “The head is considered the seat of freedom and intelligence.” That same observation applies to many of the works in the Dupree Collection, granting they represent the art of ethnic groups from Central Africa: Bakuba, Luba, Luluwa , and Songye. Moreover, this collection artistically conveys the dynamism of African culture.

The works are characterized by intricate and exquisite abstract geometric designs and patterns. Modern Western art, produced by the likes of Picasso, Matisse, and Giacometti, owes much of its development to these very African designs, motifs, and patterns.  Thus, a number of prominent artists of the early twentieth century, particularly cubists and expressionists, drew inspiration from African art, especially African masks.

African art was quite appealing to the cubist and expressionist school of artists because it differed from the pervasive imitation of nature in Western art. Instead, African artists created art analogous to natural images. Their intent was to create an object, mask, or statuary that would embody the vital forces of nature to assist with a better understanding of the environment.

 

 

African art is perhaps best understood when the viewer appreciates the great scope for individual expression by the artist. The sophistication that marks one piece superior to another comes through the artist who has the freedom to create a work of stunning individuality while still working within the conventions required by tradition. Even when signs of uniqueness are quite evident, a work will still display the traditional motifs, representations, and references.  The work conveys its symbolism through the artist’s craftsmanship to the members of his ethnic group.  Thus, it is significant that the artist or craftsman is steeped in the customs and images of his society.  After all, the ultimate purpose for carving masks and statuary is to give real and tangible form to the spirit world as a means of channeling the universal creative force.

The sculpture, masks, and contemporary works on canvas in the Dupree Collection are replete with human and animal forms and motifs, some of which are depicted in naturalistic representations while others are almost abstract symbols. In addition, the sculptures and busts are characterized by high-domed foreheads, which are generally a sign of “an unmarred spirituality.” The works are further enhanced by elaborate coiffure, cowrie shells, some instances of scarification, and other forms of adornment. For example, within the collection are five wooden statues of various sizes that appear to be the work of the same artist and are all wearing a hat presumably made from raffia and silk. As another example, one of the most breathtaking pieces in the collection is a copy of an ndop, a figurative sculpture representing a Kuba king. This wooden sculpture shows the monarch with his legs crossed and enthroned on a rectangular stool. An embodiment of dignity, he is depicted in a frontal pose. The eyes in the disproportionate head are closed, perhaps signaling the king’s meditative state.  On his head, he wears a box-shaped royal cap accentuated with cowrie shells that projects over his forehead. He also has a sword in his hand and strings of cowrie shells adorn his stomach and upper arms.

 

The John R. Dupree Collection joins other holdings at the Avery Research Center that primarily highlight  African culture, including the collections of Catherine and James Yatsco, George Pope, Joseph A. Towles, Paul Craven, and Muriel and Marcus Zbar.  This exhibit is the first time the Dupree collection is presented for public viewing.

The Dupree Collection provides scholars and the general public an opportunity to study and marvel at the strength and beauty of African art and artifacts while acknowledging the creative genius and agency of Africans as it relates to artistic production.  Additionally, the collection significantly enhances Avery Research Center’s holdings in African artifacts and supports the Avery Research Center’s mission of preserving African American heritage and making it more accessible to the broader public.

John R. Dupree began to amass his extensive African Art collection in 1972 while living in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and working for the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Dupree in concert with a small group of other employees of the FAA was in Zaire to assist with building and establishing a civil aviation program at the behest of President Mobutu. Dupree’s living quarters in Kinshasa, the capital city, was in close proximity to a major open air market which he frequented and acquired numerous works during the three years he was there. The John F. Dupree collection, housed at the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, contains in excess of 150 items, the majority of them in wood – ebony, and mahogany. There are also some wonderful pieces of ivory in the collection, as well as brightly colored works on canvas that will be on view as a part of the exhibition.

 

 

The exhibition titled “Forms and Motifs in African Art:  Works from the John R. Dupree Collection gives visible evidence to the powerful observation Susan Vogel made in her seminal work on the Baule of the Ivory Coast. In her book titled, In Beauty in the Eyes of the Baule: Aesthetics and Cultural Values, Vogel made the following observation regarding the importance of the head in Baule sculpture and statuary, wherein she wrote, “the head is considered the seat of freedom and intelligence”.  That same observation is applicable to many of the works in the Dupree Collection, granted they represent the work of the following ethnic groups from Central Africa: Luba, Luluwa, and Songye.  Moreover, what is conveyed artistically in the works is the dynamism of African culture. The works are characterized by intricate and exquisite abstract geometric designs and patterns. African designs, motifs and patterns that were foundational to the development of what has been called modern western art, art produced by the likes of Picasso, Matisse, and Giacometti, among others.  Lastly, there is a fundamental statement being made through sculptural responses to the African environment, an environment wherein there is a social balance that is responsible for a certain kind of decorum, regardless of one’s gender.

 

Avery Research Center’s collection of African artifacts spans two centuries and originates from various African countries.  Joining the collections of Catherine and James YatscoJoseph ATowels, Paul Craven, and  Muriel and Marcus Zbar (to name a few), the John R. Dupree collection increases Avery’s value to scholars and artists studying African and Lowcountry retentions, wood/ebony/ivory carvings, rituals, and twentieth century artwork. The Dupree Collection broadens/enhances the liberal arts experience for students, which is invaluable as more and more students pursue study abroad opportunities while matriculating at the College of Charleston. It also affords scholars and the general public an opportunity to study and marvel at the strength and beauty of African art and artifacts while acknowledging the creative genius and agency of Africans, as it relates to artistic production.  Additionally, the collection significantly enhances Avery’s holdings in African artifacts in quantity—being well over 100 original pieces—and supports the Center’s mission of preserving African American heritage and making it accessible to the broader public.

Transforming Public History: From Charleston to the Atlantic World

“Transforming Public History from Charleston to the Atlantic World”  was hosted by the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program, and the Addlestone Library at the College of Charleston on June 14-17, 2017.

 

 


 

 
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
In partnership with various local, national, and international cultural heritage organizations, academic institutions, and historic sites, the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the Carolina Lowcountry and the Atlantic World Program (CLAW), and the Addlestone Library are hosting a conference on transforming public history practices from Charleston to the Atlantic World to be held at the College of Charleston and other partner sites in Charleston, South Carolina.

SPECIAL FOCUS
Based on the United Nation’s declaration of 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent, and the conference location in Charleston, South Carolina, on the second anniversary of the tragic shooting at the Mother Emanuel Church, the conference will particularly highlight speakers and topics relevant to transforming practices of interpreting the history of slavery and its race and class legacies in Charleston and historically interconnected local, regional, and international sites.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE THEME
Starting in the fifteenth century, the Atlantic Ocean became a corridor of trade and migration—both voluntary and coerced—between Africa, Europe, and the Americas. In the centuries that followed, the violent encounters, power struggles, cultural exchanges, labor systems, and economic ties surrounding these trans-Atlantic connections became ever more complex and globally intertwined, producing distinctive race, class, and gender experiences and hierarchies throughout the Atlantic World and beyond. How have cultural heritage institutions, public historians, scholars, artists, activists, filmmakers, and educators in various international regions engaged with and depicted the diverse histories of the Atlantic World? How have these representations changed over time, and how will they continue to change in the twenty-first century?