LHC Newsletter 02 2015

Langston Hughes Center Newsletter
February 2015

Hello Everyone,

This is the e-newsletter for the Langston Hughes Center (LHC).  The Langston Hughes Center (formerly the Langston Hughes Resource Center, founded in 1998) is an academic research and educational center that is building upon the legacy and creative and intellectual insight of African American author, poet, playwright, folklorist and social critic, Langston Hughes.  The Center coordinates, strengthens and develops teaching, research and outreach activities in African American Studies, and the study of race and culture in American society at the University of Kansas and throughout the region.  Each month the LHC sends out an e-newsletter to inform you about upcoming events at KU and throughout the region, as well as provide you with any recent news of general interest to those concerned with the work of the Center.
See below for the latest LHC e-newsletter.  More information about our events and programs can be found on our website.  Please feel free to pass this information along to friends and colleagues.
In this newsletter:
  1. Upcoming Events: Lucile Bluford; Coffee and Chat; Malcolm X; Graduate Research Workshop; Jessie B. Semple Brownbag; Place, Race, and Space Seminar; Urban Experience Seminar; Centested American Identities Exhibition; Dear White People; Raisin in the Sun
  2. In the News: African American Literary Blog; A. Philip Randolph; Calling All Black People; 40 Acres and a Mule; Segregation Generation; 1964 MLK Speech; Killer Mike on MLK; Black Panthers Revisited; Selma, LBJ & MLK; A Shattered Foundation; Historical Perspective on Ferguson; Black History Month; Vanguard of the Revolution; Ferguson & Selma
Shawn Leigh Alexander
Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies
Director, Langston Hughes Center
University of Kansas 
Upcoming Events 
Lucile Bluford

 "Justice Postponed Is Justice Denied: Lucile Bluford and the Campaign for Educational Eqauity"

When:  January 31 - May 31

Where:  Kansas City Central Library (14 W. 10th St.)

Cost per person: FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Sponsors of this Event: The Kansas City Public Library
Faculty Coffee Chat

 "Faculty Coffee Chat" – Jennifer Hamer, University of Kansas

When:  February 3 @ 2:00 pm

Where:  Spooner Hall, Commons Alcove (University of Kansas, Lawrence Campus)

Cost per person: FREE and to all KU Faculty, Staff, and Students

Sponsors of this Event: University Honors Program
Malcolm X

 "Malcolm X His Life & Times" – Frederick Knight and Garrett Felber

When:  February 5 @ 6:00 pm

Where:  National Archives @ Kansas City (400 West Pershing Road KCMO)

Cost per person: FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Sponsors of this Event: National Archives @ Kansas City and Greater Kansas City Black History Study Group
For More Information: kcblackhistory@gmail.com  
Jesse B. Semple Brownbag Series

 "'Those Left Behind: Bridging Ferguson and Reproductive Justice" – Olubukola Gbadegesin, Saint Louis University
When:  Monday, February 9 @11:30 am - 1:00 pm (11:30 –12:00 social period and brownbag lunch)

Where:  Langston Hughes Center, Room 1, Bailey Hall (University of Kansas, Lawrence Campus)

Cost per person: FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Sponsors of this Event: Langston Hughes Center

About The Jesse B. Semple Brownbag Series:  The Jesse B. Semple Brownbag, every second Monday of each academic month, is an informal forum for the African Americanist community and those who are interested in the general study of race, culture, and American society. The forum discusses activities on campus, historical and current issues related to race, and culture and social relations in America. It offers opportunities for visiting scholars, KU faculty, and KU students to present their ongoing research.
Langston Hughes' character Jesse B. Semple, or Simple first appeared in the Chicago Defender on February 13, 1943.  Semple became a voice, often in comic or satirical fashion, through which Hughes could comment on international relations, current events and the everyday concerns of the African American community.
Place, Race & Space Seminar 

 "I Wont Stay in This Dead Country: The Guilded Age and the Problem of Geography" – William Cunningham, University of Kansas
When:  February 9 @ 3:30 pm

Where: Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas
Cost per person: Open to KU Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students 

Sponsors of this Event:  Hall Center for the Humanities and Langston Hughes Center
Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Workshop 

 "Characteristics of Negro Expression: Digital Humanities and African American Short Stories" – Kenton Rambsy, University of Kansas
When:  February 11 @ 12:30 pm

Where: Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas
Cost per person: Open to KU Graduate Students with RSVP 864-4798

Sponsors of this Event:  Hall Center for the Humanities
The Urban Experience 

 "Urban History and the Violence of Neoliberalism" – Clarence Lang, University of Kansas
When:  February 12 @ 3:30 pm

Where: Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas
Cost per person: Open to KU Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students 

Sponsors of this Event:  Hall Center for the Humanities
Contested American Identities 

 "Contested American Identities: KU Scholars Address the Challenge" – Jennifer Hamer, Clarence Lang, Blane Harding, and Dot Nary, University of Kansas
When:  February 19 @ 5:30 pm

Where: Watson Library, University of Kansas
Cost per person: FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Sponsors of this Event: KU Libraries
Dear White People

 "Dear White People"
When:  February 24 @ 7:00 pm

Where: KU Union, University of Kansas
Cost per person: FREE with a valid KU Student ID

Sponsors of this Event: Kansas Black Student Union and KU's Black Men's Union
Raisin in the Sun

 "Raisin in the Sun"
When:  February 27 - March 8

Where: Crafton-Preyer Theatre, University of Kansas
Cost per person: Ticket information

Sponsors of this Event: University Theatre

In The News

African American Literary Blog

A. Philip Randolph
Christine Metz Howard | January 13, 2015 | KU News
The complicated legacy of one of the country's great civil rights leaders, A. Philip Randolph, is examined through a collection of essays co-edited by a University of Kansas professor.
Eclipsed by Martin Luther King Jr., Randolph was one of the most influential African-American civil rights and labor voices from the 1920s to the 1960s. Randolph formed the first African-American labor union to sign a collective bargaining agreement with a major company, organized the 1941 March on Washington Movement and was a key figure in the 1963 March on Washington, which is best known for King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
"For a good part of the 20 century, Randolph was both the leading African-American labor and civil rights leader," said Clarence Lang, associate professor of African and African-American studies. "He embodied two political strands that are often thought of in opposites terms: struggles around race and struggles around class."
Lang, with Andrew Kersten, dean for the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Idaho, edited the book "Reframing Randolph: Labor, Black Freedom, and the Legacies of A. Philip Randolph," which New York University Press is releasing this month. In the book's collection of essays, established and emerging scholars offer diverse accounts of Randolph's mixed record on labor and civil rights, as well as his gender politics and changing views of religion.

Read full article


S.O.S. Calling All Black People: Radio Show
| January 10, 2015 | W.E. A.L.L. B.E. TV

Conversation with John Bracey, Sonia Sanchez, and James Smethurst about their new book SOS Calling All Black People: Black Arts Reader
The Story Behind "40 acres and a mule"
 | January 12, 2015 | NPR
As the Civil War was winding down 150 years ago, Union leaders gathered a group of black ministers in Savannah, Ga. The goal was to help the thousands of newly freed slaves.
From that meeting came Gen. William T. Sherman's Special Field Order 15. It set aside land along the Southeast coast so that "each family shall have a plot of not more than forty acres of tillable ground."
That plan later became known by a signature phrase: "40 acres and a mule."
The Segregation Generation
| January 15, 2015 | The Guardian

In 1950, Gordon Parks - one of the most celebrated African American photographers - returned home to Fort Scott, Kansas to track down his old schoolmates and show the impact of segregation.  But when he found that most of them had moved north, he realised the Great Migration was the real story.  These rarely seen images show life and the search for opportunity in defiance of racism

View the photos


1964 MLK Speech on Civil Rights, Segregation & Apartheid South Africa
| January 19, 2015 | Democracy Now

In a Democracy Now! and Pacifica Radio Archives exclusive, we air a newly discovered recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On December 7, 1964, days before he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, King gave a major address in London on segregation, the fight for civil rights and his support for Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. The speech was recorded by Saul Bernstein, who was working as the European correspondent for Pacifica Radio. Bernstein's recording was recently discovered by Brian DeShazor, director of the Pacifica Radio Archives.

Watch the full interview/discussion


Killer Mike Speaks on MLK
Killer Mike | October 20, 2015 | Okayplayer

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Revolutionary, simple and plain. He did not get to live a regular life and have an 86th Bornday. He died a murder victim because he had the audacity to challenge a war machine bent on keeping people impoverished and men and woman dying for an illegal war. Martin was more than a speech-giving, marching, de-segregationist. He was a human being that dared to call out the hypocrisy of asking young people to refrain from violent protest on the one hand, while on the other allowing them to be cogs in a war machine that was making Vietnam a hell on earth for natives of that country and American soldiers alike.

Martin was a young father who at the threat of death dared to push forward on behalf of all humanity against the global reign of America and her allies' evil, perpetrated through war. He was a man of conscience who valued the life of all humans. He believed the philosophy of Jesus in a deeper way than just anti-homosexual rhetoric and conservative right-wing dogma. He was disgusted with the government and its use of power to oppress in the same way Christ had been. He defended the principle of all humanity having value and being equal–like his savior. He was not a flower-giving, other-cheek-turning sucker. He was a fiery preacher, returning from the mountaintop with a message that would turn the world as people knew it on its ear. Like his messiah Jesus Christ, he was a revolutionary.

Black Panthers Revisited
Stanley Nelson & Laurens Grant | January 22, 2015 | New York Times

When we think of the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, certain events tend to come to mind: the March on Washington, for example, or perhaps the Freedom Rides or sit-ins. Others, however, have faded from our collective memory. One of those is the story of the Black Panther Party, the subject of this Op-Doc video. Founded in 1966 in Oakland, Calif., to combat police violence, the Black Panther Party and its story are a key part of our nation's still-complicated racial narrative.

Read the full article and watch the video


A Shattered Foundation
Michael A. Fletcher | January 24, 2015 | Washington Post

African Americans for decades flocked to Prince George's County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black.

The county became a national symbol of the American Dream with a black twist. Families moved into expansive new homes, with rolling lawns, nearby golf courses and, most of all, neighbors who looked like them. In the early 2000s, home prices soared — some well beyond $1 million — allowing many African Americans to build the kind of wealth their elders could only imagine.

Historical Perspectives on Ferguson
| January 25, 2015 | AHA - CSPAN

Historians talked about the history of race relations in Ferguson, Missouri, and methods for teaching about race and protest. They also discussed the historical relationship between racial conflict and the law enforcement and the criminal justice systems.

The event took place at the American Historical Association's annual meeting.

Selma Director Defends Film's Portrayal on LBJ-MLK
| January 27, 2015 | Democracy Now
As we continue our interview with "Selma" director Ava DuVernay, she responds to the controversy around her film's portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson and his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The film depicts him as a reluctant, and even obstructionist, politician who had the FBI monitor and harass King. "I'm not here to rehabilitate anyone's image or be a custodian of anyone's legacy," DuVernay says. She expresses dismay that the debate has shifted attention from the film's focus on protest and resistance that continues today over police brutality. DuVernay also describes how she screened "Selma" at the White House for President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama 100 years after D.W. Griffith was there to screen the notoriously racist film "Birth of a Nation" for President Woodrow Wilson.
Black History Month
| January 29, 2015 | Left of Black

Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal is joined by Daryl Michael Scott to discuss the importance of Black History Month. Scott is a Professor of History at Howard University and the President of the Association of the Study of African American Life and History.

Vanguard of the Revolution
| January 30, 2015 | Democracy Now

With groups around the country taking on issues of police brutality and accountability, we go back 50 years to another movement confronting the same issues. We spend the hour looking at a new documentary that just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival called "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution." It tells the history of the Black Panther Party through rare archival footage and interviews with party leaders, rank-and-file members, journalists — and even police and FBIinformants. We feature extended excerpts from the film and speak with one its subjects, Kathleen Cleaver, who served as communications secretary of the Black Panther Party and is now a law professor at Emory University. We also speak with Stanley Nelson, the film's award-winning director. The film is set to play in theaters and air on PBSlater this year.

Ferguson, Selma and a mood for change
Gary Younge | January 30, 2015 | The Guardian

When the film trailer for Primary Colors, based on a novel about the election campaign of a philandering southern Democratic president, came out in 1998, the Monica Lewinsky scandal was in full bloom. I saw it at a movie theatre in Virginia, and when the announcer boomed, "At a cinema near you", a man in the audience shouted, "It's already here!"

Fruitvale Station, which documented the police shooting of Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man, opened on 12 July 2013. The very next evening, moviegoers emerged and turned on their phones to discover that George Zimmerman had been acquitted in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Every now and then, serendipity strikes and a film is released that not only starts a conversation, but joins one. The result is not so much art imitating life, but art illustrating and chiming with it. Given the length of time it takes to make a film, such synchronicity can rarely be planned; but so it has been with Selma, which covers three intense weeks in the struggle for voting rights in the small Alabama town in 1965: a struggle that became international news after the arrival of Martin Luther King and the violent clashes that ensued.

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Contact Information:

Langston Hughes Center
1440 Jayhawk Boulevard
Room 9 Bailey Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045-7574, USA
Phone: (785)864-5044
Fax: (785)864-5330
Shawn Leigh Alexander
Associate Professor of African & African-American Studies

NEH Summer Instittute

The Langston Hughes Center received a $180,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct a June 2017 summer institute for high school teachers, entitled "Teaching the 'Long Hot Summer' of 1967 and Beyond."  The project will be led by Shawn Alexander, Clarence Lang, and John Rury. See <http://www.summer67.dept.ku.edu/​>

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