LHC Newsletter 10 2014

Langston Hughes Center Newsletter
October 2014

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: Tuttle Lecture; Jessie B. Semple Brownbag; Gender Seminar Place, Urban Experience Seminar, Hall Center Resident Fellows Seminar, Race, and Space Seminar, Langston Hughes Visiting Professor Lecture
  2. In the News: African American Literary Blog; Between the Lines: Jacob S. Dorman, Chosen People; Between the Lines: Sylvia Diof, The Story of the American Maroon; Fact Meets Fiction; Alain Locke; A Black Film Gem; Petitions; Black Wealth on TV; From Slavery to Ferguson
Shawn Leigh Alexander
Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies
Director, Langston Hughes Center
University of Kansas 
Upcoming Events 
7th Annual Tuttle Lecture

 "My Pen, My Voice, My Vote: Frederick Douglass in the Age of the Civil War" – David W. Blight, Yale University
When:  October 2 @ 4:00 pm

Where:  Kansas Union, Woodruff Auditorium (University of Kansas, Lawrence Campus)

Cost per person: FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Sponsors of this EventDepartments of American Studies, African & African-American Studies, English, History, Sociology, the Hall Center for the Humanities, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office of the Provost, and Student Athlete Support Services
Gender Seminar 

 "Race, Beauty Politics, and College Pageantry" – Karen Trice, University of Kentucky

When:  October 2 @ 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
Jesse B. Semple Brownbag Series

 “Push, Precious, and the Trauma of Literary Adaptation" – Ayesha Hardison, Langston Hughes Visiting Professor, Ohio University

When:  Monday, October 6 @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.
The Urban Experience 

 "Not in My Backyard: Race, Integration, and Opposition to Demographic Change in a Working-Class Kansas City Suburb, 1961-2000" – Aaron Rife, Wichita State University

When:  October 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
Resident Fellows Seminar 

 "Black Orientalism: Spiritualists, Muslims, Minstrels, Masons & the Making of Black Culture" – Jacob Dorman, University of Kansas

When:  October 15 @ 12:00 pm

Where: Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas

Cost per person: Open to KU Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students [RSVP Required hallcenter@ku.edu]

Sponsors of this Event:  Hall Center for the Humanities
Place, Race & Space Seminar 

 "The Suppression of Oppression: Impact of (Retouched) Racial Segregation Photos on Present Day Attitudes" – Ludwin Molina, University of Kansas

When:  October 20 @ 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, Langston Hughes Center
Langston Hughes Visiting Professor Lecture

 "Of Maids and Ladies: The Ethics of Living Jane Crow" – Ayesha Hardison, Langston Hughes Visiting Professor, Ohio University

When:  October 30 @ 3:30 pm

Where:  Kansas Union, Kansas Room (University of Kansas, Lawrence Campus)

Cost per person: FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Sponsors of this EventOffice of the Provost, Office of Diversity & Equity, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department

In The News

African American Literary Blog

Between the Lines: Jacob S. Dorman in conversation with Josef Sorett
| August 25, 2014 | Schomburg Center

A talk takes place at a book signing of Chosen People: The Rise of American Black Israelite Religions with author Jacob S. Dorman, Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Department of American Studies at the University of Kansas. Dorman is in conversation with Josef Sorett, Assistant Professor of Religion and African-American Studies at Columbia University and interdisciplinary historian of religion in America, with a particular focus on black communities and cultures in the United States.

Date of Talk: March 8, 2014

Watch the full program


Between the Lines: Sylviane Diouf in conversation with Eric Foner
| August 25, 2014 | Schomburg Center

Award-winning historian and Curator of Digital Collections at the Schomburg Center, Sylviane Diouf delivers an in-depth look at who the maroons were in the larger context of resistance during American slavery in her book, Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons. Diouf converses with Eric Foner, Pulitzer Prize winner and DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University.

Date of Talk: March 13, 2014

Watch the full program


Fact Meets Fiction In Tale Of A Slave, Explorer And Survivor
| September 7, 2014 | NPR

In the spring of 1528, a crew of 600 Spanish and Portuguese soldiers landed on the Gulf Coast of the United States, hoping to find gold.  The expedition was an utter disaster; only four members survived. Within a year, nearly all of the men involved in the Narvaez Expedition had succumbed to disease, starvation, drowning violent death in fights with indigenous people.  The survivors made their way across the continent, living with the natives, until they reached the Spanish settlements on the western coast of Mexico.  That disastrous expedition is the inspiration for a new novel by the Moroccan-American writer Laila Lalami.

Listen to the full program


The 60-year journey of the ashes of Alain Locke, father of the Harlem Renaissance
Frances Stead Sellers |September 11, 2014| Washington Post

“Look what I’ve got!”

Joellen ElBashir is standing, smiling, in front of filing cabinets with two long, low drawers agape. On a counter, she has laid out her finds: typewritten documents and a stained brown paper bag bearing a few faint lines of handwriting. It’s not the first time ElBashir, curator of Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, has seen the bag. But every time she sees it, she’s struck.

Read the full article
Alain Locke, Whose Ashes Were Found in University Archives, Is Buried
| September 16, 2014 | NPR

Inside the cemetery, beneath the stained glass, the chapel is full.  Mourners line the walls and spill out the door into the rainy day.

About 150 people are gathered for the funeral of a man who died 60 years ago.

Author and philosopher Alain Locke is widely known as the father of the Harlem Renaissance.  He inspired Martin Luther King Jr., who praised him as an intellectual leader on par with Plato and Aristotle.

Listen to the full program


Coming Soon, a Century Late: A Black Film Gem
Felicia R. Lee | September 20, 2014 | New York Times
For decades, the seven reels from 1913 lay unexamined in the film archives of the Museum of Modern Art. Now, after years of research, a historic find has emerged: what MoMA curators say is the earliest surviving footage for a feature film with a black cast. It is a rare visual depiction of middle-class black characters from an era when lynchings and stereotyped black images were commonplace. What’s more, the material features Bert Williams, the first black superstar on Broadway. Williams appears in blackface in the untitled silent film along with a roster of actors from the sparsely documented community of black performers in Harlem on the cusp of the Harlem Renaissance. Remarkably, the reels also capture behind-the-scenes interactions between these performers and the directors.
How Ordinary Petitions Helped End Slavery and Make Women into Political Activists
Daniel Carpenter | September 22, 2014 | Washington Post
Democracy needs activists, gadflies and, yes, “community organizers” both left and right. Ours is a democratic republic, one in which most lawmaking and policy are in the hands of elected officials. But those officials are elected or appointed by citizens, and citizens communicate actively with those who hold power. As political thinkers have known since at least the Roman Republic, however, this requires an active citizenry. Alexis DeTocqueville warned his readers about “individualism,” that “calm and considered feeling which disposes each citizen to isolate himself from the mass of his fellows and withdraw into the circle of family and friends; with this little society formed to his taste, he gladly leaves the greater society to look after itself.” If everyone isolates, if everyone is content to stay a great “family man” or “family woman,” DeTocqueville worried, then who will keep tabs on the powers that be, not least the government itself?
Black Wealth On TV: Realities Don’t Match Perceptions
Lillian D. Singh | September 26, 2014 | American Prospect
Raised by a single mother in South Central Los Angeles in the 1990s, I didn’t realize just how poor my family was until I filled out my FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) when applying for colleges.
That is when I learned that my total income was below the poverty line.  Instead of being embarrassed by the discovery, I was blown away by how my mom managed to do so much with so mfew resources.  My family wasn’t rich, but I didn’t feel poor.
From Slavery to Ferguson: America’s History of Violence Toward Blacks 
Breanna Edwards| September 27, 2014 | The Root

Recent events haunting black communities like ghosts of a violent era that many thought long gone—such as the tragic deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown—hark back to a collective memory of enslavement.

John Matteson, Distinguished Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, believes that the violence exhibited today is contextually linked to slavery and has become part of the culture over time.

“Slavery was a form of privatized law enforcement,” Matteson explained to The Root. “What it did was take a number of the powers that are typically reserved to the government—the power to discipline … the power over another person’s life—and it conferred those powers on private individuals. And there’s this continuing undercurrent in particularly Southern culture where there’s a reluctance to get the government involved if you can avoid it, because there’s just a sort of general distrust of centralized authority.”.

If you would like to unsubscribe send an email to lhcaas@ku.edu to let us know, and we'll remove you immediately.

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/​>

Featured Video
Power of Sport: A Conversation on Business, Race and Sports - Claire Smith, Darnell Valentine and Lafayette Norwood
February 1, 2018
University of Kansas
Announcements / Events
I Wonder as I Wander - Videos
Directions and Routes in African American Studies
Select a speaker’s name to view the video.

Episode 8
Darren Canady, Assistant Professor
Department of English

Episode 9
Cécile Accilien, Associate Professor
Department of African and African-American Studies
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
KU Today