‘Charleston Syllabus’ Events Prompt Discussions on Race

‘Charleston Syllabus’ Events Prompt Discussions on Race

Following the tragedy at Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston June 17, 2015, scholars around the world began compiling a #charlestonsyllabus to provide context for the attack, especially in regards to race relations, racially-inspired violence, and the history of race in South Carolina and the United States. This syllabus was conceived and coordinated by Chad Williams, associate professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University, and it follows the creation of separate syllabi created in the aftermath of other violent incidents that have occurred in the U.S., such as the fatal civilian confrontations with police in Baltimore, Md., and Ferguson, Mo.

In the wake of the Emanuel AME Church shooting, and in the spirit of these syllabi, the College of Charleston has compiled its own Charleston Syllabus featuring campus and Lowcountry events that focus on the issues of race relations, black culture in the U.S. and civil rights.

This Charleston Syllabus, compiled by Simon Lewis, professor of English at the College, is not meant to be an exhaustive account of all events at the College related to these themes. But participation in any of these events, Lewis believes, can help our community transcend existing narratives of “division, separation, and hatred.”

NOTE: Details of each the events below are subject to change. Please contact the event host for the most accurate and up-to-date information.



Current to September 30th: Hush Harbor Exhibition

Third Floor Hallway, Simons Center for the Arts

Hush Harbor is an exhibition of (mostly) student designs for a Monument to the Courage of Those Who Suffered During the Atlantic Slave Trade that is proposed to accompany the upcoming International African American Museum in Charleston. This was the final project for the Art & Architectural History course The Architecture of Memory.  The exhibition was curated by a Prof. Nathaniel R. Walker and a committee of students, and includes a brief retrospective of global memorial forms such as arches and obelisks, many of which are found in Africa, and there is also a section dedicated to the way that Charleston has, and has not, memorialized key events in African-American history.  The third and final section is composed of student monument designs, including, among many other proposals, glass obelisks, community-built polychrome archways, and circular fountain enclosures.  Among the many local monuments that students of the class toured was Mother Emanuel AME Church—which has now become, of course, the site of tragic events that are more than deserving of our collective, perpetual memory.


July 18th to August 30th: Remnants of the Rice Culture – Agricultural History as Art

City Gallery at Waterfront Park

The exhibition of photographs by David Shriver Soliday showcases the genesis and genealogy of the coastal rice production complex once known as the Rice Empire. The collection documents man’s 300 year-old record upon the landscape and explores the intersection between agricultural history and art. Soilday’s aerial perspective distinguishes the subtle fading imprints of rice production and frames the monumental scale of the precisely constructed fields, dikes, and canals in ways otherwise difficult to apprehend. Highlighting the role of African-American labor and expertise in transforming the native swamplands into a highly engineered hydraulic machine, the artist’s compelling images, presented on infused aluminum sheet metal, prompt varied dialogues about the physical landscape, human capability and intervention, and the rice industry’s enduring environmental and social impact.


August 17th onward: Student and Faculty Discussion of Freedom Summer

College of Charleston freshmen discuss Freedom Summer by Bruce Watson with their peers and professors. This book was chosen for the 2015-2016 College Reads! program and documents the Civil Rights Era.


August 21st: Opening Reception for American Artist and Musician Lonnie Holley

6:30 to 8:30 p.m., The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

The exhibition will feature a selection of the artist’s assemblage works since the early 1990s, with an emphasis on recent work.


August 22nd: Discussion with American Artist and Musician Lonnie Holley

1.pm., The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

Gallery talk with Lonnie Holley and exhibition curator Mark Sloan.


August 27th – Book Signing, Discussion and Reception with Alfred Green

7 p.m., Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street

Alfred Green will tell stories about his father’s young life in Charleston including studying music at the Jenkins Orphanage, his legendary career with Count Basie and his orchestra, and the innovative guitar technique of Freddie Green.  The Avery Research Center is the archival home of the Freddie Green Jazz Collection.


August 28th: Jazz Repertory Class

3:30 to 5 p.m., Recital Hall, Simons Center for the Arts, 54 St. Philip St.

College of Charleston guitar professor Tyler Ross opens up to the public his jazz repertory class with guitar and other jazz students to hear Michael Pettersen discuss the guitar technique of jazz musician Freddie Green. Pettersen’s work on Green is documented at www.freddiegreen.org.


August 29th: Book Presentation with Author Alfred Green

7 p.m., Recital Hall, Simons Center for the Arts, 54 St. Philip St.

Alfred Green will provide an informative, interactive & entertaining presentation on his father, musician Freddie Green, followed by a Q & A with Charleston Post & Courier journalist Adam Parker and a concert featuring Quentin Baxter and the Franklin Street Jazz Ensemble. This band will play compositions by Freddie Green as well as other music that is associated with or influenced by Green and the Count Basie Orchestra. A book signing immediately follows the event.



September 3rd: Avery Brown Bag Series: “Spiritual Wayfarers and Enslaved Africans: Readings and New Insights into Muslim Slaves Manuscripts in the American South and Gullah/Geechee Traditions,” by Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, PhD Candidate, Howard University,

12 p.m., Avery Research Center
In this presentation, Muhammad Fraser-Rahim examines historic encounters between Africa, Islam, and American history—specifically in the antebellum U.S. South—and their role in an emerging American cultural and pluralistic society. Scholars estimate that between twenty to forty percent of slaves in the antebellum United States were Muslims. Forty-six percent of slaves in the American South were kidnapped from the west coast of Africa, and the majority came from Muslim countries on the continent. Fraser-Rahim’s research attempts to critically examine the role of the transmission of Islamic knowledge for enslaved people leaving West Africa, and the journey, legacy, and challenges of this transmission as it adapted and shaped roots in the Americas. Using original Arabic documents, this discussion will also examine the role of spiritual and religious traditions mastered by these enslaved Africans, and the intersection of Gullah Geechee traditions that allowed them to create agency in their experiences and adapt to the U.S. South.


September 3rd: Exhibition Opening: “This Far By Faith: Carolina Camp Meetings, An African American Tradition,” by Minuette Floyd, Curator, University of South Carolina

7 p.m., McKinley-Washington Auditorium and the Cox Gallery, Avery Research Center
This exhibition represents a fourteen-year journey of research, photographs, and audio and video footage by Minuette Floyd, associate professor of art education in the School of Visual Art at the University of South Carolina. This black and white photography exhibition explores both the history and traditions of camp meetings that take place annually in North and South Carolina. Since 2001, Floyd has traveled to seven African American campgrounds and captured the rich traditions of camp meetings through photography, video, and oral history interviews. Her first solo exhibition, entitled Generations: African American Camp Meetings in South Carolina, traveled between 2001 and 2004. This Far By Faith represents the second phase of this exhibition, and has been displayed at the Charlotte Museum of History in North Carolina (2010), the Moore Methodist Center at St. Simon’s Island, Georgia (2010, and the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina (2008). This Far By Faith: Carolina Camp Meetings, An African American Tradition will be on display at the Avery Research Center from September 3, 2015 to January 25, 2016.


September 8th: Eyes on the Prize Documentary Screening

3 p.m., Venue to be determined

The Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) program at the College of Charleston will screen Episode 5, “Mississippi: Is This America?” from Eyes on the Prize, the award-winning documentary on the history of the Civil Rights movement.


September 9th: “William and Ellen Craft: The Georgia Fugitives after Slavery,” by Barbara McCaskill, Ph.D., University of Georgia

6 p.m., McKinley-Washington Auditorium, Avery Research Center
In 1848, William and Ellen Craft escaped from central Georgia and bondage in sensational fashion. After twenty years, the couple returned to the South, eventually establishing a school for the freed people in coastal Georgia. Barbara McCaskill’s presentation focuses on the triumphs and heartbreaks of their post-Emancipation years, from reuniting with family members separated by enslavement, to mounting a legal challenge against accusations of fraud. This couple and their family pursued goals of education, institution building, and respectability that would dominate the agenda of African American leaders in the decades following the Civil War.

Barbara McCaskill is an associate professor in the department of English at the University of Georgia. Her recent book publication is entitled, Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William & Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory (University of Georgia Press, 2015).


September 10th: Teach-in on Police Brutality

7 p.m. in the Robert Scott Small Building, Room 235

The African American Studies program at the College of Charleston presents a panel discussion featuring Susan Dunn of the ACLU, Pastor Thomas Dixon of People United to Take Back Our Community, Muhiyidin D’baha of Black Lives Matter Charleston, and Dr. Mari Crabtree of the College of Charleston.


September 11th: The Boy Is Gone: Conversations with a Mau Mau General

3 p.m., Addlestone Library, Room 227

Laura Lee Huttenbach will present a program on her recently published oral history of a Kenyan freedom fighter.


September 14th-15th: Screening of Four Little Girls

6 p.m., Addlestone Library

The College of Charleston will be screening Four Little GirlsSpike Lee’s Academy Award-nominated documentary on the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Ala. as part of the Google-sponsored Race and Social Justice Initiative.


September 15th: “Holy Cities, Distant Parallels: Reflections by Survivors of the ’63 Birmingham Church Bombing”

6:30 p.m., Burke High School

This event is part of the Google-sponsored Race and Social Justice Initiative.


September 15th Screening of Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North

1 p.m. Calvary Episcopal Church


September 16th:  Avery Brown Bag Series: “‘It Only Takes a Spark to Get a Fire Going’: The Life and Legacy of a Legendary Educator, Lois A. Simms, 1920-2015,” by Jon Hale, PhD, College of Charleston,

Avery Research Center, 12-1:15 pm.
In this presentation, Jon Hale examines the career and legacy of Lois Averetta Simms, a consummate educator who taught during the years of segregation and the tumultuous period of desegregation. Ms. Simms, born in Charleston in 1920, graduated as the valedictorian of the Avery Normal Institute in 1937. After completing her degree in education from Johnson C. Smith University in 1941, Ms. Simms taught at Archer Elementary School, the Avery Normal Institute, Burke High School, and Laing High School. She earned her Master’s Degree from Howard University in 1954, the year the Supreme Court passed the monumental Brown v. Board of Education decision. She later taught as one of the first African American teachers in the formerly all-white Charleston High School. The life and illustrious career of Lois Simms provides crucial insights into the nuanced and integral role of secondary education in Charleston and the history of the Civil Rights Movement.


September 16th: Requiem for Rice discussion

6:30 p.m., School of Mathematics and Science Auditorium, Calhoun and Coming Street

Artist Jonathan Green, musician Lee Pringle, and historian/librettist Edda Fields-Black share a panel to talk about a new multi-medium composition Requiem for Rice that will have its world premiere at the Gaillard Auditorium in 2017 as part of the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project Biennial Symposium.  More at RequiemforRice.com.


September 17th:  “Charleston in Black and White: Race and Power Since the Civil Rights Movement,” by Steve Estes, PhD, Sonoma State University

6 p.m., Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium

In the immediate aftermath of the massacre at Emanuel AME Church, the national media has shined an intense spotlight on race relations in the Lowcountry. Often missing from this media coverage is a deeper historical context. In his recent book, Charleston in Black and White, and in this public lecture, Steve Estes examines the ways Charleston responded to the twentieth century civil rights movement, embracing some changes and resisting others. Based on detailed archival research and more than fifty oral history interviews, Estes addresses the complex roles played not only by race but also by politics, labor relations, criminal justice, education, religion, tourism, economics, and the military in shaping a modern southern city. Despite the advances and opportunities that have come to the city since the 1960s, Charleston (like much of the US South) has not fully reckoned with its troubled racial past, which still influences the present and will continue to shape the future.

Steve Estes is a Professor of Modern US History at Sonoma State University. His recent book publication is entitled, Charleston in Black and White: Race and Power in the South after the Civil Rights Movement (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).


September 18th: Constitution Day Lecture – “Terrible Duties: The ‘Second Founding’ and 21st Century Citizenship”

2 p.m., Wells Fargo Auditorium.

The post-Civil War amendments are often said to represent a “Second Founding.”  They radically change the text of the Constitution and are still (slowly) changing the country. This lecture will discuss the transformative text of the 13th, 14th,and 15th Amendments in the light of our current national conversations about racial and marital equality.

Legal scholar, novelist, and journalist Garrett Epps will deliver this annual lecture at the College of Charleston. Epps is a professor of law at the University of Baltimore and author, among other things, of Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Civil Rights in Post-Civil War America (2006).


September 19th: Lecture and Discussion on Overcoming the Minority Student Achievement Gap

9:30 a.m., Stern Student Center ballroom

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Charleston County School District are hosting this discussion which features keynote speaker Steve Perry, founder and principal of one of the top schools in the country, Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. Perry is one of the most talked about and innovative educators in the nation. Capital Prep has sent 100% of its predominantly low-income, minority, first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first graduating class in 2006. His speech begins at 10 a.m.


September 19th Screenings of Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North

1 p.m., St Thomas Episcopal Church, North Charleston


September 21st: Lecture on Grief in the Community, by Dr. June Thomas Manning

3:30 p.m., Admissions Auditorium

Dr. June Thomas Manning, who is a “minority race planner,” will help all understand the veneer of grief at the present moment that hides the multiple cities that really exist.  Even in grief, there are multiple cities, not one.  This crime and tragedy is grieved differently, and the brunt of it is borne differently by different people.  The idea of “one-ness” is an aspirational goal here, belying the multiple lived realities of Charleston.  These realities, these multiple cities, unfortunately, will still be right around the corner when popular attention dissipates and fades away.

This lecture is presented by he Urban Studies Program, African American Studies Program, Political Science Department, Historic Preservation and Community Planning Program, MPA Program – Urban and Regional Planning Certificate, the Art History Department, Carter Real Estate Center, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and FYE Office.



September 25th:  Screening of The Aryans with filmmaker Mo Asumang

6 p.m., Charleston Museum Auditorium

The Department of German and Slavic Studies, supported by the First Year Experience at the College of Charleston and the Avery Research Center, will be hosting Mo Asumang for a screening of her film The Aryans – http://www.die-arier.com/en/index.php.,


September 28th: Screening of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

7 p.m., Education Center, Room 116, 25 St. Philip St.

This film is part of the African American Studies Program Fall Film Festival.



October 1st: Lecture on the symbolism of the Confederacy and Re-enactments by Dr. Steven Hoelscher

3:30 p.m., Admissions Auditorium

Dr. Hoelscher of the University of Texas has done transformative work on the role of the Confederacy, place, and whiteness in southern and broader U.S. identity (including the North), some of the very ideas at the heart of the tragedy of the Emanuel AME Church shooting.  Dr. Hoelscher has studied Natchez, Miss. – a community that, in its entirety, enacts ante-bellum southern life, complete with whites as masters and blacks as slaves.  This work documents the powerful role that Confederate reenactments and symbols play in articulating broader ideas of whiteness, and what happens when something is “out of place” in that model has deathly consequences. The lecture is hosted by the Geography Program within the Department of Political Science and is also sponsored by African American Studies, Urban Studies, Sociology and Anthropology, History, and Political Science.


October 2nd: Lecture Comparing Bus Boycotts in the US and South Africa by Derek Catsam

Historian Derek Catsam, who has written about the Freedom Rides, will give a lecture deriving from his comparative project on bus boycotts in the US and South Africa. That talk will be the precursor to a mini-conference hosted by African Studies on making the promises of democracy real in Africa.


October 3rd: Lecture Comparing Public Reactions to the Charleston Church Shooting and the Arab Spring in Egypt by Laura Bier

Laura Bier of Georgia Tech has written about women’s human rights in Egypt, including that topic’s connection to the popular uprising known as the Arab Spring. The role of social media in that uprising might make us think of the spontaneity of the demonstrations of unity in Charleston and the upswelling of opinion against the Confederate flag, while the reversal of the revolution in Egypt may give us pause to reflect on the potential for backlash here in South Carolina.


October 5th: Screening of Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave

7 p.m., Education Center 116, 25 St Philip Street

This film is part of the African American Studies Program Fall Film Festival.


October 7th: “Unsung Heroes: Now It’s Our Turn,” by Cleo Scott Brown, Speaker, Author, Race Relations Strategist

12 p.m., Avery Research Center
Before the infamous march in Selma, Alabama, a group of African Americans in northeast Louisiana convinced Robert Kennedy to file suit on their behalf to obtain the right to vote. In 1962, they successfully won this right in Federal Court after almost eighty years of disenfranchisement. These plaintiffs helped shape the attitudes of Robert Kennedy and the newly assigned attorneys in the Justice Department about what and how much should be invested in helping southern African Americans gain their right to vote. To commemorate 50 years since the passing of the Voting Rights Act, in this presentation Cleo Scott Brown will discuss her book Witness to the Truth (University of South Carolina Press) and her own frightening experiences as the child of John H. Scott, a voting rights leader in northeast Louisiana. From being the place where black Union soldiers first engaged in battle with their former “masters” at Millikin’s Bend, to being the place where farmers caused a nation-wide protest that led to black farmers being able to buy land under Roosevelt’s New Deal program, the predominately black northeast corner of Louisiana, though unsung, has made its mark on history.


October 7th: African American Studies hosts Mark Anthony Neal for a lecture on the faultlines of racial identity and masculinity.


October 9th: Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program hosts Tomas Fernandez Robaina for a lecture on the faultlines of racial identity and masculinity.


October 8th and 9th: Lecture and seminar on the role of religion aboard eighteenth-century British sailing vessels crossing the Atlantic, by Stephen R. Berry

Stephen R. Berry is an associate professor of history at Simmons College who teaches courses in Early American, Atlantic World, and American religious history.  Berry’s book A Path in the Mighty Waters: Shipboard Life and Atlantic Crossings came out from Yale University Press in January of this year. Drawing on an impressive array of archival collections, Berry’s vivid and rich account of migrants’ experiences reveals the crucial role the Atlantic played in history and how it has lingered in American memory as a defining experience. These events are part of the CLAW Distinguished Public Lecture Series lecture and CLAW faculty seminar.


October 8th through 10th: Slave Dwelling Project Conference

Joe McGill (formerly with the National Trust for Historic Preservation) will be hosting the second Slave Dwelling Project conference with significant contributions from College of Charleston public historian Mary Battle and librarian Amanda Noll, among others.



October 10th: Celebrating Black Midwives Symposium

10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington Auditorium
National Midwifery Week is October 4 to10, 2015! Created by the American College of Nurse–Midwives (ACNM), National Midwifery Week was established to celebrate, recognize and honor the work and role of midwives. This symposium hosted by Avery Research Center will include a panel presentation and film screenings of Bringin’ in da Spirit: A Film History of African American Midwives and All My Babies: A Midwife’s Own Story. This event is free and open to the public.


October 15th: Discussion of Freedom Summer’s Place in the American imagination, by Brian Norman

The literary critic Brian Norman has published a short, undergraduate-accessible review essay related to this topic: “What Are These Bodies Doing in the River?: Freedom Summer and the Cultural Imagination,”


This College Reads!-related event is presented by the Department of English.


October 15th Panel Discussion: “Three Perspectives of Hobcaw Barony Plantation”

Room 227, Addlestone Library.

This panel, featuring College of Charleston Professors Ralph Muldrow, James L. Ward, and Barry Stiefel, will discuss the plantation in Georgetown County, S.C. and an associated exhibit will be on show on the 2nd floor of the library. Hobcaw’s intact Friendfield Village has antebellum slave cabins and post-bellum tenant farmers’ (mostly descended from the slaves) cabins that illuminate the relatively similar survival-level housing that were more third world (no electricity or plumbing) here in the Lowcountry.


October 15th to 18th: Mountain Interstate Foreign Languages Conference

This event is hosted by Hispanic Studies.



October 21st: Affirming or Dis-confirming America’s Promise:  Attitudes about Affirmative Action Among Black Americans and Black Immigrants” by Conseula Francis

12 p.m., Addlestone Library, Room 227

Faculty Lecture Series lecture by Dr Conseula Francis, Department of English and associate provost, sponsored by the Honors College and Friends of the Library.


October 28th:  Seduced by the Pleasures of Freedom:  The Radical Feminism of African American Romance Fiction,” by Anthony Greene of the College’s African American Studies program.

12 p.m., Addlestone Library, Room 227

This event is sponsored by the Honors College and Friends of the Library.


October 31st:  Avery Reception: 150th Commemoration Event

3 to 5 p.m., McKinley Washington Auditorium, Avery Research Center

2015 is an important year at the Avery Research Center. The Center is located in a historic building that once housed the Avery Normal Institute, which served as a hub for Charleston’s African American communities from 1865 to 1954. 2015 marks the 150th Anniversary of the opening of this influential school, and the 30th Anniversary of the Avery Research Center, which was established at the College of Charleston in 1985 through the support of Avery alumni. To commemorate this significant anniversary, the Avery Research Center will host a reception that is free and open to the public. This event will include remarks from:

Dr. Patricia Lessane, executive director of the Avery Research Center
Dr. Bernard Powers, professor in the Department of History at the College of Charleston
The Honorable Lucille Whipper, Avery Institute alumna, former South Carolina State Representative, and former president of the Avery Institute Board.



November 2nd: Lecture – Voting Rights and Race in American Politics with Keynote Speech by Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center

4 p.m., Sottile Theatre

For their annual convocation of majors, the Political Science Department will host a public lecture on the topic of voting rights and race in American politics. Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center will be the keynote speaker.  She will deliver her remarks at 4 p.m. in Sottile Theatre. Brooks leads the Southern Poverty Law Center’s outreach efforts on important social justice issues. She also directs the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Ala.  Brooks has given dozens of lectures on various issues related to race and social justice.


November 2 through December: “Risking Everything” Freedom Summer exhibit

Addlestone Library

This exhibit by the Wisconsin Historical Society will be installed in the Addlestone Atrium. Here is a link to the exhibit as displayed elsewhere: http://fsxbt.tumblr.com/photos.

November 4th : Lecture, “Common Core State Standards Initiative: Origins of the Movement and Political Implications,” by Kendall Deas, Department of Teacher Education

Noon, Addlestone 227

As part of the College of Charleston’s Faculty Lecture Series, Professor Deas will deliver a lecture on the common core state standards. He will explain how the standards emphasize preparing students for college and careers, but include nothing that teaches citizenship and helps students develop a sense of social and civic pride. This is clearly important for not only maintaining a vibrant democracy but also successfully addressing some of the goals of a social justice agenda such as eradicating inequities in American K-12 education and the existing achievement gap. (This event is co-sponsored by the Honors College and Friends of the Library.)

November 4th: Jamie Fellner will give a lecture entitled “Sentencing Reform for Non-Violent Drug Offenses.”

6 p.m., Stern Ballroom

Fellner specializes in US criminal justice issues, including prison conditions, the incarceration of the mentally ill, sentencing, the death penalty, and drug law enforcement. From 2001 to 2007, she was the first director of Human Rights Watch’s US program, supervising research and advocacy on US counterterrorism policies, immigration, and the criminal justice system. She earned a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley and completed doctoral studies in Latin American History at Stanford University. The lecture is sponsored by SocyAnth, POLS, WGS, Pre-Law, Crime, Law and Society and the League of Women Voters. See https://www.hrw.org/about/people/jamie-fellner for more information on Dr. Fellner

November 4th through 7th: Conference: “African Diaspora Circularities ­– Forging Communities, Cultures, and Politics”

North Campus

The School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs will be hosting the 8th biennial ASWAD conference (Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora). ASWAD’s conference will focus on related themes of circulation/migration and the importance of locality/place in shaping the human experience of Africans and African descendants around the world. ASWAD has already recognized the great significance of holding this conference in Charleston at this time, and you can read their statement in response to the Emanuel murders at http://www.aswadiaspora.org/.

The African Diaspora is defined in great measure by the movement and circulation of African peoples, their cultures, and their ideas. African peoples in diaspora have created their own meanings and social-ideological geographies, forming new communities, dialogues and autonomous spaces within the global Black world and larger transnational communities. Whether it is the birth of Gullah culture in the Carolina Sea Islands from far-flung Atlantic colonial spaces or communities navigating the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and class, African peoples have been generating circuits that constitute intertwined histories with increasing dialogue among each other.

The keynote lecture, “The Challenge of Transformation,” to be delivered by New York University professor Michael Gomez, is sponsored by the CLAW Program’s Wells Fargo Distinguished Lecture Series. It will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 7th, at the College of Charleston’s North Campus, rooms 110 B and C. The full conference requires registration. . For more information please see: http://convention2.allacademic.com/one/aswad/aswad15/

November 6th: Film Screening, Freedom Riders
7 p.m. Cistern Yard

Enjoy this outdoor screening of the acclaimed film about the Civil Rights Movement activists who changed America.

November 7th: Lecture, “Reluctant Desegregation: Charleston in 1964.”

2 p.m., Addlestone Library, Room 227

In conjunction with the Wisconsin Historical Society’s touring exhibit of Civil Rights Movement images, Dr. John White, Dean of Libraries, will present a talk on the often overlooked history of Charleston’s African American community in the broader Civil Rights Movement.

November 8th: Boundless Words and Voices

3 p.m. – 6 p.m., Cistern Yard

Live music, spoken word, dance, community tables and more with Marcus Amaker, Chinese Mama Dance Group, Dance and Activism, heART, Jazz Artists of Charleston, Robert Lewis, Vikki Matsis, Carol Marie Webster, Marjory Wentworth, MAG ART Studio, Ohm Radio and others. Bring your chairs!

November 9th: “An Evening with Bruce Watson, author of Freedom Summer: The Savage Season of 1964 that Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy.”

7 p.m., Sottile Theatre

Freedom Summer is the 2015-2016 selection for the CollegeReads! program at the College of Charleston.


November 9th: Screening of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled

7 p.m., Education Center, Room 116, 25 St Philip St.

This film is part of the African American Studies Program Fall Film Festival.


November 12th: Avery Brown Bag Series: “Education: The Fabric of My Life,” by Marlene Linton O’Bryant-Seabrook

12 p.m., Avery Research Center

In this presentation, Marlene O’Bryant-Seabrook (PhD, Educator, Lecturer, Fiber Artist, iPad Artist) will share her journey of love for Education—as a life-long receiver and giver. A third generation educator, O’Bryant-Seabrook will share both her rich experiences, and various documents and artifacts from her family of educators. These materials range from the 1868 school record of her maternal great-grandmother, to memorabilia from her time as a student at the Avery Normal Institute, which she attended from pre-primer through twelfth grade. O’Bryant Seabrook will also discuss her years as the only African American, and one of only two women, on the faculty at The Citadel: Military College of South Carolina. Finally, she will present examples of her use of the iPad in conjunction with the designing and execution of her nationally and internationally exhibited art quilts. As an educator and artist, O’Bryant-Seabrook approaches quilting from a dual focus: all of her quilts, which she views as she did the bulletin boards of her elementary school teaching days, have overt or subtle lessons tucked in them.

November 19th: Film screening, Rosenwald., and q&a session with fil-maker Aviva Kempner

5:30pm, American Theater, 446 King Street

The documentary Rosenwald relates the remarkable efforts of Jewish businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald to improve educational access for poor African Americans in the South. The son of an immigrant peddler who became the head of Sears, Roebuck, and Co., Rosenwald partnered with Booker T. Washington to build 5,400 schools in southern African American communities during the Jim Crow era. Film-maker Aviva Kempner will be present for a q&a session after the film screening. RSVP by November 15th to Professor Shari Rabin: rabinsl@cofc.edu.


December 2nd: Screening of John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood

7 p.m., Education Center, Room 116, 25 St Philip Street

This film is part of the African American Studies Program Fall Film Festival.


December 3rd: Avery Brown Bag Series: “Somebody Had To Do It: First Children in School Desegregation,” by Millicent Brown

12 p.m., Avery Research Center
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that de jure racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional on the federal level through Brown v. Board of Education. Despite this ruling, it took years for public schools on the state and local level to effectively begin to integrate. In South Carolina, school desegregation did not begin until 1963, when Judge Robert Martin ruled in Millicent Brown et al v. Charleston County School Board, District 20 to approve requests from black students to be admitted to white schools.

In this presentation, Millicent Brown, Ph.D., Somebody Had To Do It Project director, independent scholar and a retired professor of U.S. history, will discuss her experiences as a “first child” in school desegregation, which led her to launch the Somebody Had To Do It project in 2006. Through oral histories with black Americans who were the “first children” to integrate public schools in the mid-twentieth century, the Somebody Had To Do It oral history collection provides insights into the history of school desegregation in South Carolina and the U.S. South.

In 2013, Brown donated this collection to the Avery Research Center. In 2015 she co-authored an online exhibition through the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative with College of Charleston professors Jon Hale and Clerc Cooper that features excerpts from this collection, as well as an essay and timeline detailing the history of desegregation in South Carolina.