Patriotism Black and White: The Color of American Exceptionalism - Dr. Nichole R. Phillips

June 28, 2019 @ 11:22 am

Based on her four years of ethnographic research, Patriotism Black and White investigates the relationship between patriotism and civil religion in a politically populist community comprised of black and white evangelicals in rural Tennessee. Despite the commonality of being rural and southern, Phillips’ study reveals that racial experiences are markers for distinguishable responses to radical social change. As Phillips shows, racial identity led to differing responses to the War on Terror and the Obama administration, and thus to a crisis in American national identity, opening the door to new nativistic and triumphalist interpretations of American exceptionalism.

Dr. Nichole R. Phillips is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Religion, and Culture at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Her research interests lie in the areas of religion and culture, race, ethnicity and gender, cultural anthropology with a focus on ethnographic research, and ritual performances of religion.

Recorded on March 23, 2019

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None of the Above: The Untold Story of the APS Cheating Scandal- Anna Simonton and Shani Robinson

June 21, 2019 @ 9:37 am

Writing with journalist Anna Simonton, Shani Robinson offers a personal story of false accusations and a trial gone wrong within a larger story of political machinations and student performance as pawns in a racist game. The author relates her story amid decades of context on the privatization of both public schools and prisons, the connections between real estate and public education, the racism underlying urban renewal, and the other factors that have left the Atlanta schools where they are.

Shani Robinson, an alumna of Tennessee State University, is an advocate for troubled youth and their families. She taught in the Atlanta Public Schools system for three years. Anna Simonton is an independent journalist based in Atlanta and is an editor for Scalawag magazine. Her work has been published by the Nation, In These Times, and AlterNet, among others. 

Recorded on February 27, 2019

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Faith and Struggle in the Lives of Four African Americans- Dr. Randal Maurice Jelks with Tayari Jones

May 17, 2019 @ 8:22 am

In his book Dr. Jelks explores the faith stories of four individuals: Atlanta native Mary Lou Williams, Ethel Waters, Eldridge Cleaver, and Muhammad Ali. He examines their autobiographical writings, interviews, speeches, letters, and memorable performances to understand how each of these figures used religious faith publicly to reconcile deep personal struggles, voice their concerns for human dignity, and reinvent their public image. For them, liberation was not simply defined by material or legal well being, but by a spiritual search for community and personal wholeness.

Randal Maurice Jelks is Professor of African and African American Studies and American Studies. He holds courtesy appointments in History, Religious Studies, and is the co-Editor of the journal American Studies. Jelks is a graduate of the University of Michigan (BA in History), McCormick Theological Seminary (Masters of Divinity) and Michigan State University (Ph.D. in Comparative Black Histories). Jelks is also clergy person in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, including An American Marriage, Silver Sparrow, The Untelling, and Leaving Atlanta. Jones holds degrees from Spelman College, Arizona State University, and the University of Iowa. A winner of numerous literary awards, she is a professor of creative writing at Emory University.

Recorded on April 28, 2019

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Rethinking Black Masculinity

May 3, 2019 @ 2:33 pm

Black gay men have always been a major part of the vanguard for style and fashion and have influenced the greater society in terms of design and trends. A multi-generational panel looks at the Dandy Lion: (Re) Articulating Black Masculine Identity exhibition which is on view at Hammonds House Museum through a LGBTQ lens.

Recorded on March 30, 2019

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Practical Equality: Forging Justice in a Divided Nation- Professor Robert L. Tsai

April 19, 2019 @ 1:14 pm

In this accessible and wide-ranging work, American University law professor Robert L. Tsai offers a stirring account of how legal ideas that aren’t necessarily about equality at all—ensuring fair play, behaving reasonably, avoiding cruelty, and protecting free speech—have often been used to overcome resistance to justice and remain vital today.

Tsai, a leading expert on constitutional law who has written widely in the popular press, traces challenges to equality throughout American history: from the oppression of emancipated slaves after the Civil War to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II to President Trump’s ban on Muslim travelers. He applies lessons from these and other past struggles to such pressing contemporary issues as the rights of sexual minorities and the homeless, racism in the criminal justice system, police brutality, voting restrictions, oppressive measures against migrants, and more.

Recorded on April 10, 2019

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Slavery by Another Name - Author Douglas Blackmon

April 5, 2019 @ 10:27 am

Slavery by Another Name challenges one of Americans’ most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold, and coerced to do the bidding of masters. Slavery by Another Name gives voice to the largely forgotten victims and perpetrators of forced labor and features their descendants living today.

Douglas Blackmon, the author of the book this documentary is based on, joined us post-screening to talk about what led him to tackle this project and how these problems and their history continue to haunt the American discourse to this day.

Recorded on February 9, 2019

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Medical Bondage: The Origins of American Gynecology - Professor Deirdre Cooper Owens

March 22, 2019 @ 10:31 am

Medical Bondage breaks new ground, exploring how pioneering nineteenth-century white physicians established modern American gynecology through the dehumanized involuntary medical experimentation of enslaved Black women. Well researched, this compelling book directly connects these gynecological experiments to the creation of gendered and racialized stereotypes that still exist in contemporary medical colleges and hospitals.

Deirdre Cooper Owens is an associate professor of history at Queens College and an Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lecturer. Dr. Cooper Owens has won many prestigious honors–including serving as an American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fellow in Washington, D.C. Cooper Owens is a proud graduate of Bennett College and Clark Atlanta University where she earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees, respectively.


Recorded on December 02, 2018

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The Lost Education of Horace Tate- Professor Vanessa Siddle Walker

March 4, 2019 @ 4:04 pm

The Auburn Avenue Research Library, in partnership with the Baton Foundation, Inc., hosted Dr. Vanessa Siddle Walker who discussed her publication, The Lost Education of Horace Tate: Uncovering the Hidden Heroes Who Fought for Justice in Schools.

The Lost Education of Horace Tate is a monumental work that offers fresh insight into the southern struggle for human rights, revealing little-known accounts of leaders such as W.E.B. Du Bois and James Weldon Johnson, as well as hidden provocateurs like Horace Tate. Just days after Dr. Tate’s passing in 2002, Dr. Walker found a massive archive documenting the underground actors and covert strategies behind the most significant era of the fight for educational justice. Thus began Walker’s sixteen-year project to uncover the network of educators behind countless battles—in courtrooms, schools, and communities—for the education of black children.

Vanessa Siddle Walker, a professor at Emory University, has studied the segregated schooling of African American children for more than twenty years. She is the president of the American Educational Research Association, a former National Academy of Education Post-Doctoral Spencer fellow, and a recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in education

Recorded on February 10, 2019

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SHOOK- Hip Hop and the Black Gothic Image

January 25, 2019 @ 4:48 pm

The Auburn Avenue Research Library, as part of the A3C Hip Hop festival, hosted the gallery event Shook: Comics, Hip Hop, and the Black Gothic Image.

This compelling conversation is a contextual re-framing of existing works by noted contemporary artists, presenting a unique exploration of the Black visual imagination through the intersectional narratives woven into comic book culture, Hip-Hop, and Black Gothic imagery.

Kevin Sipp is a fine artist, independent scholar, and curator with expertise in printmaking, painting, sculpture and multi-media installation.

Recorded on October 30 2018

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Movement in Focus- Conversation with Troy Powel, Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey II- Journalist Rose Scott

January 12, 2019 @ 2:59 pm

The Auburn Avenue Research Library, in collaboration with Hammonds House Museum, presented a special screening event titled “Movement in Focus: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater” with a post-screening moderated Q & A with Ailey II Artistic Director, Troy Powell.  

Designated by a U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American Cultural Ambassador to the World, the Ailey Company is known for its spectacular range, diversity, and artistry, which are showcased in the film, culminating in a performance of its beloved signature work, Revelations. Revelations is an iconic masterpiece of American dance, described by The New York Times as “one of the great works of the human spirit.”


Recorded on October 19, 2018

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Auburn Avenue Research Library Event Series
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