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.

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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.

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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.”

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The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland- Dr. Robyn C. Spencer

December 13, 2018 @ 1:41 pm

In recognition of Women’s History Month (2017), the Auburn Avenue Research Library, in collaboration with Atlanta Metropolitan State College and Georgia State University’s Department of African American Studies, hosted Dr. Robyn C. Spencer, Associate Professor of History at Lehman College, City University of New York, who discussed her book, The Revolution Has Come.

Providing a panoramic view of the party's organization over its sixteen-year history, The Revolution Has Come, shows how the Black Panther Party embodied Black Power through international activism, interracial alliances, commitment to address state violence, and desire to foster self-determination in Oakland's black communities.

Recorded on March 28, 2017

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The Desegregation of Jim Crow South Libraries

November 13, 2018 @ 3:15 pm

The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History hosted Dr. Wayne A. Wiegand, who discussed his publication: The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South.

In his book Dr. Wiegand tells the comprehensive story of the integration of southern public libraries, in particular, the willingness of young black community members to take part in organized protests and direct actions ensured that local libraries would become genuinely free to all citizens.

Recorded on April 18, 2018

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Auburn Avenue Research Library Event Series
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