Thursday, February 24, 2011

Research 2.0: Black History Month + Southern Cultures

Researchers take note. Southern Cultures, a quarterly publication of the University of North Carolina’s Center for the Study of the American South, celebrates Black History Month this year with a special and permanent feature you will want to see.

Dave Shaw, the publication's Executive Editor, wrote in an announcement circulated on the H-Net List on Memory Studies :
In celebration of Black History Month, Southern Cultures permanently has dedicated a new section of our website to all of our essays and features from the last decade on AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE. This material includes interviews with many famous figures (and lesser known ones, too), as well as material which explores many aspects of the experiences of African Americans inside and outside the South. In addition, we've also been presenting featured content on our homepage to commemorate African American history: an essay from Timothy B. Tyson, author of Blood Done Sign My Name, who reveals why Martin Luther King's memory endures and what he means to the South and the nation.
To go to Southern Culture’s website, follow this link.

Also in celebration of Black History Month, Rebecca Burns gave an author’s talk last night at AARL about her new book Burial for a King: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Funeral and the Week That Transformed Atlanta and Rocked the Nation. If you get a chance to hear her, do so. You will find more on the Library's other amazing programs here.

Posted by Wesley Chenault, Library Research Associate

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Southern American Studies Association 2011 Conference: “Peoples, Publics, and Places of the Souths”

From February 17 to February 19, 2011, Georgia State University, our institutional neighbor in downtown Atlanta, hosts the Southern American Studies Association 2011 Conference, “Peoples, Publics, and Places of the Souths.” You can read about it here or peruse the program here. The Archives Division is proud to share news of grant-funded project staff and patrons who are presenting.

Dr. Barbara McCaskill and Christina L. Davis of the University of Georgia – whose research at AARL and elsewhere we’ve covered on four occassions – are presenting “The Atom Bomb of Auburn Avenue: Transregional Civil Rights Activism of J. Richardson Jones, Atlanta Daily World Reporter” as part of the session “Black Media, Black Business, Black Power.” Cheryl Oestreicher, project archivist for the CLIR Hidden Collections grant and AARL Archives blog contributor, is presenting a paper titled “Jean Childs Young: The Activist Beside the Activist” for the session “Unveiling the Complexity of Southern Social Activism.” Grace Lynis Dubinson, a graduate student in the History Department at Georgia State University and project staff for the NHPRC digitization grant, is chairing the panel “You Are What You Eat: Farming and Food as Social Markers” and presenting “Summary of the Urban Farm Movement: Cultivating Food Production in the 2009 Growing Season ‘You Can’t Eat Grass’” as part of “Uncovering Contested Spaces/Transforming Sacred Places.” Lastly, I am participating on the panel, “Practices of Public Scholarship: What public? Whose scholarship?”

The Archives Division wishes everyone well and looks forward to hearing follow-up reports from dear friends and colleagues.

Posted by Wesley Chenault, Library Research Associate

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Archives and Publics: Duncan Teague + Social Activism + Scholarship

This weekend the Archives Division of the Auburn Avenue Research Library proudly presents a two day program to announce and celebrate the donation of the Duncan E. Teague collection and to bring together scholars and activists in a symposium inspired by Teague's numerous contributions to communities in Atlanta and beyond. Details are provided in the flyer above.

In the image below, Kerrie Cotten Williams, Archivist, describes the significance of the collection in the Winter 2010 edition of Traditions, AARL's newsletter. More about Teague and the event can be read in a recent article written Dyana Bagby for the GA Voice; see here.  At almost 50 cubic feet, the collection contains Teague’s papers, those of artist/activist Tony Daniels, and the records of ADODI Muse: A Gay Negro Ensemble.

After moving from Kansas City (MO) to Atlanta in 1984, Teague went on to become a recognized and respected community leader and worker for social change as an artist and advocate. He has been involved in numerous civic, social, and political organizations, both local and national. Among them are the African American Lesbian Gay Alliance, In The Life Atlanta, Georgia Equality, the Lambda Center, Xtreme Entertainment, AID Atlanta, ARCA (AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta), Black and White Men Together, the National Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum, and Gay Spirit Visions. In 1993 and 2000, Teague served as grand marshal for Atlanta Gay Pride.

For more than twenty years, Teague has worked in HIV/AIDS prevention, education and research. In addition to being a senior member of ADODI Muse, he is a facilitator of spiritual and health related workshops throughout the United States. Today, Teague is a third year seminarian in the Master of Divinity program in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He is married to his long-time companion, David Thurman.

Please join us for a memorable evening of celebration and an afternoon of engagement.  

Posted by Wesley Chenault, Library Research Associate

Friday, February 4, 2011

“These Legs Were Not Made to Kick a Football”

In preparation for Super Bowl XLV, earlier this week we featured a post about the Brown Bombers, a professional all-black football team based in Harlem in the 1930s. Fritz Pollard, the team’s founder, used creative methods to promote the team, including publishing The Brown Bomber Journal. Several issues of the journal are in our rare periodicals collection.

The Brown Bomber Journal was a news magazine with a bit of something for everyone. Pollard recognized that the black elite frequently came from the fields of sports and entertainment, and thus had much in common. Both top athletes and entertainers received wide acclaim for their accomplishments, were highly paid, and often had to develop signature styles to stand out and achieve success in the white-dominated establishment. Therefore, it made sense to cover topics of interest to the elite (and to the aspiring elite) in one publication.

Unsurprisingly, the Brown Bombers are highlighted throughout the magazine. The sports section introduces the players, noting their stats, honors, and playing history. The accompanying photographs, pictured above to the left, capture the Brown Bombers in poses that highlight their athleticism.

The magazine’s society pages include photographs and announcements about travel plans and social events. A photograph of a Bombers fan is also featured prominently. The fashion section, above to the right, illustrates popular designs of the Fall 1936 season, whose rich colors were influenced by the impending coronation of Edward VIII of England.

Advertisements fill the journal’s back pages, providing a glimpse into the types of services and products that were used by and marketed to African Americans. Even among the ads, there is an announcement to promote the Brown Bombers through a popularity contest for young ladies, pictured above. Women who sold the most tickets were eligible for prizes, including a raccoon fur coat, diamond ring, and clothing.

As a source of popular culture, The Brown Bomber Journal is fun to look at. At the same time, the magazine also provides a wealth of historical information about the educational levels, professions, family connections, and social activities of black New Yorkers in the 1930s.


John Carroll, Fritz Pollard: A Pioneer in Racial Advancement (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992)

Posted by Krystal Appiah, Brown University, former AARL Archives Intern