Monthly Archives: February 2011

February 25, 1870: Hiram Revels sworn in as first African American U.S. Senator

Did you know?  On this day in 1870, Fayetteville-born Hiram Revels became the first African American to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Revels (1827-1901) trained as a minister and served the U.S. Union Army as both a recruiter and a chaplain during the Civil War.  Over the course of his life, “”he would develop an impressive resume, serving as a teacher, pastor, lecturer, and public servant” (Middleton 2002: 319).  Following his brief tenure in the U.S. Senate, Revels went on to become the first president of Alcorn State University in Mississippi.

Interested in learning more? Come by the Stone Center Library, where we have plenty of items to get you started:

Biographical sketches:


As always, if you have any research questions, don’t hesitate to ask!  We are open Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Our reference chat buddy name is StonecenterRef or you may also contact us via phone or email.  Happy reading!

TONIGHT at the Stone Center: Black History Month Read-In

TONIGHT at 6:00 p.m., UNC’s Carolina Black Caucus is hosting an evening of culture, cuisine, and literature related to the African Diaspora.


Black History Month Read-In
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Hitchcock Room, The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

“This special event features readings related to or written by descendants of the African Diaspora read by members of the university community”

For more details: or 919-843-0336

This THURSDAY (2/24): “Race and Place Identities among Oklahoma’s ‘All Black Towns’ in the 21st Century”

This Thursday (2/24), UNC professor Karla Slocum (anthropology & Afro-American studies) will present a lecture on her ongoing research with residents of black towns in Oklahoma as part of the Spring 2011 Colloquium Series sponsored by the Department of African & Afro-American Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill.


“Race and Place Identities among Oklahoma’s ‘All Black Towns’ in the 21st Century”, a lecture by Karla Slocum
Thursday, February 24
12-1 pm
Global Education Center (GEC) Room 4003

If you’re interested in more events like these, stay tuned!  The colloqium series continues in March with a lecture by Kenneth Janken, professor of Afro-American Studies at UNC-CH. entitled “The Several Faces of Black Power in Eastern North Carolina: The Case of the Wilmington Ten.” Professor Janken’s research focuses on 20th century African American history and he is currently working on a research project on the Wilmington Ten.  This talk will take place on Thursday, March 17 from 4-5pm in the Global Education Center (room TBA).

Hope to see you there!

Upcoming EVENT: Feb. 22 Poetry reading by Dr. Anjail Rashida Ahmad

This coming Tuesday, February 22nd, The UNC-CH University Library Diversity Committee invites you to attend a poetry reading by Dr. Anjail Rashida Ahmad, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing @ A&T Program at North Carolina A&T State University.  Free and open to the public, this reading is part of the series “Exploring Diversity Through the Cultural and Performing Arts,” sponsored by the University Library Diversity Committee, with assistance from the UNC Performing Arts and Special Activities Fund.

Dr. Anjail Rashida Ahmad is an award-winning poet, speaker, disability rights advocate, and founder of the Black Ink Writers Workshop for writers of the African Diaspora in Greensboro.  She began losing her eyesight in 1998 while completing her doctoral studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Accolades for her work include a Margaret Walker Alexander Award for Poetry, the Robert Frost Prize in Poetry, the Southern Literary Festival Prize for Poetry and two Janef Preston Prizes for Poetry from The Academy of American Poets.

Dr. Ahmad is the author of necessary kindling, a collection of poems published by Louisiana State University Press, which is available here at the Stone Center Library.


Poetry reading by Dr. Anjail Rashida Ahmad

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011
2-3 p.m.
Wilson Special Collections Library, Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Free and open to the public
Contact: Katelyn Ander,, (919) 962-2559

Friday, Feb 18: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson

Coming up this FRIDAY, Feb. 18 at 5:30pm, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson will discuss her new book, “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium of the FedEx Global Education Center. This event is FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC, but REGISTRATION is required, so make sure to sign up ASAP. Hope to see you there!


Also, don’t forget that the Triangle African American History Colloqium’s 5th annual New Perspectives on African American History and Culture Conference kicks off this Friday, with a keynote address by Professor Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham.  So many great events on campus, so little time!

Lecture TOMORROW (2/15): “Representing Race: the Queen of Sheba’s fate in the Middle Ages”

Check out the event announcement below for details on an interesting guest lecture taking place TOMORROW evening:


Dr. Lynn Ramey, Associate Professor of French at Vanderbilt University, will present a lecture entitled “Representing Race: the Queen of Sheba’s fate in the Middle Ages.” Sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages, The Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, the African Studies Center, and the Center for Global Initiatives.

When Feb 15, 2011
from 05:00 pm to 07:00 pm
Where Toy Lounge, Dey Hall
Contact Name Sahar Amer
Contact Phone 962-0112

In her lecture, Dr. Ramey will reflect upon the ways in which color difference was understood, questioned, manipulated, and/or erased in medieval French literature. She will discuss the medieval association of race with skin color and the ways in which the Queen of Sheba was represented in both literature and art as black because of her association with the East. As she presents and analyzes different portraits of Sheba, both verbal and pictorial, Dr. Ramey will offer some conclusions about the ways in which a black woman was perceived in the medieval West.

Dr. Ramey is a well-established scholar who works on cross-cultural (Muslims and Christians) encounters in the Middle Ages, on questions of hybridity, race, and miscegenation in medieval French literature and film. She has published Christian, Saracen and Genre in Medieval French Literature (New York: Routledge, 2001) and co-edited several volumes and collections of essays, including Race, Class, and Gender in “Medieval” Cinema (New York: Palgrave, 2007). She is currently completing a book entitled “Race” and the European Middle Ages (under contract, University of Florida Press).


Wednesday, Feb. 16th: “Freedom From the Rubble: A Colored Civil War Soldier Speaks”

Coming this WEDNESDAY at 7pm in the Sonya Haynes Stone Center Theatre: “Freedom From the Rubble: A Colored Civil War Soldier Speaks”, a new play written & performed by Mike Wiley. FREE and open to the public, with a reception following the performance.  Check out the poster below for more details, or peruse this recent press release on the play and its creator.

FREE film screening TOMORROW (2/8) at the Stone Center: “Frederick Douglass and the White Negro” (2008)

The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History kicks off the spring semester of its FREE Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film TOMORROW (2/8) evening at 7pm with a showing of “Frederick Douglass and the White Negro” (2008), directed by John Doherty.


“This documentary tells the story of this important 19th century leader and his escape from slavery, leading to refuge in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine. The film focuses on the powerful influence Ireland had on him as a young man. It also explores the turbulent relationship between African Americans and Irish Americans in general. The relationship is exposed as a complex and tragic sequence of events culminating in the bloodiest riot in American history. This transatlantic story covers the race issue and is as relevant today as it was when Douglass escaped to Ireland—“I can truly say, I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life since landing in this country. I seem to have undergone a transformation. I live a new life…I am met by no upturned nose and scornful lip telling me ‘We don’t allow niggers in here!’””

This semester’s other screenings will be held on 2/10, 2/17, 2/24, 3/3, and 3/15.  Screenings generally feature commentary by the directors and/or relevant scholars and are held in the Stone Center’s Hitchcock Multipurpose Room.  For a full calendar of the films to be shown, click here.


Hope to see you there! 🙂



CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT: 5th annual New Perspectives on African American History and Culture Conference, Feb. 18-19

Check out the announcement below from the Triangle African American History Colloqium about their upcoming conference:

The Triangle African American History Colloquium is very pleased to announce the fifth annual New Perspectives on African American History and Culture Conference: “Intersecting Identities in African American History and Culture”.

Panels will take place in Hyde Hall, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on February 18 & 19, 2011. The keynote address will be given by Prof. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham at 6 pm on Friday evening in the theatre of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center. A full schedule, related announcements, and more information is available at:

The conference is free and open to the public. Please publicize widely.


You can also find both the event and the TAAHC on Facebook.  Hope to see you there! 🙂



February 1, 1960: the launch of Greensboro sit-ins

51 years ago today, four student activists from NC A&T State University seated themselves at the then-segregated lunch counter of a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, NC.  As African-Americans seated at a “Whites Only” counter, they were refused service.  Undeterred, these non-violent protesters returned the next day and the next, each time bringing an increasing number of supporters.


By the end of the week, their numbers reached the thousand mark and other local lunch counters found themselves similarly targeted as word of the protest spread.  By a month’s time, the sit-in movement had spread to neighboring states, despite the abuse and threats of violence suffered by protesters.  Woolworth’s was desegregated in August of that year and the International Civil Rights Museum estimates that by then, “more than 70,000 people had participated in sit-ins”, which in turn inspired a host of related protests at other segregated public spaces like churches and libraries.


Interested in learning more about this and other other milestones of U.S. Civil Rights history?  Not sure how to get started?  Don’t forget the Stone Center Library’s Guide to the Web!  Here you can find online resources for a variety of topics, such as Civil Rights history.  Happy reading!