Category Archives: Diaspora

Looking Back for Black History Month

by Sarah Guy, Research Assistant

The Sonja Haynes Stone Center Library for Black Culture and History first opened its doors on September 7, 2004, but its history can be traced back many years prior. The library’s namesake, Sonja Haynes Stone, served as the director of UNC’s Curriculum for Afro-American Studies from 1974 until 1979; she then continued as a professor until her unexpected passing on August 10, 1991. Stone won multiple awards during her time as a professor, including the Black Student Movement Faculty Award from one of the organizations that she advised, and she also served on numerous committees as a faculty member.  

One committee that Stone served on was the Black Cultural Center planning committee, which advocated for a center for black culture on campus.  In 1988, the committee’s planning came to fruition when the Black Cultural Center was established at UNC, housed in the Franklin Porter Graham Student Union. After Stone’s death in 1991, the BCC was renamed the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center. Soon after, students began a campaign to provide the growing center with a stand-alone building to accommodate its work and programming.  

In the summer of 1992, four African American football players founded the Black Awareness Council (BAC),  aimed at improving the treatment of African Americans on campus by several means, including the construction of a free-standing Black Cultural Center. The creation of the BAC  helped spark one of the largest student movements in the university’s history, which was chronicled by many newspapers, including the student-run Daily Tar Heel  and Black Ink. Student organizations were actively protesting Chancellor Paul Hardin’s lack of support for the Black Cultural Center outside of South Building as early as March 1992.  

A digitized Daily Tar Heel front page from September 9, 1992, with headline "BCC supporters give Hardin ultimatum"

The front page of the Daily Tar Heel on September 11, 1992 detailed the march to the Chancellor’s office in South Building. Articles and documents related to the Black Awareness Council can be found in the Wilson Library Special Collections.

The protests and rallies became more frequent, however, during the 1992-1993 school year, particularly with the activity of the BAC. On the night of September 3, 1992, 300 students marched from campus to the residence of Chancellor Paul Hardin to give him a list of demands, but he wasn’t at home. A week later, students marched from the Student Stores to the chancellor’s on-campus office and delivered their letter with their demands, which included an ultimatum demanding that he take action by November 13.  

On September 17, 1992, filmmaker and activist Spike Lee visited the Dean Smith Center and spoke at a rally of 5,000 people. In response to these events and the students’ ultimatum, Chancellor Hardin endorsed a free-standing center in a press conference on October 15, 1992.  

A digitized September 1992 article from the Daily Tar Heel with the headline "About 5,000 rally in support of free standing BCC"

Another Daily Tar Heel article covered the rally at the Dean Smith Center.

The UNC Board of Trustees approved the building of a free-standing center almost eight months after the Chancellor’s endorsement on July 23, 1993. Although the proposal for the center listed an open tract of land near Wilson Library and Dey Hall as their preferred location, the Board of Trustees said that it would be better placed at one of the alternate locations across from Coker Hall.  

Among the original plans for facilities to be housed in the Stone Center were a dance studio, an auditorium, and a library. The library was originally conceived as a non-circulating, browsing collection, which would be open for anyone to read its materials but not to check them out. However, by the time the building opened its doors in 2004, librarians in Davis had been developing the Stone Center Library’s collections for months, and it opened as the newest branch of UNC Libraries. The collection has grown from around 6,000 books to nearly 12,000 volumes over the course of almost 15 years.    

A page from the plan for the Stone Center

This page from the architecture firm’s proposal lists the plan for the library to go in the Stone Center.

Currently, the Stone Center Library’s shelves are near capacity, filled with books covering a wide range of topics, from encyclopedias of black culture to the works of African American historians and great works of African American literature. As part of the Stone Center, the library seeks to further its mission to serve the population of UNC-Chapel Hill with information about African, African American, and African Diaspora Studies. The Stone Center Library would be unable to accomplish that goal without the untiring efforts of people like Sonja Haynes Stone and the students who many years ago fought for the existence of a center for black culture.  

 

 

Mirrored on the Stage: A Selection of Books on African and African-Diaspora Theater

Stories are an integral part of how we understand our communities—both their histories and our place within them. Theater is uniquely suited to this function, as every dramatic performance creates space removed one step from reality. On the stage, we can explore not just who we are, but who we might be.

A highlight of Telling Our Stories of Home, an ongoing 6-day conference-festival that brings artists, activists, and scholars together to examine the concept of “home” in African and African-Diaspora communities, will be the performance of Torn Asunder, a specially commissioned play based on the book Help Me to Find My People by Heather Williams, that focuses on the quest of African-American families to reunite after the Civil War.

It is from Torn Asunder that we take our cue, providing some complementary resources that expand on the intersection of theater and TOSH’s theme of “home.” The following list consists of a small selection of the Stone Center Library’s theater-related books that we hope will spur your imagination and curiosity in this fascinating and vital discussion. All quoted summaries are taken from the UNC-CH library catalog.

Continue reading

‘Racialized Spaces and Proper Places: Frantz Fanon, Decolonization, and the Rise of New Territorialities’

Alvaro Reyes Flyer

Professor Alvaro Reyes, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and  current UNC-CH Institute of African American Research (IAAR) fellow, will be delivering a talk titled ‘Racialized Spaces and Proper Places: Frantz Fanon, Decolonization, and the Rise of New Territorialities’ on  February 19, 2015, at 1pm in the Hitchcock Room of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center.

More information about Professor Reyes’ work can be found here.

Department of Sociology Colloquium – Karen Fields

Karen Fields Flyer

Karen E. Fields will be delivering a lecture on February 4, 2015, at 12:00pm in the Hitchcock Room of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center.

Dr. Fields is an independent scholar and the author of several articles and three published books: Revival and Rebellion in Colonial Central Africa; Lemon Swamp and Other Places: A Carolina Memoir (with Mamie Garvin Fields), and a translation of Emile Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. She also has two book-length works in progress: Bordeaux’s Africa and Race Matters in the American Academy.

She holds degrees from Harvard University, Brandeis University, and the Sorbonne.

Fields’ talk will focus on the French cities of Bordeaux and Nantes and their role in the “triangular trade” of slaves, manufactured goods and colonial products illustrated below.

Selected relevant UNC Library resources:

The Atlantic Slave Trade: Effects on Economies, Societies, and Peoples in Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Ed. Stanley L. Engerman, et al. Durham: Duke University Press, 1992.

Bordeaux Au XVIIIe Siècle: Le Commerce Atlantique Et l’Esclavage. Ed. Christian Block, et al. Bordeaux: Le Festin, 2010.

Deveau, Jean-Michel. La Traite Rochelaise. Paris: Karthala, 1990.

Eltis, David, and David Richardson. “Productivity in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.Explorations in economic history 32.4 (1995): 465-84.

Fields, Karen E., Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life. Ed. Barbara Jeanne Fields and . London;New York: Verso, 2012.

Harms, Robert W., The Diligent: A Voyage through the Worlds of the Slave Trade. New York: Basic Books, 2002.

Lindsay, Lisa A. Captives as Commodities: The Transatlantic Slave Trade. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008.

Miller, Christopher L., The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade. Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.

Morgan, Kenneth. “Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.” International history review XXX.4 (2008): 785-95.

Saugera, Éric. Bordeaux, Port Négrier: Chronologie, Économie, Idéologie, XVIIe-XIXe Siècles. Biarritz; Paris: J & D éditions; Karthala, 1995.

Stein, Robert Louis. The French Slave Trade in the Eighteenth Century: An Old Regime Business. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1979.

Walvin, James, author. Crossings: Africa, the Americas and the Atlantic Slave Trade. London: Reaktion Books, 2013.

These and other sources are available as a printable PDF.

IAAR Brown Bag – “Brazilian Quilombos: Historical & Contemporary Struggles”

The UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of African American Research (IAAR) will be holding the first in their spring 2015 series of brown bag lectures –  “Brazilian Quilombos: Historical & Contemporary Struggles” presented by Adam Bledsoe, UNC-CH Department of Geography – on January 12, 2015 at 12:00pm in Room 309C of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center.

The Stone Center Library staff has prepared a bibliography to accompany this lecture, the PDF of which can be found here.

 

New @the SCL, Part 1: Literature & Literary Studies!

If you’ve been by the Stone Center Library lately, you may have noticed some great new books on display. If not, here’s the first of three posts highlighting some recent acquisitions in literature and literary studies available here at the SCL:

Juice: a Novel (Ishmael Reed)

Cross-Cultural Visions in African American Literature: West meets East (Edited by Yoshinobu Hakutani)

Salvage the Bones: A Novel (Jesmyn Ward) — 2011 National Book Award winner!

Authentic Blackness / Real Blackness: Essays on the Meaning of Blackness in Literature and Culture (edited by Martin Japtok and Jerry Rafiki Jenkins)

Conversations with Walter Mosley (Edited by Owen E. Brady)

Wench: a Novel (Dolen Perkins-Valdez)

The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics, 1934-1960

The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature (Edited by Michael A. Bucknor and Alison Donnell)

“Girl, Colored” and Other Stories: A Complete Short Fiction Anthology of African American Women Writers in The Crisis Magazine, 1910-2010 (Edited by Judith Musser)

Stay tuned for more new titles in dance, religion, politics, and more!

Cesária Évora: 08/27/1941-12/17/2011

Renown Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora died this past weekend at age 70. Earning monikers such as “The Barefoot Diva”  and “The Queen of Morna,” Évora began performing at age 16. Releasing her first album in 1988, by 2003 she had earned a Grammy for her album Voz D’Amor.

An international star, Évora became famous for her distinctive contralto and soulful performances of songs of lament and longing. Indeed, “Évora was considered one of the world’s greatest exponents of Morna, a form of blues considered the national music of the Cape Verde islands, a former Portuguese colony which gained independence in 1975.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16232543). For more on her life and legacy, see the following links for obituaries published in the New York Times, the BBC, and the Washington Post, among others. You may also hear a brief clip of Évora in performance here.

For those of you who are UNC affiliates, if you’re interested in a more extensive discussion of her career from a sociological perspective we encourage you to make use of the new Articles+ search tool to locate the following article: “Cesária Évora: ‘The Barefoot Diva’ and Other Stories.” (by Carla Martin, in Transition, No. 103, Cabo Verde (2010), pp. 82-97). Here at the SCL we also have Music is the weapon of the future : fifty years of African popular music (2002), which includes the chapter “From Kode di Dona to Cesaria Evora: Sodade in A Major: The Music of Cape Verde”  (p. 191).

Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15-October 15

Did you know? Yesterday marked the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is observed from September 15-October 15. This holiday period was established in 1968 and recognizes the contributions and heritage of those U.S. citizens whose ancestry traces back to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

As explained on the official website, “The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.”

This year’s theme is “Many Backgrounds, Many Stories…One American Spirit” and a wealth of related resources are available online: exhibitions and collections, images, and even audio and video clips.

Here at the Stone Center Library, we have numerous books on Latin American topics… check out a sampling below, and stay tuned for more highlights over the course of the month!

Happy reading! 🙂

SCL Picks: Dance! Dance! Dance!

Calling all dance enthusiasts! Take a look at a few of our latest titles on dance in the Caribbean:

Pictured above: Making Caribbean dance: continuity and creativity in island cultures (2010)  |  Carlos Acosta: the reluctant dancer (2010)  |  Dance Jamaica: renewal and continuity: the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica 1962-2008 (2009).

Looking for other types of resources? Don’t forget to check out the Dance section of our Guide to the Web!

Happy reading, and hope you all have a fabulous holiday weekend! 🙂

SCL Picks: “The Cool-Kawaii: Afro-Japanese Aesthetics and New World Modernity”

In recognition of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, this week the Stone Center Library recommends: 

The cool-kawaii : Afro-Japanese aesthetics and new world modernity. 2011. By Thorsten Botz-Bornstein.

“At the turn of the millennium, international youth culture is mainly dominated by two types of aesthetics: African American cool, which, propelled by hip-hop music, has become the world’s favorite youth culture, and Japanese aesthetics of Kawaii or cute, which is distributed internationally by Japan’s powerful anime industry. The Cool-Kawaii: Afro-Japanese Aesthetics and New World Modernity, by Thorsten Botz-Bornstein, analyzes these attitudes and explains the intrinsic powers that are leading to a fusion of both aesthetics.”

Interested in learning more? Check out what two reviewers had to say:

“By investigating the rich manifestations of two globalizing aesthetics—cuteness and coolness—Thorsten Botz-Bornstein offers a subtle interpretation that explores the nexus of consumerism, virtual reality, and ethics. “—Brian J. McVeigh, University of Arizona

“Thorsten Botz-Bornstein’s vast knowledge of philosophy and theory is amalgamated with his keen understanding of Japanese, African-American, and Afro-Japanese cultures to explain with precision, clarity, and valuable insights, tricky concepts such as kawaii, modernity, cuteness, coolness, kitsch, and dandyism. Drawing upon boundless examples, including those of Japanese manga and anime, Botz-Bornstein has given us a volume that will spark discussion and debate in a number of disciplines and set a standard for theoretical analysis.”—John A. Lent, Publisher and Editor-in-chief, International Journal of Comic Art

Happy reading! 🙂

 
Sources:
Summary: Syndetic Solutions
Reviews: Lexington Books website