University of Georgia Institute For African American Studies

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Andrew Jackson is out, Harriet Tubman is in.
04/20/2016
Treasury's Lew to announce Hamilton to stay on $10 bill

Andrew Jackson is out, Harriet Tubman is in.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday will announce a decision to keep Alexander Hamilton on the front of the $10 bill and put leaders of the movement to give women the right to vote on the back of the bill, sources tell POLITICO.

Criminal charges have been filed against three government officials over the Flint water crisis. It remains to be seen i...
04/20/2016
2 MDEQ employees, a city employee charged in Flint water crisis

Criminal charges have been filed against three government officials over the Flint water crisis. It remains to be seen if this is as far as criminal charges will go, however.

Criminal charges were announced against one city official and two state officials in connection with the lead contamination of Flint's water supply.

HBO Films is doing a film about Anita Hill, starring Kerry Washington. Melissa Harris-Perry interviews her about that fi...
04/07/2016
EXCLUSIVE: Melissa Harris Perry Interviews Anita Hill, 25 Years Later

HBO Films is doing a film about Anita Hill, starring Kerry Washington. Melissa Harris-Perry interviews her about that film and the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas which she was central to.

Ahead of the the debut of HBO's "Confirmation," Melissa Harris Perry caught up with Anita Hill, now 59, to talk about her journey since the controversial hearings.

On The Adventures of Puss and Boots' representation of a "Fiji mermaid" as a caricature of black womanhood: "This has to...
03/24/2016
All the Pretty Mermaids: Racist Narratives in Entertainment for Children - Black Girl Nerds

On The Adventures of Puss and Boots' representation of a "Fiji mermaid" as a caricature of black womanhood:

"This has to stop. This sneaking of racism into television and film that is supposed to be safe for ALL children. Feejee is completely unacceptable. I’m sure some folks might say I’m being too sensitive, that DreamWorks does outstanding work, and this show is an anomaly. Perhaps it is, maybe they inadvertently hired a prejudiced bastard who hates black women and wanted to underhandedly call us cornrow wearing monkeys. I don’t know. What I do know is this: I am absolutely horrified by this supposedly innocuous children’s show."

Growing up, I didn’t see too many television characters that looked like myself or my friends. This was before Mulan, or the Princess and the Frog, or Home.

Hip-hop pioneer Phife Dawg died this morning at the age of 45. Rolling Stone has an obituary, as well as a one minute cl...
03/23/2016
A Tribe Called Quest's Phife Dawg Dead at 45

Hip-hop pioneer Phife Dawg died this morning at the age of 45. Rolling Stone has an obituary, as well as a one minute clip about the impact of A Tribe Called Quest.

Malik Taylor's distinct voice and nimble flow helped anchor landmark hip-hop albums

"For colleges and universities to be effective, educators must be free to teach and discuss ideas—even controversial o...
03/22/2016
Georgia’s Crazy New Campus-Carry Bill Is a Threat to the State’s Colleges and Universities, Gun...

"For colleges and universities to be effective, educators must be free to teach and discuss ideas—even controversial or unpopular ones—without fear of government censorship or retribution. And the best way to secure that freedom is to give them the autonomy to make key decisions about what is or isn’t a good policy for their schools. We should be just as troubled, therefore, about political actors telling universities that they must allow guns in their classrooms as we would be about politicians declaring which books students must read or which teachers to hire or fire."

When I was in college at the University of Iowa in 1991, there was a mass shooting. A graduate student, upset that he had not received a coveted honor, ...

"[T]here is something deeply shameful—and hurtful—in the fact that even today a young Nina Simone would have a hard ...
03/16/2016
Nina Simone's Face and the Realities of Blackness

"[T]here is something deeply shameful—and hurtful—in the fact that even today a young Nina Simone would have a hard time being cast in her own biopic."

The upcoming biopic about the singer proves that the world still isn’t ready to tell her story.

Spotlight was the surprising Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards on Sunday. The Chicago Tribune looks at how that ...
03/02/2016
In 'Spotlight,' a lesson on covering race

Spotlight was the surprising Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards on Sunday. The Chicago Tribune looks at how that story handled the Catholic Church's child s*x abuse scandal in the Boston area and the pride that those in the journalism field felt about their work being validated on one of popular culture's biggest stages and says that the profession has the same impetuous when it comes to covering matters of race. Per Christopher D. Benson:

"Even more, though, it is a compelling challenge for the journalism profession on matters of race. Too often, we are content to frame stories about racial conflict as individual problems and not as institutional ones.

College campus tension, excessive police force, even racial political pandering are all framed as anomalies, problems caused by misguided individuals. As with "Spotlight," that frame excludes what should be our real focus. As a result, we wind up missing a critical realization: We just might be part of the system we are "going after.""

There couldn't have been a better moment for the movie "Spotlight" to win at the Academy Awards — for best picture and best original screenplay. Coming within days of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump 's threatening remarks on freedom of the press, these Oscars serve as…

Today, NPR takes a look at the #OscarsSoWhite issue in its historical context, going back to 1996, when Jessie Jackson a...
02/25/2016
#OscarsSoWhite, #ForSoLong

Today, NPR takes a look at the #OscarsSoWhite issue in its historical context, going back to 1996, when Jessie Jackson asked black actors and producers not to attend the Academy Awards for much the same reason that Jada Pinkett and Will Smith are calling for a boycot today: A complete shut out of black nominees for the top awards, and the broader implication that there is a lack of opportunity for minorities working in Hollywood.

Protests around the Oscars' trouble with racial representation feels like a fresh, contemporary controversy, but they go back almost a half-century.

#BlackLivesMatter activist DeRay Mckesson announced last night that he is running for Mayor of Baltimore. His statement ...
02/04/2016
I Am Running for Mayor of Baltimore

#BlackLivesMatter activist DeRay Mckesson announced last night that he is running for Mayor of Baltimore. His statement on the matter is very much worth reading:

"Perhaps because I have seen both the impact of addiction and the power of recovery, I hold tight to the notion that our history is not our destiny. That we are, and always will be, more than our pain. What we choose to do today and tomorrow will shape our future and build our reality."

I love Baltimore. This city has made me the man that I am.

The New York Times profiled Chris Jackson, who, as an editor, is the vangard of a burgeoning African American literary m...
02/02/2016
How Chris Jackson Is Building a Black Literary Movement

The New York Times profiled Chris Jackson, who, as an editor, is the vangard of a burgeoning African American literary movement:

"Over the last decade and a half, Jackson has ushered into being the works of category-defying novelists like Victor LaValle and Mat Johnson, polemicist-experientialists like Coates and the civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson and pop-cultural vanguardists like the chef-memoirist Eddie Huang and the rapper-entrepreneur Jay Z. To the extent that 21st-century literary audiences have been introduced to the realities and absurdities born of the phenomenon of race in America, Jackson has done a disproportionate amount of that introducing."

One of the publishing industry’s only black editors is transmitting ideas from writers on the margins to the mainstream readers who need to hear them.

Alice Walker and Colm Toibin recently discussed what having a novel adapted into a film was like with the New York Times...
01/26/2016
Alice Walker and Colm Toibin, and Their Trail of Words

Alice Walker and Colm Toibin recently discussed what having a novel adapted into a film was like with the New York Times. Walker has written extensively about the subject in the past, but the conversational format of this article is pretty revealing. For instance, of the use of music in The Color Purple, she says, "I thought adding music to the story might be good. When people are fiercely opposed to things politically, music can help reach them, soften them. This story is one that we need, as a kind of medicine. We are a sick culture, and I believe that art can help."

The authors of “The Color Purple” and “Brooklyn” compare notes on Hollywood, others adapting their work, and how real life has informed their fiction.

01/21/2016

Our program director, Valerie Babb, will be part of the panel discussion Black Georgetown Remembered on February 24, 2016. For more information, please check the event page, which is hosted by Georgetown University Press.

W.E.B. Du Bois's work in science fiction isn't exactly unknown, but compared to his work as an essayist and co-founder o...
12/02/2015
What a Recently Uncovered Story by W.E.B. Du Bois Tells Us About Afrofuturism

W.E.B. Du Bois's work in science fiction isn't exactly unknown, but compared to his work as an essayist and co-founder of the NAACP it's a smaller part of his legacy. But it seems as though we've discovered Du Bois' earliest work of sci-fi, which was laying the roots for Afrofuturism.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging techn

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Despite growing trans representation in the media, this year has seen an unprec...
11/20/2015
Why Are So Many Black Transgender Women Getting Killed In Detroit?

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Despite growing trans representation in the media, this year has seen an unprecedented amount of violence against transgender women, especially trans women of color. Detroit has been one of the epicenters of this violence, and this article asks why.

More trans women were killed in the United States in the past 12 months than any year on record — and nowhere do the violence and homicides appear as concentrated as the Palmer Park area in Detroit...

11/12/2015
A Conversation With Johari Osayi Idusuyi, the Hero Who Read Through a Trump Rally

On reading "CITIZEN" at a Donald Trump rally:

"Then I was like, I’m in the middle, I’m on camera, so why not use the opportunity to promote a great book? I didn’t expect to get in an argument with the people behind me."

The identity of the woman who perfectly expressed a sane person’s reaction to being at a Donald Trump rally by whipping out a book and refusing to put it down has been revealed. Twenty-three year-old Johari Osayi Idusuyi is the woman behind the head flip heard ‘round the nation.

"This rhetorical victory recalls the successful defense in the George Zimmerman trial, which relied upon the tacit presu...
11/11/2015
Race and the Free-Speech Diversion - The New Yorker

"This rhetorical victory recalls the successful defense in the George Zimmerman trial, which relied upon the tacit presumption that the right to self-defense was afforded to only one party that night—coincidentally, the non-black one. The broader issue is that the student’s reaction elicited consternation in certain quarters where the precipitating incident did not. The fault line here is between those who find intolerance objectionable and those who oppose intolerance of the intolerant."

The deflection of the controversies at the University of Missouri and Yale with free-speech arguments is simply victim-blaming with a software update.

Ed Pavlić read this amazing poem recently at Avid Bookshop, and now you can read it in The American Poetry Review. It's...
11/10/2015
American Poetry Review - Ed Pavlic - "Written April 27, 2015 in the Blank Pages at the Back of...

Ed Pavlić read this amazing poem recently at Avid Bookshop, and now you can read it in The American Poetry Review. It's one continuous sentence. All fire. Here are the first few lines:

And with Baltimore going up, on
a Monday, if I asked will it fly high like a bird
up in the sky and you heard
Billy Preston’s voice as much as
any sparrow in your eye it’d be
because simile is simply cinema,
the screen upon which we watch
the language we use projected,
a screen we stand behind
and from around the back
of which we can never find our way
in front, I mean without
each other, I mean, as individuals,

#poetry

Published in American Poetry Review - Volume 44 | No. 06

Black protest and the power to change a nation."Our kids are out there fighting for their lives. They’re fighting agai...
11/10/2015
Black Kids Will Save America - The Establishment

Black protest and the power to change a nation.

"Our kids are out there fighting for their lives. They’re fighting against police brutality, the school-to-prison pipeline, mass incarceration, discriminatory drug laws. It is an uphill battle met with resistance and danger at every step, but they keep fighting. When the news media labels them terrorists, they move to Twitter. When the old guard of civil rights leaders refuse to represent them, they decentralize and represent themselves. They pay heed to nobody. They don’t ask, they demand."

The University of Missouri protests show how black youth are refusing to settle for less.

Just now reading this Saeed Jones essay from BuzzFeed, "Self-Portrait of the Artist as Ungrateful Black Writer." Jones i...
11/09/2015
Self-Portrait Of The Artist As Ungrateful Black Writer

Just now reading this Saeed Jones essay from BuzzFeed, "Self-Portrait of the Artist as Ungrateful Black Writer." Jones is an amazing poet whose book, "Prelude to Bruise," is worth ordering from our friends at Avid Bookshop if you're so inclined. From the essay:

"The same evening as that party in Miami, a poet who is also black and gay told me that he’d been so nervous about our books coming out within a month of each other. I couldn’t pretend not to understand his anxiety. When literary gatekeepers and publishers continue to overlook the vast diversity of writers, the special few who make it into elite spaces are constantly compared to one another in both flattering and troubling ways. It’s an anxiety that straight white men will never know. Could you imagine telling Jonathan Franzen that he can’t release his novel because Michael Chabon has one coming out next month? When, in 2015, a new literary magazine manages to emerge with a masthead including almost 40 contributing editors with only two women and no people of color among them, the oxygen starts to get a bit thin. Combing through mastheads and tables of contents for the names of writers who are not straight white men can make you feel crazy. And it is crazy that doing so is still necessary."

No, I'm not happy to "just be here." Racism doesn't vanish the moment we set foot into the ivory towers and glittering soirees of the literati.

11/04/2015
This Week in the GR VAULT: Alice Walker’s Uncle Remis, No Friend of Mine (Fall 2012) |

Looking for something to read today? The Georgia Review has you covered. New in their vault today is Alice Walker's "Uncle Remis, No Friend of Mine," published in their 2012 Georgia Writer's Hall of Fame issue. From the introduction to the piece, by Laura Solomon:

"Central to the conflict of Walker’s own narrative is that she shares a birthplace—Eatonton, Georgia—with the white writer Joel Chandler Harris, who first “collected” the oral Uncle Remus folktales from black plantation slaves there before disseminating them to the white world, a world that would go on to further appropriate the stories in generations to come. The special egregiousness of one people robbing another people of their art after having already robbed them of their lives reveals itself throughout Walker’s prose, such that “we begin to suspect that Br’er Fox’s hatred of Br’er Rabbit is greater than his hunger.” Equally revealed, however subtly so, is the subversive nature of such art and its resistance to being “caught.”"

Join the current editors of The Georgia Review in enjoying, week by week, some of the most notable and memorable works to have appeared in the journal’s pages since 1947.

"Black communities are experiencing an epidemic of severe police brutality. Even when encounters with law enforcement do...
10/19/2015
Black America’s “gaslight” nightmare: The psychological warfare being waged against Black Lives...

"Black communities are experiencing an epidemic of severe police brutality. Even when encounters with law enforcement don’t end in death, they are often shot through with disrespect from officers drunk with power. When we point this out, and when we point to case after case and story after story of inappropriate treatment, we are told that we are merely imagining it. Things aren’t that bad. The cops are the good guys. And see, they get killed, too!"

Black Lives Matter has been demonized following the unrelated murder of a police officer. Here's why

DeRay Mckesson and other activists from the #BlackLivesMatter campaign met with Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hil...
10/16/2015
Reflections on Meeting with Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton, and the…

DeRay Mckesson and other activists from the #BlackLivesMatter campaign met with Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hilary Clinton to discuss important policy issues around the topic of criminal justice reform. After the #DemDebate, Mckesson reflects on that meeting and the impact it had on the candidates' public platforms.

I recently joined protestors and activists in meeting with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to discuss the #BlackLives…

More on Ed Pavlic, from the author Ru Freeman on the collection Extraordinary Rendition."In the midst of my computer dra...
10/15/2015
Extraordinary Rendition

More on Ed Pavlic, from the author Ru Freeman on the collection Extraordinary Rendition.

"In the midst of my computer dramas (I've been limping along for far too long with a malfunctioning device which kept rattling news of its death but I refused to euthanize. I still haven't. I'm still hoping. It's like finding a lover while the loved one is hooked up to life-support I suppose!). ANYWAY. To say, I didn't post my writer #7 for day 59 so I'm doing both today. Here, first, is Ed Pavlic, the opening lines from his essay, "The Goal is Clarity."

"In the weeks since returning from the West Bank I’ve been tuned into the news, the news that stays news, and the news that isn’t news at all. The top story in the The New York Times on Wednesday, July 9th begins “Israel and Hamas escalated their military confrontation on Tuesday. . .” Inches away, the World Cup story allows, “The final score was Germany 7, Brazil 1. It felt like Germany 70, Brazil 1.” The juxtaposition of balance on one hand and the exaggeration of how unbalanced the World Cup rout felt on the other is too close to ignore. I dare say, with warfare again in the open in the region, it’s worth tracing its contours in our media, in our minds, and in our lives."

Extraordinary Rendition brings together the work of sixty-five prominent writers to examine America’s culpability in the denial of human rights and dignity to Palestinians in Israel/Palestine and beyond.

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