September 18, 2014
September 17, 2014
September 16, 2014
Richard Porcher’s long-awaited magnum opus “The Market Preparation of Carolina Rice” was published in the summer of 2014 by the University of South Carolina Press.
A botanist by training, Porcher has brought all his academic expertise together with the passion of a lowcountry native to provide a comprehensive history of the rice industry in South Carolina from its beginnings in the 1680s to its demise in the early twentieth
century. In partnership with the Lowcountry Rice Project, the CLAW program will host a lecture and book-signing by Dr. Porcher on Tuesday, September 16th at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the new Science Building at the corner of Calhoun and Coming Street, with a reception following in the Addlestone Library.
September 1, 2014
Fall 2014 Events
LECTURE–”Black Students and Black Studies: A Founding History, 1966-1970″
September 23 ~ 6pm ~ Wells Fargo Auditorium
Ibram X. Kendi, a professor of Africana Studies at the University of Albany and Brown University, kicks off the new African American Studies major with a lecture on the black campus movement that gave rise to the discipline of Black Studies. Between 1965 and 1972, African American students at upwards of a thousand historically black and white American colleges and universities organized, demanded, and protested for Black Studies, progressive Black universities, new faces, new ideas–in short, a truly diverse system of higher education relevant to the Black community. Taking inspiration from the Black Power
Movement, Black students drew support from many quarters–including White, Latino, Chicano, Asian American, and Native American students–and disrupted and challenged institutions in nearly every state. By the end, black students had thoroughly reshaped the face of the academy.
BOOK DISCUSSION ~ September 18 ~ 6:15 ~ John L. Dart Library, 1067 King Street
Join us for a discussion of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
ARTIST’S TALK–Hip Hop Producer DJ 9th Wonder
October 6 ~ 6pm ~ Wells Fargo Auditorium
Born Patrick Denard Douthit in Winston-Salem, NC, 9th Wonder is a Grammy Award Winning Producer, DJ, College Lecturer, and Social Activist. Since his introduction to hip-hop in 1982, 9th has been immersed in the music and culture of the art form, while gaining experience in music theory throughout middle and high school. 9th attended North Carolina Central University, where he decided to pursue a career in music. He has produced music for Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, David Banner, and Aaron McGruder’s Boondocks television show. He is the president, founder and CEO of It’s a Wonderful World Music Group, which focuses on catering to the 28 to 40 year old demographic of hip-hop music lovers. 9th
believes in the preservation of Black Music throughout all its divisions (jazz, gospel, funk, soul, afrobeat, hip-hop), and its connections to music enthnocology and the African diaspora. 9th was recently appointed the National Ambassador For Hip-Hop Relations and Culture for the NAACP by Ben Jealous, President of The NAACP, where he leads a board of PhD’s, Hip-Hop Artists, and Juris Doctorates.
BOOK DISCUSSION ~ November 20 ~ 6:15 ~ John L. Dart Library, 1067 King Street
Join us for a discussion of Octavia Butler’s Dawn
AVERY RESEARCH CENTER
The Avery Research Center hosts a wide variety of lectures, brown bag discussions, art exhibits, and other programs exploring African American history and culture. A calendar of Avery’s programs can be found at http://avery.cofc.edu/programs/
July 14, 2014
On student orientation days our awesome AAST minor (possibly new major) Hannah Craig will be hacking the African American Studies twitter account to keep new and prospective students in the know about life at CofC, particularly as it relates to being a major or minor of African American Studies.
Meet Hannah here, first:
My name is Hannah Craig. I am a rising senior majoring in Communication, minoring in AA Studies (possibly soon to become a double major). I recently studied abroad in Barbados thought the AA Studies program and it was an amazing experience. I enjoy hanging with friends and family, listening to music,reading, fashion, journaling, and Youtubing (I’m actually obsessed with YouTube haha). My favorite food is chicken. My favorite color is purple and my favorite animal is a blue bird. If I could have any superpower I would fly and if my life could be the name of a current movie, it would be LOL because I love laughing and joking around. My dream job other than being a firefighter, detective or princess would be to travel the world and speak to young girls about self-worth.
June 2, 2014
Patricia Williams Lessane has served as executive director of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston since August 2010.
Before joining the College, Lessane was a faculty member at Roosevelt University and a consultant for The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. She holds a bachelor’s in English from Fisk University, a master’s in liberal studies from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D in Anthropology from University of Illinois at Chicago.
Q: As a cultural anthropologist, one of your research focuses is on Black life in popular culture. Can you talk about this topic in the context of what you have accomplished at Avery?
A: I think our public programs — specifically the conferences, film screenings, and public lectures — best reflect my interest in Black life in popular culture and the intersection of race, class, and gender in Black life. We’ve been able to bring some of the best minds to the College, including Drs. Harry and Michelle Elam (Stanford University), Dr. Joyce Ann Joyce (Temple University), Dr. Cathy Cohen (University of Chicago), filmmaker Julie Dash, and Dr. Johnetta Cole (Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art) to name a few.
Q: What are some of your current projects?
A: I teach every semester. It gives me the opportunity to connect with our students, and I enjoy talking to them and discussing the topics I am passionate about. I teach courses in African American Studies and Anthropology, including African American Society and Culture, Black Bodies in Television and Film, and The Peoples and Cultures of Africa. Next spring (2015), I will teach a First Year Seminar course on the Great Migration.
I am co-editing with Dr. Conseula Francis, an anthology of essays on the work of filmmaker Julie Dash, and co-editing with Dr. Violet Johnson (University of Texas College Station) and Dr. Gundolf Graml (Agnes Scott College) a volume of essays, Deferred Dreams, Defiant Struggles: Critical Perspectives on Blackness, Belonging and Civil Rights (part of the FORECAAST Series by the Collegium of African American Research).
I am working on an essay about the 50th anniversary of Nothing But a Man, a film by Michael Roemer and Michael Young. And, I am so excited about our recent NEA award to develop a documentary about the remarkable life and work of Vertamae Smart-Grovesnor. So I will be making a film with Julie Dash!
I am equally thrilled that our 2014 symposium, “The Marrow of Tradition: The Black Film in the American Cinematic Tradition,” will screen and highlight the work of African American filmmakers and generate critical dialogue about the Black film tradition and the salient ways issues of race, class, gender, oppression, resistance, and liberation struggles have historically inculcated in the work of radical pioneers of race film and many that followed.
We take our name from Charles Chestnutt’s remarkable novel of the same title. A fearless commentator on racial violence and injustice, Chestnutt’s novel chronicles the events, which lead up to a fictional race riot in Wellington, North Carolina.
Q: What object, story, or person associated with Avery has had a strong impact on you and why?
A: I have spent a good deal of time on the papers of Dr. Millicent E. Brown, so I’ve gotten to know a great deal about her life and work in civil rights and as a Black pedagogue. While I haven’t done any research on the Septima P. Clark collection, I am just so proud to be able to say that we have it. She is such an important figure in African American history, the Civil Rights Movement, and Black Charleston.
Most recently, I used the Joseph Towles Collection for my Anthropology 322 course — The Peoples and Cultures of Africa. It’s such a rich collection. As an anthropologist, having the work of anthropological luminary Colin Turnbull -a brilliant but unsung African American anthropologist — at my fingertips is truly an added bonus of working here. My dream is to develop a mixed media traveling exhibit about Towles.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share about Avery?
A: Three of our Avery staff members are headed to the Ivy Leagues this summer! I am headed to the Harvard Institute of Higher Education Management Development Program, and Mary Battle and Shelia Harrell-Roye will both be at Yale for the Yale Public History Institute.
May 9, 2014
Contact: Melissa Whetzel, senior director of communications, 843.953.7752
Arvaughnna (Vaughn) Postema has earned dozens of awards during her four years at the College of Charleston, but it’s the impact she’s made on the campus culture that she’ll be most remembered for.
Vaughn Postema ’13, communication major
Postema is a mentor, a change agent, a community builder.
“Vaughn is definitely one of the individuals I look up to most in life,” says Joye Nettles, a computer science major. “She has helped me to become a strong, confident woman who is not afraid to take on any obstacle that may come my way.”
Students and professors are quick to credit Postema with helping African-American students feel at home at the College, and enabling them to succeed in and out of the classroom.
“I have personally witnessed Ms. Postema informally mentoring students in class, at the library, and elsewhere on campus,” remarks Robert Westerfelhaus, a communication professor. “I hope she has inspired other students to do the same – that building an inclusive, supportive community at the College is her legacy.”
A Born Leader
Postema has literally held dozens of leadership positions at the College of Charleston – from several roles in the Black Student Union to president of the National Panhellenic Council (NPHC). She was inducted into the College of Charleston Hall of Leaders in 2012 and 2013, and is the 2014 recipient of the Cistern Award.
Postema stepping during Georgestock
She’s made an incredible impact on multicultural students through her work with SPECTRA (Speedy Consolidation and Transition Program). She served as an intern, counselor, associate head counselor, and most recently as head leader/head counselor.
“Vaughn helped me in SPECTRA, with my financial aid, and overall she helped me get adjusted to college,” says freshman Julian Harrell. “I like seeing that she has a goal and she’s doing everything in her power to achieve that goal.”
SPECTRA is designed to help with the transition to college for multicultural and first-generation high school graduates. Incoming freshmen spend the summer on campus taking classes free of charge and getting to know professors and staff.
“I met Vaughn during SPECTRA in the summer of 2011. She wasn’t my counselor but I always made a point to listen when she talked,” Nettles says. “Reflecting on my experiences in shared circles with Vaughn, she is always the heartbeat that keeps us going. People like Vaughn are leaders. They inspire people in our community to want to do better and be better.”
Bringing the Community Together
Postema is part of the 2014 Homecoming court
“She made everyone feel accepted,” says Kalene Parker, a freshman exercise science major. “She never let obstacles stop her, she’s a pusher and that’s what the community needs. Someone that won’t stop and will make moves.”
Postema is invested in every student at the College of Charleston, and friends say she treats everyone the same – whether she just met them, or has known them for years.
In the greater Charleston community, she has worked with the step team at Fort Johnson Middle School, hosted the YWCA’s poetry slam, worked with the NAACP Goose Creek Chapter, and many more.
Professor Westerfelhaus says, “Our college and community have benefitted immensely from Ms. Postema’s skill in initiating, inspiring, organizing, supervising, and executing.”
Not surprisingly, Postema says she has a very strategic plan for her future that encompasses several aspects of media. Her immediate post-graduation plans include cultivating her radio career and eventually pursuing a Master’s in Entertainment Business.
“She is one of those people that we, as a campus, will really feel a loss when she leaves,” says Merissa Ferrara, communication professor.
April 18, 2014
We are very pleased to announce that the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston has received a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for theArts to produce a film about the life and works of VertaMae Grovesnor.
Grosvenor is a poet, actress, culinary anthropologist, writer, and a National Public Radiocorrespondent.
A native of Hampton County, South Carolina, Grosvenor has been involved in making several documentary films including Slave Voices: Things Past Telling; and Daufuskie: Never Enough Too Soon.
She is also the author of the autobiographical cookbook Vibration Cooking, also known as The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl, and of the book Thursdays and Every Other Sunday Off: A Domestic Rap.
The film will be directed by American filmmaker Julie Dash. Dash is best known for her critically acclaimed 1991 independent film Daughters of the Dust.
“I am so thrilled that we have been awarded this prestigious grant,” says Patricia Lessane, Executive Director of the Avery Research Center. “It’s my honor to work with Julie Dash to bring well-deserved attention to VertaMae’s life story and contributions to American culture—her elevation of Gullah culture through her culinary acumen and literary works, but also her role in the Beat and the Black Arts Movements, and her work in American journalism.”
NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, “The NEA is pleased to announce that the Avery Research Center is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation’s artists asthey contribute to our cultural landscape.”