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Lessane Named Director of Avery Research Center

Posted by: Amanda Ross | August 16, 2010 | 4 Comments |

Dr. Patricia Williams Lessane as Director of Avery Research CenterPatricia Lessane has been named the director of the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center.

Lessane joins the College after teaching at five Chicago-area colleges and universities, most recently as Assistant Professor of Social Science and Humanities in the Department of Professional and Liberal Studies at Roosevelt University.

“I am delighted to serve as the Director of the Avery Research Center of African American History and Culture and I look forward to working with my talented and dedicated staff, as well as The College of Charleston’s community of prolific scholars to continue to build on the Avery Normal Institute’s legacy of academic excellence and community advocacy, out of which Avery grew, ” says Lessane. “With the center’s robust collection of African American art, artifacts, and archives and The College of Charleston’s most viable resources, namely the students and faculty, we are poised to propel Avery onto the international radar as one the most important repositories of African American history and culture including that of the Gullah and Low Country traditions.”

The Avery Research Center maintains an archive of primary and secondary source material of nearly 4,000 holdings relating to the unique historical and cultural heritage of African Americans in Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry. The Center also operates as a small museum, a national historic site with a listing on the National Register of Historic Sites, and a cultural center. The Center was established in 1985 as a source of community outreach on African-American issues.

Lessane began her teaching career at Chicago State University in the English department, under the late Dr. Donda West, before beginning her doctoral work at University of Illinois at Chicago in the anthropology and geography department. She served as an adjunct faculty member at Northeastern Illinois University in the anthropology, English and women’s studies departments. More recently, she was a tenured lecturer at Wilbur Wright College focusing on the literary, musical, and artistic contribution of African, African-diasporan and other peoples of color have made to Western American popular culture. She has held several positions at The Field Museum in Chicago and contributed to dozens of projects as a consultant. Most recently, she was the program developer for The Museum of Science and Industry’s annual Black Creativity exhibition and programs. Lessane has also presented at numerous conferences on topics related to African-American culture and religious identity, and African-American Women’s literature.

Patricia Lessane actually comes as part of a dynamic duo, supporting African-American growth at the College. Her husband, Talim Lessane will start as academic coordinator for the Upward Bound program. He brings more than 10 years of experience working with youth as a counselor and program coordinator, as well as in helping students, many of them first-generation, to be successful in higher education. The Upward Bound Program, sponsored by the College of Charleston since 1975, is a college preparatory program designed to generate in its participants the skills and motivation necessary for success in education beyond high school.

The Upward Bound Program provides special academic and cultural opportunities for a limited number of high school sophomores, juniors and seniors who have expressed an interest in pursuing a post-secondary education and who have demonstrated the potential to succeed in post-secondary education.

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Responses -

Congratulations on your recent appointment. You will take Avery to another level which will continue to provide resources and information to those of us who maintain an interest in our African American historical Well Being. I hope to meet you in the near future.

Donald Sweeper
Gullah Historian

Ms Lessane, I am looking for information or any type of displays that will help or assist me for my up coming 2011 African American Black History Month program. The Theme for 2011 is the Study of African American Life and History in the Civil War. I am in the process of organizing a committee. I was given this website by the museum here in Columbia, SC. If you can direct me to an website or a facility here in Columbia, SC or if you have information that can I can use I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you

Sandra Coley

Ms. Coley,

Thank you for your comment. Your program sounds interesting — and timely!

I have sent you a reply email, but I wanted to also let our readers know that our Reference Archivist, Deborah Wright, handles any reproduction and loan requests you may have for our materials and Curtis Franks, our Museum Curator, facilitates traveling exhibitions. They are also two wonderful resources for suggesting speakers and collaborators on projects such as yours, and Mr. Franks is often asked to speak at functions related to African American history and culture. I have included their email addresses in the private response, but their contact information can also be found on our website: http://avery.cofc.edu.

Amanda Ross

dear patricia and colleagues, good luck for the future life of the avery center, and we will be cheering from europe!

sabine broeck
collegium for african american research (CAAR)

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