Africana Studies Newsletter, Issue Three: February 2005

Humanity was born in Africa. All people, ultimately, are African.

"I thought this was too profound for its font size." - Laura Kennedy, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa 
Photo taken at the Apartheid Museum 


Harambee: What's the News


In Memoriam


Happy Valentines Day from the Africana Studies Program. Today is also the birthday of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Thus, this occasion allows us to reflect on the history and relevance of celDr. Carter G. Woodsonebrating the African American experience during the month of February.

In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a graduate of Harvard University established the first observance of Negro History Week. Dr. Woodson selected the second week of February in honor of two distinguished Americans who fought for racial equality and social justice, President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Lincoln's birthday is February 12th and based on his slave narrative, scholars believe Douglass' birth date to be February 14th.

For over half of the 20th century, African Americans were prevented from enjoying the full liberties of American citizenship because of "Jim Crow” or segregation laws. Dr. Woodson hoped to overcome the racial prejudice and ignorance in our society by instilling in African Americans a sense of their rich history. He also hoped to educate all Americans on the illustrious past and the untapped potential of their fellow African American citizens. In addition to the annual weekly celebration, Dr. Woodson founded The Journal of African American History originally entitled The Journal of Negro History. And since 1921, scholars, teachers and the general public convene for the annual meeting of The Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH).

In 1976, under the leadership of ASALH President, Dr. Edgar Toppin, the week was extended to an entire month. It is the Association that also established the annual theme for Black History Month. This year’s theme is "The Niagara Movement: Black Protest Reborn, 1905-2005." While 90 years have past since the first observance and while much progress has been made in American society, it is still incumbent upon each of us to fulfill the original principles set forth by Dr. Woodson.

As you review this latest newsletter from the Africana Studies Program you will find many accomplishments that Dr. Woodson would be very proud of and testimony to his wisdom. You will also realize that race and the legacies of slavery and segregation are still serious problems not only in America, but also in our global society. As James Baldwin once remarked “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced." Finally, we take a moment to reflect on the recent passing of several important figures in Africana Studies: Dr. Edgar Toppin, David Graham DuBois, and Ossie Davis.

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 Harambee: What's the News


The Africana Studies Club was the recipient of the 2005 Robbie Robinson Service Award given by the City of Warrensburg and Central Missouri State University. Reverend Albion and Mrs. Carolyn Mends were the recipients of the 2005 Humanitarian Award.

Mikhail Shadeed, a Commercial Art-Illustration major with a 3.9 GPA is a 2005 recipient of a Martin Luther King Scholarship. Mikhail is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Africana Studies Club, and Kansas City Star-Teen Star. In his essay Mikhail wrote, "Dr. King's dream of a peaceful and brotherly society was an ideal, and one that he died for. Ideals are seldom realized, and never without facing ordeals and making sacrifices. Part of what makes an ideal an ideal, however, is the heroic struggle necessary to bring it to reality. The struggle never ends and as long as we march forward Dr. King's dream stays alive. We who strive to see his dream a reality are his dream; it lives on through our actions."

Africana Studies names Achievement Award Winner

Jessie Adolph is the Spring 2005 recipient of the Africana Studies Achievement Award given by the Department of History & Anthropology. Jessie is majoring in English with a minor in Africana Studies. Jessie's accomplishments and awards are numerous. He is a Ronald McNair Scholar, a 2004 MLK Service Award Recipient, and the 2004 Programmers Hall of Fame Award winner from the Office of Student Affairs. Jessie is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and works part-time in the Office of Community Engagement. In May, Jessie will follow in the footsteps of Rob Madden and Michelle Green when he graduates and becomes the third CMSU student to complete the Africana Studies minor. Jessie plans to attend graduate school in the fall.

Applications are now being accepted from Africana Studies Minors for the Fall 2005 Achievement Awards. Students should pick up an application from the Department of History & Anthropology in Wood 136. The deadline is February 21st @noon.

"My Soul is a Witness"


Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, President John F Kennedy—all the great names are here—in their crucial moments, both public and private. There are unsung heroes too, like the young people who faced down fire hoses and police during Dr. King's march for Freedom in Birmingham, Alabama. This extraordinary new play also celebrates the power of theatre as a storytelling medium. Great music—from soaring gospel to pulsating protest songs—is used as it was then, to soothe the heart and raise the spirit. Then there are the scenes themselves. Wrought with clarity and deep emotion, their strength and immediacy cannot be denied. MARCH 3, 2005: 7pm in the Union Ballroom (Union 240). For details contact Dr. Gillis at 543-8726 or email @




John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies
Black Heretics, Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals

New Releases on DVD
Latin and African Americans: Friends or Foes?
Considering Reparations: Paying the Debt of Slavery
The College Track: America 's Sorting Machine
Hate Crime: The Murder of James Byrd, Jr.
Racial Profiling and Law Enforcement: America in Black & White

The Professional Enhancement Committee has Awarded Delia Gillis, Bryan Carter and Mary Kelly a Mini Grant for the following resources materials from CALIFORNIA NEWSREEL for Africana Studies. They are available in Wood 136J.
•  The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords (DVD) with an Interactive CD for the film
•  One Shot: The Life & Work of (photographer) Teenie Harris (VHS)
•  Race-The Power of An Illusion (DVD)
•  Ralph Ellison: An American Journey (DVD)
•  Big Mama (a documentary on grandparents raising grandkids) (VHS)

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The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress presents the papers of the nineteenth-century African-American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his own freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher. The release of the Douglass Papers, from the Library of Congress's Manuscript Division, contains approximately 7,400 items (38,000 images) relating to Douglass' life as an escaped slave, abolitionist, editor, orator, and public servant. The papers span the years 1841 to 1964, with the bulk of the material from 1862 to 1895. The collection consists of correspondence, speeches and articles by Douglass and his contemporaries, a draft of his autobiography, financial and legal papers, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous items. These papers reveal Douglass' interest in diverse subjects such as politics, emancipation, racial prejudice, women's suffrage, and prison reform. Included is correspondence with many prominent civil rights reformers of his day, including Susan B. Anthony, William Lloyd Garrison, Gerrit Smith, Horace Greeley, and Russell Lant, and political leaders such as Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison. Scrapbooks document Douglass' role as minister to Haiti and the controversy surrounding his interracial second marriage. The online release of the Frederick Douglass Papers is made possible through the generous support of the Citigroup Foundation.

Just released: Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond By Essie Mae Washington Williams. This book is an autobiography of the daughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and her mother, a 16-year-old African American maid who worked in the Thurmond household.

World History Connected: The eJournal of Teaching and Learning
World History Connected is designed for everyone who wants to deepen the engagement and understanding of world history: students, college instructors, high school teachers, leaders of teacher education programs, social studies coordinators, research historians, and librarians. The November 2004 is devoted to the study of Africa in world history.

The Missouri State Archives invites applications from graduate students or advanced undergraduate students in 2005 who are interested in working with the many collections of material related to Missouri’s African American history held by the Archives. Three thousand dollars will be awarded to the successful candidate for 10 weeks of work, at 40 hours per week, during the summer of 2005. Work will be conducted at the Missouri State Archives. This monetary award is intended to defray travel and living expenses, and other work-related costs. Applicants must either attend a Missouri college or university or be a Missouri native. Interested students must submit a letter of application, a curriculum vitae, a college transcript, and a description of any research conducted in related fields. Please include one letter of recommendation describing the applicant’s qualifications for this award.

Dr. Shelly J. Croteau
Assistant State Archivist
Missouri State Archives
PO Box 1747, 600 West Main Street
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
Voice: 573.751.4303
Fax: 573.526.7333
Visit the website at


The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) announces its sixteenth annual Essay Contest for undergraduate and graduate students. This year*s theme is: "The Niagara Movement: Black Protest Reborn." Any full-time student in a two-year or four-year college may enter the competition. Cash prizes of $500 will be awarded to the top three (3) essays, which may be published in the Black History Bulletin. Winning writers will be invited to present their essays at the ASALH Annual Meeting in Buffalo, New York, in October 2005. Essays may be submitted on any topic that explores the life, history and culture of African-Americans within the scope of this year*s theme, "The Niagara Movement." The theme is broad and encompasses history, law, literature, political science, urban studies, demography, etc. Papers that are only polemic and offer only personal opinions are not acceptable - - a research approach is required. Essays should have appropriate documentation and must conform in style to the articles published in the Journal of African American History. The Contest Committee recommends A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations by Kate Turabian. Essays will be evaluated on the basis of cogency, documentation, content, organization, originality and style. Deadline for Submission: June 30, 2005 Submission Rules: 1. Six (6) copies of paper, each with an attached title page that contains only the title of the essay. 2. A removable cover letter with the title of your essay, your name, school*s name, summer address, telephone, email contact information, and name of your ASALH faculty advisor-sponsor. 3. Finally, an endorsement letter from your faculty advisor-sponsor, who must be a current member of ASALH. Mail or Deliver Essay Entries to: ASALH ESSAY CONTEST C.B. Powell Building, 525 Bryant Street, Northwest Suite C142, Washington, D.C. 20059

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 In Memoriam

Over the past few months, Africana Studies has lost several important figures. We honor their legacy with a brief memoriam.

Dr. Edgar Allan Toppin was an emeritus professor of History at Virginia State University. He was a graduate of Howard University and earned his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Professor Toppin authored over 10 books and was President of ASALH when the organization expanded the weekly observance of African American history to a month long celebration.

David Graham DuBois was the stepson of W.E.B. DuBois He was a former professor of Afro-American studies and journalism at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst He was a graduate of Hunter College and New York University. DuBois taught at the Cairo University in Egypt and was an editor of the Black Panther, a weekly newspaper published by the Black Panther Party.

Ossie DavisOssie Davis died on February 4, 2005. Davis was on location filming Retirement. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, actress Ruby Dee. They are the authors of a dual autobiography In This Life Together. Davis was active in the civil rights movement. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee were the ceremony hosts for the 1963 March on Washington and Davis is remembered for giving the eulogy at the funeral of Malcolm X in 1965. His film career spanned five decades and included such notable films and television shows as No Way Out, The Emperor Jones, The Outsider, Let’s Do It Again, King, Roots, School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Grumpy Old Men, Finding Buck McHenry, and Deacons for Defense among many others. In 2004, he was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors for his distinguished career.

Africana Studies explores the essential part played by peoples of African descent in constructing human civilization by analyzing contributions in the disciplines of art, music, history, literature, political science, sociology, psychology and other discipline. Our mission is to develop scholars who will teach, research, and understand the experiences of people of African descent throughout the world. The program will produce discerning scholars who can inspire social and political change in the contemporary world. Students will discover a rich variety of experiences in the program which is interdisciplinary, multicultural and community oriented. We invite you to participate in our public programs, Africana Studies Club or become a faculty affiliate. We promise you a rich and rewarding Intellectual experience. For more information, please view our website at

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