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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Case Western Reserve University Adding Second Anisfield-Wolf Scholar To Faculty

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards will expand its reach in 2015 with the addition of a second scholar at Case Western Reserve University teaching about racism and the awards literature, starting in the fall.  The Cleveland University posted a description of the fellowship this month. Lisa Nielson has been a Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow at Case Western Reserve University since 2011 The individual who is hired will join Dr. Lisa Nielson, a pioneering partner to the book awards. She has been instrumental in bringing Anisfield-Wolf literature into the university canon. A classically-trained musician and scholar, Nielson has won major grants and two university teaching awards since she became the first Anisfield-Wolf SAGES scholar in the fall of 2011. Her success has bred much success: students... Read More →

Journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault On The Armor She Needed To Survive As A Black Woman In The South

Journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault speaks at Case Western Reserve University, January 2015 | Photo credit Dan Milner “I am not a person preoccupied by race,” said the groundbreaking journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, instantly believable even in the paradox that her place in history is inextricably tied to race. Exuding warmth and wit and height – even in low-heeled boots – Hunter-Gault asked about 200 listeners at Case Western Reserve University, “What would Dr. King be dreaming now – in the deep South and in the up South?” When she was Charlayne Hunter, oldest child of a Methodist army chaplain and his wife, the teenager spotted King on the sidewalk in Atlanta outside his father’s church, Ebenezer Baptist. “I saw Dr. King on the street and I went to him and he said... Read More →

New Documentary Uncovers The Worst Racial Violence In United States History

Destruction of Tulsa's wealthy black district during the 1921 race riot. "Why are we addicted to hate in America?" That was the simple, provocative question of Rachel Lyon, as she introduced her 2014 documentary to a crowd at the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Hate Crimes in the Heartland" spends an hour exploring two separate, racially motivated killings that occurred nearly a century apart.  The film begins in Tulsa, Oklahoma, following the April 2012 "Good Friday shootings" that took three lives and critically injured two others. Two young men -- one white, the other Native American -- drove around the city, opening fire on groups of black people. The random slaughter attracted national media attention and stirred the ghosts of another racial atrocity -- the 1921 Tulsa race... Read More →

Comedian W. Kamau Bell Single-Handedly Ends Racism In Comedic Set At John Carroll University

"When we talk about race, we tend to use words that make us comfortable," comedian W. Kamau Bell told a crowd assembled at John Carroll University. "Words like 'minority,' 'Caucasion,' 'colorblind.'" He paused. "We won't be using any of those words tonight."  Dressed in a button-down shirt and dark pants, Bell paced leisurely in front of roughly 200 students, community members and administrators as he presented "The W. Kamau Bell Curve," the keynote of the university's Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. His talk -- subtitled "Ending Racism In About An Hour" -- was born of frustration in 2007. Bell's comedy career was stalled, so he rented a theater in San Francisco to present a one-man show. It would be easier, in Bell's estimation, to talk about race in a theater than a... Read More →

Cleveland Teens Add Their Voices To Conversation On Racism, Injustice

Moderator Anthony Price of Shaw High School; Shakyra Diaz of the ACLU of Ohio; Jonathan Gordon of CWRU School of Law; Basheer Jones, writer and poet; Andres Gonzalez, chief of police of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Shakyra Diaz, policy manager for the ACLU of Ohio, asked everyone in a crowded meeting hall who knew someone with a criminal conviction to raise a hand.  Almost every person – mostly youth – lifted an arm overhead. This was a respectable crowd – a City Club of Cleveland forum – and the arms aloft were eloquent. “The land of the free cannot be the land of the lock down,” Diaz said, and a junior at Gilmour Academy jotted the sentence in pencil on her program. The note-taking at “A Conversation on Race” at the City Club youth forum was no... Read More →

REVIEW: “The Sense of Style” by Steven Pinker

by Terry Pederson If you dreaded English class and still stumble over there, their and they’re, then Steven Pinker’s “The Sense of Style” may not be the best use of your leisure time. But if you love the English language – if you approach it with reverence, if you delight in translating thoughts into words – then jump right in and enjoy the ride. Subtitled “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century,” this book refutes the popular notion that the Internet is systematically destroying the language and our ability to clearly express ourselves on paper or screen. In fact, self-appointed scolds have been deploring the perceived decline in proper usage for centuries, as Pinker documents in a series of citations dating to the invention of the printing... Read More →

ESSENCE Magazine Goes Dark For Historic “Black Lives Matter” Issue

For the first time in its 45-year history, Essence magazine will not use a cover model.  Instead, the African-American publication has dedicated its February 2015 issue to "Black Lives Matter," the social justice movement that has ignited in the wake of the killing of unarmed black people by law enforcement.   "Pictures are powerful, but so are words," editor-in-chief Vanessa DeLuca writes in her Letter from the Editor. "After I spoke with the editorial team — with all our souls aching for answers — we knew immediately what we had to do: Tell the story of this tipping point in our history in America. So this February we are focusing our attention on the daring modern-day civil rights movement we are all bearing witness to and making a bold move of our own: a cover... Read More →
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