The Best of Enemies: Durham History from Page to Stage

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Durham’s ManBites Dog Theater hosts “The Best of Enemies,” a play based on the book by Osha Gray Davidson about the unlikely friendship between a poor white member of the KKK and a poor black civil rights activist in 1960s North Carolina.

Jaime Amanda Martinez: Why Exactly are We Commemorating “Confederate Pensioners of Color”?

Eager to discuss African American participation in the Civil War, we are nonetheless troubled by the aura of Confederate nostalgia surrounding the ceremony, as well as the news coverage that (at least in the Charlotte-area press) seemed intent on calling the ten men Confederate soldiers or veterans.

50 Years Ago: Historians on the Legacies of JFK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWnsJmBsvHU”

Blair L. M. Kelley and Kathryn Cramer Brownell consider the assassination of JFK in the contexts of the civil rights movement, media spectacle, and shifting political structures.

Jonathan Scott Holloway: Sincere Fictions, Real Horrors, and the Tourism Trade

Goree Island is not the only site of slave trade remembrance on the African coast. Further south, in Ghana, there are two prominent warehouses, most often referred to as the slave castles at Cape Coast and Elmina, that are part of a thriving tourism trade catering mainly to black American travelers, many of whom are on roots journeys to “return home.” Just as Post reporter Fisher is right for asking critical questions related to Obama’s photo op at Goree Island, we can profit from asking challenging questions about a tourist trade that offers an uncomplicated reconciliation and welcome home at the same time that it traffics in horror.

Sarah Caroline Thuesen: The North Carolina NAACP: 80 Years at the Forefront of Struggles for Equality

It is fitting that in this 80th anniversary year of the 1933 rally the North Carolina NAACP is once again in the headlines, this time for its leading role in the recent Moral Monday protests at the state legislature.

Jaime Amanda Martinez: Zeb Vance, Ken Cuccinelli, and Chris Christie: Governors as Bellwethers

The elections in Virginia and New Jersey have been touted as indicators of where the Republican Party, and indeed the entire country, will head in 2014 and beyond. The North Carolina governor’s race in 1864 served a similar role. Though often overshadowed in discussions of Civil War politics by the U.S. presidential election of 1864, the North Carolina race, which pitted incumbent Zebulon Baird Vance against newspaper editor William W. Holden, tells an equally important story about shifting political winds.

Jonathan Scott Holloway: Where Does a Historian Find the Truth?

I still rely on and value deeply these brick-and-mortar archives, but my research in Jim Crow Wisdom has taught me to value the archive of the imagination as well. Like any archive, the imagination is a place that is fundamentally about assemblage: a mixture of our best efforts to remember the past accurately, the eroding effects of time, and a desire for narrative clarity and poignancy. Relying on the imagination for its archival properties is central to this book and helps us develop a richer sense of memory and of history.

Tracy K’Meyer: The Ongoing Struggle for Civil Rights in Schools

The modern civil rights movement fought for racial equality and to create an interracial “beloved community.” People in the movement did not make a distinction between action in the schools, the voting booth, or the streets toward those goals. Education was another arena for fighting racism and securing equal resources and opportunity. Seeing school desegregation as an integral part of the civil rights movement reminds us that an equal education is a basic human right that has been fought for but not yet achieved, and that overcoming racism in the classroom as in the community remains a moral imperative. For many local people, like Suzy Post, in Louisville and Jefferson County, the civil rights movement continues because the struggle to protect desegregation and through it achieve educational equity and better human understanding has not yet been won.

Twelve Years a Slave: The Narrative Behind the Film

The film tells the story of Solomon Northrup (Ejiofor), a free man and fiddle-player from New York who was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery in Louisiana. It explores Northrup’s efforts to retain his dignity in the face of inhumanity as he longs for the family he was taken from and hopes for freedom throughout time in the employ of three different masters, ranging from a kindly preacher (Benedict Cumberbatch) to a cruel plantation owner (Fassbender). Remarkably, and horrifically, the story is a true one.

Jonathan Scott Holloway: Whose Dream? Whose History?

Even though the museum recognizes Smith’s protest, if only barely, her protest tells us something valuable about the production of history and the sanctification of certain experiences over others. Here, a single person with a particular set of memories and a determination to remember a figure of such importance as King in a specific way finds herself facing an institution with a public commitment to remembrance that has become her own horror.

Tobe: Charles Anderson Farrell Photographs Digitized in New Collection

Even with all the criteria Farrell needed to meet, the final product is wonderfully authentic. Farrell explained, “The children look natural and unposed because I spent far more time on the little game we played than on the photography. The photography was incidental, and I think that only a few times were the children aware of the camera.”

Sarah Caroline Thuesen: Jim Crow’s Roots, Jim Crow’s Remedies

A historical examination of segregated schooling in North Carolina warns against a hasty retreat from efforts to create diverse classrooms and equitable opportunity.

Glenn David Brasher on Preserving the Battleground at Williamsburg

When rumors of “development” encroach upon areas with rich historical backgrounds, they most likely will find a wall of resistance waiting. This is the current situation in the Virginia Peninsula, where the site of the Battle of Williamsburg is now vulnerable to such an unfortunate fate.

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