Memphis Centered: An Unseen Light: Memphis and the Black Freedom Struggle, Profs. Charles McKinney and Aram Goudsouzian

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Contact person: Charles Hughes

The city of Memphis has been a center of the long journey towards Black freedom since its beginning. Key campaigns from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond have shaped the city’s history and transformed the world. In this conversation, we discuss that history and celebrate the acclaimed 2018 collection An Unseen Light: Black Struggles for Freedom in Memphis, Tennessee. Please join us as the book’s co-editors, Aram Goudsouzian and Charles McKinney, and several of its contributors spotlight crucial and often underappreciated people, events and stories that have shaped one of the most significant parts of our city’s identity.

Panelists include:

•    Aram Goudsouzian, Professor and Chair, Department of History, University of Memphis

•    Charles McKinney, Associate Professor of History and Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies, Rhodes College

•    Beverly G. Bond, Associate Professor of History, University of Memphis

•    Charles L. Hughes, Director, Turley Memphis Center, Rhodes College

•    Elton H. Weaver III, Assistant Professor of History, LeMoyne-Owen College

A book signing will follow the event.

This event is free and open to the public. No reservations are required. 


Africana Studies
Lynn and Henry Turley Memphis Center

Chocolate Cities: A Symposium

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Attendance is free, but registration is required. Please visit for more information.

Africana Studies

Black History Month: 2018 in Review

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We view February as Black History Month, a nod to Dr. Carter G. Woodson and his push for the country to acknowledge the contributions of Black People. February is also a ritual in recognition, a performance in cultural inclusivity, a parade of promise and progress, struggle and triumph, history and future.

Join the program faculty of Africana Studies as they take up the task of reviewing and revisioning Black History Month 2018. They will review, magnify, assess, and interrogate the Black that Is and the Black that Ain’t in keeping with the spirit of Woodson. What we remember is one thing; how we remember is something entirely different.


Africana Studies

Historian and Author Timothy Tyson: The Blood of Emmett Till

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Reception at 5:30 p.m., event to follow at 6 p.m.

The 1955 lynching of Emmett Till was a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement and remains a crucial symbol of the national struggle for racial justice. To discuss the killing and its contexts, we welcome author Timothy B. Tyson, historian and author of the acclaimed and bestselling new book The Blood of Emmett Till. Tyson’s groundbreaking research – which includes the first-ever interview with accuser Carolyn Bryant – sheds new light on what happened to the 14-year-old Till, as well as the larger consequences of his murder on Mississippi, Chicago, and the United States. As we continue to wrestle with the causes and effects of racial violence, the Till case and the movement it provoked remain vital to understanding both past and present. 

Joining Tyson this evening will be two respondents who will enrich the conversation:

·         Aram Goudsouzian – Chair of History Department at the University of Memphis

·         Doria Johnson – Activist, Historian, and 2016 Nelson Mandela Fellow for International Dialogues


Africana Studies

Holograms and Microwaves: The Science of Black Music

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The Africana Studies Program at Rhodes College is proud to welcome acclaimed scholar Shana L. Redmond. An interdisciplinary scholar of music, race, and politics, Redmond centers the sounds of the African diaspora within the global struggle for Black liberation. She offers groundbreaking and thought-provoking insights into how the practice of music-making has reflected and redirected the formation of racial identities and the resistance to colonialism and white supremacy.

Redmond is the author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (2014) and Associate Professor of Musicology and African American Studies at UCLA. She is a contributor to and co-editor for Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader (2016) and series co-editor for Music of the African Diaspora on the University of California Press. 

Africana Studies
Africana Studies Program Memphis Center

Archives of Agency: Food in the Struggle for Black Liberation

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In Black Liberation movements in the United States, food plays not only a biological
role but also a political one. In this talk, Dr. Ashanté Reese explores the ways in which
Black Liberation movements use food as a platform for mobilizing communities and
making connections between historical and contemporary movements, and also considers
how organizing around food demonstrates multifaceted resistance.


Africana Studies

What's Going On? Campaign Rhetoric, Political Behavior, and the 2016 Election

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2016 has proved a most unusual election season, a reckoning time where issues of race, class, and gender, bolstered by grassroots movements, have been thrust to the fore in the public sphere and the national psyche. What are we to make of the last 18 months, and what can that tell us about the next few weeks, the next four years, and beyond? Join us for a conversation with political scientist Andra Gillespie and grassroots organizer Tami Sawyer as we sort through the familiar and the new in this election cycle, evaluate trends in rhetoric and political behavior, and discuss the intersection of local, national, and global politics.


Co-sponsors include Africana Studies, Gender and Sexuality
    Studies, Political Science, Political Economy, Rhodes Institute
    for Regional Studies, Search, and the Memphis Center
Africana Studies

Listen, Rock, Resist

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Music—its creation and consumption—has been central to resistance movements, providing the soundtrack and aural archive of social change processes. Recent shifts in the music industry and movement tactics have affected the way musicians express resistance politics, requiring us to develop new listening techniques to rock and resist. This event brings together an artist (Mobley) and a scholar (Dr. Fredara Hadley) to think about how to listen and rock between the lyrics, how to find the resistance blue note, and how to trouble our assumptions about the music, sounds, and narratives we hear every day.

Fredara Hadley:

Fredara Mareva Hadley is a Black Southern woman who currently lives in New York City who is fully committed to the idea of Black Joy as a way of life and as a means of resistance. It is her intent that all of her work carries a thread of Black Joy through it. Currently, she is a Visiting Professor of Musicology at Oberlin College and Conservatory, where she teaches courses on African American music and music entrepreneurship. In 2012, she founded a company called Jooksi, which hosts a weekly music podcast and provides walking tours as a way to introduce visitors to the living history of Black music in New York city.

Lately, she’s been spotted in Essence Magazine,, the Showtime documentary, Killing Me Softly: The Story of Roberta Flack, and the upcoming 8-part PBS documentary, Soundbreaking.


Cutting vocals in the woods behind his college dorm. Mixing in the backseat of a sedan. Sneaking into the music department after hours to teach himself to play new instruments (and sneaking out before the faculty arrived in the morning). From the start, Mobley's work has been marked by solitude, ingenuity, and a drive that could only be called obsessive.

Over the last few years, he's composed dozens of pieces for stage and television (with placements on HBO, Fox, and NBC), played 200+ national tour dates (with the likes of Phantogram, JUNGLE, Mutemath, Robert Delong, & Wavves and at festivals like SXSW, CMJ, Savannah Stopover and Float Fest), and recorded (then scrapped) two whole albums in pursuit of the songs that would become his forthcoming full-length debut, Fresh Lies. Mobley wrote, produced, and played every instrument on the album. The music -- which Mobley calls "post-genre pop" -- defies easy classification, drawing liberally (often simultaneously) from an array of musical traditions. He's equally at home on a playlist next to The Weeknd and TV on the Radio alike, while his electronic, dub-dabbling production style calls to mind the intricate work of artists like James Blake and Thom Yorke.

    Event Sponsors: Africana Studies Program, Office of External
Africana Studies

For the Record: Storytelling and Conversating – an Evening with Zandria Robinson and Kiese Laymon.

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Join us for what promises to be a special evening. Zandria Robinson, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rhodes College will be in dialogue with award-winning author Kiese Laymon. Robinson and Laymon, two Black Southerners, will discuss life, culture, history and other crucial elements of life in the South.