98th Annual National Conference for the Study of African American Life and History, Oct. 2-6

October 2-6, 2013, SPOHP will be attending the 98th Annual Conference for the Study of African American Life and History in Jacksonville, Florida, “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.”

The ASALH Annual Meeting is an occasion to explore the history and culture of Africans and people of African descent. Our convention brings together more than one thousand people–academics, community builders, educators, business professionals and others–who share an abiding interest in our annual theme. For nearly a century, our scholarly sessions, professional workshops, and public presentations have served to analyze and illuminate the contributions of people of African descent to the world.

ASALH members and friends from across the nation and the world come together extensively to explore the 2013 Black History Theme: “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.”

With more than 175 panels featuring our members who are prominent figures in Black cultural studies, as well as scholars and students from all disciplines, the ASALH Conference presents an optimal opportunity for leading academicians to present research and current projects, and to learn about leading projects in the field of African American History. A full schedule of speakers and events is available online.

Dr. Paul Ortiz, SPOHP Director, will be a featured speaker on the Saturday, October 5 panel: “Making Emancipation: From a Black Reconstruction to a Black President.” Justin Dunnavant, Ryan Mornini, Marna Weston and Diedre Houchen of SPOHP’s Alachua County African American History Project, will be presenting their research at the conference.

“Teach Them How To Sing”: Harry T. Moore and Patricia Due , Florida’s Activist Educators

While many are well aware of the actions of civil rights activists in Alabama and Mississippi during the 1950s and 60s, much less information is available on the Civil Rights Movement in Florida. The state witnessed the first jail-in, the first NAACP official killed in the civil rights struggle, and a bus boycott that shut-down city transit in Tallahassee.

In order to provide a glimpse into some of the actions undertaken by civil rights veterans in Florida, this panel will focus on the lives of historic figures Patricia Stephens Due and Harry T. Moore. In addition to the lives of these individuals, we will also explore more theoretical themes associated with oral histories as well as educational pedagogy and activism.  The use and analysis of oral histories serves as the common methodological thread that runs throughout all of our panel presentations.

Dr. Paul Ortiz will moderate the panel and Mr. John Due will serve as our discussant, providing valuable insight into the Civil Rights Movement in Florida from the perspective of a Civil Rights attorney, activist, and husband of the late Patricia Stephens Due.

A Closed Circuit: African American Educational Pedagogy, Structure and Community Organizing in Florida’s Jim Crow
Diedre Houchen

This presentation examines the regional African American education tradition in North Central Florida during the latter Jim Crow era (1930-1950s). Building on research by Siddle-Walker, Coates, and others, (Coates, 2010; Patterson, Mickelson, Petersen, & Gross, 2008; Siddle-Walker, 1996, 2000; Siddle Walker, 2012), this investigation centers on the oral histories of students, teachers, principals and community members from  several counties in North Central Florida which demonstrate  “highly valued”  African American segregated schooling . The purpose of such an investigation is twofold. First, to expand our understand of these school communities and the citizens and leaders that they produced, and  second, to consider the ways that this exemplar system might influence pedagogy, practice, and structure in contemporary American schooling contexts, especially in light of our current needs for diverse, region specific, culturally centered practice.

 

Institutional Transformations and Community Metaphors: Methodological Approaches to Studying Historic Black High Schools
Ryan Morini

This presentation discusses the use of oral history methodologies to study the community dynamics of the north Florida African American high schools that existed under segregated conditions. Black high schools were usually “downgraded” to middle schools during integration, but their central positions in north Florida communities seem only to have grown. Today, the alumni associations of many black high schools in north Florida are powerful community organizations. Very little of the history of these schools is documented, and it is an accordingly open research question as to why they continue to not simply endure, but thrive, attempting to incorporate younger generations who never attended the high schools in question. The attempt to record historical narratives and experiential recollections in this context has encouraged our research team to look for more nuanced approaches than the more traditional study of a bounded historical period.

 

Harry T. Moore and the Tradition of Black “Educator Activists”
Justin Dunnavant

Harry T. Moore has been described as the “first NAACP official killed in the civil rights struggle.” On Christmas Day of 1951, Mr. Moore and his wife, Harriette Moore, were assassinated in their home of Titusville, FL when a bomb exploded underneath their bedroom. As a prominent educator and activist, news of his death reverberated throughout the country, although the murder would go unsolved for more than half a century. Using the life and legacy of Mr. Harry T. Moore, this paper will draw heavily from oral histories and archives of the University of Florida to better understand the long tradition of “educator activists” in Florida. Furthermore this paper will highlight the various ways in which African Americans in Florida have remembered Harry T. Moore in more recent times.

 

“The Struggle Continues”: Patricia Stephens Due, CORE and the Tallahassee Civil Rights Movement
Marna Weston

In solidarity with the February 1, 1960 Greensboro North Carolina Lunch Counter protests, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in Tallahassee, Florida planned two sit-in actions against segregated downtown variety store lunch counters to take place within the month.  The first sit in on Saturday, February 13 took place without incident.  A second similar attempt on February 20 led to eleven immediate arrests. During Stephens’ forty-nine day stay in the Leon County Jail (March18 to May 5, 1960); she exchanged correspondence smuggled out of the Leon County Jail by local ministers. A particularly striking public letter establishes the earliest known student refusal to pay a fine, and remain in jail as a civil disobedience tactic against Jim Crow segregated lunch counters. Through her “Letter from Leon County Jail”, Stephens describes the originality and impact of FAMU CORE and previews herself, sister Priscilla and future husband, John Due’s beginnings as  meaningful and determined advocates challenging Jim Crow, gender inequality, discriminatory labor and wage practices, substandard education, ignorance and hunger. For the next half century, Patricia Stephens Due put into practice what she preached with courage, grace, and dignity. This paper will draw from personal time spent with Mrs. Due and other members of Tallahassee CORE from December 2003 to the present. Individual historic reflections on the nature of courage as exhibited in the leadership of Tallahassee CORE shall be further delineated by comparing narrative texts distinguishing 1960 CORE actions to the public in both African American and majority white newspaper articles from 1960.  Finally, a radio cast by Florida Governor Leroy Collins in March 1960 addressing the Tallahassee CORE direct action will reveal what state officials said of CORE and its leaders.

[left]Dr. Paul Ortiz (Chair)

Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
248 Pugh Hall
PO Box 11215
Gainesville, FL 32611
831.334.0131
Email 

Justin Dunnavant  (Participant)
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
248 Pugh Hall
PO Box 11215
Gainesville, FL 32611
240.529.5578
Email

Marna Weston (Participant)
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
248 Pugh Hall
PO Box 11215
Gainesville, FL 32611
352.219.7514
Email [/left]

[right]

Ryan Morini (Participant)
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
248 Pugh Hall
PO Box 11215
Gainesville, FL 32611
610.724.9035
Email

Diedre Houchen (Participant)
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
248 Pugh Hall
PO Box 11215
Gainesville, FL 32611
352.256.7207
Email

John Due (Discussant)
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
248 Pugh Hall
PO Box 11215
Gainesville, FL 32611
850.443.3078
Email

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