Wednesday 24 March 2010

Letter from America: Lemara Lindsay-Prince

AMS student Lemara Lindsay-Prince is currently spending her year abroad at Temple University in Philadelphia. On March 7th, Lemara travelled to Alabama to commemorate a key moment in Civil Rights history. Her account of her experiences was initially published on her own blog, here. We're very pleased to be able to share it with you:
On March 7th 1965 lines of African Americans walked across a bridge in Selma, Alabama. They were walking with a purpose to get the then Governor Jim Clark to give African Americans their voting rights. It’s no secret that African Americans had been disenfranchised since they were brought to America and one aspect of the Civil Rights Movement for black equality involved voting.

The date of March 7th is cemented in Civil Rights history as that innocent action of walking across a bridge was met with the most horrific violence.

If you're not familiar with the events of Bloody Sunday click my Videos tab for a small clip from the mini-documentary I am currently putting together about my trip [or see below]. I was invited by Brother Nate as I like to call him to go to Alabama for the weekend and not just re-enact the march across the bridge but to meet some of the pioneers of the movement, who walked across the bridge 45 years ago that day.

Jubilee weekend was set up by Rose and Hank Saunders in order to commemorate the bravery and remember that fateful day. Jubilee Weekend consists of a celebration of exceptional people in today’s struggle for Civil Rights. Being honoured that weekend was Winnie Mandela.

Walking across the bridge early on in the day before the cameras and television crews got there was a very sobering experience. I was happy to be there, to witness and experience it, but at the same time something sunk heavy in me.

History is a powerful thing to read, learn and see.

The struggle for black equality jumped off the page that whole weekend as I met and talked to the original people who walked across the bridge that day forty five years ago.
Lemara is currently putting together a short documentary about the event. Here's a snippet:

And Lemara is also at work on a series of posts about the Black Experience in the US and the UK - "A Different Kind of Black." Read it, and leave her a comment.

News: British Association for American Studies Conference 2010 - Final Programme

The 55th Annual British Association for American Studies Conference April 8-11 2010, hosted by the School of American Studies at the University of East Anglia, is fast approaching. We plan to document the conference here on Containing Multitudes, so stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, you can take a look at the full and final conference programme here. Enjoy - and see you in April.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Research Seminar: Steven F. Lawson

The Little Rock Nine Return to Central High School, via the New Yorker

At this week's research seminar, Steven F. Lawson (Rutgers University, currently Senior Mellon Visiting School, Cambridge University), author of Civil Rights Crossroads: Nation, Community and the Black Freedom Struggle (University Press of Kentucky, 2006) will be speaking about: "The Long Origins of the Short Civil Rights Movement".

Wednesday March 17th. Arts 2.51. 4pm. All welcome.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Research Seminar: Karen Jones

At this week's research seminar, Karen Jones (University of Kent), author (with John Wills) of The Invention of the Park: Recreational Landscapes from the Garden of Eden to Disney's Magic Kingdom (Polity Press, 2005), will be talking about: "'The Old West in Modern Splendor': Frontier folklore and the selling of Las Vegas."

Wednesday 10th March. A2.51. 4pm. All welcome.

Friday 5 March 2010

News: Levi's on Campus

We've been visited by an icon of Americana: the promotional film for Levi's Spring 2010 collection was filmed on campus. You can watch the video here. And then you can learn a bit about the company's history - dating back to 1853 in San Francisco - here.

Wednesday 3 March 2010

News: Debating American Exceptionalism

Richard Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru's essay for National Review Online - "An Exceptional Debate" - is generating a lot of online heat. They claim:
Our country has always been exceptional. It is freer, more individualistic, more democratic, and more open and dynamic than any other nation on earth. These qualities are the bequest of our Founding and of our cultural heritage. They have always marked America as special, with a unique role and mission in the world: as a model of ordered liberty and self-government and as an exemplar of freedom and a vindicator of it, through persuasion when possible and force of arms when absolutely necessary.
And they argue that President Obama is attacking the very qualities that make America "exceptional". Others have disagreed. Damon Linker, writing for The New Republic, argues: "While its authors clearly mean it to stand as a manifesto for a resurgent conservative moment, the essay far more resembles a lullaby—a comforting compilation of consoling pieties set to a soothingly familiar melody." And the Economist's "Democracy in America" blog questions the claim "that America is "freer" or "more democratic" than literally every other society on earth."


Research Seminar: Nancy Hewitt

At today's research seminar, Nancy Hewitt (Rutgers University, currently Pitt Professor 2009-10 at Cambridge University), editor of No Permanent Waves: Recasting Histories of US Feminism, will be talking about: "The Long U.S. Suffrage Movement, 1776-1965."

Wednesday March 3rd, Arts 2.51, 4pm. All welcome.