IUPUI faculty experts and collections offer treasure trove of Black History Month resources

  • Feb. 11, 2014

For Immediate Release

INDIANAPOLIS -- Academic personnel as well as literary holdings on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus are invaluable resources for media coverage of Black History Month topics.

 Sources may be contacted directly. For additional assistance from IU Communications, contact Richard Schneider at 317-278-4564 or rcschnei@iu.edu; or Diane Brown, 317-274-2195 or habrown@iu.edu .

 Faculty experts are available for interviews on aspects of the African American experience:

 Legacy of Jim Crow: ‘Everyone got the message that America was a country for whites’

 The Beatles and the African American music scene

 “Searching for the New Black Man” explores modern black male and female feminists

 Jim Crow: ‘Everyone got the message that America was a country for whites’

 “Jim Crow” laws passed after the end of African American slavery created an unequal society that denied rights and privileges to African American citizens while extending “racial spoils” to white Americans, including America's new European immigrants, said professor Carlton Waterhouse of the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Waterhouse is known internationally for his research and writing on reparations for historic injustices and state human rights violations.

"From 1877 to 1972, millions of people were born into the Jim Crow era," Waterhouse said. "They were born black, white, Native American, Latino and Asian.

 “Recently freed from their slave masters, Jim Crow's first black children experienced increasing levels of racial hostility and exclusion in the North, South and West. In contrast, Jim Crow's white children were raised under a system of racial spoils that directed employment and education as well as political, financial, commercial and other resources to them over their black counterparts.

 "In turn, Jim Crow's black children were openly denied employment, education, financing, housing and medical care as well as an assortment of state and federal benefits. White mobs and individuals openly used violence without the fear of punishment to protect and maintain the racial dominance provided to Jim Crow's white children, and everyone got the message that America was a country for whites.

 "During this period, large numbers of European immigrants entered the country and were adopted as new additions of Jim Crow's white children. Almost immediately, they experienced America as a land of opportunity, as their white skin entitled them to employment, education, financial and political opportunities. At the same time, Latinos, Asians, blacks and others were openly denied the same opportunities and rights," Waterhouse said.

 Waterhouse can discuss economic, political and educational mistreatment and injustices from the Jim Crow era, and the efforts by black organizations, institutions and others to overcome racial injustice during the Jim Crow period. This includes discussion of key black leaders of the era including Booker T. Washington, A. Philip Randolph, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Mary McCloud Bethune, Marcus Garvey, Thurgood Marshall and Mary Church Terrell.

For interviews, contact Waterhouse at 317-274-8055.


Beatles incorporated sounds of African American music greats 

 From the early influences of blues artists like Big Bill Broonzy and Leadbelly to rock 'n' roll pioneers Little Richard and Chuck Berry, the Beatles listened to and incorporated the sounds of African American rhythm and blues into their music, professor Douglas Babb said.

 Babb teaches "The Music of the Beatles" and "The Music of Pink Floyd" in the Department of Music and Arts Technology in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology on the IUPUI campus.

 By creating original versions of songs like "Twist and Shout" by the Isley Brothers, "You've Really Got a Hold On Me" by Smokey Robinson, and the Berry Gordy-penned "Money (That's What I Want)," The Beatles revived these classics and introduced their largely young white audience to the music of black America, Babb said.

 “The Beatles continued to record and perform American rhythm and blues music for the first few years of their rise to stardom and beyond," he said. "Motown artists like Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder and even the Supremes returned the favor by releasing successful covers of the Beatles' original songs.

 “Stax/Volt (distributed by Atlantic) artists Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and Booker T and the MG's also had hits with Lennon/McCartney tunes. The Beatles were so taken with the "Memphis sound" that they seriously considered recording an album there. In similar fashion, the Rolling Stones did record at Chess in Chicago.”

Paul McCartney’s ties to the African American music scene would also include writing “Blackbird," a song that was his veiled reference to the civil rights movement in America; and the recording of "Say, Say, Say" and "The Girl Is Mine" with Michael Jackson, and "Ebony and Ivory" with Stevie Wonder, Babb said.

 Babb can be reached for interviews at dbabb@iupui.edu or 317-506-0669.

 “Searching for the New Black Man” explores modern black male and female feminists

 In her 2013 book "Searching for the New Black Man: Black Masculinity and Women's Bodies," Ronda Henry Anthony, associate professor of English and Africana studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, examines black masculinity and looks at modern black male and female feminists who are reshaping the ideals and values commonly associated with black men.

 The last chapter of "Searching for the New Black Man" focuses on President Barack Obama, exploring the idea that he is more of a black feminist than many of the men before him. Henry Anthony compares Obama specifically to W.E.B. Du Bois because Du Bois set the tone for masculinity in the 20th century.

“Obama is the 21st-century embodiment of that,” she said. “He pulls from Du Bois, a literary father, and constructs a new configuration of respectable, middle-class, politically empowered black masculinity. However, he does it without trying to represent women in ways that always come back to men. In other words, women serve as critical voices that help him to understand better who he should be.”

Henry Anthony, who is also public scholar of African American studies and undergraduate research at IUPUI, feels that current gender debates between black men and women intensified during the emergence of third-wave feminism in the late 1960s and early '70s. Before that, black male voices dominated the literary scene. But the '60s and '70s brought female writers such as Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, Gayle Jones and Alice Walker to the fore.

The authors "talked back in conversation with black men and defied them by airing the dirty laundry of the black community about patriarchal abuses,” Henry Anthony said.

For interviews with Ronda Henry Anthony, contact Genevieve Shaker, 317-278-1058, gshaker@iupui.edu.


IUPUI is also home to various collections -- such as the Frederick Douglass Papers and the IUPUI University Library Digital Collections -- that can provide primary resources for Black History Month research. Staff members assigned to the collections are available for interviews.

 IUPUI University Library Digital Collections: The Center for Digital Scholarship offers a number of resources:

 The Indianapolis Recorder collection provides digital copies of the African American community newspaper from 1899 to 2005 (missing issues published from 1917 to 1925 and from January to April 1932). Established in 1897, the Indianapolis Recorder, now one of the top African American publications in the United States, has focused on local people and events in Indianapolis but also reported national events.

 The Crispus Attucks Museum Digital Collection: Crispus Attucks High School was Indianapolis' first segregated high school built for African Americans in 1927. This digital collection captures the history of the high school through its yearbooks (1928-1986), newspapers and graduation programs. The collection includes the personal scrapbook of then future NBA great Oscar Robertson.

 Flanner House Records: Flanner House opened in Indianapolis in 1898 as a "Negro" community service. Since its inception, Flanner House has planned and implemented a variety of employment and training, social services, and recreational and health programs. About 5,000 digitized objects in this collection consist of photographic, manuscript, artifact and printed images from the Indiana Historical Society and IUPUI Flanner House Collections.

 For access to the Indianapolis Recorder, Crispus Attucks and Flanner House digital collections, visit www.ulib.iupui.edu/digitalscholarship. For questions, contact Jenny Johnson, digital scholarship outreach librarian, at jennajoh@iupui.eduor 317-278-6709.


Frederick Douglass Papers Edition

 The Frederick Douglass Papers Edition originated in 1973 at Yale University and now resides at IUPUI. The collection of original documents and photocopies comprises the largest single U.S. repository of Douglass' work.

 The project has also begun exploring the use of electronic texts and of websites to broaden access to the project’s resources.

 For interviews and additional information, contact director John R. Kaufman-McKivigan, 317-274-5834 or jmckivig@iupui.edu .

Carleton Waterhouse

Carleton Waterhouse

Print Quality Photo

Ronda Henry Anthony

Ronda Henry Anthony

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Oscar Robertson's High School Scrapbook

Oscar Robertson's High School Scrapbook

Print Quality Photo

Richard Schneider
Diane Brown