History Department
History Department

History professors' research illuminates relevance on issues of race and equality today

Tue, February 12, 2008

Assistant Professor Tiffany Gill and Professor Juliet E. K. Walker are listed under the African American Business and Entrepreneurship section on the College of Liberal Arts web story on Black History experts. Associate Professor Leonard Moore is listed under the African American History, Culture, Politics section along with Assistant Professor Laurie Green. But there are several more History professors we want to include: Professor Toyin Falola, Assistant Professor Frank Guridy, Professor James Sidbury, Associate Professor Martin Summers, and Assistant Professor James Wilson.

For the History Department's Come Back to Garrison! celebration, professors Toyin Falola, Tiffany Gill, Laurie Green, Frank Guridy, Juliet E. K. Walker, and James Wilson all gave lectures and panel discussions attended by alumni, present students, and the general public. In the panel, "Finding Politics in Unexpected Places: Women in the Civil Rights Movement," Gill and Green explained the hiding and planning that occurred during the Civil Rights Movement in unexpected places like beauty salons and black-oriented radio stations.

"We sought to illuminate the political potential in spaces of everyday life and how these non-traditional sites are of particular importance in mobilizing black women," Gill said. She has also be featured on the UT home page for her research, read "Beauty and the Business."

Green discussed the civil rights movement that began in Memphis long before the more publicized breakthroughs of the 1960s. She explained how attempts by the white power structure to oppress African Americans extended beyond the political realm to culture as well.

Green is the author of "Battling the Plantation Mentality: Race, Gender and Freedom in Memphis During the Civil Rights Era." Her work has also been featured on the UT home page, read "Marching on Memphis."

Professor Toyin Falola gave a talk titlted "Spices and Global History." He specializes in the African Diaspora inclusive of African immigrants in the U.S., as well as cultural ties/survivals between African Americans and Africans from the continent as well as West Indies. He is the author of numerous books and awards.

Assistant Professor Frank Guridy showed a film with discussion on "Cuban Roots-Bronx Stories," a documentary by Pam Sporn that examines the experiences of Afro-Cuban immigrants who settled in the United States after the Castro revolution. The film highlights his research on the relations between African-Americans and Afro-Cubans and the ways they reshape our understanding of race, identity, and nation.

Professor Juliet E. K. Walker specializes in African American business history and the black political economy. Walker presented a lecture titled, "Buying Freedom from Slavery: An African-American Family Saga, 1777-1857," as part of the Come Back to Garrison! celebration. The subject was her great great grandfather, Free Frank, who lived on three American frontiers in the period between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Frank was born a slave in South Carolina in 1777.

Over a period of forty years, beginning in 1817, with profits earned from his various business enterprises, as both a slave and free black, Free Frank purchased the freedom of 16 family members from slavery. Among his businesses endeavors was a saltpeter factory that he set up in Kentucky, while a slave during the War of 1812. In 1836, Free Frank established the pioneer town of New Philadelphia, Illinois.

Walker is the author of "The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship" and "Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier." She has also founded the online resource web site at the university on Black History in Texas, and is the director and founder of the Center for Black Business History (CBBH). Walker has also been featured on UT's home page, read "Black Business is Her Business."

Assistant Professor Wilson's lecture was on "AIDS in Africa." Wilson analyzed the possible reasons for the AIDS problem among the African community, suggesting poverty which limits access to knowledge of safe sexual practices, a lack of willingness to discuss such matters in the public sphere, lack of education, and lingering homophobia.

Wilson emphasized his goal is to use his research and knowledge to build bridges between the academic and public spheres, in order to help create wider awareness of the issues surrounding AIDS.

Professor Moore teaches courses on the history of the hip-hop generation, Black Nationalism and the Black Power era. He also studies the intersection of race, sports and the hip-hop culture. He is the author of "Carl B. Stokes and The Rise of the Black Political Power." Moore was interviewd by NPR's Tom Ashbrook for WBUR's On Point when Barry Bonds broke baseball's home run record on August 7, 2007. He is also the Assistant Vice President and Executive Director for the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence.

Professor James Sidbury specializes in the social and cultural history of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America and early African American history. He is the author of "Becoming African in America: Race and Nation in the Early Black Atlantic," (just published in October of 2007), and "Ploughshares Into Swords: Race, Rebellion and Identity in Gabriel's Virginia, 1730-1810."

Associate Professor Summers' interests include African American intellectual and cultural History; gender and masculinity; and race and mental illness. Summers is the author of "Manliness and its Discontents: The Black Middle Class and the Transformation of Masculinity, 1990-1930."

Related Links:
Professor Toyin Falola
Assistant Professor Tiffany Gill
Assistant Professor Laurie Green
Assistant Professor Frank Guridy
Associate Professor Leonard Moore
Professor James Sidbury
Associate Professor Martin Summers
Professor Juliet E.K. Walker
Assistant Professor James Wilson
Education Notes: Black History Month Experts
Building a Legacy: African American architect John Saunders Chase lays foundation of firsts
PBS documentary on African prince Abdul Rahman
The History Channel Web site
LBJ Library and Museum: including recorded phone conversations with LBJ and Martin Luther King on Civil Rights

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