LAWRENCE — Several University of Kansas professors are available to speak with media about Black History Month, education, civil rights, American race relations and related topics.
John Rury, professor of educational leadership and policy studies and courtesy professor of history, can speak with media about the history of African-American education in the United States, its evolution, the Brown v. Board decision and continued threats to educational equality. Rury has written extensively on education and the challenges African-Americans have faced throughout the country’s history in attaining equal education.
A historian of education, he has written books and journal articles on demographics in education, urban schools, educational inequality and how African-Americans’ access to education has changed throughout the country’s history, including before and after the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board and how such access has improved after periods of “total war.”
To schedule an interview with Rury, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or [email protected].
Clarence Lang, associate professor of African and African-American studies and American studies, is available to speak about how present-day issues related to the broader American civil rights movement. Lang’s research and teaching interests are in African-American social movements between the 1930s and 1970s as well as black communities and class in the urban Midwest. He has conducted several national media interviews related to coverage of the events in Ferguson, Missouri. Lang recently wrote two books. In “Black America in the Shadow of the Sixties: Notes on the Civil Rights Movement, Neoliberalism, and Politics,” he argues the legacy of the 1960s has hindered how present-day challenges of dismal social and economic conditions in contemporary Black America are viewed.
He also co-edited “Reframing Randolph: Labor, Black Freedom, and the Legacies of A. Philip Randolph,” which examines the complicated legacy of Randolph, one of the country’s greatest civil rights leaders, who was one of the most influential African-American civil rights and labor voices from the 1920s to 1960s.
Shawn Alexander, associate professor of African and African-American studies and director of KU’s Langston Hughes Center, can speak about African-American social and intellectual history of the 19th and 20th centuries in connection to present-day race relations. He has published an anthology of civil rights leader and journalist T. Thomas Fortune’s writings, a book on the origins of civil rights organizing in the United States. In his book released this month, “Reconstruction Violence and the Ku Klux Klan Hearings,” Alexander edited selected testimony from the forgotten 1871 congressional hearings that detailed severe violence in the South against African-Americans and sympathizers in the aftermath of the Civil War.
The Project on the History of Black Writing at KU in conjunction with KU Libraries will host The Black Literary Suite in honor of Black History Month. The suite features African-American writers with Kansas connections. A program from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 25 on the fourth floor of Watson Library will include a poster display and self-guided audio tour on the writers, including major authors like Langston Hughes, who spent his childhood in Lawrence, and Gwendolyn Brooks, in addition to less well-known authors like Frank Marshall Davis, a black journalist, poet and labor activist originally from Wichita, and poet Kevin Young, who grew up in Topeka. The posters will remain on display through March.
Giselle Anatol, associate professor of English, researches Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora literature, especially 20th and 21st century women’s writing, and African-American literature. Her book “The Things That Fly in the Night: Female Vampires in Literature of the Circum-Caribbean and African Diaspora,” released this month, examines images of vampirism in Caribbean and African diasporic folk traditions, particularly the figure of the “soucouyant,” who, in several Caribbean cultures, is an old woman who sheds her skin during the night and flies around her community sucking the blood from her unwitting victims. This image is opposed to the more Eurocentric image of vampires, such as Stoker’s Dracula.
To arrange an interview with Lang, Alexander, Anatol or to learn more information about the Black Literary Suite, contact George Diepenbrock at [email protected] or 785-864-8853.