Posts tagged with "civil justice"

MLWXBF chapter 4 illustration via Alison Christenson for use by 360 Magazine

Ivy League BLM Courses

By: Emily Bunn

Ivy League Schools to Begin Teaching “Black Lives Matter” Courses

Proving their commitment to diversity and understanding, several Ivy League colleges will begin offering courses on the Black Lives Matter Movement. Whereas other Ivy League schools, such as Cornell, have created Africana Departments that focus on the centrality of Africa and the African Diaspora to the modern world, BlackLivesMatter classes are situated in a specific cultural moment. Though, of course, the Black Lives Matter falls under the umbrella of contemporary African history, it is positioned in a more concentrated, modern application. Princeton and Dartmouth are the two first schools to begin accrediting this intersectional coursework. While Princeton most recently enacted their BLM coursework, Dartmouth has been pioneering this change since 2015.

Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matter course discusses topics such as The Ivory Tower, understanding St. Louis and its racial history, race and class, racial violence, and systemic and unconscious racism, among other topics. Part of Dartmouth’s course description reads, “though the academy can never lay claim to social movements, this course seeks in part to answer the call of students and young activists around the country to take the opportunity to raise questions about, offer studied reflection upon, and allocate dedicated institutional space to the failures of democracy, capitalism, and leadership and to make #BlackLivesMatter. Developed through a group effort, this course brings to bear collective thinking, teaching, research, and focus on questions around race, structural inequality, and violence.” The course is taught by a wide variety of professors from different academic disciplines and social backgrounds. Taught for ten weeks by close to 20 different professors, Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matter coursework stands as a comprehensive example of a cross-disciplinary concentration that recognizes and situates history in a contemporary, American context.

Princeton’s #BlackLivesMatter class looks to examine the “historical roots and growth of the Black Lives Matter social movement,” and is “committed to resisting, unveiling, and undoing histories of state sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies.” Princeton’s #BlackLivesMatter’s course description reads as such: “This seminar traces the historical roots and growth of the Black Lives Matter social movement in the United States and comparative global contexts. The movement and course are committed to resisting, unveiling, and undoing histories of state sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies. The course seeks to document the forms of dispossession that Black Americans face and offers a critical examination of the prison industrial complex, police brutality, urban poverty, and white supremacy in the US.” The course’ sample reading list includes selections from Angela Davis, Claudia Rankin, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

Princeton’s course will be taught by Professor Hanna Garth, who has previously taught “Race and Racisms,” “Postcolonial and Decolonial Theory,” and “Theories of Social Justice.” Garth’s self-defined interest in “the ways in which people struggle to overcome structural violence” and past experience has well-prepared her for teaching this class. Garth remarks, “All of my research, teaching, and mentoring is designed around my commitment to feminist methodologies and critical race theory.”

While some have aggressively asserted that Princeton’s course readings are from a former communist party leader who once made it on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, their negativity further highlights the necessity of this course. While these assertions may be true, it is telling that certain critics commonly overlook the individual’s many (more recent) accomplishments. The author in question is Angela Davis – a revered, respected, and well-educated civil rights activist, philosopher, academic, and author. By painting Davis as an unpatriotic, dangerous criminal, it distracts from the important lessons that are to be learned from this influential leader. Similarly, Fox News’ article on Princeton’s new course links their mention of the “Black Lives Matter” movement not to an explanation of what the movement is, but instead to a page on US protests. As opposed to creating an educational resource for what the BLM Movement is, conservative critics are quick to jump to claims of Black violence and riots.

Especially in 2021, as the United States grapples with the fight for racial and civil justice, discussions surround race, policing, prison reform, and politics are more pertinent than ever. It is absolutely essential that our nation’s college students are exposed to critical race theory and critical thinking. By shielding America’s youth from the necessary history of this country – which is still being experienced today – we are only putting them in a position of increased vulnerability and ignorance. Knowledge is power and educating oneself on society’s issues is the only way to efficient work towards progressive social change. Hopefully, as the most prestigious academic institutions begin to model examples of intersectional and anti-racist coursework, other colleges and universities will soon follow suit.

Art Exhibition illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

A Conversation with Grandmother Edna in Franklin County, PA

Franklin County Visitors Bureau Invites All to A Conversation with Grandmother Edna: Fabric Artist and Storyteller

Franklin County Visitors Bureau hosts Edna Williams, a fabric artist and storyteller, at the 11/30 Visitors Center on July 17.

Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites the public to A Conversation with Grandmother Edna: Fabric Artist and Storyteller on July 17 at 1 PM in the Great Room of the 11/30 Visitors Center, on the square in Chambersburg PA. Visitors can enjoy more than a dozen quilts and pillow covers, created by Grandmother Edna and learn how she expresses herself through art to tell stories of her life and America’s history. The art, called Pillow Talk is on display in the lobby of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Centers.

Williams hails from Baltimore and is displayed at the 11/30 Visitors Center through the Franklin County Visitors Bureau’s relationship with the African American Historical Association of Western Maryland.

I reach back to move forward. It is the only way to grow, said Grandmother Edna. Her Pillow Talk display includes stories that connect directly to her mother, father, and grandmother as well as highlight her meetings with poet Maya Angelou and actor Harry Belafonte. Others tell stories related to enslavement and civil justice. Williams believes storytelling is a means to connecting people and endorses the importance of history stating, Why create a mountain when you can cross a hill.

Pillow Talk is displayed as part of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center’s Let The Journey Begin…People, Places, Possibilities. In addition to the storytelling quilts of Grandmother Edna, the exhibit looks at the quest for freedom from the earliest European settlers to the importance of the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Environmental Amendment.

A Conversation with Grandmother Edna is free and open to the public. Following the presentation, Grandmother Edna will offer a quilting and storytelling activity to participants who want to learn a little more. To reserve seating, please register here. A Conversation with Grandmother Edna is presented by the Franklin County Visitors Bureau as part of the July 17 Chambersburg Comes To Life Celebration, which includes the living history portrayal and light show depicting the 1864 Ransoming, Burning & Rebirth of Chambersburg.

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to explore Franklin County PA and enjoy trails of history, arts and architecture, recreation, natural beauty, fresh foods, and the warm hospitality of communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Franklin County PA is located just north of the Mason Dixon Line and is an easy drive from Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Discover more and plan a visit at their website or by contacting 866-646-(8060).

Q×A with Grandmother Edna 

By: Emily Bunn

Showcasing over a dozen quilts and pillow covers, Grandmother Edna weaves stories of her own life and chronicles American history into her fabric fashioning. The complex interweaving of Edna’s own life fluidly connects with the United States’ grappling with enslavement, civil justice, and the quest for freedom. Depicting familial relations, as well as Edna’s encounters with Maya Angelou and Harry Belafonte, Grandmother Edna brings history to life with her quilting and storytelling. 360 Magazine spoke with the artist about the success of “Pillow Talk”, what inspires her to create art, and her upcoming CD release.

When did you begin creating fabric art?

Really, I mentally began in the 1950’s [while] sitting on a stairway watching my grandmother quilting. Then, maybe somewhere around the late 80’s, I decided to pick my poems up from midnight brown paper bags writings to hand sewn quilting.

What first got you interested in American history?

Being Black in the 50’s going with my grandmother to be the help/maid. And, in the 60’s, attending an all white school.

If you were to create fabric art to express our current moment in time, what would that design look like?

I have a new quilt on exhibit titled: “There Was A Time When The Universe Was FREE.”

What inspired you to start selling your quilted creations, pillow covers, and fabric art?

First of all, my quilts will never be for sale. My pillow covers sales will I hope help fund my free educational mobile classroom called “A Grandmother’s Pilgrimage, INC.” and my Grace Wisher Reparation Recovery Youth Scholarship Fund, LLC. 

What inspired the name “pillow talk” for your exhibition?

I travel through the country as an invisible soul, no one seems to listen to anything I had to say. I decided to create a nightcap to relax the busy minds of everyone–and just maybe they would have time to hear me.

What has the reaction to “pillow talk” been like?

Amazing, fresh. It’s a newness in the art world.

What has working with the The Franklin County Visitors Bureau and The African American Historical Association of Western Maryland been like?

Exciting, cool and [represents] that change is coming, History being over-hauled. Janet and Ron have been great to partner with. I hope this [exhibit] will … improve that culture sock everyone keep avoiding in this America.

Your fabric art often reflects stories from your own life. What milestones from your life have you felt were most important to include in your artwork?

It’s that front door entry thing for me. The lost traditions of my people.

Are you currently working on any exciting fabric art projects that you can reveal to 360 Magazine’s readers?

Yes, I have my new CD on release. I have a file cabinet packed with poems to be quilted. I have faith the money will come. It’s appears to be easy, but it’s very hard to get paid for a job very well done. This is all fun and relaxing for me. I tell everyone to Just sew your emotions. Thanks 360 Magazine for this new media.