Devil's Tale Posts
The Rubenstein holds the archives of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), perhaps the single most important point of connection for communities who, in their desire to confront troubled pasts, have turned to the truth and reconciliation commission (TRC). The ICTJ archives reveal the workings of the global transitional justice crossroads, they spotlight an institution that carries forward the lessons, expertise, and experience of each commission to those that come afterwards.
In the year 2000, for the first time since the British ceded political authority over the territory they called Gold Coast, Ghana experienced regime change by ballot box. Subsequently, Ghana’s TRC was ushered in by the newly elected New Patriotic Party (NPP) government. For about 18 months, glimpses, recordings, and debates about Ghana’s history of human rights abuse, as rendered by its citizenry, occupied the body politic. But fifteen years later, a lot has happened in Ghana— and frustratingly, much has remained the same.
In the decade since Ghana’s National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) ended, offshore oil reserves in the country’s Western Region have been newly discovered, exploited, and are now flowing. A new colloquialism, dumsor, has been coined as a result of the electricity outages and power sharing which have inexplicably become de rigueur in 21st century Ghana. John Kufuor, the president who oversaw the formation of the Commission, has served his two terms as president, stepped down, watched his political party lose majority control of the presidency and the Parliament, and now spends his days fending off allegations about corruption. From today’s vantage point, the hopes attached to Ghana’s truth and reconciliation commission experiment seem quaint, aggressively optimistic, or misleading, depending on your political persuasion. The sheer difficulty of locating the artifacts of national reconciliation in Accra suggest that ‘Ghana’s TRC moment’ has long ended. It would be easy to dismiss the NRC as a frustrating political ritual, as all flash and no substance. That is—until you access the records of Ghana’s National Reconciliation Commission, many of which are preserved within the ICTJ archives.https://blogs.library.duke.edu/rubenstein/files/2016/02/Ghana-Post-Small-1.m4v
The voices are clear and cutting; they are as relevant today as they were when the TRC captured the nation’s attention. In the audio archive, I find the crackling somber tones of Jose Aryee, a journalist whose NRC testimony describes the public execution of former head of state Akwasi Afrifa in 1979. “Up to now, I shudder to think of what went on that day. I never was a fan of Afrifa as such. Neither was I a fan of any of those executed people. But the way they died, particularly Afrifa, it was sad. I, at that time, what went through my mind was, I would never be a politician in Ghana. Never. Not for all the gold in King Midas’s palace because… I felt that Ghanaians, we’re like Kwaku Ananse; that is the mentality we have…” In the Rubenstein, these critical musings and stories are preserved, and thrown out across space and time, again, in the hopes that they might be heard, again. And thus, the too-brief afterlife of the Ghanaian NRC is extended.
Post contributed by Abena Asare, Assistant Professor of Modern African Affairs at Stony Brook University.
The post Encountering Ghanaian Political History in Durham, North Carolina appeared first on The Devil's Tale.
Amari Victoria Stokes was a student in Kelly Alexander’s Our Culinary Cultures course offered in the Fall 2015 semester in the Center for Documentary Studies. Utilizing Rubenstein Library resources, students in the class were asked to explore the history of a culinary ingredient of their choice, find a recipe that exemplified their chosen ingredient, and prepare it for the class. The following is Amari’s research paper submitted for the class.
Two eggs well beaten, one-cup brown sugar, two teaspoons ginger, one-cup N.O. molasses (boiled), one-teaspoon baking soda, flour to roll out. Mix in the order given. I poured the molasses into a pot and watched small bubbles form and subsequently burst as the dark liquid began to heat. As the molasses boiled on the stove, I started mixing the ingredients in the order specified in the recipe. After the eggs had been beaten furiously with my new silver whisk, I began to measure the brown sugar for what I hoped would be a delicious dessert.
Sticky and compact, I remember struggling to handle this strange sugar during family barbeques as we seasoned our meat. As I thought about it, I realized besides an occasional pineapple upside down cake, outside of barbeque, I couldn’t recall ever having used brown sugar. Why was that, I asked?
The story of brown sugar begins, unsurprisingly, with the story of sugar. Sugars are natural ingredients found in most plants but what we have come to known as sugar is often extracted from sugarcane and sugar beets. Sugar cane, from the genus Saccharum, was originally cultivated in tropical climates in South and Southeast Asia.1 Neither should it be a surprise that the road from brown sugar to white sugar looks very much like the roads taken to get to white bread, white flour, and white cotton. All have similar histories where the unnatural but white version is preferred or is seen as a higher quality than the browner, natural varieties.2
Three hundred years after being introduced to Europeans by Christopher Columbus in 1492,3 by the 19th Century, sugar was considered a necessity.4 This evolution of taste and demand for sugar had major economic and social implications for the entire world. As a result of this demand, tropical islands were colonized and sugarcane plantations began ‘cropping up’ in record numbers. Consequently, the demand for cheap labor to assist in the labor-intensive cultivation and processing of sugarcane contributed greatly to the transatlantic slave trade, which displaced many African peoples.5
As I turned down the heat on the molasses to allow it simmer, I carefully added ground ginger. Watching the ginger disappear into the creamy brown concoction, I thought back to my ancestors. It wouldn’t surprise me if at some point in history one of them had made the same treat for her master’s children while her own children toiled in the hot sun picking cotton or harvesting sugarcane.
At the heart of the American sugar industry was the Domino Sugar Company. Founded during the height of the Industrial Revolution, in 1807, the company was created by William and Frederick Hevemeyer in the city of New York. The company led industry efforts to gain control of brown sugar production and to restrict price competition in the sugar industry. One of the primary tools used was to mount a smear campaign to denigrate brown sugar, whose refining it did not completely control. By blowing up photographs (taken through microscopes) of grotesque but harmless microbes found in brown sugar, reproducing and then distributing them with warning of the supposed dangers of eating brown sugar, the company convinced the American public that brown sugar was of an inferior quality than white refined sugar.6
The success of this campaign and the widespread adoption of white over brown sugar was evidenced in the widely accepted cook book of 1897, Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book: What To Do And What Not To Do In Cooking, originally published in 1884. An early home economist, Mary Johnson Bailey Lincoln was an influential Boston cooking teacher and cookbook author. She was among the first to address the scientific and nutritional aspects of food. At that time, her book was the authority on cooking. In it, she gives detailed descriptions of everything from understanding cooking terms to distinguishing between different cakes based on butter content. In her section about sugar, she makes a clear distinction between brown sugar and white sugar: “All brown sugar and moist sugars are inferior in quality: they contain water and mineral matter, and are sometimes infested by a minute insect. Loaf sugar is the purest.”7 Domino had done its job. Its executives had effectively tarnished the reputation of brown sugar.
To prevent it from boiling over, I quickly took the molasses off the stove. I watched as it oozed into my giant red mixing bowl. Baking soda followed it into the mix. While the recipe in and of itself was not difficult, finding it was an entirely different story. There I was, staring at genuine cookbook from the 1800s. I carefully scanned each recipe looking for the word sugar but then had to further distinguish sugar from brown sugar. Only four of the thousand or so recipes in Mary’s cookbook included brown sugar and among them were Ginger Drops.8 Due in part to the success of the campaign to disparage brown sugar, farmers and workers gave up producing molasses, brown sugar, and sorghum. In the United States, between 1880 and 1915 the per capita consumption of white granulated sugar doubled.9 Brown bashing marketing and advertising had worked. White America had once again embraced what looked like them.
As I added the final ingredient, it became perfectly clear that the history of brown sugar was more than aggressive advertisement but was also an adequate representation of black people in America. My great-grandmother was brown sugar. I am brown sugar. The contemporary artist Kara Walker paid homage to this lost history in one of her thought-provoking pieces that once sat in the remains of the Brooklyn Domino Sugar Refinery, which, after running for 148 years, closed for business in 2004. One has to look no further than the title to know exactly what the piece is about: “A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant.” Her exhibit consisted of a colossal kerchief-wearing, white sugar-coated, female sphinx measuring 80 feet long by 40 feet high. Yet, despite its white coating, the sphinx’s features are exaggerated black/African features: very full lips, high cheekbones, large breasts, vulva, and buttocks. Fifteen or so “sugar babies,” child-sized, brown-skinned boys, “attendants” carrying baskets accompany her. Walker’s work brought visitors back to the 18th and 19th century slave trade that was built to profit from the insatiable Western market for, among other things, refined sugar and rum.10 As the exhibit continues, the brown sugar babies begin to melt, leaving a trail of melted ‘bloodied’ molasses. The symbolism of blood and loss is appropriate Walker explained in an interview about “The Subtlety,” that to make the sugar, the cane had to be fed into large mills by hand. It was a dangerous process: Slaves lost hands, arms, limbs and lives.11
Holding court in a dated, 30,000 square foot abandoned industrial space, at the center of “A Subtlety” the giant white sphinx stares at you. “A Subtlety” is meant to serve as a critique of perceptions of black women’s bodies. Culture critic Yesha Callahan of the Root writes, “History has shown us time and time again how a black woman’s body was (and sometimes still is) objectified. From the days of the slave trade to even having black butts on display in music videos, the black woman’s body seems to easily garner laughs and mockery, even if it’s made out of sugar.”12 This mirrors Mary’s Johnson’s sentiment about the uses of brown sugar. Brown sugar “is good for fruit cake, but for all other varieties use the finest granulated or powdered sugar.”13 Just as brown sugar is only good for fruitcake, perhaps black women’s bodies can only be sexualized.
With all the ingredients in, my mixture slowly spilled into the pan, the sticky substance occupied every crevice. My apartment was filled with the sweet, succulent aroma of ginger as my drops began to bake in the oven. I thought back to the passage where Mary reinforced the inferior quality of brown sugar to white sugar. Her “white is right” mentality extends past sugar as it is pervasive in American society as well. Black peoples have always been seen as inferior and have been taught to think the same of themselves, and thus have been limited in their place in society. The whiter you are the better you will be. Blacks have been trying to assimilate into white culture from the time they were stripped from their homelands. Light skinned black people would attempt to “pass as white” to ensure better economic and social opportunities for themselves. Light-skinned black people were seen as less black and thus more valuable than their darker counterparts who measured their color and therefore their worth against the shade of a brown paper bag. Hair straightening products and bleaching creams were just a few of the other ways in which the white European ideal was mimicked. Black women were prized for how closely they could fit the white mold. A fashion magazine editor once lauded the famous Somali-American model, Iman, as being a white woman dipped in chocolate.14 Using white as the standard is not unique to the fashion industry. Similarly, black dolls have historically been made with the same cast as white dolls with the added features of dark hair and darker complexion, but without any of the other defining features of black people. Commercial brown sugar is made in a similar way. Molasses is added to refined white sugar to control the ratio of molasses to sugar crystals and to reduce manufacturing costs. Commercial brown sugar contains from 4.5% molasses (light brown sugar) to 6.5% molasses (dark brown sugar) based on total volume.15
I took the Ginger Drops out and allowed them to cool. I thought about the different sugars I had used for this recipe. Traditionally, sugar cane is crushed and heated which allows impurities to be separated out. These are removed and the juice is boiled down and solidified. This solidified product is brown sugar. Brown sugar is again dissolved, boiled, and filtered. Molasses is the drainage of the raw sugar. Granulated sugar is brown sugar refined again.16 The sugar refining process mirrors the cultural landscape of Americans today. What was once black eventually becomes white and in turn black culture is perceived as acceptable only when appropriated by whites (as white sugar is given regulated amounts of molasses). From Elvis and his guitar to Kylie Jenner and her cornrows, black creativity and innovation is repackaged for massive white consumption. But just as commercial brown sugar is white at is core, cultural appropriators neglect to acknowledge the stories of struggles so prominent in black culture. It’s cool to act black but not to be black.
I tore off a small piece of my sweet confection and popped it into my mouth. Sweet and moist, the drops had the consistency of a brownie but the taste of gingerbread. The recipe for Ginger Drops could be a testament to Mary Lincoln’s innovation in cooking or the Domino Sugar Company’s successful smear campaign, but it better represents the stories of black bodies. Brown sugar does not have to be limited to fruitcakes or Memphis barbeque. It can be used wherever white sugar can be used. Its quality should not be determined by the amount of molasses in it but should instead be celebrated in its natural state and not only after it has been “refined”. Black peoples are pushing back against their assumed inferiority, celebrating their diversity, breaking down barriers, and now emphatically chanting, “Black Lives Matter.” If you have ever had a sweet tooth or enjoyed a sweet treat you are part of this narrative. You are brown sugar.Notes:
- Kiple, Kenneth F., and Kriemhild Coneè Ornelas. “Sugar.” The Cambridge World History of Food. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000), 284.
- Mintz, Sidney W. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. (New York: Penguin, 1985), 285.
- Abreu Galindo, Juan de, and Alejandro Cioranescu. Historia De La Conquista De Las Siete Islas De Canarias. (Santa Cruz De Tenerife: Goya Ediciones, 1955), 385.
- Mintz, 186.
- Fryer, Peter. Black People in the British Empire: An Introduction. (London: Pluto, 1988), 252.
- Eichner, Alfred S. The Emergence of Oligopoly: Sugar Refining as a Case Study. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1969), 68-69.
- Lincoln, Mary Johnson Bailey. Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book: What to Do and What Not to Do in Cooking. (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1884), 458.
- Lincoln, 388.
- Cummings, Richard Osborn. The American and His Food. (New York: Arno, 1970), 114.
- Cornish, Audie. “Artist Kara Walker Draws Us Into Bitter History With Something Sweet.” NPR. (16 May 2014).
- Callahan, Yesha. “Reactions to Kara Walker’s A Subtlety Prove a Black Woman Will Be Sexualized, Even in Art.” The Root. (Root, 28 May 2014).
- Lincoln, 371.
- Cadwalladr, Carole. “Iman: ‘ I Am the Face of a Refugee'” The Guardian. 28 June 2014.
- Figoni, Paula. How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science. (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2011), 82.
- Lincoln, 438.
What: Virginia Woolf: Writing Surfaces and Writing Depths, with Dr. Leslie Kathleen Hankins
Date: Thursday, March 3 Time: 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Where: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Rubenstein Library
Dr. Leslie Kathleen Hankins is a professor in the department of English and Creative Writing at Cornell College and past president of the International Virginia Woolf Society. She will give a talk on the various writing surfaces used by Woolf throughout her life, including the desk now on display in the Rubenstein Library that was acquired as part of the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection. How did this desk shape the apprenticeship of Virginia Stephen into a writer? What did she write at this desk? How did it launch her career? In addition to the desk at Duke, Hankins will discuss Woolf’s decorated writing table in Cassis, as well as an overstuffed chair and lap board in a storage room at Hogarth Press and in Woolf’s writing shed. Along the way, she will consider how Woolf’s desk selections demonstrate a nuanced negotiation of gender performance and the writing profession as she crafted an innovative writing space through standing/walking/and shabby chic desk strategies.
Free and open to the public. Reception to follow.
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Happy Presidents’ Day! As weird as our current election season has turned out to be, it has a way to go before it compares to the drama and excitement of the 1912 presidential election. That’s the election where William Howard Taft (Republican incumbent), Woodrow Wilson (Democratic challenger), Theodore Roosevelt (former Republican president who lost the Republican nomination and decided to run as the nominee of the Progressive Party, also known as the Bull Moose Party), and Eugene V. Debs (the perpetual nominee of the Socialist Party) battled it out in a four-way race for the White House. Imagine if there had been televised debates back then.
I recently found this postcard in the Slade Family Papers that capitalized (sorry, Debs) on the enthusiasm surrounding the race. Written to friends in North Carolina just before the election, the anonymous author asks “How are politics in that part of the country? Have you any good reads yet?”
Flip the card over and it is so cool! It’s a “magic moving picture card” that lets you slide the tab between all four candidates to “pick the winner.” I’ve only seen this sort of thing in children’s books, like Gallop. (This isn’t quite Scanimation, but it is similar to that technology.)
You can see a video of us playing with the postcard below. Who will it be?
The sender adds the words “Hurray for Wilson!” on the side of the window. Turns out, they were right — Wilson did win the contest and served as president from 1913 until 1921.
Psst, the deadline for registering to vote in our upcoming primaries in North Carolina is Friday, February 19. Register here.
This beautiful copy of Of the Friendship of Amis and Amile, part of the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, was given by May Morris to her beloved, John Quinn, in 1910. It was printed in 1894 at Kelmscott Press, which May Morris’s father William Morris founded. The green morocco leather binding with delicate gold tooling is the work of May Morris’s friend Katharine Adams.
On its own this would have been an touching gift for any book lover, as Quinn, a patron and collector of art and literature, certainly was. But Morris went beyond that. An accomplished needlework artist, Morris created a detailed hand-stitched silk book pouch to go along with Amis and Amile. The centerpiece of her work features a kneeling couple with angels flying above in a sunbeam lit sky. It is surrounded by foliage and birds, with hearts sewn along the top. The final details are seed pearls and glass beads at the corners. The back of the pouch is signed in stitching by Morris with a small “M” in a circle.
Sadly, I cannot tell you that this is a love story has a happy ending. It was a rather one-sided relationship. Whatever romantic interest Quinn had in Morris quickly cooled, despite a gift like this and the loving letters she wrote him. For more insight into Morris and Quinn’s relationship, see On Poetry, Painting, and Politics: The Letters of May Morris and John Quinn edited by Janis Londraville (1997), or Londraville’s article “No Idle Singers of Empty Days: The Unpublished Correspondence of John Quinn and May Morris” in Journal of Modern Literature (Summer, 1994).
Post Contributed by Kate Collins, Research Services Librarian.
The post Skip the Valentine’s Day Chocolates, I’d Like a Kelmscott Press Book in a Silk Pouch appeared first on The Devil's Tale.
This very special edition of the Rubenstein test kitchen is intended to build bridges between Duke and UNC, between a Digital Collections Program Manager and a Serials Access Librarian. Though both librarians, they live completely different professional lives. Until now…
Given the digital nature of Molly’s work, we decided to choose a recipe from those that had been digitized as part of the Emergence of Advertising in America digital collection. After looking at a handful of recipes we realized that Molly didn’t want to cook with beef tongue, Kurt didn’t want to bake, and neither of us wanted to deal with jello. So we settled on this “pretty and palatable” gem of a recipe from the The Kitchen Encyclopedia, by Swift & Company: “Spanish Minced Beef in a Meat Box.”
We were excited about taking on the challenge of constructing a meat box to contain yet more meat that the title conjured in our minds, although we had no idea at all how it might work. It wasn’t until later, when we were about to start cooking, that we paused to ask the following: What exactly is Spanish about a recipe in which the only spices are salt and pepper? Why does the title refer to minced beef in a meat box when there is no minced beef listed as an ingredient in the filling? This last question particularly filled us with anxiety – did we miss something? Should we have assumed that since the recipe title refers to minced beef in a meat box, that we should put minced beef in the meat box, even if it’s not called for? (About the matter of a “meat box.” As our guests pointed out, can something with only four sides properly be labeled a box?)
Cooking can be so stressful!
Before we proceed, however, a question posed by the text: “Have you tried Swift’s Oleomargarine?” If you have not, permit the book to let you know, “It is worth trying” (p. 26). In case that’s not enticement enough, consider that “The price of butter holds no terror for users of Swift’s Oleomargarine” (p. 27).
Theses quotes are Molly’s favorites of the short, persuasive selling points on the benefits of oleomargarine that appear on every page of the book (and which had to be pointed out to Kurt, who overlooked entirely the margarine-filled pearls of wisdom in his single-minded focus on the meat box). Has it been mentioned that Swift & Company were leading the fight against the tyranny of high-priced butter circa 1911 with their “oleomargarine” and that this cookbook touts that revolution? Indeed, anyone interested in oleomargarine (or House-Cleaning Hints and Helps (p. 9), or The Practical Value and Use of Fireless Cookers (p. 17) … To the Wage-earning Woman (p. 21)) should consider this book a must-read. But we digress.
The recipe calls for the filling to be cooked in an “oatmeal kettle,” and we did not then nor do we now have any idea what that means. Without consulting any resources (bad librarians!), we decided it must be a double boiler, which we don’t own. This leads us to the night’s first derivation from the recipe, as we decided to saute the filling in a saute pan. This filling consists of sweet peppers (red bell peppers, in our case), tomatoes (canned, in our case, rather than whole tomatoes “cut in halves and the seeds squeezed out”) and onions cooked in (you guessed it) oleomargarine, which we substituted with regular margarine (do you know how hard it is to even find margarine at the grocery store these days?).
Regarding the preparation of the filling, refer to these excerpts from our kitchen conversation: “peppers into strips – insanity!” “1 onion to 4 peppers – madness!” This from Kurt, a former student in the esteemed Johnson County Community College Hospitality & Culinary program.
With the filling sauteeing-rather-than-sweating away, we turned our attention to the “meat box.” The only instruction given by the recipe is to “form into a box whose sides are about an inch thick.” This (relative lack of) instruction generated some pretty fundamental (and philosophical) questions: should the box have a bottom and a top? If it doesn’t have a bottom and a top, is it still a box (see above: guests)? How tall should it be? WHAT IS IT FOR ANYWAY?!?”
Sidebar: When did cookbooks stop presuming any basic knowledge of cooking – as seems to be the case in the books we looked in for recipes – and become the step-by-step manuals they are today?
In the end we created a kind of meat enclosure, with no meat top and no meat bottom. We basted the box with melted margarine, as per the recipe, before and during cooking. Once it was cooked in a “quick oven” (we used our regular old, modern-day electric oven, which is pretty quick), we put the filling into the enclosure and served it to some fellow librarians who were employed as testers.
Sidebar: Unlike the ongoing mystery of an oatmeal kettle, Kurt believes a quick oven to be one that’s pretty hot, i.e., 425 degrees. This “knowledge” comes from a search in the midst of constructing this post, and might have been more helpful in determining proper oven temperature in the moment (we went a slower 350 degrees), but then, that might have been cheating.
The verdict? Everyone agreed it tasted like bland hamburger. Not bad, but not really flavorful in any way, either. Certainly not flavorful in any way, shape or form associated with “Spanish” cooking. If we ever do this again, we decided we would add sausage, not use margarine, and add some actual seasonings, maybe some paprika, a little garlic, and some rosemary. We wonder what might have been had we not missed the advice on the page opposite that “For … mince meat … the neck is best.” We might also try using potatoes for the bottom of a true box. We are still really unsure whether this dish should have a top, and why this involves forming a box in the first place. Some questions will just have to remain a mystery.
Post contributed by Kurt Blythe, Serials Access Librarian, UNC, and Molly Bragg, Duke Digital Collections Program Manager
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According to Wikipedia, the webcam era began in 1991 when a camera was aimed at a coffee pot in a Cambridge University lounge and left on for a decade. Nowadays it’s commonplace to communicate via video-conferencing, FaceTime, Skype or other video-phone platforms but the technology has only been widely available for a relatively short time. In the mid-1950s links between telephones and televisions were developed, but the public only saw the technology for the first time at the 1964 World’s Fair, which also introduced touch-tone phones. Industrial trade ads touting the ability to send phone signals to television screens appeared in the early 1960s, and consumer possibilities of what were then called “Picturephones” began to be marketed in 1963-1964, as seen in this 1964 ad from New York Telephone. It would take another 40 years before smartphones put telephone and video capabilities in the hands of most consumers worldwide.Image from JWT Competitive Advertisements Hartman Center
Post contributed by Rick Collier, Technical Services Archivist for the John. W. Hartman Center
“Let’s all sit together:” Greensboro citizens respond to the 1960 Sit-Ins in the Edward R. Zane Papers
Excerpt of letter supporting integration of Greensboro’s lunch counters, March 8, 1960. From the E. R. Zane Papers
This month marks the 56th anniversary of the Greensboro Sit-Ins, which began on February 1, 1960 when four African-American students from North Carolina A&T walked from the campus library to the local Woolworth store, sat down at the “whites only” lunch counter, were denied service but refused to leave until closing. Over the next week, several hundred protesters took part in the sit-ins at the Woolworth and later Kress department store in Greensboro. The sit-ins grabbed national headlines and similar protests followed in towns across the South.
With the city in turmoil, Greensboro Mayor George Roach appointed an Advisory Committee on Community Relations to help coordinate a response to the sit-ins. He appointed Burlington Industries executive and city councilman Edward R. Zane to chair the newly formed committee. In his first act as chair, Zane issued a call to Greensboro citizens asking them to share their opinions on the “race issue.” Specifically, Zane encouraged citizens to send letters to the committee “expressing their views on recent racial problems,” and he laid out five possible solutions to the lunch counter integration question at Woolworth and Kress:
- The situation to remain as it is;
- The two establishments to remove seats and serve everyone standing;
- The two establishments to serve everyone seated;
- The two establishments to reserve separate areas for seated white people and seated Negroes;
- The two establishments to discontinue serving food.
The Rubenstein’s Edward Raymond Zane collection contains several hundred of these letters from Greensboro citizens from late February to early March 1960. The letters, written by both white and African-American citizens, express support for or opposition to integrated seating at the Woolworth and Kress lunch counters. In aggregate, they provide a window into race relations in the community and help document the prevailing arguments on both sides of the integration issue.
More than a half century later, we remember the Greensboro Sit-ins as one of the seminal events of the civil rights movement. To commemorate the sit-ins, a portion of the Woolworth lunch counter now resides in the Smithsonian and four stools from the counter are on display in the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro. The letters in the Zane collection are less tangible than these powerful artifacts, but provide more direct evidence of one community’s response to direct action protests and serve as testimony to the bravery and courage of the Greensboro Four and other civil rights pioneers who ignited a movement to challenge segregation in public accommodations throughout the South.Excerpt of letter favoring separate but equal seating arrangements, March 1, 1960. From the E. R. Zane Papers
Excerpt of letter supporting integration, March 7, 1960. From the E. R. Zane Papers.
Excerpt of letter opposing integrated lunch counters, March 16, 1960. From the E. R. Zane Papers.
Letter from Bennet College President Willa B. Player, the first African American woman to become president of a four-year college, March 11, 1960. Over 40 percent of Bennet College students were arrested and jailed during the Greensboro demonstrations. From the E. R. Zane Papers
Excerpt of letter from veteran in favor of integrated lunch counters, February 29, 1960. From the E. R. Zane Papers Excerpt of letter opposing integrated lunch counters, February 28, 1960
Excerpt from pro-segregation letter, March 11, 1960. From the E. R. Zane Papers
Post contributed by Noah Huffman, Archivist for Metadata and Encoding.
For the past few months, I have been processing the records of the Associated Students of Duke University, Duke’s student government organization from 1967 to 1993. One of the most interesting aspects of working on this collection has been the opportunity to learn about student life in the 1970s and 1980s. In the past year, the Duke community has grappled with questions of diversity and inclusion on campus, issues that were also explored by past Duke students.
In March 1967, the Men’s Student Government Association and Woman’s Student Government Association were replaced by the Associated Students of Duke University, which represented the entire student body. ASDU was led by an elected President, an appointed Executive Committee, and a Legislature composed of representatives from campus living groups. ASDU had a number of responsibilities, including managing student organizations and creating initiatives designed to improve student life at Duke. They also sent representatives to important university committees such as the Academic Council and the Residence Life Council. ASDU also formed a number of internal committees and task forces to study aspects of student life at Duke including housing, dining, and academic issues.
In the fall of 1981, ASDU created the Task Force on Black-White Relations to study the racial climate among undergraduate students at Duke. ASDU was concerned that while desegregation had removed many of the visible signs of racism, inequality still existed on campus. The Task Force on Black-White Relations was led by Trinity student Shep Moyle, who would be elected President of ASDU in 1982 (and is now President of the Duke Alumni Association’s Board of Directors). The Task Force consisted of seven students, including Mark Jones, the president of the Black Students Association.Ad for October 28, 1981 Open Forum on Black/White Relations. From the Duke Chronicle, October 27, 1981.
The committee held a series of public forums in the fall of 1981, which gave students the opportunity to voice their opinions. After the forums, Moyle wrote, “there was an ignorance, an apathy, even a hatred between the races on campus. This is a situation we must rectify. Whites misunderstand the black community’s actions and the blacks misunderstand the white’s [sic] reactions in return. A vicious circle that merely separates the groups even further.” The forums solidified the committee’s impression that actions must be taken to improve race relations on campus.
The Task Force developed a set of recommendations they believed would improve the campus climate. The official committee report of the Task Force on Black-White relations was published in February 1982. The findings of the task force mirrored many diversity concerns that continue to be raised today including enrollment numbers, a lack of faculty of color, and unequal treatment by campus authorities.
In the report, the Task Force wrote that the number of African-American students at Duke was unacceptably low. Their analysis found that over the previous few years, the overall percentage of African-American students at Duke had decreased. The report called for the Duke Admissions department to increase outreach, advertising, and financial aid opportunities for minority applicants. They recommended a 50% increase in the number of minority students for the class of 1986 and a 15% increase for the classes of 1987 and 1988.
The report also indicated that the university needed to increase hiring of minority faculty and staff, stating that eight African-American faculty members out of 350 total faculty was “appalling”. The Task Force suggested that the university launch a nationwide search for talented African-American faculty members and provide incentives that would attract them to Duke.
Additionally, the task force also accused Campus Police of stopping African-American students without just cause because of their race and called for race to be included in the core curriculum and for readings on race relations to be mandatory in freshman classes.Notes from the Task Force on Black-White Relations. From the ASDU Records.
University officials had a mixed response to the report, refuting the claims of biased behavior by the admissions and public safety departments. They also claimed that while the report raised a number of important points, many of the proposed solutions would be unrealistic or too difficult to implement. However, the administration promised to utilize the findings of the report in future decisions. Chancellor Kenneth Pye added, “The report shows a recognition of what is a real problem on campus. I think it is an important addition and a valuable step forward.”
It was interesting to compare the findings of the Task Force on Black-White Relations to current discussions on diversity to see what changes have occurred and which issues continue to be raised. Once reprocessing is finished on this collection, researchers will be able to review the Task Force’s documentation themselves—perhaps as a way to bring these past perspectives to bear on our current discussions. (In the interim, a copy of the final report may be found in box 5 of the Office of Minority Affairs Records.)
Post contributed by Elizabeth Hannigan, Isobel Craven Drill Intern for the Duke University Archives and student at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science.
Discovery at the Rubenstein: Italian-Language Version of Edith Wharton’s Short Story, “The Duchess at Prayer”
As a Humanities Writ Large Fellow at Duke this year, one of my goals was to explore the archives in the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Collection, extending work I had done at the Kislak Center for Special Collections at University of Pennsylvania creating archival research exercises for undergraduate humanities students. My scholarship focuses on late nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American women’s writing, so I knew that exploring the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, currently undergoing processing, would be especially exciting. But little did I know that I would uncover a genuine “find”—an Italian-language typescript of a short story by Edith Wharton, translated by the author and featuring corrections in her own hand.
The typescript, the only piece in the collection by Wharton, is a translation from English into Italian of Wharton’s story “The Duchess at Prayer” (“La Duchessa in Preghiera”). The textual history of this story is complicated: Wharton first published the story in Scribner’s in August 1900, where it featured illustrations by Maxfield Parrish (full text at hathitrust.org) and then republished it in the short story volume, Crucial Instances (1901). The translation in the Rubenstein appears to have been made after the 1900 publication. Drawing on Honoré de Balzac’s “La Grande Bretèche” (1831) and likely Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” (1842), Wharton’s tale recounts the story of a seventeenth-century Italian Duchess whose cruel husband discovers her adulterous affair. To taunt and threaten his wife, the Duke gives her a Bernini statue crafted in her image, and, as Emily Orlando has argued in Edith Wharton and the Visual Arts, in the conclusion of the tale, the woman “becomes a statue chiseled in marble at her husband’s command” (45). The typescript in the Rubenstein appears to be a word-for-word Italian translation of the Scribner’s version, though that will have to be confirmed against the version of the short story in Crucial Instances.Figure 1
“La Duchessa in Preghiera” attests to Wharton’s linguistic expertise. The author, who spent much of her childhood in Italy and adulthood in France, was fluent in multiple languages. There’s no evidence that the story was published in Italian periodicals of the day; rather, it seems most likely that Wharton translated the story as a language exercise. In this translation, Wharton’s sophisticated Italian reveals her careful self-education; for example, she uses the passato remoto to refer to events in the distant historical past, where a less experienced Italian writer might use the passato prossimo. On the typescript pages, we see how Wharton added accent marks that were not available on English-language typewriters at the time (figure 1; no Microsoft Word symbols here!). Wharton used her own work as a source of language practice several times during her career: she first conceived the novella Ethan Frome as a French exercise and translated some of her stories from English to French for publication in French periodicals. The typescript in the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection reveals her immersion in Italian culture as well her mastery of two languages. Just a year after the publication of Crucial Instances, she would publish her first novel, The Valley of Decision (1902), set in eighteenth-century Italy.
While “La Duchessa in Preghiera” deepens our appreciation of Wharton’s multilingualism, it also advances the scholarly record in another way. I am one of a number of volume editors contributing to The Complete Works of Edith Wharton, to be published by Oxford University Press. To date, there is no authoritative scholarly edition of Wharton’s complete works. In the process of editing Wharton’s extensive corpus, volume editors must locate extant manuscripts and typescripts for all the works in their purview. “La Duchessa in Preghiera” suggests that Whartonites should expect to find her work in unexpected places.
For example, after finding the typescript in the Rubenstein, I learned that an additional copy of “La Duchessa in Preghiera” has been located in the Matilda Gay papers at the Frick Museum in New York. Matilda Gay was a friend and neighbor of Wharton’s in Paris and two women came from a similar social class in New York. The next step would be to compare the Rubenstein typescript with the version in the Frick. The existence of these translations elicits multiple questions: did Wharton share a translation with her friend, and for what purpose? Do the two versions differ in any way? What do these translations tell us not simply about the author, but about the sharing of texts between friends, two female expatriates, at a particular historical moment, grappling with life and literature in another language? As with many forays into the archives, this initial exploration of the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection reminds us of how much we still have to learn.
Post Contributed by Meredith Goldsmith, Humanities Writ Large Fellow 2015-2016 (Associate Professor of English, Ursinus College)
This week the Rubenstein Library is joining other libraries and cultural heritage institutions for #ColorOurCollections. We’ve put together a coloring book filled with images from our collections. Never colored a manticore or 16th-century anatomical illustration before? Now’s your chance. Below are some highlights, and you can download the whole book for your printing and coloring pleasure.
Manitchora from The History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpants by Edward Topsell. London, 1658. J. Walter Thompson Company. Domestic Advertisements Collection, John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History. From The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Imprinted. Hammersmith: William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, 1896. From De Dissectione Partium Corporis Humani by Charles Estienne (Paris, 1545). History of Medicine Collections.
Download the full 30 page coloring book!
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Browsing our digitized collections for Test Kitchen fodder on the recent snow day, I stumbled upon an item from the Emergence of Advertising in America project, How Phyllis Grew Thin, created by the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company and published circa the 1920s. On the advertisement’s cover, Phyllis shields her rosy complexion with a parasol as she gazes off the page, inviting the reader to discover the secret to achieving the willowy frame holding up her stylish sweater and pleated skirt. We open the booklet and find stories of how women can shed undesired pounds through a reduced diet and relieve menstrual cramps, cycle irregularities, and menopausal symptoms through the use of Lydia E. Pinkham’s products.
The epistolary advertisement is addressed to Nancy, a pudgy cartoon foil to Phyllis’s elegant watercolor. Phyllis promises to share with Dear Nancy the keys to losing weight through a proper diet. We learn that Phyllis has not always been so effortlessly thin. Inspired by Douglas Fairbanks’ and President Taft’s weight loss, Phyllis determines to do the same. As soon as she announced her intention to lose weight, “the derision and ridicule of my family strengthened me in my determination.” (page 2) In addition to the nourishing fire that comes from wanting to prove someone wrong, her reduced-calorie diet consisted of “plain meat without butter or gravies,” corn, prunes, and the occasional crustless pie. (page 2) The kind of confessional tone continues to be a mainstay in weight loss advertising today. The letter from Phyllis to Nancy serves as a precursor to current weight loss advertising’s penchant for before-and-after photos, Instagram hashtag culture (check out #transformationtuesday and #fitspo), and celebrity-endorsed diets. (After a few Google searches for weight loss advertisements, my Facebook feed populated with sponsored content promising me a smaller pant size in mere days.)
Though her crash diet kept the weight off for a few years, Phyllis eventually gained the weight back and got serious about counting calories as a way to reduce again. She shares with Nancy that “it is not necessary for you to know just what a calorie is so long as you remember not to eat foods containing too many of them.” (page 3) The suggested calorie intake is considerably lower than most contemporary diet plans recommended by nutritionists, advising that Nancy (and “the army of women who are interested in reducing”) consume 1000-1200 calories a day. Phyllis then advises Nancy to take Lydia E. Pinkham’s Liver Pills and Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, claiming that they help alleviate constipation and excessive nervousness, respectively. Lydia E. Pinkham established the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company in 1873. Its signature product, Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, was a tincture of “black cohosh, life root, unicorn root, pleurisy root, fenugreek seed, and a substantial amount of alcohol” formulated to ease menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms (1). Pinkham’s products still line shelves today, each box featuring Lydia Pinkham’s face, promising relief.Dry toast, baked beans, and fish balls, oh my!
At the top of each page, the booklet provides a daily meal plan with calorie counts for each item. The offerings are spare. One suggested breakfast consists of “4 saltines, 1 tbsp. cream cheese, 2 prunes, tea and lemon (without sugar).” (page 18) An idea for one dinner is little more than bun-less hot dogs and a small bowl of ice cream.Does getting to eat ice cream and macaroons make you forget you ate frankfurts and cold slaw for dinner?
Faced with these choices, I considered upping the Test Kitchen ante by following one of the suggested meal plans for a few days. Upon reflection, I thought better and opted to spare my friends and colleagues the monster that I am when not eating enough at regular intervals. Even reading meal plans for day after day of fruit (or saltines!) for breakfast followed by a mayonnaise-laden lunch had me throwing my Phyllis-esque determination out the window. The booklet contained few actual recipes. Oddly, most of them were for desserts: frosting, Brown Betty, orange sherbet, and pudding. The dessert that caught my eye, though, was prune soufflé. Why? Frankly, it sounded so unappetizing that I felt compelled to give it a shot. Maybe I’d been missing its hidden appeal. And, having never tried to make a soufflé, it seemed a fun technical challenge.
The recipe given by the advertisement is deceptively simple. It’s less a recipe and more a list of ingredients. Perhaps this suggests that Pinkham’s target customer already had a thorough knowledge of soufflé-making and would simply need the inspiration to try a new take on the dessert. Since I have no such skills, I turned to the internet as a supplement, sourcing tips from a 1998 issue of Gourmet.The most appetizing shot of the night — and it’s of prunes!
When beginning a cooking project, I recommend ensuring you have all the right tools at your disposal before cracking your eggs. Alas, I did not follow my own advice! I began my soufflé only to find that my house apparently lacks a hand mixer. Already committed to the recipe, I decided to channel my foremothers and hand-whip the eggs into stiff peaks. If cooks beat eggs into submission for years by hand, then surely I could as well! All those hours spent practicing surya namaskara should be good for something, right?My foam never quite peaked–a souffle’s death knell.
Unfortunately, I underestimated the time and effort needed to beat the eggs into fluffy mountains. I achieved the early stage, a frothy foam, but never progressed to the stiff peaks a soufflé needs to bloom. Still, it was late and I had cracked five eggs to try to make this work, so I soldiered on. Per Gourmet’s instructions, I had soaked the chopped prunes in hot earl grey tea and lemon zest, hoping to brighten the flavors. After pureeing and cooling them, I slowly folded the foam into the mixture. Uneven in color, bubbly, and flat, I knew things had taken a turn for the worse. Still, I slid the muffin tin into the oven anyway, hoping that even if the souffle didn’t rise, I’d end up with a sweet baked egg fluff?In they went anyway!
Sixteen minutes later, I pulled them out of the oven to find a sad, deflated pan of brown blobs. I tasted one, and suddenly understood how easy it would be to “reduce” while following this diet. I tossed the remnants and dosed myself with a small handful of chocolate chips, the rest of which will hopefully go into a more successful baking project.I have made a terrible mistake.
Post contributed by Katrina Martin, Technical Services Assistant.
Maria Sibylla Merian. De europische insecten. Tot
Amsterdam: by J.F. Bernard, .Join the staff of the Bingham Center as Duke History Professor Thomas Robisheaux gives a lecture on the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, highlighting his use of works by naturalist and artist Maria Sibylla Merian. The lecture is free and open to the public; light refreshments will be served.
In celebration of:
Heralding the Way to a New World: Exploring Women in Science and Medicine through the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection
On display in the Michael and Karen Stone Family Gallery from January 20th to April 1st, 2016
From the first entomologist to capture the stages of metamorphosis of the butterfly (1705) to the author who published the first comprehensive volume on contraception (1923), the women in this exhibit were pioneers in science and medicine. Whether self-trained or classically educated, they not only made groundbreaking contributions to their fields, but also helped open the way for future generations to follow in their footsteps. Despite their accomplishments, most of these women remain overlooked or under-recognized.
This exhibition highlights the stories of seven revolutionary women in science and medicine and celebrates the arrival of the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, from which these materials were selected.
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Date: January 21, 2016
Location: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room (Rubenstein Library Room 153)
Contact: Patrick Stawski (email@example.com)
January 22nd will mark the 6th anniversary of Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo. On Thursday Jan 21st, 2016, The Human Rights Archive at Duke’s Rubenstein Library will be hosting a presentation by Peter Jan Honigsberg, “The Lives and Voices of Guantanamo: The Work of the Witness to Guantanamo Project.”
The Witness to Guantanamo project has filmed in-depth interviews of 136 people who have lived or worked or have been involved in the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention center. No one else in the world is doing this kind of work. Interviewees include not only detainees, but also prison guards, interrogators, interpreters, chaplains, medical personnel, habeas lawyers, prosecutors, journalists, high-ranking military and government officials, and family member of the detainees. The project has filmed more than 250 hours of video in 20 countries.
Peter Jan Honigsberg is professor at the University of San Francisco, School of Law, and the founder and director of the Witness to Guantanamo project. Professor Honigsberg has written books, law review articles and blog pieces on Guantanamo and on post 9/11 issues. He was recently invited to speak to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Professor Honigsberg is the author of Our Nation Unhinged (University of California Press, 2009). He is currently working on a book on his research and work with the Witness to Guantanamo project.
Co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center @ FHI.
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Please visit our new exhibition Malignant Fever: Benjamin Rush and the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia, curated by Mandy Cooper, PhD candidate in Duke University’s History Department. The exhibition will be on display in the Mary Duke Biddle Room through March 11, 2016.
This exhibit highlights the effects of epidemic diseases on society by examining one of the most famous outbreaks in U.S. history – the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. Drawing chiefly on letters written by Dr. Benjamin Rush, an eighteenth-century physician and U.S. Founding Father, to his wife Julia Stockton Rush, the exhibit examines the timeline of the outbreak, early responses, stages and symptoms, and the “cure” for yellow fever that Rush developed. Finally, the exhibit looks at the anatomy of an epidemic, focusing on the social and psychological effects exemplified by Rush’s emotion-filled letters, as well as stories that emphasize the fear, panic, and mental anguish that accompany epidemic disease outbreaks even today.
Coinciding with this exhibition is a new digital collection of the Benjamin and Julia Stockton Rush papers held by the History of Medicine Collections in the Rubenstein Library. We encourage you to visit the exhibition and check out the new digital collection as well.
A gallery talk led by Mandy Cooper will be held on Friday, February 26, at 2 pm in the Mary Duke Biddle Room. All are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.
Post contributed by Rachel Ingold, Curator of the History of Medicine Collections
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Culture Clash is a series of exhibits, created by the Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMA), traditionally hosted in the Alcove outside of the CMA Lounge. Culture Clash aims to provide multicultural and social justice education to build and/or strengthen bridges between different communities at Duke and beyond. The exhibit provides members of the Duke community and guests of the CMA the opportunity to explore the intricacies of the human experience with the focus on building sustainable, authentic, and healthy relationships and communities.
This year’s culture clash, which is on display through February at Perkins Library’s Campus Club Wall, is entitled “From Sit-Ins to Hashtags”. The exhibit explores the patterns of student social justice work and activism both at Duke and beyond throughout history. The photos depict different trends and styles of activism in the different decades.Students protest in favor of the Black Faculty Initiative, April 1988.
Curating Culture Clash has been a wonderful learning experience. I have a new appreciation for museums and exhibits; until now I never really realized how much thought and effort goes into a project of this nature. From beginning to end, this project has been about learning. The research aspect of the project was fairly intuitive because here at Duke we are always doing research. Finding movements to document and represent wasn’t overly challenging. Even finding an equal representation of photos from each decade was a fairly smooth process due to the help of the University Archives.
The challenge in this project came with deciding on how to visually present all of the photos. Juggling some 70 odd photos and 19 photo frames and 126 square feet of wall space was an experience. For me especially, I struggle with visualizing; I need something concrete to look at. The later part of the curation process involved a lot of cutting paper models and trying to learn how to visualize the small picture within the big picture. However, teamwork makes the dream work here at the Center. As a team, we made all the pieces come together in the end. We are very happy with the final outcome of the project.
We hope that from this exhibit students can understand how student social justice work has transpired in the past, and perhaps find inspiration to be an advocate for a cause that moves them.
We would like to give a special thanks to Margaret Brown, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation Exhibits Coordinator, and Amy McDonald, Assistant University Archivist, for all of their help throughout the curation process.
- Visit the University Archives’ Flickr site for more historical photos of Duke student activism!
Post contributed by Vanessa Lusa, Class of 2018.
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Seen and Heard in the Rubenstein Library – The Emancipation Proclamation
Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Hosti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Rubenstein Library 153
Please join us for a showcase of new exhibits in the Rubenstein Library. Professor Jasmine Nichole Cobb will share reflections on the Emancipation Proclamation. Visitors are encouraged to view the exhibitions on display in the Mary Duke Biddle Room including a rare State Department copy of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation on loan from David M. Rubenstein (T’70). Light lunch will be served.
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