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AADL Productions Podcast: Lola Jones and Carol Gibson

Thu, 06/04/2020 - 1:03pm

Lola Jones and Carol Gibson are well-known to anyone familiar with Ann Arbor history. Over the past 30 years they have sought out and documented the history of the African American experience in Ann Arbor through a series of projects under the moniker Another Ann Arbor; it is largely through their work that the Ann Arbor African American story is a part of our shared community identity. Lola and Carol stopped by the library to talk with us one day about the work they have done over the years and where they are headed next. They shared with us some of the interesting people and events they have learned about and brought to the community in their television program, their documentaries, and their book. You can now watch one of their documentaries online at aadl.org in our video collection. A Woman's Town was produced in 1991 and tells the story of Ann Arbor through the voices of prominent African American women.

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Author Event | Morgan Parker Discusses Magical Negro

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 8:11am

Magical Negro is an archive of black everydayness, a catalog of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. These American poems are both elegy
and jive, joke and declaration, songs of congregation and self-conception. They connect themes of loneliness, displacement, grief, ancestral trauma, and objectification, while exploring and troubling tropes and stereotypes of Black Americans. Focused primarily on depictions of Black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics—of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience.

In Magical Negro, Parker creates a space of witness, of airing grievances, of pointing out patterns. In these poems are living documents, pleas, latent traumas, inside jokes, and unspoken anxieties situated as firmly in the past as in the present—timeless black melancholies and triumphs.

For this event, Parker was in conversation with Aisha Sabatini Sloan, Visiting Professor of Creative Nonfiction at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan.

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Author | Washington Post Associate Editor Steve Luxenberg: Separate: The Story of Plessy V. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 9:21am

Plessy v. Ferguson is synonymous with Jim Crow laws and the unjust legal doctrine of “separate but equal.” But few Americans know more than the name of the case and have just a superficial understanding of its origins and outcome. Joins us as award-winning author Steve Luxenberg discusses one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the 19th century and his award-winning new book Separate: The Story of Plessy V. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation.

This sweeping, swiftly paced, and richly detailed book is essential reading for any American looking to understand racism, the long struggle for civil rights, and the deep, often surprising history of our nation’s most devastating divide. On June 7, 1892 Homer Plessy, a light-skinned Creole bought a first-class ticket on the East Louisiana Railroad, boarding the whites-only first-class car. The train conductor promptly arrested him. The resulting case Plessy v. Ferguson (Ferguson was the state judge that ruled against Plessy and upheld the state’s law) was argued before the Supreme Court in 1896. Drawing from letters, diaries, and archival collections, and weaving biography, history, and legal drama together on a grand scale, Luxenberg recreates the personalities and debates that informed the Court’s decision and shaped race relations for generations

The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation was named a New York Times Editor's Choice, and was longlisted for the 2019 Cundill History Prize. As a work in progress, it won the 2016 J. Anthony Lukas Award for excellence in nonfiction. Steve Luxenberg is an associate editor at The Washington Post and an award-winning author. During his forty years as an editor and reporter, Steve has overseen reporting that has earned many national honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes. His first book, the critically-acclaimed Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret, was a 2010 Michigan Notable Book and the 2013-14 Great Michigan Read. Steve lives in Baltimore.

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Body of Work: Hari Kondabolu

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 10:04am

What can you tell about a man from his Twitter account? Tweets may not reveal a man's soul, but they do give you one way to explore his body of work. We also speculate about what might be in his refrigerator....

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AACHM Oral History: Walter Blackwell

Sun, 07/21/2019 - 3:33pm

Walter Blackwell was born in 1930 in Petersburg, Virginia. He shares memories of growing up there as well as in Mount Vernon, New York before serving in the army during the Korean War. He worked for 30 years at the Ann Arbor VA hospital, where he enjoyed helping fellow veterans. After experiencing discrimination in housing and employment, Mr. Blackwell fought for civil rights in Ann Arbor as a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and mentored black children in his neighborhood.

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AACHM Oral History: Audrey Monagan

Sun, 07/21/2019 - 3:33pm

Audrey Monagan was born in Ann Arbor in 1941, and grew up in a close-knit, predominantly black neighborhood on North Fifth Ave. She remembers attending Bethel AME Church with her grandparents, spending time at the Dunbar Community Center, and helping raise her younger siblings. She attended Jones School and Pioneer High School before working for General Motors, where she was an inspector for eighteen years. Mrs. Monagan has been married to her second husband, Philip, for 48 years.

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AACHM Oral History: Gerald Edwards

Sun, 07/21/2019 - 3:32pm

Gerald Edwards was born in 1950 in Cleveland, Ohio. He remembers being discriminated against as one of three African American students at his elementary school in the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education. At Heidelberg College, he participated in sit-ins to help found a Black Student Union House. After beginning his career in automotive manufacturing with Ford Motor Company, Mr. Edwards started his own business, Engineered Plastic Products, in 1987. He and his wife Jada also started the Edwards Foundation, which was dedicated to philanthropy in Namibia.

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AACHM Oral History: Hortense Howard

Sun, 07/21/2019 - 3:30pm

Hortense Howard was born in Bloomington, Illinois in 1927. Soon afterwards, her family moved to Ann Arbor, where she and her sisters became known as the “Bacon Sisters” for their choral performances at sorority houses and other venues. Ms. Howard attended a music school in Detroit because she “wanted to sing like Sarah Vaughan,” and she met many African American singers while working at the Gotham Hotel. She ran her own daycare, Sitters Unlimited Family Day Care, in Ann Arbor for twenty years.

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AACHM Oral History: Henrietta Edwards

Sun, 07/21/2019 - 3:27pm

Henrietta Edwards was born in 1919 and grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma before moving to Ann Arbor in 1941. She and her husband worked at the Willow Run Bomber Plant during World War II, and owned two filling stations—one downtown at N Fourth Avenue and E Ann Street, and one on Highway 23. She celebrated her hundredth birthday with family, friends, and former coworkers and patients from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where she worked as a pediatric nurse for 32 years.

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Sustainable Ann Arbor Forum | Race and Class Equity in Washtenaw County

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 11:48am

Ann Arbor is the eighth most socioeconomically segregated metro area in the U.S.; the second most segregated city in the nation in service class segregation; and the fifth in working class segregation. In 2010, Census data shows white residents accounted for 73% of Ann Arbor's population, just under Michigan's average of 79%, while African American residents accounted for just 8% of residents—nearly half of the state average of 14%. Ypsilanti, on the other hand, is made up of 62% white residents and 29% African American residents: a dramatic imbalance for two closely tied cities. Housing is a social determinant of health so where you live matters. Join local experts as we delve into the issues and opportunities surrounding race and class equity throughout Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County.

Panelists include:

  • Dr. Tony Reames (Assistant Professor, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan),