“Manners, Memory, and Murder in America’s Holy City”
Sometimes called the “Holy City,” Charleston, South Carolina is one of America’s oldest and most historic cities. It has won numerous awards for its residents’ politeness, and it has been chosen as a top destination for world travelers. However, the nation was shocked by the racially motivated murders that occurred at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the summer of 2015. The reverberations of this tragic event were felt most powerfully across the South, where they amplified ongoing and crucial debates about the region’s understanding of history, memory, and race. In this lecture, Powers will examine the meaning of what happened in Charleston, the cultural introspection it triggered, and its ongoing significance for understanding life in the South today.
Bernard E. Powers, Professor of History at the College of Charleston, has published numerous works on African American social and cultural evolution. His book Black Charlestonians: A Social History 1822-1885 (University of Arkansas Press, 1994) won a Choice Award for Best Academic Books. Powers also served as associate editor for The South Carolina Encyclopedia (Columbia: USC Press, 2006), and he recently co-authored We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel (Thomas Nelson, 2016).
This lecture, to be held in the Pleasants Family Room at Wilson Library, is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
Our first James & Marguerite Hutchins Lecture of the semester, titled “Southern Hunger and the American Food System,” was presented by award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan. McMillan is author of the bestselling study The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table (Scribners, 2012), which poses the question, “What would it take for us all to eat well?” She has written about food, labor, and class for The New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Harper’s Magazine, Mother Jones, Saveur, and Slate.
The American South is often celebrated for its rich food heritage and its powerful influence on American cuisine, but the region’s culture and politics are also linked to the darker side of food. McMillan will discuss how modern American food issues like hunger, wages, and labor are deeply tied to the history of the South. You can read more about McMillan’s work on “The New Face of Hunger” here.
Did you miss our featured speakers last semester? Not to worry–all three lectures are now available online. David Garcia discusses “Music of Latin@s and their Predecessors in the United States before 1900”; Angela Jill Cooley examines the “evolution of urban food culture in the Jim Crow South”; and Gregory D. Smithers uncovers the origins of the Cherokee diaspora.
Friends and family of Marguerite Pegram Hutchins gathered in Chapel Hill on June 1, 2016 to mourn her passing and to remember a life lived to the fullest. Together with her late husband James, Marguerite traveled (for business or pleasure) to every country in the world. An archive of previous James and Marguerite Hutchins Lectures (with downloadable videos) is available here, and our 2016-17 lecture series will be posted in the fall.
In a 2015 interview for the Southern Oral History Program, Mrs. Hutchins recalled that as a child in Winston-Salem, “You were taught to be honest, and work hard, and appreciate others, and help the community.” Her life put those principles to work, and she still managed to have fun almost everywhere she went. Comments from Marguerite’s 95th birthday party are available here, and a full obituary is available here.
“Music of Latin@s and their Predecessors in the United States before 1900”
What was “Latin music” like in pre-twentieth century America? Was there a “Latin music” or even a Latino identity during this historical period? With the current heated political debates surrounding Latinos, immigration, and national identity, a critical exploration of possible answers to these questions is not merely timely but in fact overdue. This lecture will explore ways of understanding the music of Spanish-speaking communities in pre-twentieth century America and will explain why this history should inform our understanding of Latin@s and their place in American society today.
David Garcia is Associate Professor of Music at UNC-Chapel Hill. He studied music at California State University, Long Beach (B.M. in composition, 1995), UC-Santa Barbara (M.A. in ethnomusicology, 1997), and The City University of New York (Ph.D. in ethnomusicology, 2003). Published in MUSICultures, Journal of the Society for American Music, The Musical Quarterly, and other academic journals, Garcia’s research focuses on the music of the Americas with an emphasis on black music and Latin music of the United States. He is also musical director of UNC’s Charanga Carolina ensemble, which specializes in Cuban danzón and salsa music. Garcia’s current book project, The Logic of Black Music’s African Origins in the Mid-Twentieth Century, is under contract with Duke University Press.