Award-winning author Ta-NehisiCoatesis currently touring and discussing his first novel, “The Water Dancer,” in venues across the country.
Upcoming dates include the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago on Thursday, October 3, where Coates will be joined in conversation by renowned Chicago poet, Tara Betts, and October 17th at West Angeles Cathedral in Los Angeles, where Coates will be in conversation with Black Panther, Creed and Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler.
To register for Chicago, click here. To register for Los Angeles, click here.
“The Water Dancer” follows Hiram Walker, a young slave in antebellum Virginia , as he explores the metaphorical and metaphysical boundaries of his world.
A remarkable blend of historical fiction and fantasy, evocatively detailed and constantly thought-provoking,“The Water Dancer” serves as a profound reminder of Coates ongoing proposition: that we must remember and speak of our history in relation to present predicaments.
To see more of Coates’ upcoming tour dates and information on tickets, click here.
Dr. Charles V. Hamilton, a political scientist, activist and Professor Emeritus at Columbia University best known for his 1967 book co-written with Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), Black Power: ThePolitics of Liberation in America, has established The Drs. Charles V. and Dona C. Hamilton Institute for Research and Civic Involvement at the DuSable Museum of African American History. The DuSable is scheduled to open the Hamilton Institute’s Reading Room on Monday, February 19, 2018 with a special dedication event.
The Hamilton Institute will provide a range of opportunities for visitors to peruse its non-circulating reference collection, including a special collection of rare books, to research the DuSable Museum archives and to attend scholarly lectures and history & policy discussions, many of which will be directed toward youth audiences to inspire their interest and encourage their involvement in topics that affect the African American community. Visitors to the Hamilton Institute’s Reading Room will include educators, authors, photo researchers, independent scholars, journalists, students, historians, community members and others. Visitors will be allowed access to the DuSable Museum Archives, one of the oldest and richest African American archival collections in the nation, which includes manuscripts, books and journals, photographs, slides, and other printed materials.
“I was interested in combining academic studies with political action. My concern was not only to profess but to participate. I see the DuSable Museum as a repository of study of those efforts; and people will come look at them with those eyes; that people will see someone who not just wrote books but participated,” said Dr. Charles V. Hamilton.
Although Dr. Charles V. Hamilton was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, raised on the South Side of Chicago, and educated at Roosevelt University, Loyola University and the University of Chicago. The contribution to establish the Hamilton Research Institute and Reading Room is one that supports the continuation of progressive development for the city of Chicago—a place near and dear to Dr. Hamilton. His donation represents one of the largest individual gifts in the DuSable Museum’s history.
When President Truman integrated the military (1948), Hamilton served for a year. A chronicler of the Civil Rights Movement, he was a young adult at the time of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-56). He lived through the Jim Crow era and witnessed the political transformation that made possible the election of Black officials in the South. Watching the unfolding of civil rights history informed and enriched his scholarship as he created a role for himself as an intellectual amongst activists.
In 1969, Hamilton arrived at Columbia University as a Ford Foundation funded professor in urban political science and became one of the first African Americans to hold an academic chair at an Ivy League university. It was the height of the turbulent 1960s and the nation was reeling from assassinations, demonstrations and riots. Hamilton was at the peak of his fame as the intellectual half of the “Black Power Duo.”
The activist half was Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture), a former leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, self-professed Black Nationalist and nascent Pan-Africanist. In a brilliant stroke, Hamilton had teamed up with Carmichael, a folk hero and icon for his generation to write what would be Hamilton’s most famous book, Black Power: ThePolitics of Liberation in America (1967).
“This is a game changer for the DuSable Museum,” said Perri Irmer, President and CEO. “The over-arching mission of this institution is the education of all people through African American history, art and culture. The creation of the Hamilton Institute gives concrete form to this education mission, allowing us to present a commitment to a superior level of scholarly activity and engagement. Now, thanks to Dr. Hamilton, we will have the infrastructure and a vehicle for the engagement of young audiences and visitors of all ages, from around the world, in what I believe will become a center for black thought leadership and intellectual exploration. What better place to do this but Chicago, and in what finer institution than the DuSable Museum of African American History?”
About The Hamilton Research Institute and Reading Room
The Drs. Charles V. and Dona C. Hamilton Institute for Research and Civic Involvement’s Reading Room will be open by appointment only, Tuesday through Saturday to anyone who is at least 14 years of age or in the ninth grade (younger visitors must be accompanied by an adult). The Hamilton Institute staff will provide a range of services to visitors interested in conducting research in the Museum. Reading Room Procedures and Policies will be made available on DuSable’s website, and visitors will be able to make follow-up appointments as related to research needs during the time of their visit.
About The DuSable Museum of African American History
The DuSable Museum of African American History is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the country. Their mission is to promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the achievements, contributions and experiences of African Americans through exhibits, programs and activities that illustrate African and African American history, culture and art. The DuSable Museum is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. For more information on the Museum and its programs, call 773-947-0600 or visit at www.dusablemuseum.
Black culture is found all across the country. Whether you’re in the rolling fields of the Midwest or the quiet back roads of the South, here are five inexpensive (or free) museums that feature art, music, and culture from the African diaspora.
This museum is home to some of the most fascinating exhibits of African and African American culture. Check out Toward Freedom: A Photo Exhibition of the Beta Israel Community in Israel and the Ethiopian Community in Los Angeles, photojournalist Irene Fertik’s images of Ethiopian communities establishing themselves in Israel and Los Angeles. Or, view The African American Journey West: Permanent Collection, which features art and artifacts that show the African American journey from the shores of Africa to America’s western frontier. Wherever your interests are, this museum is sure to have something that’ll satisfy your intellectual craving.
This museum is a crux in Chicago’s black community. Home to several after-school programs, the museum has a history of engaging with the community on current topics. Current popular exhibits include Freedom, Resistance, and the Journey Towards Equality, Red, White, Blue & Black: A History of Blacks in the Armed Services, and The Freedom Now Mural.
The Buffalo Soldiers Museum has one of the most highly-curated museum collections of black soldier life. Founded in 2000 by a Vietnam veteran and African-American military historian, it’s currently the only museum primarily dedicated to the African-American veteran experience. Check out the memorabilia, fine arts collection and videos here.
This museum, which calls itself an “educational adventure through time,” houses one of the most diverse collections of African-American historical artifacts in the country. Currently, visitors can see areas such as Folk Art, the Inventors Gallery, and a special area for Black Artists of Georgia.
This museum — which is the 1834 African American Meeting House — has both rotating and permanent exhibits on local African-American history. The Black Books exhibit examines the historical and cultural implications of forbidding enslaved Africans to read or write. It also traces the evolution and recovery of their written voices. You can also see the Abiel Smith School, the first public school built to educate black children.
Think of trailblazing black TV shows, and The Cosby Show immediately comes to mind. But before the Cliff Huxtable, there was Fat Albert, Bill Cosby’s beloved animated creation that became famous for his catchphrase, “Hey, hey, hey!” Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids began airing in 1972, around the same time that other cartoons and animated shows finally began featuring black characters that weren’t all embodiments of negative stereotypes. “It wasn’t until the early 1970’s that Saturday Morning television cartoons started to feature image affirming Black characters with a modern look and positive story lines that delivered culturally relevant messages,” writes Pamela Thomas, aka SistaToFunky, on the website of her online Museum of UnCut Funk.
The museum, which I discovered thanks to a recent NPR story, is a treasure trove of African-American pop cultural artifacts and ephemera, from Blaxploitation movie posters to black comic books. Perhaps the most extensive is the black animation collection, which includes extensive explanatory texts, YouTube links, and original production cels and drawings. Thomas, who has a degree in black history from City College and is a former art dealer, focuses not just on shows with all-black casts, like Fat Albert and The Jackson 5ive cartoon, but on black characters that popped up in other shows, like Josie and the Pusscats’ Valerie Brown, whom she dubs the “first positive Black female character in a Saturday morning cartoon series”; and the “first Black male superhero character in a Saturday morning cartoon,” Schoolhouse Rock’s Verb (“I can question like: What is it? / Verb, you’re so demanding,” the song goes).