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Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The Regulator gets historical
No, not hysterical. Historical!
Tomorrow (Thursday) night we host a marvelous writer, teacher, scholar and professor (Emeritus) of history, Sydney Nathans, discussing his new book A Mind to Stay: White Plantation, Black Homeland. A Mind to Stay is a fascinating look at the struggles of a group of black families that have lived in central Alabama, enslaved and free, for more than 150 years. Following the Civil War, these families were able to buy the land they had worked as slaves. Reading their histories brings to mind the old civil rights song "We Shall Not Be Moved." And come heck or high water, they have not been moved! Syd Nathans is a born storyteller, a craft he expertly employs here through a combination of oral and archival history. There's a major local connection in this book as well--the Alabama plantation was founded by the owner of Durham's Stagville Plantation, Paul Cameron.
Then on Monday (Feb 27) we welcome historian A. Roger Ekirch and his new book American Sanctuary: Mutiny, Martyrdom, and National Identity in the Age of Revolution. American Sanctuary is a great example of the relevance and usefulness of history. How can something that happened more than 200 years ago matter to us today? Well this is the story of a man named Jonathan Robbins who sought, but was denied refuge in the United States in 1797 by President John Adams. Robbins, originally from Danbury Connecticut, had been "impressed' (forced) into service in the British Navy and then participated in a bloody mutiny that killed a British sea captain. Adams handed him over to be hanged by British authorities. The resulting uproar played no small part in Thomas Jefferson's 1800 presidential election victory. In his first State of the Union address Jefferson asked rhetorically, "Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe?"-an echo of Thomas Paine's earlier entreaty "O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind."
We end the month Tuesday evening with Richard Rosen and Joseph Mosnier's acclaimed biography of North Carolina's (and Durham's) Julius Chambers: A Life in the Legal Struggle for Civil Rights. Lawyer Julius Chambers was involved in many of our state's and our country's landmark civil rights cases, beginning in the 1960s, persevering and often triumphing in the face of everything from the dynamiting of his home to the arson that destroyed his small law office. Julius Chambers went on to serve as Chancellor of his alma mater, North Carolina Central University.
Come to The Regulator to learn from and be inspired by the lessons of history! See more on these and all of our events for the next two weeks on our events schedule below.
We'll Always Have Casablanca
While we're on the subject of history, allow me to bend your ear for a moment on a new book that I love. We'll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood's Most Beloved Movie by Noah Isenberg.
As told by Noah Isenberg, the back story of the making of Casablanca is every bit as enthralling as the film itself. From its origins as a play written by a New York City high school English teacher, after an evening spent in a smoky bar filled with refugees outside of Nice in 1938 (with a black crooner from Chicago playing the piano), to the stories of the movie's supporting cast--largely made up of exiles from Hitler's Europe--this book is filled with fascinating characters and stories that add greatly to our appreciation of this marvelous film. But be warned! As soon as you finish this book you're going to want to see the movie all over again! And you're going to like it even more after you've read "We'll Always Have Casablanca."
A couple of likely links
If you missed Tim Tyson talking about his new book, The Blood of Emmett Till, you can watch C-SPAN's Book TV recording of the event here:
The exodus of millions of African Americans from the rural South is a central theme of black life and liberation in the 20th century. A Mind to Stay offers a counterpoint to the narrative of the Great Migration. Sydney Nathans tells the rare story of people who moved from being enslaved to becoming owners of the very land they had worked in bondage, and who have held onto it from emancipation through the Civil Rights era. Through the prism of a single plantation and the destiny of black families that dwelt on it for over a century and a half, A Mind to Stay illuminates the changing meaning of land and land owning to successive generations of rural African Americans.
Sydney Nathans is Professor Emeritus of History, Duke University. He was selected as the winner of the 2013 Frederick Douglass Book Prize for his book To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker
(Harvard University Press). The Douglass Prize is awarded annually by Yale's Gilder Lehrman Center for the best book written in English on slavery or abolition.
American Sanctuary is the extraordinary story of the mutiny aboard the frigate HMS Hermione in 1797 (eight years after the mutiny on the Bounty)--the bloodiest mutiny ever suffered by the Royal Navy, that led to the extradition of the martyred sailor Jonathan Robbins from America to Britain. This event plunged the 20-year-old American Republic into a constitutional crisis, and powerfully contributed to the outcome of the U.S. presidential election of 1800. Ekirch shows how the "Robbins Affair" was responsible for America's historic decision to grant political asylum to refugees from foreign governments, fulfilling Thomas Paine's notion of America as "an asylum for mankind" -- and propelled the issue of political asylum and extradition to the fore-- an issue still being debated today--more than 200 years later.
A. Roger Ekirch was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, and Delmar, New York. He is the author of Bound for America, Birthright, and At Day's Close. He holds degrees from Dartmouth College and John Hopkins University, and is a professor of history at Virginia Tech.
Born in Mount Gilead, NC, Julius Chambers (1936-2013) escaped the fetters of the Jim Crow South to emerge in the 1960s and 1970s as the nation's leading African American civil rights attorney. Following passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Chambers worked to advance the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's strategic litigation campaign for civil rights, ultimately winning landmark school and employment desegregation cases at the U.S. Supreme Court. Chambers served as Chancellor of his alma mater, North Carolina Central University, from 1993-2001 and was a Distinguished Professor of Law there.
Richard A. Rosen is professor of law emeritus at the UNC-Chapel Hill.
Joseph Mosnier is assistant director for strategy and communication at the North Carolina State University's Institute for Emerging Issues.
Wednesday, March 1, 7:00PM
Durham treasure Michael McFee comes to The Regulator for a reading of his newest book of poetry, We Were Once Here.
This new collection contains thoughtful and playful celebrations of such things as snoring, a wall telephone from the 1960s, yardsticks, the Sunday newspaper, and Fats Waller. It also extends the poet's characteristic lyric keenness into longer work, including a twenty-one-part centerpiece elegy for his niece. The book concludes with, and is framed by, poems that explore the bittersweet enduring joys of "here."
" "...a strong, moving collection from one of our most quietly remarkable poets." --Philip Memmer
Michael McFee, a native of Asheville, North Carolina, has taught poetry writing at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1990. He is the author or editor of fifteen books and he lives in Durham.
Discover common communication mistakes that make you confusing to audiences and learn valuable tips you can start using immediately to improve your communication-and bottom line. *Thanks to KIND for providing tasty snacks at this event!
Julie Lellis is a strategic communications professor at Elon University and a consultant who helps clients communicate more accurately and effectively in a mindful way.
Melissa Eggleston is a content strategist and user experience (UX) specialist with clients throughout the United States. She has created digital content for Bloomberg News, the Content Marketing Institute, Duke University, and many other organizations.
Unwarranted tells the stories of ordinary people whose lives were torn apart by policing--by the methods of cops on the beat and those of the FBI and NSA. Friedman captures the eerie new environment in which CCTV, location tracking, and predictive policing have made suspects of us all, while proliferating SWAT teams and increased use of force have put everyone's property and lives at risk. Unwarranted is a critical, timely intervention into debates about policing, a call to take responsibility for governing those who govern us.
"A powerful manifesto against unbalanced policing methodologies and an illuminating and sobering critique of political and legal forces in the U.S." -Booklist
Barry Friedman is the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law at New York University School of Law and the director of the Policing Project. For thirty years he has taught, written about, and litigated issues of constitutional law and criminal procedure. He is the author of The Will of the People. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, and The New Republic, among other publications. He lives with his wife and two children in New York City.
KARIN L. ZIPF
Monday, March 6 at 7PM
Karin L. Zipf comes to The Regulator for a discussion of her new book, Bad Girls at Samarcand: Sexuality and Sterilization in a Southern Juvenile Reformatory. In Bad Girls, Zipf dissects a dark episode in North Carolina's eugenics campaign through a detailed study of the State Home and Industrial School in Eagle Springs, referred to as Samarcand Manor, and the school's infamous 1931 arson case. Bad Girls at Samarcand is a fascinating story that grapples with gender bias, sexuality, science, and the justice system all within the context of the Great Depression-era South.
Karin L. Zipf is an Associate Professor of History at East Carolina University who was born in Durham and raised in Rocky Mount. Her research focuses on the relationship of women and children to the State, particularly in the areas of sexuality, labor and race politics.
Tuesday, March 7, 7:00PM
The Regulator welcomes Joseph Bathanti for a reading and book signing of new collection of poems, The 13th Sunday After Pentecost. Bathanti offers poems that delve deep into a life reimagined through a mythologized past. Moving from his childhood to the present, weaving through the Italian immigrant streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to his parochial school, from the ballpark to church and home again, these contemplative poems present a situation unique to the poet but familiar to us all.
Joseph Bathanti served as the Poet Laureate for North Carolina from 2012 to 2014 and was the recipient of the 2016 North Carolina Award for Literature. Bathanti is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and the University's Watauga Residential College Writer-in-Residence. He served as