Our summer workshop got off to a great start this week with our drive down to Tuskegee. We stopped in Selma and had a chance to walk over the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge. The Interpretative Center in Lowndes was a highlight of the drive. The well-designed exhibits chronicle the march and the tent city in a powerful way. Our goals for this week’s seminar are to plan the humanities course in the fall and to research the Washington-Holtzclaw connection in the Tuskegee Archives.
As part of the grant, we are bringing in visiting scholars to work with our team to help develop our course materials and background. Our first two visiting scholars are Dr. William Andrews from UNC-Chapel Hill and Dr. Kristi Melancon from Mississippi College.
In our April seminar, we discussed Smethurst’s book, The African American Roots of Modernism, which examines the development of African American literature and its connection to modernity with a unique focus on 1890-1919, a period marked by the rise of Jim Crow and the Great Migration (1-2). Smethurst argues that Jim Crow deeply marked modernism for both white and black writers, though white writers were reluctant to acknowledge influence of black writers, in contrast to music where even country artists talk about black mentors. Continue reading “Smethurst’s African American Roots of Modernism”