Tag Archives: black history

Black History Month and Swarthmore College Exhibits

By Chris Densmore, Curator of the Friends Historical Library

As you walk into McCabe Library, there is a wooden bench and a photograph of the Longwood Progressive Friends Meetinghouse near Kennett Square immediately to your right. The bench is from Longwood. Longwood’s annual meeting, beginning in 1853 and ending in 1940, was a chance to discuss a broad range of reforms. Sojourner Truth attended the organizational meeting in 1853. At a later meeting, she gave a very terse testimony on her peace principles: “You can’t make life, so don’t take it.” So the bench in
foyer of McCabe may have been sat in by Sojourner Truth.

Sojourner Truth Longwood Bench

The last clerk of Longwood was Jesse Holmes, a Swarthmore College professor. Jesse Holmes gave the opening address at the 1927 annual meeting of Longwood saying, “The chief peril to civilization today is found in the arrogance and aggressiveness over the white race toward the colored races and weaker nations.”. The sale of the Longwood meetinghouse funded the Jesse Holmes Lectureship at Howard University.

Next, there is the Elizabeth Powell Bond Rose Garden. Her brother was Aaron M. Powell, the last editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard. He began speaking out on slavery after attending an anti-slavery meeting where Sojourner Truth walked down from the podium, pointed directly to the young Aaron M. Powell, and told him he was to become an anti-slavery lecturer. You didn’t mess with Sojourner Truth.

Scott Arb Rose Garden 01-big

A little further up the hill is Swarthmore Friends Meetinghouse, the site of the Swarthmore College Institute of Race Relations. The roster of lecturers at the first two meetings in 1933 and 1934, included African Americans E. Franklin Frazier, W.W. Alexander, William White, Ralph Bunch and James Weldon Johnson. White lecturers for those early meetings included Franz Boas and Melville Herskowitz.


Next time you are in McCabe Library, crossing the Rose Garden or at a Collection in the Friends Meetinghouse, imagine you are in a living history exhibit. Imagine also that you are part of that history,

Black History Month – February 2015

Let us draw your attention to this announcement about Black History Month from our friends in The Black Cultural Center

Black History Month – February 2015

The events below are a part of the Black History Month series of events for 2015, sponsored by The Black Cultural CenterBlack StudiesThe Dean’s Office, The Office of the President, and The Student Budget Committee. We are grateful to the many programs and departments who contributed to the funding of these events.

Black History Month Kickoff Luncheon: Student, Faculty, and Staff Meet and Greet

February 4, 12:30-2pm
Location: Black Cultural Center (BCC)

Join the BCC Community by networking and mingling with faculty, staff, and students. Celebrate with great conversation, a delicious lunch and good tunes.

Kevin Snipes: Uncontained

Exhibition of approximately 16 recent ceramic works

January 22 – February 26

Kevin Snipes embellishes his unconventional ceramic forms with an
inventive array of drawn and painted imagery. Using traditional pottery surface techniques such as mishima and sgraffito, both of which involve carving away part of the surface of the porcelain clay body, he suggests multi-layered narratives. His animated drawings, implied narratives, humorous juxtapositions, and complex surfaces explore the concepts of identity and otherness. Like contemporary artists such as Aaron MacGruder, creator of /The Boondocks /comic strip and British artist, Grayson Perry, Snipes inscribes the rarified medium of porcelain with a vernacular language that is at once confessional, urban, idiosyncratic, and ironic.

Snipes was born in Philadelphia and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He
received a B.F.A. in ceramics and drawing from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1994. After pursuing graduate studies at the University of Florida in 2003, Snipes participated in numerous artist residency programs, including at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia; Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, in New Castle, Maine; Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis; and A.I.R. in Vallauris, France. He received a Taunt Fellowship from the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana in 2008. In 2014, he was awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally, including a at the Society of Arts and
Craft, Boston; AKAR Design, Iowa City; and Duane Reed Gallery, St.
Louis; and Jingdezhen, China.

Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People

Film by Thomas Allen Harris

February 4, 4:30pm
Kohlberg Scheuer Room

Screening followed by panel discussion.Panelists:Deborah Willis, NYU Tisch School of the Arts and Ron Tarver, Swarthmore College

“1969: The Revolutionary Spring of Black Students”

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

February 5, Kohlberg Scheuer Room 4:30pm

From 1965 to 1972, Black students and their allies waged the most transformative antiracist social movement in the history of U.S. education.  They organized, demanded, and protested for a relevant learning experience at more than five hundred colleges and universities in every state except Alaska.  They pressed for a range of campus reforms, including an end to campus paternalism and racism, and the addition of more Black students, faculty, Black Cultural Centers, and Africana Studies courses and programs.  The spring of 1969 was undoubtedly the climax semester of this social movement.  From Swarthmore to Cornell, from Duke to Wisconsin, from UCLA to UC Berkeley, Black students and their allies revolutionized the course of higher education for decades to come.

BIO: Dr. Ibram X. Kendi [KEN-DEE] is an assistant professor in the
Department of Africana Studies at the University at Albany — SUNY.  He authored the award-winning book, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972, the first national study of black student activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  His second book is entitled Dead Letters: A Narrative History of Racist Ideas, 1453 to the Present, published by Nation Books. Dead Letters chronicles the fierce, complex, multi-century clash between racist ideas as well as between racist and antiracist ideas, sometimes within one piece of literature. /Dead Letters/ is unique among histories of racist ideas through its use of intersectional theory.  It consistently portrays the intersections of racist ideas with notions of gender, class, ethnicity, place, culture, sexuality, and immigration. Dead Letters is also the first transnational history of racist ideas to span from their origination in fifteenth century Portugal, their travel to England by the mid-sixteenth century, their settling in America in the seventeenth century, the blossoming of racist ideas in the United States from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, to their persistence in the twenty-first century.

Dr. Kendi has published twelve essays on the Black Campus Movement, black power, and intellectual history in books and referred academic journals.  He has earned research appointments, fellowships, and grants from the American Historical Association, National Academy of Education, Chicago’s Black Metropolis Research Consortium, Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum, Princeton University, Brown University, University of Chicago, Emory, Duke, and UCLA.  Currently, Dr. Kendi is working on the first national study of
the origin of Black Studies, Black Students and Black Studies: A
Founding History, 1966-1970.

Student Panel – Black Liberation 1969

Students will present their research on Swarthmore’s Black Student Movement, 1968-1972.

February 10, 4:30-6pm
Kohlberg, Scheuer Room
reception immediately following discussion.

Leandre Jackson Photo Exhibit:  Proof of Black Life:The Photography of Leandre Jackson

February 17 – March 15
McCabe Lobby

“Black/Latin@ Identity and Solidarity in #Blacklivesmatter Organizing”*

Rosa Alicia Clemente
Grassroots Organizer, Hip-Hop Activist, Journalist

February 19, 7-8:30pm (ending time subject to change)
Location:SCI 101

Rosa Alicia Clemente is a Black Puerto Rican grassroots organizer, hip-hop activist, journalist, and entrepreneur. She was the vice presidential running mate of 2008 Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election.

Clemente’s academic work has focused on research of national liberation struggles within the United States, with a specific focus on the Young Lords Party and the Black Liberation Army.While a student at SUNY Albany, she was President of the Albany State University Black Alliance (ASUBA) and Director of Multicultural Affairs for the Student Association. At Cornell she was a founding member of La Voz Boriken, a social/political organization dedicated to supporting Puerto Rican political prisoners and the independence of Puerto Rico.

Gospel Choir Concert: Make a Joyful Noise

February 21, 4-6pm
Location:Friends Meeting House

Come have your spirits lifted at the Gospel Choir concert! Enjoy songs, dancing and fun. Reception immediately following concert.

“The Black Revolution on Campus: Black Students and the Transformation of Higher Education”

Martha Biondi**

February 26
LPAC Cinema
4:30pm, reception immediately following talk

Activism rocked American campuses in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Black students were at the forefront of this nationwide youth uprising, and they helped push the Black freedom struggle to embrace the radical transformation of higher education. The students faced strong resistance but they won many demands, leaving a legacy that profoundly reshaped campus life in the 1970s and beyond.

Martha Biondi is a Professor of African American Studies and
History at Northwestern University where she currently serves as Chair of the Department of African American Studies. Her book, The Black Revolution on Campus, won the Wesley-Logan Prize for an outstanding study of African Diaspora history from the American HIstorical Association as well as the National Book Award from the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis. She is also the author of the award-winning /To Stand and Fight: the Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City/, the first book-length study of the civil rights movement in the North.*__*

Black Love Formal

February 28
Location:Upper Tarble

Join Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges at the annual Black love Formal banquet: A night of mingling, dinner, and dancing.

Contact Louis Laine ’16 at llaine1 for more information.


1969: The Revolutionary Spring of Black Students by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

1969: The Revolutionary Spring of Black Students by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is Professor of Africana Studies at University at
Albany, SUNY

February 5, 2015
4:30-6:00 p.m. 
Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall
Swarthmore College (directions to campus)

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is Professor of Africana Studies at University at Albany, SUNY.

From 1965 to 1972, Black students and their allies waged the most transformative antiracist social movement in the history of U.S. education. They organized, demanded, and protested for a relevant learning experience at more than five hundred colleges and universities in every state except Alaska. They pressed for a range of campus reforms, including an end to campus paternalism and racism, and the addition of more Black students, faculty, Black Cultural Centers, and Africana Studies courses and programs. The spring of 1969 was undoubtedly the climax semester of this social movement. From Swarthmore to Cornell, from Duke to Wisconsin, from UCLA to UC Berkeley, Black students and their allies revolutionized the course of higher education for decades to come.

Reception to follow.

This is a part of the Black History Month series of events for 2015. Please see The Black Cultural Center’s website for more information on this and other events.

Contact: history@swarthmore.edu