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Building an International Archive in the Jim Crow South: Arturo Schomburg at Fisk University

Valdés Poster
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018
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12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Vanessa Valdés, Mark Anthony Neal
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Wednesdays at the Center

While the Schomburg Library for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York is a renowned archive in which one can find any number of objects testifying to Black excellence, many are unaware that Arturo Schomburg, a Black Puerto Rican Virgin Islander who personal collection was the foundation for what would become that library, also established a significant Africana collection in the Jim Crow South, at Fisk University, in the early 1930s. In this presentation, Dr. Valdés highlights that history, arguing that in doing so, Schomburg amply demonstrated not only the liberatory potential of the archive, but also the necessity for broadening definitions of Blackness to extend beyond the boundaries of this country.

Vanessa K. Valdés is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at The City College of New York. She is the author of "Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg" (SUNY Press, 2017) and "Oshun's Daughters: The Search for Womanhood in the Americas" (SUNY Press, 2014).

Mark Anthony Neal is Professor of African & African American Studies and the founding director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship (CADCE) at Duke University where he offers courses on Black Masculinity, Popular Culture, and Digital Humanities, including signature courses on Michael Jackson & the Black Performance Tradition, and The History of Hip-Hop, which he co-teaches with Grammy Award Winning producer 9th Wonder (Patrick Douthit).