Monday, July 30, 2012

Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum

On Wednesday, July 25, 2012, I gave a lecture at the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum as part of the City of Atlanta's commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.  The city's Office of Cultural Affairs has created programming that will go through the summer of 2014, marking the anniversary of the pivotal Battle of Atlanta.  I was honored to be included, especially with a line-up that includes artist Kara Walker in just a few weeks.

Camille R. Love, Director of the Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, whose vision led to this lecture series.

Me and James Yancy, Archivist at the Jimmy Carter Library and Commissioner at Georgia Civil War Commission.  He and his wife were a delight!!!

I met Stephanie when I was in graduate school at the University of Maryland-College Park, but she moved to Atlanta years ago and has been working at Georgia Tech University.  We reconnected on facebook when Georgia Tech was considering Jacqueline Royster as their next Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.  Royster was Executive Dean at Ohio State when I was hired, and she left Ohio State to offer valued leadership at Georgia Tech in 2010.  I was just THRILLED to see Stephanie again!!!                                                                                     

People were so nice and patient in line to get books signed.  It was like a little party!  It was particularly nice to have Michael Leo Owens and his wife there.  (Michael has on that smooth hat!)  I "met" him on social media thanks to a graduate school friend, Dr. Adolphus Belk of Winthrop University.  In addition to his many responsibilities at Emory University, Dr. Michael Owens was recently elected vice chair of the Urban Affairs Association's governing board.  I appreciated that he and Karen made the time to share this experience with me!


This picture captures some of the reasons that this proved to be a truly special event!  Anthony Knight and I attended the same undergraduate institution (Ohio Wesleyan University).  We never attended at the same time, so we did not know each other, but he invited me to speak at the museum after he seeing my book featured in the alumni magazine.  Meanwhile, Dr. Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper, renowned Langston Hughes scholar and Spelman College professor, has been a role model for me in the profession and we have recently crossed paths at Modern Language Association (MLA) conventions.  Turns out, they knew each other, but this was the first time that Dr. Harper had visited the museum.  Thus, she symbolizes for me that the goal of the lecture series was met!  With more than 60 people in attendance, many of them said (as Dr. Harper did) that this was their first time inside the building.

Photographs courtesy of ZDennis Media Group

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