Social Sciences Forum: The U.S. Constitution and the Battle Over Racial Equality Today (9/17)

Rogers SmithOn Wednesday, September 17 at 4:30 p.m. on the seventh floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library, Dr. Rogers Smith, H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, will present the Social Sciences Forum, “The U.S. Constitution and the Battle Over Racial Equality Today.”

The author of seven books on citizenship and equality in the United States, including one that was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History, Dr. Smith, H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, will address why America’s political leaders avoid discussing racial policies, even as many forms of racial inequality persist and deepen. Smith argues that the United States is profoundly divided between two rival conceptions of civic equality–but that common ground may be found in the bold views of the Constitution’s purposes advanced by Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

This is a Constitution and Citizenship Day Lecture, co-sponsored with the Departments of Political Science, Africana Studies, American Studies, Philosophy and Public Policy, and the Office of Student Life. For more information, click here.

Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, Guest Hosts The Marc Steiner Show

On Wednesday, August 13, Kimberly Moffit, associate professor of American studies, guest hosted The Marc Steiner Show on WEAA 88.9 FM. Filling in for Steiner, Moffitt led discussions on mental health in the African-American community and the Positive Social Change Theater Program, among other topics.

Moffitt interacted with guests such as Dr. Grady Daleclinical psychologist and co-founder of the American Institute for Urban Psychological Services, Mothyna James-Brightful, Visionary Director for Heal A Woman To Heal A Nation, and Koli Tengella, 2010 Open Society Institute Community Fellow and Executive Director of the Kulichagulia Project.

You can listen to the complete program that aired on Wednesday by clicking below:
Mental Health in the African-American Community (The Marc Steiner Show)
Positive Social Change Theater Program (The Marc Steiner Show)
This Week in City Paper (The Marc Steiner Show)

Nicole King, American Studies, in City Paper

Nicole King, an associate professor of American studies, recently published an essay as part of an ongoing series in the “City Folk” section of City Paper profiling UMBC graduate student Chanan Delivuk. King met Delivuk through her work in the Filbert Street Community Garden in Curtis Bay earlier this year.

Delivuk is a community gardener and artist who uses new media to explore everyday stories in her art practice. The profile describes Delivuk growing up in the Curtis Bay neighborhood and how it provided a strong sense of place for her as she left town to go to college and eventually graduate school. King writes about Delivuk developing an interest in art while in college and her planned trip to Croatia this summer to further explore her Croatian heritage.

The compelling profile ends with a powerful quote from Delivuk as she is describing her home of Curtis Bay: “I will always live here because I love it so much,” she says. “I want to walk out on a busy street, with sirens going off, and people walking, and a lot going on. There’s something about this city that’s so unique.”

To read King’s full article in City Paper titled, “Conservation Artist: Chanan Delivuk has deep roots in Curtis Bay,” click here.

Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on The Marc Steiner Show

On Monday, May 19, WEAA’s The Marc Steiner Show hosted a panel discussion remembering the life and legacy of Malcolm X. The day would have been his 89th birthday. American Studies Assistant Professor Kimberly Moffitt participated in the discussion and shared her thoughts on why Malcolm X might not play as significant a role with young learners as other activists during his time.

“A lot of that has to do with him not fitting the paradigm of what we consider to be acceptable activism,” Moffitt said. “At that point in time, even in the midst of a very radical period in our country’s history, he was seen as an extremist by many.”

Other panelists in the discussion included Karsonya Wise Whitehead, an assistant professor of communication and African and African American studies at Loyola University Maryland and Ray Winbush, Director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University.

To listen to the full segment that aired on The Marc Steiner Show, click here. Moffitt is co-editor of Blackberries and Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair/Body Politics in Africana Communities.

Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on The Marc Steiner Show and in The Baltimore Sun

On Saturday, April 26, Kimberly Moffitt participated in a panel discussion at Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre as part of its World of the Play series. The event, called “Race and Representation: Our Greatest Accomplishment. Our Greatest Shame,” featured panelists who shared their commentaries on race, theatre and film, drawing from the current production at Everyman, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage. The discussion was broadcast May 2 on The Marc Steiner Show. Moffitt, an assistant professor of American studies, discussed how the play applies to present day society.

“What I thought was most interesting about Lynn Nottage’s work is that it makes the evolution of black women in film a contemporary issue,” Moffitt said. “Even though it is set in the 1930s, for us to watch what Vera Stark’s experience was in the 30s trying to be a Hollywood star…we’re still dealing with so many of those issues in present day.”

Moffitt also co-authored an op-ed that appeared in The Baltimore Sun on May 2 entitled, “Building strong children.” The column focused on the importance of educational opportunity for young black men in Baltimore. Moffitt, who is a founder of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, a public charter school in Baltimore City, wrote the article with Betsey Swingle Hobelmann and Jack J. Pannell Jr. Pannell Jr. and Hobelmann are also founders.

You can listen to the full segment on The Marc Steiner Show here. You can read the full column in The Baltimore Sun here.

Garden Gala: Bringing the Green Back to Filbert Street (5/18)

Students in the departments of American studies and Visual Arts are working with Jason Reed, the director of a non-profit community garden and educational space, to host a fundraising event to support the Filbert Street Community Garden of Brooklyn-Curtis Bay on Sunday, May 18 from 4:00-9:00 p.m. It will take place at 2640 Space in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore (2640 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218).

The organizers invite you to join them for an evening of food, music, history, art, silent auctions, raffles and more. The Filbert Street Community Garden is a conservation project, educational space, and food farm located in the Curtis Bay neighborhood of Baltimore. Curtis Bay residents are in need a garden because the area is a food desert, which means there is limited access to fresh produce locally. In the past two years the garden has held 24 community workshops, logged 10,000 volunteer hours, provided 500 garden classes both during and after school, served more than 600 local students, and produced and distributed more than 3,000 pounds of fresh produce in the community.

Students in Professor Nicole King’s “Preserving Places,” American studies course and Professor Steve Bradley’s “IRC Fellows,” visual arts course worked together on various aspects of programming for the event. The work is funded by a UMBC BreakingGround grant and illustrates how the successes and failures of urban industrial development contribute to our understanding of historic places and the creation of social space. You can find more information on the event by clicking here.

Michelle Stefano, American Studies, in City Paper

In the latest in a series of articles for the “City Folk” section of City Paper, American Studies Folklorist in Residence Michelle Stefano writes about a former steelworker who recently was awarded a prestigious poetry prize. Stefano’s profile of Afaa Michael Weaver titled, “Working-Class Hero,” was published April 23.

In the column, Stefano traces Weaver’s journey from working at Sparrows Point Steel Mill to becoming a full professor in the English department at Simmons College, where just last month he was awarded the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, a $100,000 prize given by Claremont Graduate University each year for an outstanding published collection. She writes, “he says he feels ‘perpetually displaced': the tension of belonging both to his roots in skilled labor and to the academy.”

To read the full column in City Paper, click here.