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Lynching in Our Own Backyard

By Kirsten Kinsley

Driving to work one morning I shared with my son that I was writing a blog post about the history of lynching in America. We discussed white guilt, limitations of school history books to illuminate the reality of racism in this country, and the fear of exposing our ignorance to the effects of racial violence and terror on our black brothers and sisters in this nation’s history.

Twice now in the past year, the horror of the history of lynchings in the United States has been brought to my attention and consciousness. First, during a 60 Minutes episode where Oprah Winfrey visits the the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the new memorial in Alabama dedicated to the thousands of African-Americans lynched in the United States in the aftermath of the Civil War (Winfrey, 2018). I haven’t been to visit it, but the design of the memorial includes 800, six foot blocks hung from an outdoor structure with names of individuals killed in over 12 states, representing lynchings that occurred in 805 counties. The rows of blocks represent figures of cruelty and hatred, as they literally hang from the ceiling. Even though I was only seeing this on television, I was struck by the compelling images.

The second time this blight on our country’s history was brought to my mind was on a ride to work. I think it was an NPR story on the lynchings that occured in our own community, right down the street from where we work — on Gaines between Gadsden and Meridian streets at a now majestic oak that belies the “past injustice” of hangings that occurred there (Ensley, 2012).

Beyond momentary remembrance and horror, what can I do? It wasn’t until, during a meeting of the FSU Library’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, that I was given the opportunity to explore this again as it is lurking in the back of my mind. What do I do after the solemn pause? Consciously acknowledging this happened and exposing the horror that all of us humans are capable of in a mob mentality is not enough. To realize that this happened in our own backyard: Mike Morris (1897), Pierce Taylor (1909), Ernest Ponder and Richard Hawkins (1937), were lynched here in Leon County (Hassanein, 2018). To realize that the crowds that surrounded and supported the acts of vigilante injustice, were everyday people, like you and me, accusing a fellow human who wasn’t given a fair trial.  It happened here and none of those crimes were ever brought to justice. (It still happens today, same story, but with a different means of injustice. Remember Brandon McClelland in Paris, Texas?) Where do we go from here?

The movement toward racial equality in the U.S. is not a road of steady progress. Rather, it is pockmarked with resistance to change, engrained institutional racism, and community-sponsored terror. The ‘spectacular secret’ of lynching in America grabs national attention, yet remains hidden from public spotlight, traditional history, and contemporary discourse (Goldsby 2006 as cited in Fitchett et al., 2012). Exposing the “secret” has the potential to challenge individuals’ understanding of race in the United States. (248)

Exposing the truth once again in my own world, I hope to begin to understand how hatred and injustice in small ways can grow into the collective terrors of an entire race. Our current culture runs the risk of leaving future generations with unexamined hearts and minds that don’t remember.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

MAYA ANGELOU, ON THE PULSE OF MORNING (as cited in Equal Justice Initiative, 2017)

During that aforementioned conversation with my son on a morning car ride, he ended the chat by quoting from Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 (1967, p.104),

“Mistakes can be profited by Man [People], when I was young I showed my ignorance in people’s faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been hoed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”

I am willing to admit that I am ignorant, but I am ready to listen and to learn? “Avoiding honest conversation about this history has undermined our ability to build a nation where racial justice can be achieved” (Equal Justice Initiative, 2017, para. 3). How and where do we start the honest conversation?

References

Angelou, M. (1993). On the pulse of morning. Retrieved February 17, 2019, from https://genius.com/Maya-angelou-on-the-pulse-of-morning-annotated

Bradbury, R. (1967). Fahrenheit 451. New York : Simon and Schuster.

Equal Justice Initiative (2017). Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from https://lynchinginamerica.eji.org/report/

Ensley, G. (2018, June 7). Tallahassee hanging tree symbolizes past injustice Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/06/07/tree-symbolizes-past-injustice-gerald-ensley/657484002/

Fitchett, P. G., Merriweather, L., & Coffey, H. (2015). “It’s not a pretty picture”: How pre-service history teachers make meaning of America’s racialized past through lynching imagery. History Teacher, 48(2), 245–269.

Goldsby, J. D. (2006). A spectacular secret  : lynching in American life and literature. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Hassanein, N. (2018, June 7). “Painful history”: Remembering Leon County’s lynching victims: A recently open memorial in Montgomery captures a dark chapter of Tallahassee history. Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/06/07/painful-history-remembering-leon-countys-lynching-victims/640199002/

Hassanein, N.(2018, June 7). St. John’s Episcopal Church plans remembrance project for Leon lynching victims. Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/06/07/st-johns-episcopal-church-plans-remembrance-project-leon-lynching-victims/644046002/

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2019, from http://museumandmemorial.eji.org/memorial

Winfrey, O. (2018, April 27). Inside the memorial to victims of lynching. CBS News: 60 Minutes. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/inside-the-memorial-to-victims-of-lynching-60-minutes-oprah-winfrey/

Love Data Week

Join FSU Libraries for workshops and activities to raise awareness and share practice tips, resources, and stories to encourage good data practices. Participate in Love Data Week and be entered to win exciting prizes, including FSU Libraries swag and gift cards! #LoveData19

See the event schedule below.

This year’s themes are:

Data in Everyday Life http://lovedataweek.org/about/data-in-everyday-life/

Data Justice  http://lovedataweek.org/about/data-justice/

Open Data http://lovedataweek.org/about/open-data/

Adopt a Dataset!

As part of Love Data Week, we’re encouraging you to adopt a dataset!

Bring your dataset to life by learning about it and introducing it to anyone who hasn’t met it before. Use the Dataset Adoption Form to find a Dataset to research and adopt and you’ll receive a Data Adoption Certificate. Share the name and something interesting about your Dataset to this thread using #LoveData19 and #ICPSR for your chance to be entered to win prizes!

Green Office Certification at FSU Libraries

For the last two years, FSU Libraries has had a team of faculty and staff who are working towards making the libraries greener through various initiatives. One way we have started changing our workplace culture is by participating in the Green Office Certification Program. 

FSU’s Office of Sustainability runs this program to help faculty and staff review their workplace’s current practices and help them take steps towards being more sustainable. 

We are proud to say that eight of our offices are Green Office Certified: 

  • The Learning Commons Office 
  • The Social Science, Arts, & Humanities Office 
  • The Special Collections  & Archives Main Office 
  • The Dirac Science Library Office 
  • Resource Management and Discovery Services Building
  • Administration Offices
  • Security Office 
  • Technology & Digital Scholarship Office 

For more information on the Green Office Certification Program, go to: https://sustainablecampus.fsu.edu/get-involved/programs-events/green-office-certification

Seeing Something Good

by Dave Rodriguez

It usually takes discoveries of blockbuster proportions for stories related to film preservation and restoration to have any traction in the manic, mainstream news cycle. Generally, only things like the excavation of original materials from Fritz Lang’s sci-fi epic Metropolis (1927) by Argentine archivists, or the restoration of the thought-to-be-lost Orson Welles project Too Much Johnson (1938), carry the high-profile cachet to excite audiences outside academic and cinephilic circles. But every so often, a small, precious film comes along that conveys something much more beautiful and enriching than the grand vision of a canonized auteur. Every so often we are offered not just something we’ve never seen before, but are confronted with a new way of seeing.

Such is the case with the recently restored Something Good — Negro Kiss, a 29-second film produced in 1898, a mere 3 years after the first public film exhibitions took place. Purchased as part of a bulk collection on eBay and delivered to archivist Dino Everett in a garbage bag, the 50-foot nitrate film strip was discovered almost entirely by chance, but ultimately saved through diligent archival work by Everett, film historian Allyson Field, and the collective efforts of the Orphan Film Symposium. The film, a “re-make” of Thomas Edison’s infamously scandalous The Kiss (1896), depicts something remarkable on celluloid in the era of Blackface minstrel shows and calcified racist tropes: an African American couple kissing, embracing, dancing–with a natural tenderness and intimacy miles away from how people of color were represented on the stage or screen at the time.

It’s difficult to not have an emotional reaction to the film. The moment captured feels effortless and loving, which is perhaps a testament to the two actors’ (Gertie Brown & Saint Suttle) talents. Even Oscar-winning director and FSU-alum Barry Jenkins was rendered speechless when a Twitter user set the work to music from his latest feature, If Beale Street Could Talk, another film with Black romance at its center. Research uncovered that Something Good was originally sold through the Sears catalog as a comedy, a fact highlighting its contemporary White audience’s “presumption that Black people on screen were inherently comedic,” Field explains. But watching today seems to imbue the film with another significance entirely. Despite original intentions, the brief vision of love and frivolity offered by Something Good defies its own context of production and gives the Black body on-screen something much more dire, something that we are in many ways still struggling for: its humanity.

In December 2018, the film was added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, ensuring its preservation and access for many future generations of viewers (and kissers).

Read more of Allyson Field’s commentary and about the story of Something Good — Negro Kiss in Lila MacLellan’s fantastic article in Quartzy.

New PopLit for the New Year

Do you need a mental break from your studies? The Popular Literature Collection at FSU is specifically catered to bring what you want to read into your library. The Pop Lit Collection was started after a request from the Student Government. The Pop Lit committee carefully selects books from multiple genres that range across literary fiction, true crime, fantasy, biographies, and more. We just got our first order of 2019 in and are excited to add twelve titles to the shelves!

The Pop Lit Collection continues to grow. In 2018 we added over 200 new books to the Popular Literature Collection! We acquired stand-alone books, later installments of series, and some top reads of 2018. 

They are in different formats:

  • Graphic Novel
  • Hardcover
  • Paperback
  • Mass Market Paperback

Cover a range of genres:

  • Fantasy
  • Travel
  • Biography
  • Science Fiction
  • Mystery or Thriller
  • Horror
  • History
  • Politics
  • Literary Fiction
  • Graphic Novels
  • Romance
  • Graphic Novels
  • Romance
  • Adventure
  • Science
  • Self-Help
  • Business

If you are interested in reading some of our books, stop by the popular literature collection on the first floor of Strozier library right by the library side of Starbucks. 

USEDiT: Universal Scientific Equipment Discovery Tool

The reproducibility of research results is one of the key tenets of scientific discovery. These results are often generated using equipment located in a scientific research laboratory. Thus, it would stand to reason that sufficient, detailed, and transparent reporting of equipment is key to allowing researchers to assess the validity of previous findings. However, the scientific community currently lacks a structured citation style or method for tracking what types of scientific lab equipment are being utilized to conduct research on grant funded projects or peer reviewed publications.  In turn, this makes it difficult for researchers to reproduce the results of other researchers and thus, contributes to the reproducibility crisis the scientific community is facing. To combat this problem, a team of librarians and scientific researchers at Florida State University and the University of California-San Diego are developing a tool that will provide a structured citation style for scientific lab equipment. The name of this tool is the Universal Scientific Equipment Discovery Tool (USEDiT).

pic2Within USEDiT, each piece of equipment is assigned a unique, persistent  universal identifier, which can then used by researchers to cite equipment in peer-reviewed publications and research grant applications. The identifiers then link out to a standardized set of information for each piece of equipment, allowing researchers to discover new relationships between equipment and research and increasing the potential for collaboration. Properly citing equipment also allows for the productivity of that equipment to be quantified, leading to a more efficient allocation of grant funding and resources.   

Current efforts are focused developing the underlying taxonomy and ontology for USEDiT, using scientific equipment from research labs at FSU as a “mini-pilot” for the project. An example of the current, working taxonomy for USEDiT is shown below.

Pic1Second, we are currently in discussions with equipment manufacturers and scientific professional societies to gauge their interest in the project and obtain feedback as we develop the tool further.

The development of USEDiT is being overseen by a multidisciplinary team of librarians and scientific researchers at Florida State University. Spearheading the effort is Dr. Claudius Mundoma, Director of the Physical Biochemistry Facility at the FSU Institute of Molecular Biophysics, and Mike Meth, Associate Dean for Research and Learning Services. Other team members from FSU Libraries include Dr. Nick Ruhs, Annie Glerum, Mark Lopez, and David Rodriguez. The team is also collaborating with Anita Bandrowski from the University of California-San Diego, who is the CEO and co-founder of SciCrunch. 

More information about USEDiT can be found on the project website:http://myweb.fsu.edu/aglerum/usedit.html. The USEDiT logo was designed by FSU Graduate, Matt Taylor, CDAorlando.com.

Any questions about the project can be directed to Dr. Nick Ruhs, STEM Research and Learning Librarian, at nruhs@fsu.edu.

Written By: Dr. Nick Ruhs

Popular Literature Collection & the President’s Diversity & Inclusion Mini-Grant

Begun in 2017, President’s Diversity & Inclusion Mini-Grant program approved funding for projects that helped advance FSU’s diversity goals. The Libraries received one of these grants to purchase materials for the Popular Literature Collection and grow the collection’s titles to include more diverse perspectives and experiences. These 2017-2018 additions cover a range of ethnic, racial, social, religious, gender, sexual, and personal identities and representations in addition to some related to social movements and current events. Through the funding provided by the grant, we worked to add a large addition to the collection that helps it better reflect FSU’s student, staff, and faculty’s diversity. The popular literature collection is on the first floor of Strozier library, right before the interior Starbucks and lounge area.

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Book Titles & Authors

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff–Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria  Machado–The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas–Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli–I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin & Raoul Peck–Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore–The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee–Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah–When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon–Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers by various–Laughing All the Way to the Mosque: The Misadventures of a Muslim Woman            by Zarqa Nawaz–Bad Feminist  by Roxane Gay–The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson– House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle–Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan–We Are Okay by Nina LaCour–                  The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida–The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy–the Secret Loves of Geek Girls by Various–Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman–Exit West by Mohsin Hamid—Pachinko by Min Jin Lee–His Secret Son by Brenda Jackson
Savannah’s Secrets by Reese Ryan–To Tempt a Stallion by Deborah Fletcher Mello–Black by Kwanza Osajyefo & Jamal Igle–Managing Bubbie by Russel Lazega–How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway–Geek in Korea: Discovering Asian’s New Kingdom of Cool by Daniel Tudor–The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes–We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter–Mustard Seed by Laila Ibrahim–The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin–The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin–The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin–The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae–I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi–The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss–
The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi: My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began by Kathie Lee Gifford & Jason Sobel–The Prada Plan by Ashley Antoinette–Black AF: America’s Sweetheart by Kwanza Osajyefo,‎ Jennifer Johnson &‎ Sho Murase–An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon–Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates,‎ Chris Sprouse, Don McGregor, Rich Buckler, & Brian Stelfreeze–Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay, Yona Harvey, Ta-Nehisi Coates,‎Rembert Browne, Afua Richardson, Alitha martinez, Joe Bennett–Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng—Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman–The Upside of Unrequited            by Becky Albertalli–Bingo Loveby Tee Franklin,‎ Jenn St. Onge,‎ Joy San,‎ Genevieve FT–A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole—I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez–Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor–The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord–The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle–Final Girls by Riley Sager– Best Laid Plans by Brenda Jackson–Dreadnought by April Daniels–Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together by James Blake & Carol Taylor–The Blackbirds by Eric Jerome Dickey—Sovereign by April Daniels–Korea: The Impossible Country by Daniel Tudor–Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles–The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women  by Elaine Meryl Brown,‎ Marsha Haygood & Rhonda Joy McLean– The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks–The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon–Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal–Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee–Dear Martin by Nic Stone
A Girl Like Thatby Tanaz Bhathena–The Milk Lady of Bangalore by Shoba Narayan–Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Written By: Nicole Gaudier-Alemany

Open Access Week 2018

There is a systemic problem in scholarly publishing that disadvantages academic authors, their institutions, the global research community, and the general public. The problem stems from the subscription-based model of scholarly publishing, whereby publishers place academic journal articles behind paywalls so that anyone who can’t pay can’t read them.

Open Access (OA) is a movement based on the argument that this situation is fundamentally unethical, and that the fruits of academic endeavor should be freely available to everyone. OA archiving and publishing are the two main strategies for accomplishing this goal, and they promise to benefit both the global research community and individual authors, moving published research into the open and thereby broadening its readership and generating more citations. OA is also fast becoming a requirement for recipients of research funding, as many public and private funding agencies have enacted public access policies to make the results of funded research accessible to all.

Open Access Week, Oct. 22-28, is an opportunity for the global research community to learn more about this important movement and the many ongoing efforts to make it the new norm in research and scholarship. To celebrate the occasion, FSU Libraries is hosting two screenings of Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, a documentary film that focuses on the need for open access to research and questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion annual revenues of for-profit academic publishers. We hope you’ll join us at one of the screenings to enjoy some free popcorn and learn more about OA and how it can benefit you as a student, teacher, or researcher:

  • 12:00-1:30 PM, Scholars Commons Instruction Room, Strozier Library
  • 4:00-5:30 PM, Dirac Conference Room, Dirac Library

In addition, we’d also like to take this opportunity to highlight some important ways that the Libraries support the FSU community in taking action to advance openness in research and education:

So, what can you do to advance the cause of OA through your own research and teaching?

For more information, see our research guides on Open Access Publishing and the Open Textbook Movement , or contact Devin Soper, Scholarly Communications Librarian at FSU Libraries’ Office of Digital Research & Scholarship. And don’t forget to follow the conversation on Twitter! #OAweekFSU

Additional Study Rooms for Students

FSU Libraries is expanding the circulation of individual study room keys for students this semester! With their overall popularity throughout the last academic year (2017-18) and an-ever growing wait list, we have added more rooms to accommodate students. These study rooms are intended for individual, quiet study, available exclusively to graduate students. They are located on the second floor, and you may use the room as a temporary office space where you may leave your research materials throughout your booking time of two weeks. When you check out one of these keys, you are given a key to your assigned room, which is indicated on the key tag.

You may request one of these rooms by filling out the Graduate Student Individual Extended Time Study Room form. You will receive a confirmation email regarding the status of your reservation, but please be mindful that you may be placed on a wait list if there are no vacant rooms. Once you are approved for checking out a key, you may go to the circulation desk at any time and check it out with your FSU ID.

If you are looking for an individual study room for a shorter booking, we also have keys for 4 hour checkout. These are available at the circulation desk on a first-come, first-serve basis.  

If you have any questions or concerns about a key reservation, please contact either Jasmine Spitler (jspitler@fsu.edu) or Jeff Hipsher (jhipsher@fsu.edu).

Written By: Jasmine Spitler

Artist Books Collection Continues to Grow

For the past two years Florida State University (FSU) has been steadily growing its collection of artist’s books, which are currently housed in Special Collections & Archives. These unique works blur the boundaries between art and literature, encouraging readers to question How Books Workand what they meanto each of us. Anne Evenhaugen, the head librarian at the Smithsonian’s American Art and Portrait Gallery Library, describes artist’s books as “a medium of artistic expression that uses the form or function of ‘book’ as inspiration. It is the artistic initiative seen in the illustration, choice of materials, creation process, layout and design that makes it an art object.” The difference between a regular book and an artist’s book is determined primarily by the creator’s intentional treatment and presentation of the materials.

A few earlier posts have highlighted new and interesting artist’s books in our collection. The books we house encompass a wide range of genres, forms, and topics. We have several books that feature poetry, such as Indra’s Net by Bea Nettles. This beautifully marbled paper scroll features a poem by Grace Nettles (the artist’s mother) printed over a spider web design. Attached to the inside of the lid, a small silver bell rings to evoke the memories described in the text. The original poem, from a book called Corners, can be found in our collection as well.

Picture1

Artist’s books are often a multi-sensory experiences. Music for Teacups, a joint venture by Melissa Haviland and David Colagiovanni, is part of a larger project “investigating the destructive moment of a breaking piece of family tableware to highlight family dynamics, upbringing, inheritance, etiquette, and issues of class. ‘Music for Teacups’… rhythmically dissects the poetic moment of a falling and breaking teacup as it sounds during its last second as a complete object.” (description from Haviland’s website). The work consists of an accordian fold booklet of cut-outs shaped like teacups, as well as a 45rpm record of the accompanying music. However, since we have no playback equipment, patrons who wish to listen to the piece are directed to this sample video(from Colagiovanni’s website).

Picture2

Many of our artist’s books offer political and social commentary, or center on issues such as human rights. One such work is Bitter Chocolate by Julie Chen. The book itself is shaped like a large bar of chocolate, which unfolds like a Jacob’s ladder. Each panel is connected by magnets, so that they can be unfolded to reveal four different sides. The unique tactile and structural aspects of the piece are a staple feature of Chen’s work, but the content is equally compelling. Two of the sides narrate a story about the mythical Mayan chocolate goddess, “Cacao Woman.” The goddess rejoices the widespread love of chocolate among humans, but also laments the chocolate industry’s reliance on forced child labor, abuse, and trafficking. The other two sides feature the author’s personal memories and experiences with chocolate, as well as facts about its production worldwide.

FSU students, alumni, visitors, and the general public are invited to visit special collections and check out our rich collection of artist books. Patrons may also wish to explore how to make their own art books. Many of our works include explanations of the printing and construction processes, and we even have books designed to elicit inspiration for budding artists.  FSU also has its own publisher, the Small Craft Advisory Press. Other resources, articles, books, and artist websites are listed below.

Resources:

Articles/Books:

Artists:

Written By: Melissa Quarles