An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections
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  • Posted on June 18, 2015
    by

    Clint Fluker, Emory University 

    in
    In collaboration with Southern Spaces, MARBL Highlights features collections housed at Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. Including curators’ comments, archival photographs, as well as brief collection summaries, this blog series promotes the material culture of MARBL's southern and spatial collections.
     
    Big City Bird’s Eye View. Artistic rendering by Dawud Anyabwile. Courtesy of Dawud Anyabwile.
    Big City Bird’s Eye View. Artistic rendering by Dawud Anyabwile. Courtesy of Dawud Anyabwile.
    Antonio Valor. Character drawing by Dawud Anyabile. Courtesy of Dawud Anyabwile.
    Antonio Valor. Character drawing by Dawud Anyabwile. Courtesy of Dawud Anyabwile.

    Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library recently acquired several independent black comic book series as part of a concerted effort to expand the African American periodicals collection. The three-volume trade paperback Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline is one of the new acquisitions. Philadelphia brothers Dawud Anyabwile (illustrator), Guy A. Sims (writer), and Jason Sims (producer) launched what became an eleven-issue run in 1990. Often hailed as one of the first black-owned comic book series to reach national acclaim, Brotherman sold approximately 750,000 issues worldwide on the independent circuit. Before Dwayne McDuffie’s Milestone Comics made a splash by adding numerous black superheroes to the DC universe in 1994, Brotherman paved the way for black-authored superheroes in American popular culture.

    Brotherman tells the story of Antonio Valor, a public attorney who works in the imagined metropolis of Big City. In addition to his job, Valor sidelines as Brotherman, a hero with an insatiable desire to see justice served! By day, Valor wears a suit and tie, but by night, he dons knee-high socks, a sweat suit, and a facemask to fight crime.

    Big City subway map, Brotherman comics. Artistic rendering by Dawud Anyabile. Courtesy of Dawud Anyabile.
    Big City subway map, Brotherman comics. Artistic rendering by Dawud Anyabwile. Courtesy of Dawud Anyabwile.

    One of Brotherman’s most interesting characters is Big City itself. Complete with a map of numerous districts, subway systems, bus routes, street signs, corporate store chains, and mom-and-pop shops, Brotherman creates an alternate universe featuring the everyday workings of local politics as it intersects with the lived experience of Big City’s inhabitants. Much of Brotherman’s drama relates directly to the inequalities within this imagined society; inequalities that become apparent as the characters visit different districts. In the following clip, Dawud Anyabwile describes how Big City can be interpreted as a representation of black experience in America.

    Anyabwile describes modern media's approach to black representation.

    Brotherman illustrator, Dawud Anyabwile, visited Emory University on June 5, 2015, as a guest lecturer for Clint Fluker's Visual Culture class, Black Comix (IDS 216), offered through the Institute of the Liberal Arts. Anyabwile discussed the origins of Brotherman and explored themes and influences that inspired the construction of Big City.

    In the following clip, Anyabwile describes the series’s narrative arc and illustrates plot points on a map of Big City. Anyabwile also describes his plans to collaborate with GIS specialists to expand the universe in a forthcoming Brotherman comic book to be released later this year.

    Anyabwile illustrates plot points on a map of Big City.

    For more information on Brotherman comics and access to related MARBL materials, visit the MARBL website.

    Posted on June 16, 2015
    by

    Sarah Melton, Emory University

    in
    Logo, On Second Thought, Georgia Public Broadcasting.
    Logo, On Second Thought, Georgia Public Broadcasting.

    Southern Spaces author Karen Beck Pooley was featured in a June 16, 2015 interview on Georgia Public Broadcasting's radio program On Second Thought. Contributing to a segment titled "Defining Diversity, Segregated Cities, Break It Down: Gerrymandering," Pooley spoke about her research on Atlanta's demographics and school segregation.

    Suburbanizing Atlanta, Georgia, March 31, 2009. Photograph by Maik. Courtesy of Maik, CC BY-ND.
    Suburbanizing Atlanta, Georgia, March 31, 2009. Photograph by Maik. Courtesy of Maik, CC BY-ND.

    In her April 2015 Southern Spaces publication "Segregation's New Geography: The Atlanta Metro Region, Race, and the Declining Prospects for Upward Mobility," Pooley examined Atlanta's population shifts, suburbanization patterns, and school performance. Pooley argued that the region's increasingly suburban African American population continues to face segregated housing patterns that undercut their ability to build wealth through homeownership. This same demographic remains predominantly within segregated schools, a concentration that hampers black students' educational experiences and possibilities. For more insight into segregation across the Atlanta metro region, listen to Karen Pooley's featured interview and read her full article at Southern Spaces.

    Posted on May 6, 2015
    by

    Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL)

    in

    Atlanta Intersections features Atlantans in conversation with Randy Gue, curator of Modern Political and Historical Collections at Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). In collaboration with Southern Spaces, MARBL presents clips of the full interviews to spur conversations and encourage research on the featured topics.

    Chip Simone. Photo courtesy of Chip Simone.
    Chip Simone. Photo courtesy of Chip Simone.

    Long-time Atlanta resident Chip Simone co-founded NEXUS, Atlanta’s first photography gallery, in 1973. Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, Simone studied at the Rhode Island School of Design with modern American photography master Harry Callahan. Simone’s photos are currently included in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art, the High Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and in the Sir Elton John Photography Collection. Simone has also published two collections, On Common Ground: Photographs from the Crossroads of the New South (1996) and Chroma: Photographs by Chip Simone (2011), printed in conjunction with his exhibit at Atlanta’s High Museum.

    When he moved from Manhattan to Atlanta in 1972, Simone initially took photographs of his wife, family members, and his new neighborhood of Virginia Highlands. In time, however, Simone shifted his focus to rarely photographed areas of urban Atlanta.

    Photo Courtesy of Chip Simone.
    A Woman Has Her Hair Braided in Piedmont Park, 1996. Photo courtesy of Chip Simone. 

    “Atlanta was struggling to redefine itself, and I was more intrigued by the nature of it as a growing and transforming American city,” Simone says. “I was more interested in discovering what was not known about Atlanta and experiencing it than in reinforcing that conventional lore. Over time, my work has evolved into a more personal and intimate view of the city and its people.”

    In this clip, Simone discusses Maynard Holbrook Jackson Jr., Atlanta’s first African American mayor, and his impact on the city’s topography, race relations, and the development of its artistic community. For more information about the role that art organizations like NEXUS have played in the development of Atlanta visit MARBL’s Modern Political and Historical Collections. 


    Randy Gue Interviews Chip Simone

    Posted on April 14, 2015

    Atlanta Intersections features Atlantans in conversation with Randy Gue, curator of Modern Political and Historical Collections at Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). In collaboration with Southern Spaces, MARBL presents clips of the full interviews to spur conversations and encourage research on the featured topics.

    "Sense of Awakening," Topophilia, 2013. Photograph by Stephanie Dowda. Courtesy of Stephanie Dowda.
    "Sense of Awakening," Topophilia, 2013. Photograph by Stephanie Dowda. Courtesy of Stephanie Dowda.

    Atlanta-based photographer Stephanie Dowda is a studio artist with the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and also maintains a darkroom at the Goat Farm Arts Center. A Georgia State University graduate, Dowda frequently presents throughout the Atlanta metro area. Dowda's work has appeared in Oxford American, Bad at Sports, ArtsATL, BURNAWAY, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Atlanta Magazine. She has exhibited in numerous galleries, including Get This Gallery, M Rich Gallery, Beep Beep Gallery, Hagedorn Foundation Gallery, Kibbee Gallery, and the Atlanta Preservation Center.

    In this clip, Dowda discusses her life-altering encounter with The Lightning Field in New Mexico, an installation piece by renowned sculptor, Walter De Maria. Dowda describes the piece as a quarter-mile long desert field installed with nearly 400 steel poles that extend into the sky:

    The idea is that you go there and hang out in a cabin for a night and then play around in the lightening field . . . It was completely life changing . . . There is just something about that [experience] that changed me, and it also changed my camera.

    "Sense of Deafening Silence," Topophilia, 2013. Photograph by Stephanie Dowda. Courtesy of Stephanie Dowda.
    "Sense of Revenant," Topophilia, 2013. Photograph by Stephanie Dowda. Courtesy of Stephanie Dowda.

    Dowda recalls that, after spending the night in the lightning field, she discovered that the photos taken there had been altered. Searching for a technical explanation as to why her photos developed in this particular way, Dowda found no easy answers. Moreover, after this experience, Dowda describes that her camera continued to yield images seemingly "possessed" by the energy from the lightning field. Inspired by this experience, Dowda works to develop new and innovative ways of illuminating the energy that differentiate locations from one another. In this clip, she elaborates on her interpretation of topophilia, a concept cultural geographer Yi-Fu Tuan coined to articulate the strong sense of place that can yield a personal attachment to particular landscapes.

     
    Randy Gue interviews Stephanie Dowda.
    Posted on April 7, 2015
    by

    Maureen McGavin, Emory University

    in

     

    Atlanta Studies website, 2015. Screenshot of Boyd Lewis's photo of Margaret Mitchell's apartment house. Courtesy of Emory News. The website includes Boyd Lewis's original article about living in Margaret Mitchell's apartment and the building's history, an example of the original scholarship encouraged by the collaborative publication.
    Atlanta Studies website, 2015. Screenshot of Boyd Lewis's photo of Margaret Mitchell's apartment house. Courtesy of Emory News. The website includes Boyd Lewis's original article about living in Margaret Mitchell's apartment and the building's history, an example of the original scholarship encouraged by the collaborative publication.

    Emory University's Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS) is hosting a new website to bring together research projects, resources, and information about the Atlanta metro region and inspire new scholarship.

    Atlanta Studies (www.AtlantaStudies.org), which launched Feb. 16, is an open-access online publication that features original writings and projects about the Atlanta region, resources for the region, and events such as quarterly meetups and an annual Atlanta Studies Symposium. Atlanta Studies is a collaborative effort, with editorial and advisory board members from organizations and institutions across the region and the country, and aims to engage audiences both inside and outside the academic world.

    "The Atlanta metro region is large, growing rapidly, and under-studied," says Allen Tullos, co-director of ECDS. "The Atlanta Studies project offers a unique site where shared research and discussion about the region's past, present, and future can take place among collaborating institutions and organizations."

    Atlanta Studies is not just for those in the academic arena, but for members of the public as well, says editorial board member Ed Hatfield, an ECDS graduate fellow in digital humanities and PhD candidate in history at Emory.

    "We want to bring academic scholarship to the public at large and to make a contribution to Atlanta's media landscape, so people who are interested in history and politics can have a new source for commentary, analysis and information," Hatfield says.

    Features of the Atlanta Studies Site

    Atlanta Studies website, 2015. Screenshot of the projects and resources available to members of the public as well as academics. Courtesy of Emory News. The section is expected to expand as the new website takes off.
    Atlanta Studies website, 2015. Screenshot of the projects and resources available to members of the public as well as academics. Courtesy of Emory News. The section is expected to expand as the new website takes off.

    The website publishes original scholarship on a monthly basis; the first article is Boyd Lewis' "Living at Peggy's: Where Margaret Mitchell Wrote ‘Gone with the Wind,'" an insightful telling of the history of Mitchell's famous apartment, including a first-person account of the period when Lewis occupied it.

    Blog posts such as Scott Libson's "The Lost Picture Show: Remapping the Cinema Landscape of Segregated Atlanta" – about the work of Emory professors Dana White (emeritus) and Matthew Bernstein using ECDS's forthcoming Digital Atlanta Geocoder mapping system – will appear on a regular basis, Hatfield says.

    "We're always looking for new and interesting voices, and we're really excited about what we're starting out with," says Sarah Melton, ECDS digital projects coordinator and a PhD candidate studying public history at Emory University. Submissions are accepted via email at AtlStudies@gmail.com and reviewed by the editorial board.

    AtlantaStudies.org also offers a gateway to several projects and resources. Current featured projects are the ECDS's Battle of Atlanta smartphone-accessible tour; the Peoplestown Project about the historic neighborhood and its community-based organizing legacy; and the Inman Park Squirrel Census, with findings and often humorous stories from its "census" of the Eastern gray squirrel in an urban neighborhood.

    Resources include access to historic Atlanta topographic maps, as well as to multiple Atlanta maps related to demographics, regional planning, economic development, education, public health, housing, and transportation.

    How it Began

    The online publication is an outgrowth of the Atlanta Studies Network, a group formed in 2012 by former ECDS digital scholarship coordinator Stewart Varner and Brennan Collins, associate director of Writing across the Curriculum and the Center for Instructional Innovation at Georgia State University. The group's purpose: to bring together people engaged in their own research projects about Atlanta. Group members' projects often pertain to community development, socio-economic issues, transportation and infrastructure, urban design, and labor and unemployment.

    "When Atlanta Studies Network began, there was a lack of a space for people to find resources and research about the Atlanta, which really surprised us because Atlanta is a huge metro area," Melton says. "We wanted to create a space where people could find high-quality, interesting, original scholarship about the region, as well as resources for people who wanted to do their own projects and research."

    Group members now number about 200, and the casual quarterly meetings are attended by a mix of academics and members of the public. The first annual Atlanta Studies Symposium was held at Emory University in spring 2013 and drew about 125 people; the second was held at Georgia State, and this year's symposium will take place at Georgia Institute of Technology on May 6.

    "The growth and the collaboration are a credit to the leadership Emory has shown in building a digital scholarship center and promoting digital humanities," Hatfield says. "All of our colleagues in our partner institutions are supportive and in many cases doing equally impressive work in the field."

    A Joint Project with Other Universities and Organizations

    AtlantaStudies.org is guided by an editorial board and an advisory board, both of which reflect the cooperative nature of Atlanta Studies itself. The two boards include people from inside and outside academia.

    The editorial board includes people from Emory, Georgia State, and Kennesaw State universities; the Atlanta History Center, and Atlanta Studies co-founder Varner, who is now at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The eight editorial board members represent a variety of specializations—historians, librarians, a geographer, and people with experience in community development—which helps guide the types of stories that need to be covered, Hatfield says.

    Representatives from the Auburn Avenue Research Library, Emory and Georgia State universities, and Atlanta Magazine comprise the 11-member advisory board. "These are senior scholars whose expertise and wisdom we can draw on as needed," Hatfield says. "They advise on focus and give their opinions about whether there are things we could do better or if there are stories that have been underreported in the press that we should focus on with their expertise."

    Hatfield says although Emory publishes the site, it's the cooperative nature of the project that makes it work.

    "There are so many colleges and universities throughout the Atlanta metro area that can contribute so much to the life of the region," Hatfield says. "Until now, there hasn't been a single space for people to come together and share research and ideas, and hopefully, collaborate on projects. The website, the symposiums and the meetups are creating that space and those forums where we might see a lot of productive exchange and take advantage of the remarkable research institutions that are located here."

    Posted on March 19, 2015
    by

    Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL)

    in

    Atlanta Intersections features Atlantans in conversation with Randy Gue, curator of Modern Political and Historical Collections at Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). In collaboration with Southern Spaces, MARBL presents clips of the full interviews to spur conversations and encourage research on the featured topics.

    Jesse Peel, MARBL Woodruff Room, Atlanta, Georgia, October 2012. Photograph by Bryan Meltz of Emory University Photo Video.

    Jesse Peel, MARBL Woodruff Room, Atlanta, Georgia, October 2012. Photograph by Bryan Meltz of Emory University Photo Video.

    Dr. Jesse Peel, psychiatrist and longtime AIDS and LGBT community activist, moved to Atlanta in 1976 where he opened a practice that served primarily gay men. In the early 1980s, many of Peel's clients and friends became sick and started dying from a mysterious new disease eventually named the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, commonly known as AIDS. Shocked and galvanized by the toll of the epidemic, Peel served on the board of directors of AID Atlanta and helped found Positive Impact, an organization dedicated to providing mental health programs for people with HIV and their friends, families, and caregivers.

    In this interview, Dr. Peel discusses his life as a gay man in Nashville, Tennessee, his move to Atlanta in the mid 1970s, and the geography of the LGBT community during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. In disarmingly charismatic fashion, Dr. Peel responds to questions about his life and accomplishments, often evoking audience laughter. In response to Rand Gue's query, "Why did you move to Atlanta?" Peel retorts, "When you start running into clients going into a gay bar as you're coming out, it's probably a good idea to shift to a larger venue."

     
    Randy Gue interviews Jesse R. Peel.

    This exchange presents Peel's conversational style of answering serious questions with humor. Peel's approach invites the audience to participate in thinking about difficult topics ranging from family disapproval of homosexuality, alienation from one's childhood community, fear of disease, to the loss of friends and loved ones.

    Peel also discusses Atlantans' multiple and contradictory responses to the emergent AIDS epidemic, as well as the efforts of health organizations that mobilized in its wake. Peel also talks about several political debates that shaped public discourse and the treatment of AIDS patients during the early years of the disease's history in Atlanta.

    In 2012, Peel donated his personal papers to Emory's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) to preserve and share his own experiences and stories of Atlanta's response to the AIDS epidemic with students, researchers, and the public. For more on Peel's contributions to the Atlanta LGBT community and AIDS advocacy efforts, see the Jesse R. Peel Papers.

    Posted on March 3, 2015
    by

    Steve Suitts, Atlanta, Georgia

    in

    The Southern Education Foundation's 2015 research bulletin reports that for the first time in over fifty years, a majority of schoolchildren attending the nation's public schools come from low-income families. "A New Majority" documents that in four out of every five states, low-income students comprised 40 percent or more of all public schoolchildren. In 2013, 50 percent or more of the public schoolchildren in twenty-one states were eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches, a benefit available only to families living in poverty or near-poverty.

    The report further documents that most of the states with high rates of low-income students were in the South and West. Thirteen of the twenty-one states with a majority of low-income students were located in the South, and six others were in the West. Mississippi led the nation with the highest rate: ­71 percent, almost three out of every four public school children in Mississippi, were low-income. The nation's second highest rate was found in New Mexico, where 68 percent of all public school students were low-income.

    This defining moment in enrollment in US public education comes as a consequence of a steadily growing trend across several decades. In 1989, less than 32 percent of the nation's public school students were low-income. By 2000, the national rate had increased to over 38 percent.

    Percent of Low Income Students in U.S. Public Schools 2013. Map and Data courtesy of Steve Suitts and the Southern Education Foundation.
    Percent of Low Income Students in US Public Schools 2013. Map and Data courtesy of Steve Suitts and the Southern Education Foundation.

    The implications of this trend are far-reaching. It indicates persisting economic hardship for a large number of families with school-age children, signaling that children who usually have the largest educational needs often receive the least support, and are now a majority in the nation's public schools.

    The South and the nation are today a part of a new global economy that requires higher skills and knowledge from all who seek a decent living and a good life. People and policymakers must realize that their future and their grandchildren's future are inextricably bound to the success or failure of low-income students. This trend strongly suggests that little or nothing will change for the better if schools and communities continue to postpone addressing the primary question of education in America today: what does it take and what will be done to provide low-income students with a good chance to succeed in public schools? It is a question of how, not where, to improve the education of a new majority of students.

    The problems and needs of low-income students remain a matter of fairness, but they are also much more. The success or failure of these children in the public schools will determine the nation's future educational potential. Without improving educational support for low-income students—without effectively addressing the problems of poverty and low-income—the trend of the last few decades will be prologue for a nation not at risk, but in decline.

    About the Author

    Steve Suitts is senior fellow at the Southern Education Foundation.

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    Recommended Resources

    Text

    Suitts, Steve. "A New Majority Research Bulletin: Low Income Students Now a Majority in the Nation's Public Schools." Southern Education Foundation (2015). http://www.southerneducation.org/Our-Strategies/Research-and-Publications/New-Majority-Diverse-Majority-Report-Series/A-New-Majority-2015-Update-Low-Income-Students-Now.

    ———. "Update A New Majority: Low Income Students in the South and Nation." Southern Education Foundation (2013). http://www.southerneducation.org/News-and-Events/posts/April-2014/Juvenile-Justice-Education-Programs-in-the-United-aspx.aspx.

    ———. "A New Majority: Low Income Students in the South's Public Schools." Southern Education Foundation (2007). http://www.southerneducation.org/Our-Strategies/Research-and-Publications/New-Majority-Diverse-Majority-Report-Series/A-New-Majority-Low-Income-Students-in-the-South-s.aspx.

    Related Southern Spaces Publications

    Suitts, Steve. "Crisis of the New Majority: Low-Income Students in the South's Public Schools." Southern Spaces, April 16, 2008. http://southernspaces.org/2008/crisis-new-majority-low-income-students-souths-public-schools.

    ———. "The Worst of Times: Children in Extreme Poverty in the South and Nation." Southern Spaces, June 29, 2010. http://southernspaces.org/2010/worst-times-children-extreme-poverty-south-and-nation.

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