“The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs and Germany,” is the title of an exhibition opening Sept. 8 at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The exhibition of 54 photos, cartoons and political posters – illustrating how American and German history became intertwined in the struggle for civil rights – will be the first in an array of free, public programs this fall at the center, 150 South Road. “Legacy, Tradition and the Black Experience” is semester theme.
Highlights will include the center’s ongoing Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film; lectures by artist and filmmaker Zina Saro-Wina and Carolina School of Dentistry alumna Dr. Janet Southerland; a conversation with Mark Auslander, author of “The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family”; and a symposium and film on Frantz Fanon, a spokesperson for the Algerian revolution against French colonialism in the 1950s.
“The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs and Germany,” through Oct. 28 in the center’s Robert and Sallie Brown Gallery and Museum, will open with at reception at 7 p.m. Sept. 8. Special guests expected will be local members of the National Association of Black Veterans, Tuskegee Airmen, Montford Point Marines and Buffalo Soldiers. Co-curator Maria Höhn, a history professor at Vassar College, will speak.
The exhibition traces the encounter between African Americans and Germany from the mid-1930s through the 1970s. It depicts how African Americans’ demands for civil rights at home and abroad were framed in reference to the struggle against Nazi Germany, then played out in occupied Cold War West and East Germany. Martin Klimke, Ph.D., research fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., co-curated the exhibition.
The exhibition will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays (closed on University holidays). Other programs, listed below, also will be free, and held at the center unless otherwise noted. Films are part of the Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film.
Sept. 13, Noon “Louder Than a Bomb” (2010), part of the center’s “Lunch and a Movie” series. The film tells the true story of the world’s largest youth poetry slam, a competition built around teams and known as “Louder Than a Bomb.” More than 600 teenagers from more than 60 Chicago-area schools gather for this yearly event, the only one of its kind in the country.
Sept. 15, 7 p.m. A double feature of films:
- “Contesting Race” (2009). This short, fictional film set in the world of teenage ethnic beauty pageantry follows Anelisa Willem, 15, a talented Xhosa girl – Xhosa people live in southeastern South Africa. Anelisa wins the Miss Teen India South Africa title for the Eastern Cape. Controversy emerges after her win, and the film accompanies Anelisa to the national finals in Durban, to see what happens when unwritten rules are broken.
- “The Place In Between” (2010). Sarah Bouyain’s directorial debut focuses on fictional stories of two African women living in France. The film follows Amy – the daughter of a mother from Burkina Faso (a country in west Africa) and a white French father – and a taciturn woman named Mariam. Mariam is teaching a white woman Dioula, a West African language spoken in Burkina Faso. The film explores the displacement that both Mariam and Amy face in a country that is familiar but not quite home.
- Sept. 20, 7 p.m. Fall 2011 African Diaspora Lecture by artist-filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa and a film, “This Is My Africa” (2010). The Nigerian-born artist is a curator, photographer, filmmaker and cultural activist. Her presentation will be paired with the screening of her new film. The documentary presents a vision of the continent by weaving together the memories, tastes and experiences of 21 Africans and Africaphiles.
Sept. 27, Noon. “Night Catches Us” (2010), part of the center’s “Lunch and a Movie” series. The fictional film follows a former Black Panther’s return to his Philadelphia neighborhood after years of a mysterious absence.
Oct. 5-7, symposium, “Remembering the Life and Work of Frantz Fanon.” Events will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of cultural and political icon Fanon, a Martinique-born psychiatrist, theorist and activist who became an unlikely spokesperson for the Algerian revolution against French colonialism in the 1950s. Events will include:
- Oct. 5, 7 p.m. film, “Frantz Fanon: His Life, His Struggle, His Work” (2004). The documentary follows the short and intense life of one of the great thinkers of the 20th century.
- Oct. 6, 7 p.m. Keynote speech by Mireille Fanon Mendés-France, president of the Frantz Fanon Foundation in Paris.
- Oct. 7, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Three panel discussions by scholars and activists from UNC and other institutions.
Oct. 13, 7 p.m. film, “Transfer” (2010). In this crisp, cerebral science fiction morality tale, an elderly white German industrialist and his wife of 50 years swap bodies with a couple of young, healthy and beautiful African strangers. The discreet procedure is initially a great success, but there’s a catch: for four hours each night, the young hosts regain control of their bodies and soon resent exploitation by the privileged German couple.
Oct. 27, 3:30 p.m., Bulls Head Bookshop. Author’s Discussion Series with Mark Auslander, who wrote “The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family” (University of Georgia Press, 2011). Tim McMillan, Ph.D., UNC senior lecturer in African and Afro-American studies, will join Auslander in conversation . Auslander is associate professor of anthropology and museum studies and director of the Museum of Culture and Environment at Central Washington University. Co-sponsored by the Bulls Head.
Nov. 1, 12 Noon “Soundtrack for a Revolution” (2010), film, “Lunch and a Movie” series. The film tells the story of the American civil rights movement through powerful music – the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, in paddy wagons and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality.
Nov. 3, 7 p.m. Sonja Haynes Stone Memorial Lecture. Dr. Janet Southerland, dean of the School of Dentistry at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., will deliver the 19th annual lecture. Southerland is a 1989 graduate of the UNC School of Dentistry and chaired the University’s hospital dentistry program. The lecture celebrates the life of the late UNC professor, for whom the center is named, and pays tribute to her memory.
Nov. 8, 7 p.m. “Sly Stone: Coming Back for More” (2010). In the final film of the Fall 2011 Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent film, director Willem Alkema catches up with Sly Stone, leader of the band Sly and the Family Stone. In the 1960s and 1970s, the group helped define the aesthetics and politics of a generation. The band was racially integrated and featured both men and women performing unforgettable tunes rooted in psychedelic funk, rock, soul and R&B.
Nov. 11, 7 p.m. Opening, “FRANCO Gallery Exhibition” in the center’s Robert and Sallie Brown Gallery and Museum. The display of works by Luis Franco of Durham, up through Jan. 20, will create an eclectic mix of pop art and pop art icons, reconfigured into subtle and overt political commentary. Many of Franco’s digital and acrylic works include hair picks symbolizing the ’70s theme of peace, love and revolution. The opening will feature poetry, spoken work and a brief talk by the artist.
Cutline: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy at the Berlin Wall in West Germany. Part of “The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs and Germany” exhibition on display at UNC’s Stone Center Sept. 8 through Oct. 28.
Credit: Landesarchiv Berlin
Stone Center contact: Clarissa Goodlett, (919) 962-0395,
News Services contact: LJ Toler, (919) 962-8589