Klibanoff Comments on Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act

Hank Klibanoff, James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism and Associated Faculty in the History Department, recently commented on the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act for the Courthouse News Service. Conceived of by New Jersey high school students and signed into law in 2019, the Cold Case legislation directs the National Archives and Record Administration to compile documents related to unsolved cases of the civil rights era. A five-member board designated to review those documents has yet to be appointed. In the article Klibanoff discusses the significance of the legislation, which he sees as opening up productive avenues for solving cold cases and achieving justice for victims and their families. Read an excerpt from the piece below along with the full article: “Empty Board Hampers Effort to Release Records on Civil Rights-Era Killings.”

Hank Klibanoff, director of the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Atlanta’s Emory University, said the law will help researchers dig into old documents on these killings ‘without having to jump through three, four, five hoops.

“It’s a process Klibanoff knows well: He had to file two different requests, one to the FBI and another to the National Archives, to get information about the killing of Isaiah Nixon, a Black man shot in 1948 for voting in Georgia.

Klibanoff said the law drafted by the students – known formally as the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2018 – could make more of a difference than when the federal government tried to reopen a bunch of the cases a few years ago in the hopes of closing them. In many instances, the government closed the cases when they concluded there was no one left alive to prosecute. 

“‘This, you don’t have to have a living perpetrator,’ Klibanoff said. ‘This allows the perpetrators – even if they are deceased – to still face the judgement of history. This allows historians, or families and newspaper reporters, to come in, look at them and write stories about what the record shows happened.‘”

Lipstadt in ‘The Guardian’: “Jews fear what follows after Republicans applauded Marjorie Taylor Greene”

Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies and associated faculty in the History Department, recently published an article in The Guardian. Titled “Jews fear what follows after Republicans applauded Marjorie Taylor Greene,” the piece analyzes responses to anti-Semitic comments made by Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. Lipstadt is a leading public intellectual and key voice on Jewish history, the Holocaust, and Holocaust Denial. Read an excerpt from The Guardian piece below along with the full article here.

“Some people were shocked by Taylor’s comments. I was not. Having spent decades studying, teaching, researching and fighting antisemitism, Greene’s claims were familiar territory. All of them – space lasers, 9/11, school shootings, Trump’s election loss and so much else – shared a common theme: conspiracy. […]

“Antisemitism is a prejudice, akin to so many others. Just like racism and an array of other hatreds, it relies on stereotypes and assumes that all members of the group share those characteristics. Antisemitism has unique characteristics that differentiate it from other hatreds. The racist “punches down” and loathes persons of colour because they are apparently “lesser than” the white person. They are, the racist proclaims, not as smart, industrious, qualified or worthy. In contrast, the antisemite “punches up”. The Jew is supposedly more powerful, ingenious and financially adept than the non-Jew. Jews use their prodigious skills to advance themselves and harm others. The Jew is not just to be loathed. The Jew is to be feared.”

Yaza Sarieh (‘18Ox, ‘20C) Wins 2020-21 Henry Luce Foundation Fellowship

Congratulations to recently graduated History major Yaza Sarieh (‘18Ox ‘20C) on receiving the Henry Luce Foundation Fellowship for 2021-2022. Yaza was also the recipient of the History Department’s Matthew A. Carter Award, given annually to a graduating student who exemplifies high academic achievement and good works in the community. Sarieh is one of only a dozen Emory students to win this prestigious fellowship in the university’s history. Read the Luce Foundation’s profile of Sarieh below, along with the same from the Emory News Center: “Two recent Emory graduates selected for prestigious Luce Scholars Program.” Also, learn about the other Luce fellowship winners from this past year here.

“Yazmina Sarieh graduated from Emory University in May 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Arabic. Born and raised in a small immigrant community outside of Nashville, Tennessee, Yazmina has always had a passion for service, social justice and diversity. At Emory, she co-directed Behind the Glass, an organization connecting students with undocumented detainees who were being held in a nearby detention center. She led initiatives at Georgia Organics, a food justice organization, managing a project that mapped demographics, health disparities and nutritional assets in order to alleviate food insecurity among schoolchildren. She has volunteered with the International Rescue Committee to support the integration of newly arrived refugees from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Democratic Republic of Congo and Honduras. While interning at the Carter Center, she worked on large-scale conflict resolution with international actors regarding the Syrian Civil War, specifically advocating for the rights of internally displaced populations. As a Gilman Scholar at al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco and the Sultan Qaboos University in Manah, Oman, Yazmina connected with people around the globe, engaging in cross cultural dialogue and integrating into diverse communities. She was named a Phi Beta Kappa scholar upon graduation, and received the Matthew A. Carter Citizens Award from the Emory History Department, given to one student who best exemplifies academic achievement and good works in the community. Yazmina is motivated to work in migrant rights and advocacy, hoping to create more efficient policy, programming and infrastructure that will enhance economic growth, social inclusion and political stability among marginalized communities. During her free time, Yazmina loves to preserve her Palestinian heritage through embroidery, reading ethnographies and caring for her plants.

Strocchia’s ‘Forgotten Healers’ Awarded Gordan Prize for Best Book in Renaissance Studies

Congratulations to Dr. Sharon Strocchia, Professor of History, whose book Forgotten Healers: Women and the Pursuit of Health in Late Renaissance Italy (Harvard UP, 2020) was awarded the 2021 Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize. The prize is given annually by the Renaissance Society of America to the best book in Renaissance studies. Forgotten Healers was also awarded the Marraro Prize by the Society for Italian Historical Studies. Browse past winners of the Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize, along with other awards given by the Renaissance Society of America, here.

Margariti to Discuss Foundational Legend of Islam’s Arrival in India in Carlos Museum Webinar

Dr. Roxani Margariti, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Associated Faculty in the History Department, will present research at an upcoming virtual event hosted by Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum. Margariti will present with Dr. Scott Kugle, Professor of South Asian and Islamic Studies, on the foundational legend of Islam’s arrival in India. The legend includes the miracle of the splitting of the moon (inshiqaq al-qamar), first alluded to in the Qur’an as a divine sign and developed as a miracle of the Prophet Muhammad in the exegetical tradition. Margariti and Kugle will discuss how the interplay between the legend and the miracle story forms the subject of a fascinating 18th-century Indian painting that draws on the Mughal painting tradition and can be viewed at the exhibition Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place. The event will take place Tuesday, February 23, at 4pm. Register to attend here.

Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project Partners with National Center for Civil and Human Rights to Produce Exhibit about the Victims of 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre

Emory’s Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project will partner with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights to produce an exhibit about the more than two dozen Black Atlanta residents murdered in what has become known as the Atlanta Race Massacre of 1906. The exhibit will make up part of a three-story expansion to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights funded by a $17 million grant by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Hank Klibanoff, James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism and Associated Faculty in the History Department, is the director of the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project. The Blank Family Foundation grant will support the continuation of research by Klibanoff, along with undergraduates in his course the Cold Cases Project, into the Black lives lost to the massacre. Read an excerpt from the Emory News Center feature of the project below along with the full article: “Grant to help Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project uncover Atlanta’s racial history.”

“Who were these people? What did they do, how did they live, how did they die? We know enough from our preliminary research to see the victims were people living on the right side of the law, but they became political pawns, expendable because of their race,” says Klibanoff, a professor of practice in Emory’s Creative Writing program.

“We’ll be seeking to animate their lives to give them the historical justice that was denied them by law enforcement and the judicial system in 1906,” he adds.

Abigail Meert (PhD, ’19) Publishes Article in the ‘International Journal of African Historical Studies’

Dr. Abilgail Meert (PhD, ’19) recently published an article in the International Journal of African Historical Studies. Titled “Suffering, Consent, and Coercion in Uganda: The Luwero War, 1981-1986,” the piece offers a fresh interpretation of popular support for a much-celebrated guerilla movement led by the The Ugandan National Resistance Army (NRA) and National Resistance Movement (NRM). Meert is Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M International University. She completed her doctoral work under the advisement of Clifton Crais and with a dissertation titled “Suffering, Struggle, and the Politics of Legitimacy in Uganda, 1962-1996.” Read the abstract of Meert’s article below.

The Ugandan National Resistance Army (NRA) and its political wing, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), are lauded in Africanist scholarship for being one the first guerrilla movements to overthrow an independent state in post-colonial African history. Scholars have largely attributed the NRA/M’s unprecedented success to its innovative strategies of governance and political education during the war, crediting these initiatives with legitimizing the NRA/M and encouraging civilians’ voluntary support within the war effort. This article contends that the NRA/M’s wartime reforms had only minimal impact on civilian decisions to participate in the 1981-1986 Luwero War. Instead, it argues that popular fear of the incumbent state motivated civilians to join the rebel movement. In recognizing the constraints within which civilians consented to NRA/M leadership, this article offers insight into broader questions of authority, legitimacy, and mobilization in African politics. Such reflection may also help contextualize the claims that African political leaders make toward power and explain variations in the resonance of those claims for African audiences over time.

Anderson Appraises Historical Significance of Second Trump Impeachment Trial for ‘AP News’

Dr. Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies and Associated Faculty in the History Department, was recently quoted in an AP News article on the second impeachment trial of former U.S. President Donald J. Trump. The piece assessed the likelihood that Trump would be found guilty or innocent as well as the longer-term consequences of the trial for politicians, historians, and democracy in the U.S. Read an excerpt quoting Dr. Anderson below along with the full piece: “Analysis: Trump’s Senate trial matters regardless of outcome.”

“For historians, what that trial does is to provide additional evidence and documentation under oath,” said Carol Anderson, a professor of African American studies at Emory University. “It also gives us a sense of the strength, or the weakness, in American democracy as the senators are confronted with this evidence.”

Lisa Greenwald (PhD, ’96) Featured as ‘New Yorker of the Week’

PhD alumna Lisa Greenwald was recently featured as the “New Yorker of the Week” by Spectrum News’ NY1 outlet. The story focuses on how Greenwald has cooked dinner each Wednesday night throughout the pandemic for 30 women and children at a shelter across from her Morningside Heights home. Greenwald, who graduated from the Emory PhD program in 1996 and teaches at Stuyvesant High School, published Daughters of 1968: Redefining French Feminism and the Women’s Liberation Movement with the University of Nebraska Press in 2019. Read the feature about her service to her neighbors here: “New Yorker of the Week: Lisa Greenwald.”

‘WSJ’ Reviews PhD Alumnus Robert Elder’s ‘Calhoun: American Heretic’ (Basic Books, 2021)

Basic Books will publish the second monograph from Dr. Robert Elder, a 2011 graduate of the Emory History doctoral program, this month. Titled Calhoun: American Heretic, the book is a cultural and intellectual biography of the father of Southern secession. In a recent review The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Horn described the book as a “serious analysis” that “traces how Calhoun’s thinking continues to influence American society today and shows how academic scholarship has moved ever closer to accepting Calhoun’s once shocking ideas about the role of slavery in American history.” Now Assistant Professor at Baylor University, Elder completed his graduate work at Emory under the advisement of S C Dobbs Professor Emeritus Professor James L. Roark. Read more about Calhoun: American Heretic at Basic Books and in the WSJ review: “‘Calhoun’ Review: The Nullifier and His Legacy.”