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.”

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.

Lesser and Anderson Among Faculty Panelists at Upcoming Event, “The Insurrection at the Capitol: Where Do We Go from Here?”

Dr. Jeffrey Lesser (Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor and Director of the Halle Institute),  Dr. Carol Anderson (Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies, AAS Chair, and Associated Faculty), and Dr. Jeffrey Staton (Professor and Chair, Political Science) will speak on a panel at an upcoming Zoom event titled “The Insurrection at the Capitol: Where Do We Go from Here?” Sponsored by Emory College and Bridge Emory, the event aims to create dialogue among students and faculty relating to the events at the U.S. Capitol in January. Following presentations by the panelists, students will be invited to join a dozen additional Emory faculty members in conversation in breakout rooms. Dr. Gyan Pandey (Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor) and Dr. Carl Suddler (Assistant Professor) are among the faculty who will facilitate breakout conversations. The event will take place on Thursday, February 4, from 7:30-9pm. You may register here: http://bit.ly/postinsurrection-event.

Anderson, Goldmon, and Pugh Among Recipients of Mellon Foundation Grant on Reparations Solutions

Emory University is one of the recipients of a $5 million grant awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the University of Michigan’s Center for Social Solutions and other institutions as part of the Foundation’s Just Futures initiative. The project creates and leverages a national network of scholars working in partnership with community-based organizations to develop racial reparation solutions. Dr. Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies, AAS department chair, and associated faculty in the history department, will lead a team of scholars that also includes Vanessa Siddle Walker, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of African American Studies, and AAS assistant professors Dr. Janeria Easley and Dr. Jessica Lynn Stewart.

History doctoral students Camille Goldmon and Aleo Pugh will support the team’s work. Goldmon’s dissertation, advised by Dr. Allen E. Tullos and Anderson, is titled “Land Retention Amongst African-American Farmers in the U.S. South.” Pugh’s dissertation, advised by Dr. Walter Rucker, Dr. Jason Ward, and Anderson, is titled “‘Leery of Being Consumed’: Working-Class Black Dissent and the Legacy of Brown.” Read more about the grant below.

The grant’s project, “Crafting Democratic Futures: Situating Colleges and Universities in Community-based Reparations Solutions” will involve community fellows as well as local organizations in a collaborative public history reckoning designed to offer tangible suggestions for community-based racial reparations solutions. The project emerges from the Center for Social Solutions’ focus on slavery and its aftermath, and is informed by three generations of humanistic scholarship and what that scholarship suggests for all seeking just futures. The Center is led by former Emory Provost Earl Lewis.

-“Recent Mellon Foundation Grants Awarded to AAS Faculty,” AAS Newsletter.

Lipstadt Dissects Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories, Past and Present, for ‘Vox’

Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt recently analyzed the links between anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories in an article for Vox. Titled “Marjorie Taylor Greene’s space laser and the age-old problem of blaming the Jews,” the piece dissects support from U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene and other GOP officials for conspiracy theories animated by anti-Semitism. Lipstadt, an expert on the Holocaust, Holocaust denialism, and anti-Semitism, is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies and associated faculty in the history department. Read an excerpt from the Vox article below along with the full piece.

“To understand why anti-Semitic rhetoric is so common among modern conspiracy theorists, we need to go back over 2,000 years. Deborah Lipstadt, an Emory University historian and leading expert on anti-Semitism, traces the structure of anti-Semitic ideas back to the very origins of Christianity — specifically, the New Testament description of Jesus’s death.

The early Church taught that ‘the Jews’ conspired to kill Jesus — even though Jesus and his apostles were all Jewish and the Romans who actually executed him in the story were not. This, according to Lipstadt, was in part a strategic choice: Christianity had become a competing religion to Judaism, and its leadership wanted to marginalize the older, more deeply rooted tradition. What better way to do that than to blame Jews for killing the literal savior, casting remaining Jews as Christ-denying heirs to a dark conspiracy?

“‘Jews, [early Christians] argued, repudiated this new faith because of their inherent maliciousness,’ Lipstadt writes. ‘This formulation rendered Judaism more than just a competing religion. It became a source of evil.‘”

Price Evaluates Biden Administration’s COVID Plan for ‘Octavian Report’

Dr. Polly J. Price, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law, Professor of Global Health, and Associated Faculty in the History Department, was recently a featured guest on Rostrum, the podcast of Octavian Report. Price evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the Biden administration’s ambitious plan to address the pandemic and discusses whether she thinks the approach will prove successful. Price’s book Plagues in the Nation (forthcoming from Beacon Press), a narrative history of the United States through major outbreaks. Listen to the full conversation on Rostrum: “Will the Biden COVID Plan Work?”

Suddler Discusses MLK’s “America’s Chief Moral Dilemma” Speech with Faculty from Across Campus

Dr. Carl Suddler, Assistant Professor of History, was one of four Emory faculty members to contribute to a conversation about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1967 speech, “America’s Chief Moral Dilemma.” Organized by Emory’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the event included a reading of the speech by January LaVoy, Assistant Professor of Theater Studies, and a conversation with Suddler, Dr. Valerie Babb (Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities in African American Studies and English), and Dr. Dianne Stewart (Associate Professor of Religion and African American Studies).