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Creating Community

Life and Learning at Montgomery's Black University

Edited by Karl E. Westhauser, Elaine M. Smith, and Jennifer A. Fremlin, with con

Publication Year: 2005

A community of inquiry and pride in central Alabama.
Creating Community explores how faculty members at Alabama State University, a historically black university in Montgomery, have been inspired by the legacy of African American culture and the civil rights movement and how they seek to interpret and extend that legacy through teaching, scholarship, and service. Authors describe a wide range of experiences from the era of segregation to the present day. These include accounts of growing up and going to college in Alabama, arriving in the South for the first time to teach at ASU, and the development of programs such as the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture. Together, the essays present viewpoints that reflect the diverse ethnic, cultural, and academic backgrounds of the contributors and of the university.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii

The essays in this volume were generated by a suggestion that we, the editors, made to our colleagues in the Department of Humanities at Alabama State University: to write personal essays on their experiences at ASU that, when taken together, might illuminate some of the institution’s hidden assets. The various faculty who responded interpreted the charge on their own...

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pp. 1-16

The community described in this volume is a diverse one that includes blacks and whites, women and men, the native-born and immigrants from around the world. It is representative of American society and a product of the American dream. That dream has always promised freedom and opportunity...

PART ONE Alabama Black-White Mix

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pp. 17

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1 / You Can Go Home Again

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pp. 19-34

During the 1940s and ’50s, Montgomery, Alabama, prided itself on its conservative nature and the fact that it was the so-called Cradle of the Confederacy. Like many southern cities, Montgomery was racially segregated. There were white neighborhoods and black neighborhoods, white schools...

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2 / E Pluribus UnumDiscovering Multiculturalism

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pp. 35-42

I was raised in the South, but I did not know the South. I lived most of my childhood and adolescence in Birmingham, but one day in 1963 I discovered that I did not know Birmingham. My family and I were watching the evening news when the television screen was filled with pictures of boys and...

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3 / Genesis of the National Center forthe Study of Civil Rightsand African-American Culture

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pp. 43-52

Martin L. King Jr., in his Address to the First Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) Mass Meeting, delivered at Montgomery’s Holt Street Baptist Church on December 5, 1955, following the arrest of Mrs. Rosa Parks, said, “Right here in Montgomery, when the history books are written in the...

PART TWO Region-Wide

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pp. 53

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4 / I Go to College

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pp. 55-69


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5 / Living a Womanist Legacy

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pp. 70-80

“When Martin Luther King started the Montgomery Bus Boycott—” “What?” I interrupted, as if to stop a crime. “King didn’t start the boycott,” I explained. “The Women’s Political Council did!” The student in my Alabama State University World History class nodded acquiescence as he...

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6 / I Pledge Allegiance toMy “Black-Eyed Susan” University [Contains Image Plates]

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pp. 81-92

In the fall of 1987, my husband and I moved with our children to Montgomery, Alabama, to work at Alabama State University. In moving from Jackson, Mississippi, I left behind what I had considered a utopia: we were surrounded by family and friends, had a good working environment, and...

PART THREE Non-SouthernWhat Difference?

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pp. 93

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7 / Portrait of the Artist as a Young White Man

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pp. 95-100

To the best of my knowledge, there were no African Americans living in DeKalb County, Indiana, when I was a boy growing up on the farm in the 1950s and ’60s. We lived about a mile from a small town of perhaps a thousand citizens. There were a few streets of dilapidated shacks, owned or rented...

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8 / City on a Hill

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pp. 101-109

Historians try to be objective. That means that when I tell a story I’m supposed to shine a light on the facts while doing my best to hide out in the shadows, as if the story were telling itself without me. But I found a light already shining when I got here, and it’s been changing the way I see things....

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9 / Called Home

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pp. 110-130

In the basement recreation hall of the church of my childhood hung a painting of Jesus with all of the children of the world gathered around him, a huge crowd of girls and boys in costumes from many lands. As a child, I grew up gazing at that painting and affirming its message: God is love, and..

PART FOUR International All Welcome

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pp. 131

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10 / “You’re Not White, You’re Canadian”Where I Belong

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pp. 133-139

I am a white Canadian heathen who

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11 / The Color BrownAn Asian’s Perspective

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pp. 140-150

Recently, on a long flight, flipping listlessly through the pages of an in-flight magazine, I came upon an advertisement for a poster on diversity.Beneath a picture of people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds wasan inscription that read, “Great achievements are not born from a singlevision, but from the combination of many distinctive viewpoints.” Diversity...

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pp. 151-156

This volume presents a collection of personal essays in which the writers as faculty members at Alabama State University describe their experiences in the academic community of an HBCU. Each essay provides an expression of what we can learn from each other in an academic setting that accepts..

Appendix: America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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pp. 157-160


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pp. 161-166


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pp. 167-170


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pp. 171-180

E-ISBN-13: 9780817380427
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817354992

Publication Year: 2005