Martin R Delany

Moonstone Arts Center Presents

The Martin R. Delany

and the Politics of Identity Project

150 Years

Challenging Racism


May 3 to 12, 2012 - Various Locations

Commemorating Martin R. Delany’s 200th Birthday

With Molefi Kete Asante, William Ayers, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Robert S. Levine,

Frank Meeink, Alondra Nelson, Ewuare Osayande, Clarence Page, Sonia Sanchez,

Linn Washington, Tim Wise


Brought to you by a partnership of organizations

Organized by The Moonstone Arts Center

Made Possible by Grants From: Douty Foundation, , Lomax Family Foundation, Pennsylvania Abolition Society, Pennsylvania Humanities Council and general support from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts

Excerpts from the Introduction to The Martin Delany Reader

by Robert S. Levine

Martin Robison Delany (1812-85) lived an extraordinarily complex life as a social activist and reformer, black nationalist, abolitionist, physician, reporter and editor, explorer, jurist, realtor, politician, publisher, educator, army officer, ethnographer, novelist, and political and legal theorist. A sketch of his career can only hint at the range of his interests, activities, and accomplishments. Born free in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), the son of a free seamstress and a plantation slave, Delany in the early 1820s was taken by his mother to western Pennsylvania after Virginia authorities threatened to imprison her for teaching her children to read and write. In 1831 he moved to Pittsburgh, where he studied with black leaders, and began his lifelong commitment to projects of black elevation. He organized and attended black conventions during the 1830s and 1840s and during this same period apprenticed as a doctor and began his own medical practice. In 1843, he founded one of the earliest African American newspapers, the Mystery, which he edited until 1847. In late 1847, he left the Mystery and teamed up with Frederick Douglass to coedit the North Star, the most influential African American newspaper of the period. After an approximately eighteen-month stint with Douglass, Delany attended Harvard Medical School for several months but was dismissed because of his color. Outraged by Harvard’s racism and the Compromise of 1850, in 1852 he published The Condition, Elevation, Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, a book-length critique of the failure of the nation to extend the rights of citizenship to African Americans, and a book that concludes by arguing for black emigration to Central and South America or the Caribbean. Delany’s emigrationism conflicted sharply with Douglass’s integrationist vision of black elevation in the United States. In response to Douglass’s national black convention of 1853, Delany in 1854 organized and chaired a national black emigrationist convention, where he delivered “The Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent,” the most important statement on black emigration published before the Civil War.
In 1856, Delany moved to Canada, where he set up a medical practice, wrote regularly for the Provincial Freeman, and met with the radical abolitionist John Brown to discuss the possibility of fomenting a slave insurrection in the United States. During the late 1850s, his views on emigration underwent a significant change. Instead of advocating black emigration to the southern Americas, he now argued for African American emigration to Africa. By 1859, he had obtained the funds that allowed him to tour the Niger Valley, and in December of that year, he signed a treaty with the Alake (king) of Abeokuta that gave him the land necessary to establish an African American settlement in West Africa. In search of financial support for the project, he toured Great Britain and garnered international attention for his participation at the 1860 International Statistical Congress in London. Around this same time, he published a serialized novel, Blake (1859, 1861-62) in an African American journal. He also published a book-length account of his travels and negotiations in Africa, Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party (1861). Delany’s African project collapsed in the early 1860s and by 1863 he was recruiting black troops for the Union army.
From 1863 to 1877, Delany recommitted himself to the integrationist U.S. nationalistic. He achieved national fame for meeting with Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and shortly thereafter receiving a commission as the first black major in the Union army. Following the war, Delany served for three years as an officer at the Freedmen’s Bureau in South Carolina, and he remained in South Carolina through the late 1870s as he attempted to make Reconstruction work in a stronghold of the former Confederacy. In 1874, he ran for lieutenant governor of South Carolina on the Independent Republican slate, then turned his attention to helping southern blacks who wished to emigrate to Liberia. In 1879, as he was seeking a federal appointment that would allow him to finance his own emigration to Africa, he published Principia of Ethnology: The Origin of Races and Color (1879), an ethnographic study that, like his earlier Origin and Objects of Ancient Freemasonry (1853), expressed a Pan-African pride in blacks’ historical, cultural, and racial ties to Africa.
Surveying Delany’s dynamic and creative career a year after his death in 1885, the African Methodist Episcopal priest James T. Holly proclaimed that Delany was “one of the great men of this age,” a person whose life was “filled with noble purposes, high resolves, and ceaseless activities for the welfare of the race with which he was identified,” and who “has given us the standard of measurement of all the men of our race, past, present, and to come, in the work of negro elevation in the United States of America.”
According to Frances Rollin, who published the first biography of Delany in 1868, Frederick Douglass similarly remarked, “I thank God for making me a man simply; but Delany always thanks him for making him a black man.” When Delany asserted his black pride, and even racial superiority, he did so against the grain of a culture that regarded blackness as a mark of evil and inferiority. Whereas Brown and Douglass declared that they would be happy to see race simply vanish from the United States through intermarriage, Delany from the 1830s until his death in 1885 fought white racists’ denigration of blackness by embracing it. And he did so, again and again, rhetorically: by insisting that within white culture his blackness in effect made an argument about racial identity and character that mulatto leaders, such as Brown and Douglass, simply could not make. The African American educator Anna Julia Cooper underscored this point in her remarks on Delany in 1892: “The late Martin R. Delany, who was an unadulterated black man, used to say when honors of state fell upon him, that when he entered the council of kings the black race entered with him; meaning, I suppose, that there was no discounting his race identity and attributing his achievements to some admixture of Saxon blood.” In this respect, Delany’s race consciousness and pride, his very sense of himself as a representative black man, can be understood as his defiant response to the white racist gaze upon his black body.
As historian Nell Irvin Painter has remarked, Delany remained “forgotten until his resurrection as the father of black nationalism and the epitome of proud blackness.” During the 1960s and 1970s, as a result of the Black Arts movement and the upsurge of interest in black studies, Delany was suddenly being celebrated for precisely what Payne, Brown, and Douglass had professed not to like about him: his prideful race consciousness and Pan-African identity.
Although Delany was a prolific writer who was unable to conceive of political action apart from writing and who wrote in a range of genres, most anthologies of American literature fail to reprint any of his multifarious and engaging writings, and, perhaps most astonishing of all, he is not included in the Norton Anthology of African American Literature, the most widely used anthology in African American literary and cultural studies. This neglect would have left his contemporaries truly mystified….
The historian Sterling Stuckey has argued that what links various expressions of black nationalism in the United States is a consciousness among African Americans “of a shared experience at the hands of white people” and of “the need for black people to rely primarily on themselves in vital areas of life.” Rather than representing a single position—a race consciousness that is always aggressively separatist—black nationalism can embrace a range of sometimes competing and conflicting options—uplift, separatism, emigrationism, patriotism, racial anger, integrationism, and so on—and has to be constructed and reconstructed in response to different exigencies and contexts. Delany’s special genius lay in his ceaseless and imaginative work at such construction and reconstruction.
In an influential revisionary overview of Delany’s career, Paul Gilroy observes, “Delany is a figure of extraordinary complexity whose political trajectory through abolitionisms and emigrationisms, from Republicans to Democrats, dissolves any simple attempts to fix him as consistently either conservative or radical.” …Like Douglass, Delany advocates a politics of racial integrationism when that politics seems possible and useful; at other moments, when that politics seems an impossibility (or destined to keep blacks in a subordinate position), he advocates creative modes of resistance, including separatism.
Delany was committed to action. “We must make an issue, create an event, and establish for ourselves a position,” Delany declared at the 1854 National Emigration Convention. The extraordinary persistence and creativity of his efforts to bring about social change make him one of the most fascinating African American leaders and writers of the nineteenth century and arguably one of the three or four most influential.

True Patriotism

Martin R. Delany

The North Star, 8 December 1848

Patriotism consists not in a mere professed love of country, the place of one’s birth – an endearment to the scenery, however delightful and interesting, of such country; nor simply the laws and political policy by which such country is governed; but a pure and unsophisticated interest felt and manifested for man – an impartial love and desire for the promotion and elevation of every member of the body politic, their eligibility to all the rights and privileges of society. This, and other than this, fails to establish the claims of true patriotism.
From periods the most remote, the most improper application has been made of the endearing term Patriot. Whether the most absolute monarch, crowned with the hereditary diadem, armed with an unlimited sceptre, the most intolerable despot bearing the title of sovereign – the most cruel and heartless oppressor and slaveholder under the boasted title of President -the most relentless butcher and murderer called Commander-in-Chief – the most haughty and scornful aristocrat who tramples upon the people’s rights in the halls of legislation – the most reckless and unprincipled statesman “rioting upon the spoils of a plundered revenue” – whether Phillips, Curran or Gratan in defence of Irish constitutional liberty – Emmet upon the scaffold, refusing to let his epitaph be written until Ireland was free -William Tell, under sentence of death, baffling the schemes of the German tyrant, Gesler – the French baron, Lafayette, leaving his native country and princely fortune, to share in common the fate of the struggling American Washington, as the leader of his country’s destiny – O’Connell, as the Liberator – Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, or John Quincy Adams, standing in the frontal ranks as defenders of American rights, or Mitchell and O’Brien, who sacrificed their all, being forever divorced and exiled from the most tender ties of domestic affections, by the severity of the laws of their country, for daring to discard provisions deemed pernicious to the welfare of their countrymen; all have laid equal claim to a share of the popular gratitude, and been endowed with the loved title of patriot.
A patriot may exist, whether blessed with the privileges of a country, favored with a free constituency, or flying before his pursuers, [and] roam an exile, the declared outlaw of the power that besets him. Love to man, and uncompromising hostility to that which interferes with his divine God-given rights, are the only traits which distinguish the true patriot. To be patriotic, is to be philanthropic; to be which, is necessary to love all men, regarding their humanity with equal importance.
Much has been the interest felt and manifested in this country in every movement, with exceptions to be named, whether home or abroad, in favor of human liberty, and those who were foremost in the struggle, bequeathed their names to present and future time, to become the subject of the poet and the theme of the historian. Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, Germany, France, England, Scotland and Ireland, of modern date, all, have had their patriots, each of whom in succession, has shared largely of America’s eulogium. And of all who have scanned the ordeal before them, there were none perhaps for whom there has been expressed more sympathy than the late victims of British displeasure, the Irish patriots and convicts, Mitchell and O’Brien, especially the latter, the severity of whose sentence aroused every feeling and expression of opposition to the execution of the sentence.
To witness the public demonstrations, as manifested in favor of the Irish struggle, in which Mayors of cities, Judges of Courts, sons of Ex-Presidents and Ex-Governors participated, and the universal interest felt in the result, is well tended to deceive, and betray into the idea those not otherwise advised, that this nation is a nation of justice. But how will America stand, when compared with other countries, dark as may be the gloom of their semi-barbarous laws? Condemned must she be in the moral vision of the whole enlightened world. Loud, long, and damning, must be the anathema uttered against her by those whom she treats and so regards in all her legal acknowledgments as aliens and enemies, ere their eyes be opened to a sense of their condition, and she still refuses to succor them.
But how many patriots have lived, toiled, suffered and died, having worn out a life of usefulness, unobtrusively laboring in the cause of suffering humanity, living to the community and the world a life of seclusion, passing to and fro unobserved, amidst the stir and busy scenes of a metropolis, and the throng and bustle of assembled thousands. This class of patriots may be found in every country, but to none are they more common than America, and in no country would they meet with less acceptance than in this Republic. Ever professing the most liberal principles, proclaiming liberty and equality to all mankind, their course of policy gives a glaring contradiction to their pretensions, and the lie to their professions.
Prone as they are to tyrannize and despotize over the liberties of the few, the philanthropist who espouses the cause of the oppressed, is destined to a life of obscurity; instead of commendation and renown, contempt and neglect are the certain and most bitter fruits of his reward. Marked and pointed out by the finger of scorn, he at once becomes the mock of the scoffer, and hiss of the reviler; and affliction heaped upon affliction presses upon him like a mountain weight, until at last he sinks under the mighty pressure, unable longer to bear it up. Yet, galling as this may be, it is a boon for which the downtrodden, oppressed American might anxiously long, compared with his own present miserable, unhappy condition.
Among them have existed, and there do exist, those who are justly entitled to all the claims of true patriotism; but proscription, as infamous as it is wicked, has stamped the seal of degradation upon their brow; and instead of patriots, they become the felon and outlaw. Anticipated and preconcerted by an inquisition of prejudice and slaveholding influence, the colored man of this confederacy, especially the bondman, is doomed to ignominy, whatever may be his merits.
Though he has complied with the first demand of a freeman – borne arms in defence of his country – no sooner is victory won, than he is unarmed, not only of his implements, but also of his equality with those among whom he bravely fought side by side for liberty and equality. Mathematician and philosopher he may be, not only furnishing to the country the only correct calendar of time and chronological cycles, but further contribute to its interest, by assisting in the plot and survey of the District of Columbia, without the aid of whose talents it could not at that time have been accomplished with mathematical accuracy; yet no sooner is this effected, than he is forgotten to the nation. Though in a professedly Republican and free Christian country, the yoke is upon his neck, and fetters upon his limbs, and dare he make the attempt to release himself and brethren from a condition little less than death itself, the whole country is solemnly bound, in one confederated band, to riddle his breast with ten thousand balls. Is he a slave the most abject of South America or Cuba, who, rising in the majesty of his nature, with a bold and manly bearing, heads his enslaved brethren, leading them on to a holy contest for the liberty of their wives, mothers, sisters and children, he is, with one universal voice, denounced in this country, as a rebel, insurrectionist, cut-throat; and all the powers of despotism, America in the foremost rank, sallies forth in one united crusade against him.
Many are the untiring, uncompromising, stern and indefatigable enemies of oppression, and friends of God and humanity, now to be found among the nominally free colored people of this slavery-cursed land, at work laboring for the good of all men, though some have recently escaped from the American prison-house of bondage, bearing still fresh upon their quivering flesh the sting of the whip and marks of the lash, many of whom for talents and the qualified ability to write and speak, will favorably compare with the proudest despots and oppressors in the country.
Though they speak, act, petition, remonstrate, pray, and appeal, yet to all this the wickedness of the American people turns a deaf ear, and closed eye. Hence, the American colored patriot lives but to be despised, feared and hated, accordingly as his talents may place him in the community – moving amidst the masses, he passes unobserved, and at last goes down to the grave in obscurity, without a tear to condole his loss, or a breast to heave in sympathy. But the time shall yet come, when the name of the despised, neglected American patriot, in spite of American prejudice, shall rise superior to the spirit that would degrade it, and take its place on the records of merit and fame.

Introduction to the Martin R. Delany and the

Politics of Identity Project

Martin R. Delany was born on May 6, 1812 and we celebrate his 200th birthday with a series of twenty events in May 2012 as part of Moonstone’s continuing People’s Civil War Project. Who was Martin R. Delany? Why do we find him important when he is neglected by most history books? Delany was one of the first to challenge the paradigm of White Supremacy. Delany said, “Every people should be originators of their own destiny.” This is really important; he is considered the father of Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism because of his thinking and his writing. He not only challenged slavery, he challenged the thinking behind slavery, the thinking that justified slavery and allowed it to exist. Our program features two major historians; Dr. Molefi Kete Asante who founded the theory of Afrocentricity and created the first Ph.D Program in African American Studies at Temple University; and Erica Armstrong Dunbar who specializes in 19th century African American History. We also have joining us Robert S. Levine, the author of the only books currently in print on Martin R. Delany, Martin Delany, Frederick Douglas and the Politics of Representative Identity and The Martin R. Delany Reader, the only collection of Delany’s writings.
We now know that there is no biological basis for the concept of race. We are showing the film, The Myth of Race, which explores the origin of the theory of race, invented by an anthropologist in 17th century Britain. We are also showing the film Journey of Man which answers the question, “Where do we all come from?” Examining the hidden secrets of human evolution in our genetic code, Spencer Wells reveals how developments in the revolutionary science of population genetics have made it possible to create a family tree for the whole of humanity. Around 60,000 years ago, a man – genetically identical to us – lived in Africa. Every person alive today is descended from him. How did this real-life Adam wind up as the father of us all? What happened to the descendants of other men who lived at the same time? And why, if modern humans share a single prehistoric ancestor, do we come in so many sizes, shapes, and colors? We are overjoyed to be joined by Alondra Nelson who edited Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History and Amanda Owings, who works at University of Pennsylvania on Spencer Wells’ project.
Racism continues to exist. Martin Delany confronted it in the 19th Century; many continue to confront it today. Joining us from out of town are three of the most active anti-racist presenters in the country: Tim Wise, Bill Ayers and Frank Meeink; and from Philadelphia, the co-founder of People Organizing Working to Eradicate Racism, Ewuare Osayande. Discussing race as it affects us today are journalists Clarence Page and Linn Washington.
And because we love poetry and think that art can bring us together we have a Poetry of Identity night, featuring Sonia Sanchez, Lamont Steptoe, Hanoch Guy, Daniel Abda-Hayy Moore and members of the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement, who will explore themselves and us in verse. We will then invite the audience to share their own identities in poetry. Sonia Sanchez will also teach us about Martin R. Delany’s book, Blake or the Huts of America, thought to be the first novel by an African American male, published in America.
Join us for this series of programs honoring an incredible person and exploring this most important issue.

Biographies of Participants

Dr. Molefi Kete Asante Professor, Department of African American Studies at Temple University has published 70 books, among the most recent are Maulana Karenga: An Intellectual Portrait, An Afrocentric Manifesto, Encyclopedia of African Religion, co-edited with Ama Mazama, The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony, Cheikh Anta Diop: An Intellectual Portrait, Handbook of Black Studies, co-edited with Maulana Karenga, Encyclopedia of Black Studies, co-edited with Ama Mazama, Erasing Racism: The Survival of the American Nation, Ancient Egyptian Philosophers and 100 Greatest African Americans. He chaired the Communication Department at SUNY-Buffalo from l973-1980. He worked in Zimbabwe as a trainer of journalists from l980 to l982. In the Fall of l984 Dr. Asante became chair of the African American Studies Program at Temple University where he created the first Ph.D. Program in African American Studies in 1987. He has directed more than 140 Ph.D. dissertations. He has written more than 400 articles and essays for journals, books and magazines and is the founder of the theory of Afrocentricity.
William Ayers is a Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society.  Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is currently the vice-president of the curriculum studies division of the American Educational Research Association. His books include, with Ryan Alexander-Tanner To Teach: The Journey in Comics, with Bernardine Dohrn Race Course: Against White Supremacy, Teaching Toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom, Fugitive Days: A Memoir, The Good Preschool Teacher: Six Teachers Reflect on Their Lives, and To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, which was named Book of the Year in 1993 by Kappa Delta Pi, and won the Witten Award for Distinguished Work in Biography and Autobiography in 1995.
Erica Armstrong Dunbar specializes in 19th century African American and Women’s History. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 and her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2000. Her first book is entitled: A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City.
“With amazing new sources, Erica Armstrong Dunbar”s A Fragile Freedom recasts the history of black Philadelphians in a completely new and gendered light. In this compelling study of the early republic, Dunbar probes and illuminates the private and public lives of black women—their friendships as well as their social and political activism in community-institution building and in efforts of interracial cooperation….” — Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Harvard University.
Robert S. Levine is a Professor of English at the University of Maryland and director of the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies. He has been an influential force in American and African American literature for thirty years, and more recently has contributed important new work to the burgeoning field of hemispheric American literature. His publications include Dislocating Race and Nation,  Martitn Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity, and Conspiracy and Romance: Studies in Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Melville cover an array of themes critical to an understanding of 19th-century American literature. In addition, Levine’s numerous scholarly editions of Melville, Hawthorne, Martin Delany, William Wells Brown, and Harriet Beecher Stowe have helped restore lesser known works to wider audiences. Levine sits on the editorial boards of American Literary History, Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies and ESQ: A Journal of the American  Renaissance.

Every people should be originators of their own destiny.

- Martin R. Delany

Frank Meeink became a SkinHead at 13. By 18 he was roaming the country as a SkinHead leader and Neo-Nazi recruiter, with gangs that would beat people indiscriminately. In Illinois he had his own cable-access TV show, “The Reich”. He was finally arrested and convicted of kidnapping and beating a member of a rival SkinHead gang. While in prison he befriended men he used to think he hated, men of different races. After being released from prison, Meeink tried to rejoin his old SkinHead pals but couldn’t bring himself to hate those whom he now knew to be his friends. Now he is a noted speaker, author and founder of Harmony Through Hockey, Frank’s life stands for tolerance, diversity and mutual understanding in racial, political and all aspects of society. Frank is truly an inspiration in any time of strife and conflict.
Alondra Nelson teaches sociology and gender studies at Columbia University. An interdisciplinary social scientist, Alondra writes about the intersections of science, technology, medicine and inequality. These themes are taken up in her most recent book, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination. She is also an editor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History, Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life, and “Afrofuturism,” a special issue of the journal Social Text. Her publications also include essays and articles on race and digital culture; “scientism” in black power politics; the use of racial categories in medicine; and the social implications of direct-to-consumer genetic testing and genetic genealogy. An internationally recognized scholar, Nelson has been a visiting fellow at BIOS: Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society at the London School of Economics and at the Bayerische Amerika-Akademie in Munich. In 2011, she was a senior fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.
Ewuare X. Osayande is an African American poet, political activist, author and lecturer. He is the founder of Talking Drum Communications, co-founder and director of POWER (People Organized Working to Eradicate Racism), and creator of Project ONUS: Redefining Black Manhood. He has written 14 books and given more than 500 lectures in locations ranging from prisons to Harvard University. Ewuare X. Osayande was born in Camden, New Jersey. His career as an activist and organizer took off while he was still a student at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Following the 1991 shooting of Phillip Pannell Jr., a 14-year-old African American shot by a white policeman in Teaneck, New Jersey, Osayande organized protests and raised awareness about racially-motivated police brutality.
Clarence Page is a columnist and member of the editorial board at the Chicago Tribune and worked as director of community affairs and as an on-air reporter at Chicago CBS affiliate WBBM-TV. Twice a week, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Clarence Page addresses the social, economic and political issues affecting Americans. Writing with passion and style, Page delivers lively commentary on today’s pressing issues, such as crime, education, housing, hunger and bigotry. He is syndicated by Tribune Media Services in more than 200 papers nationwide. Page is the author of the book “Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race and Identity”. He is a regular essayist for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS and has served as a panelist/commentator for a variety of news programs, including “The McLaughlin Group,” “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, Black Entertainment Television’s “Lead Story” news panel program, ABC’s “This Week” roundtable news program and National Public Radio’s “Weekend Sunday.” He is the winner of the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and was also part of the Chicago Tribune task force investigation on voter fraud that won a Pulitzer in 1973.
Sonia Sanchez along with Madhubuti, Nikki Giovanni, and Etheridge Knight, formed the “Broadside Quartet” of young poets, introduced and promoted by Dudley Randall. Sanchez is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, including Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems; Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums: Love Poems; Does your house have lions?; Wounded in the House of a Friend ; Under a Soprano Sky; Homegirls & Handgrenades; I’ve Been a Woman: New and Selected Poems; A Blues Book for Blue Black Magical Women; Love Poem; Liberation Poem; We a BaddDDD People; and Homecoming. Among the many honors she has received are the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the Lucretia Mott Award, the Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Peace and Freedom Award from Women International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Humanities, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.
Linn Washington Jr. is a journalist and journalism professor. He writes a weekly column for the Philadelphia Tribune focused primarily on social justice issues. Washington is a co-founder of the online newspaper This Can’t Be Happening – where he writes regularly on topics involving the news media, the criminal justice system and racism. Washington has won many awards for investigative reporting and editorial writing during his journalism career spanning three-plus decades. As an Associate Professor of Journalism at Temple University, Washington co-directs the award-winning Philadelphia Neighborhoods.com, a hyper-local news website featuring multimedia content from urban communities. Washington is a graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Fellowship Program. He holds a BS in Communications from Temple University and a Masters in the Study of Law from the Yale Law School.
Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States, and has been called, “One of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation,” by best-selling author and professor Michael Eric Dyson. Wise has spoken in 49 states, on over 600 college campuses, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally in Canada and Bermuda on issues of comparative racism, race and education, racism and religion, and racism in the labor market. Wise is the author of five books, including White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son; Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White; Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male; Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama, and Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity. He has contributed essays to twenty-five books, and is one of several persons featured in White Men Challenging Racism: Thirty-Five Personal Stories. He received the 2001 British Diversity Award for best feature essay on race issues, and his writings have appeared in dozens of popular, professional and scholarly journals.

We must make an issue, create an event, and establish a national position for ourselves: and never may expect to be respected as men and women, until we have undertaken some fearless, bold, and adventurous deeds of daring…

- Martin R. Delany

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Race in America

A Discussion with Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Clarence Page & Linn Washington

1. -  10am – Auditorium of the School District of Philadelphia, 400 North Broad Street
Co-sponsored by the School District of Philadelphia’s Teaching American History Grant Program, Melvin Garrison,
Director, 215-400-5694 (The 10am program does not include Erica Armstrong Dunbar)
2. -  7pm – District 1199C Union Headquarters, 1319 Locust Street, 215-753-1300
Co-sponsored by 1199C Hospital Workers Union and The Library Company of Philadelphia
Martin R. Delany was one of the first to challenge the paradigm of White Supremacy. Delany said, “Every people should be originators of their own destiny.” He not only challenged slavery, he challenged the very thinking that allowed slavery to exist. We now know that there is no biological basis for the concept of race, but racism continues to exist. With an African American President in the White House, do we live in a post-racial society? What does both the overt and nuance racism expressed in our current political discourse mean? How does the economy play into racism? What are the similarities/differences in the struggle against white supremacy over the last 150 years? Please join us as we discuss these issues.
Erica Armstrong Dunbar specializes in 19th century African American and Women’s History. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 and her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2000. Her first book is entitled: A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City. She is currently working on two book length projects: They Were Dressed in All Buttons”: African American Women In the Era of Revolution and Freedom, and a second project on African Americans and mental illness in the 19th century.
Clarence Page is an American journalist, syndicated columnist, and senior member of The Chicago Tribune editorial board. Page is an occasional panelist on The McLaughlin Group, a regular contributor of essays to NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, host of several documentaries on the Public Broadcasting Service, and an occasional commentator on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday. Page often appears as a political analyst on the Chris Matthews Show and has appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. Page has received honoris causa doctorates from Columbia College Chicago, Lake Forest College, and Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, the 1987 American Civil Liberties Union James P. McGuire Award for columns on constitutional rights; the 1980 Illinois UPI Award for community service for The Black Tax; the 1976 Edward Scott Beck Award for overseas reporting on the changing politics of Southern Africa; and 1972 Pulitzer Prize for a Chicago Tribune Task Force series on voter fraud.
Linn Washington Jr. is an award-winning journalist who writes a weekly column for The Philadelphia Tribune. A graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Fellowship, Washington writes regularly on issues involving law, the criminal justice system, news media and inequities involving race and/or class. Professor Washington is the Director of the News-Editorial sequence and Co- Director of the Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab. He teaches courses in news reporting, investigative reporting, and journalism law. He has many years’ experience as an investigative reporter. He is the author of the book Black Judges on Justice: Perspectives from the Bench.

 

Sunday May 6, 2012

A Special Program for Martin R. Delany’s 200th Birthday

11am: Sermon, Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, 419 S. 6th Street, 215-925-0616
12 noon: Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America, A talk by Daniel R. Biddle and Murray Dubin – Catto, a civil rights activist who was murdered in Philadelphia in 1871, was a contemporary of Delany and some of Delany’s story is included in Tasting Freedom.
“Daniel Biddle and Murray Dubin have brought to life a leader of the Civil War-era struggle against slavery and for equal rights for blacks. This dramatic book not only rescues the intrepid Octavius Catto from obscurity but reminds us that this struggle—and the violent opposition to it—long predated the modern civil rights era.” – Eric Foner DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University

Sunday May 6, 2012

The Martin R. Delany 200th Birthday Celebration

11am – First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street
A program on confronting Racism in honor of Martin R. Delany’s 200th birthday. The First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia was a center for anti-slavery activity in the nineteenth century and has been active in social causes throughout its history. Before and during the civil war it was an epicenter for organizing abolitionists and in the civil rights era members put the building itself down as bond collateral to help activist continue to fight for racial segregation. Today, the church is the host of the organizing of the Black Radical Congress and WIARS, the Whites in Anti-Racist Solidarity. Among the featured speakers for the morning will be Tim Wise, called, “One of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation,” by best-selling author and professor Michael Eric Dyson, of Georgetown University. Wise, who was recently named one of “25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World,” by Utne Reader, has spoken in 49 states, on over 600 college campuses, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally in Canada and Bermuda on issues of comparative racism, race and education, racism and religion, and racism in the labor market.

Sunday May 6, 7pm – Tickets $10

An Evening with Tim Wise

Co-sponsored 1199C Hospital Workers Union
1199C Hospital Workers Union Headquarters, 1319 Locust Street,215-753-1300
Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States, and has been called, “One of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation,” by best-selling author and professor Michael Eric Dyson, of Georgetown University. Wise, who was recently named one of “25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World,” by Utne Reader, has spoken in 49 states, on over 600 college campuses, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally in Canada and Bermuda on issues of comparative racism, race and education, racism and religion, and racism in the labor market.
Wise is the author of six books, including Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority; White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son; Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White; Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male; Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama, and Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity. He has contributed essays to twenty-five books, and is one of several persons featured in White Men Challenging Racism: Thirty-Five Personal Stories, from Duke University Press. He received the 2001 British Diversity Award for best feature essay on race issues, and his writings have appeared in dozens of popular, professional and scholarly journals.
Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and has conducted trainings with physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. He has also trained corporate, government, entertainment, military and law enforcement officials on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions, and has served as a consultant for plaintiff’s attorneys in federal discrimination cases in New York and Washington State. Wise trained journalists to eliminate racial bias in reporting, as a visiting faculty-in-residence at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. Wise was an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute, in Nashville, and in the early ’90s he was Youth Coordinator and Associate Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism: the largest of the many groups organized for the purpose of defeating neo-Nazi political candidate, David Duke. He graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, in New Orleans. Wise has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs, is a regular contributor to discussions about race on CNN, and was featured in a segment on ABC’s 20/20, in 2007.

The Myth of Race Programs

1. – Monday May 7, 6pm
David Cohen Ogontz Branch Library, 6017 Ogontz Avenue, 215-685-3566
Co-sponsored by the David Cohen Ogontz Branch Library
2. – Tuesday May 8, 6pm
Joseph E. Coleman NW Regional Library, 68 W. Chelten Ave, (215) 685-2150
Co-sponsored by the Joseph E. Coleman NW Regional Library
3. – Thursday May 10, 5:30pm
1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, Breslin Learning Center, 100 S. Broad St., Land Title Building 10th Floor
Co-sponsored by  1199C Training and Upgrading Fund

The Film: The Myth of Race – A Mennonite Central Committee Production

Myth of Race, a 19 minute video, traces the history of the social construct of race from its beginnings in European politics and anthropology to its continuing destructive effects today. It explores and debunks the idea of race as a biological reality while still recognizing race as a social reality.
The Speaker: Ewuare X. Osayande is an African American poet, political activist, author and lecturer. He is the founder of Talking Drum Communications, co-founder and director of POWER (People Organized Working to Eradicate Racism), and creator of Project ONUS: Redefining Black Manhood. He has written 14 books and given more than 500 lectures in locations ranging from prisons to Harvard University. Ewuare X. Osayande was born in Camden, New Jersey. His career as an activist and organizer took off while he was still a student at Fairleigh Dickinson University, when, following the 1991 shooting of Phillip Pannell Jr., a 14-year-old African American shot by a white policeman in Teaneck, New Jersey, Osayande organized protests and raised awareness about racially-motivated police brutality.
POWER (People Organized Working to Eradicate Racism) is a liberatory learning initiative co-founded in 2002 by Ewuare Osayande, Director of Facilitation, and Jacqui Simmons, Community Advisor, to educate and empower persons and organizations in the struggle to eradicate racism. During POWER’s intensive workshops, participants confront the reality of racism as a system of oppression. POWER offers their methods of resistance as models for learning and shows how we, too, can resist racism today. POWER moves beyond tolerance teachings and sensitivity trainings that simply advocate for an attitude adjustment,  our process is rooted in the tried and tested experience of actual organized struggle. POWER has facilitated workshops for many schools and organizations including: Lehigh University, Bard College, Central Michigan University, Swarthmore College, Emory University, The Friends Society, The Green Party, Wesleyan University, Rutgers University.  For more information on Ewuare Osayande, Director of Facilitation, visit: www.osayande.org
“Osayande’s passion, compassion and hope drew our students to him. Because he provided scholarly sources for the information shared in his workshops, the reality of race as a social construct for the benefit of its constructors and toward the detriment of others was indisputable. This left our students with the challenge of better appreciating their collective humanity. He has planted the seeds of POWER at Bard College. The roots of self-determination and accountability took hold. Our students continue to tend the garden in anticipation of social justice in full bloom!” – Dr. Geneva A. Foster, Director of Multicultural Affairs - Bard College (2006)
Ewuare will not be conducting a full POWER workshop. His work with POWER does inform his talk and the discussion he will lead after the film screening.

Monday May 7, 2012 – 7pm

Who Am I? Who Are You? – The Poetry of Identity

Moonstone Arts Center
110A S. 13th Street, 215-735-9600
How do we identify ourselves? Others?  By our ethnicity? Our gender? Our age? What makes us who we are?  This is one of the perennial topics of poetry.
Tonight we feature Sonia Sanchez, Lamont Steptoe, Hanoch Guy, and Daniel Abdah-Hayy Moore and then open the floor to the audience.

William Ayers Programs

1. – Wednesday May 9, 12:30 -
Room 120, Graduate School of Education, 3700 Walnut Street
Brown Bag Lunch with William Ayers
Co-sponsored by Penn GSE Division of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership & the Teacher Education Program Present
2. – Wednesday May 9, 4pm
An Afternoon with William Ayers
Houston Hall, Hall of Flags, 3417 Spruce Street
Co-sponsored by Philadelphia Writing Project
William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament.  Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is currently the vice-president of the curriculum studies division of the American Educational Research Association. Books will be available.
To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher 3rd Edition – To Teach: The Journey, in Comics
For almost two decades, To Teach has inspired teachers across the country to follow their own path and become the teachers they long to be. This new Third Edition is essential reading amidst today’s public policy debates and school reform initiatives that stress the importance of ”good teaching.” To Teach: The Journey, in Comics is the companion volume to the new third edition. It brings this popular story to a new generation of teachers in graphic novel form.
“It takes daring to reconceptualize entrenched practices and traditional modes of research. To Teach represents a fresh breeze in the educational and social science research community.” – Elliot Eisner, Professor Emeritus of Art, Stanford University

Wednesday May 9, 2012 – 2:30pm

Martin R. Delany & the Birth of Black Nationalism

Samuel L. Paley Library Lecture Hall, 1210 Polett Walk, 215-204-6632
Co-sponsored by Temple University Libraries
Dr. Molefi Kete Asante is Professor, Department of African American Studies at Temple University. Asante has published 70 books, among the most recent are Maulana Karenga: An Intellectual Portrait, An Afrocentric Manifesto, Encyclopedia of African Religion, co-edited with Ama Mazama, The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony, Cheikh Anta Diop: An Intellectual Portrait, Handbook of Black Studies, co-edited with Maulana Karenga, Encyclopedia of Black Studies, co-edited with Ama Mazama, Erasing Racism: The Survival of the American Nation, and 100 Greatest African Americans. His high school text, African American History: Journey of Liberation, is used in more than 400 schools throughout North America. In l984 Dr. Asante became chair of the African American Studies Program at Temple University where he created the first Ph.D. Program in African American Studies in 1987. He has written more than 400 articles and essays for journals, books and magazines and is the founder of the theory of Afrocentricity.
In his book 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia, Asante says of Delany: “Delany was one of the strongest supporters of African Americans being self-determining and self-defining. He was not a separatist, as some have claimed, but a realist. He came to believe, on the basis of his experience, that Africans would not receive equal treatment with whites in the American society and therefore Africans had to look out for themselves, even if that meant leaving America.

Wednesday May 9, 2012 – 6pm

Martin R. Delany & the Politics of Identity: A Panel Discussion

Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street, 215-735-6200
Co-sponsored by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Molefi Kete Asante, author of 100 Greatest African Americans  is Professor, Department of African American Studies at Temple University. Asante has published 70 books, among the most recent are The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony, Handbook of Black Studies, co-edited with Maulana Karenga, Encyclopedia of Black Studies, co-edited with Ama Mazama, Erasing Racism: The Survival of the American Nation, and 100 Greatest African Americans. His high school text, African American History: Journey of Liberation, is used in more than 400 schools throughout North America. In l984 Dr. Asante became chair of the African American Studies Program at Temple University where he created the first Ph.D. Program in African American Studies in 1987. He has written more than 400 articles and essays for journals, books and magazines and is the founder of the theory of Afrocentricity.
William Ayers, co-author of Race Course: Against White Supremacy, is the author of To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher and Fugitive Days, a memoir about his life with his wife, Bernardine Dohrn. In Race Course, white supremacy and its troubling endurance in American life is debated in these personal essays by two veteran political activists. Arguing that white supremacy has been the dominant political system in the United States since its earliest days and that it is still very much with us the discussion points to unexamined bigotry in the criminal justice system, election processes, war policy, and education. The book draws upon the authors’ own confrontations with authorities during the Vietnam era, reasserts their belief that racism and war are interwoven issues, and offers personal stories about their lives today as parents, teachers.
Alondra Nelson, editor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History, teaches sociology and gender studies at Columbia University. An interdisciplinary social scientist, Alondra writes about the intersections of science, technology, medicine and inequality. She is author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination and the forthcoming Reconciliation Projects: Race, Politics and the Social Life of DNA. Alondra’s writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Scientific American, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. An internationally recognized scholar, Nelson has been a visiting fellow at BIOS: Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society at the London School of Economics and at the Bayerische Amerika-Akademie in Munich.

Confronting Racism with Frank Meeink

1. - Thursday May 10, 1pm
Furness High School
1900 South 3rd Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19148
215-952-6226
2. – Friday May 11, 1pm
Bok High School
1901 S. 9th street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19148
215-952-6200
Frank Meeink author of Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead grew up in South Philadelphia, hung out at 2nd and Porter, went to Furness High School and then was sent to Slayton Farms Reform School.
Frank became a Skinhead at 13. By 18, he was roaming the country as a Skinhead leader and Neo-Nazi recruiter, with gangs that would beat people indiscriminately. In Illinois he had his own cable-access TV show, “The Reich”. He was finally arrested and convicted of kidnapping and beating a member of a rival Skinhead gang. While in prison he befriended men he used to think he hated, men of different races. After being released from prison, Meeink tried to rejoin his old Skinhead pals but couldn’t bring himself to hate those whom he now knew to be his friends. Now a noted speaker, author and founder of Harmony Through Hockey, Frank’s life stands for tolerance, diversity and mutual understanding in racial, political and all aspects of society. Frank is truly an inspiration in any time of strife and conflict.
Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead is Frank Meeink’s raw telling of his descent into America’s Nazi underground and his ultimate triumph over drugs and hatred. Frank’s violent childhood in South Philadelphia primed him to hate, while addiction made him easy prey for a small group of skinhead gang recruiters. By 16, he had become one of the most notorious skinhead gang leaders on the East Coast and by 18, he was doing hard time. Teamed up with African-American players in a prison football league, Frank learned to question his hatred, and after being paroled he defected from the white supremacy movement and began speaking on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League. A story of fighting the demons of hatred and addiction, Frank’s downfall and ultimate redemption has the power to open hearts and change lives.

Thursday May 10, 2012 – 7pm

Journey of Man

First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street, 215-701-9072
Co-sponsored by the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
Around 60,000 years ago, a man–identical to us in all important respects–lived in Africa. Every person alive today is descended from him. How did this real-life Adam wind up father of us all? What happened to the descendants of other men who lived at the same time? And why, if modern humans share a single prehistoric ancestor, do we come in so many sizes, shapes, and races?
Showing how the secrets about our ancestors are hidden in our genetic code, Spencer Wells reveals how developments in the cutting-edge science of population genetics have made it possible to create a family tree for the whole of humanity. We now know not only where our ancestors lived but who they fought, loved, and influenced. Informed by this new science, The Journey of Man is replete with astonishing information. Wells tells us that we can trace our origins back to a single Adam and Eve, but that Eve came first by some 80,000 years. We hear how the male Y-chromosome has been used to trace the spread of humanity from Africa into Eurasia, why differing racial types emerged when mountain ranges split population groups, and that the San Bushmen of the Kalahari have some of the oldest genetic markers in the world. We learn, finally with absolute certainty, that Neanderthals are not our ancestors and that the entire genetic diversity of Native Americans can be accounted for by just ten individuals. It is an enthralling, epic tour through the history and development of early humankind–as well as an accessible look at the analysis of human genetics that is giving us definitive answers to questions we have asked for centuries, questions now more compelling than ever.
“The Journey of Man is the best account available of the story of human origins and dispersals. . . . This is a first-class account of a whole new approach to the human story that allows human population history to be reconstructed in an unexpected and convincing way.”–Colin Renfrew, The Times Higher Education Supplement

Thursday May 10, 2012 – 7pm

Martin R. Delany, Author

Moonstone Arts Center
110A S. 13th Street
215-735-9600

Discussion on Martin R. Delany’s books led by Sonia Sanchez

Blake or the Huts of America (a novel)

“Blake is clearly the most important black novel of its period and, for the social historian, one of the most revealing novels ever written by an Afro-American. Delany focused sharply on the political and social issues of the 1850’s: slavery as an institution; Cuba as the prime interest of Southern expansionists; the practicality of militant slave revolution; and , most important, the psychological liberation possible through collective action. Although Delany never claimed Blake to be an answer to Mrs. Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, he was clearly creating the antithesis to her hero. Delany’s hero, Blake, is a pure black West Indian slave who advocates revolution in the United States and later becomes the general of a black insurrectionary force in Cuba with plans to overthrow the government. Unfortunately, we do not know how Delany concluded his novel; the last four chapters have not yet been found. Most of Part One (chapters 1-23 and 29-31) originally appeared serially in The Anglo-African Magazine, January to July, 1859. The rest of Part One was first published when Delany reprinted the story in The Weekly Anglo-African, November, 1861, to May, 1862. It was not published in book form until 1970, when Floyd J. Miller prepared an edition of Part One and the first 40 chapters of Part Two.
The Condition, Elevation, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States (1852) presents Delany’s separatist views. To many scholars of African American political thought, this book marks the origin of black nationalism in print. However, its scope is much broader than this single focus might suggest. The Origin of Races and Color (1879) presented a bold challenge to racist views of African inferiority. Skillfully blending biblical history, archaeology and anthropology, Delany offered evidence to the “serious inquirer” suggesting the first humans were African, and that these Africans were “. . . builders of the pyramids, sculptors of the sphinxes, and original god-kings. . . .” With such radical assertions, Delany advanced a model of ancient history that contradicted the very foundation of intellectual racism. He believed knowledge of one’s past was essential, and that it could provide Black people with the regenerative force necessary to inspire their self-improvement.

Saturday May 12, 10am

Martin R. Delany

Co-sponsored by the School District of Philadelphia’s
Teaching American History Grant Program & the African American Museum in Philadelphia
African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street, 215-574-0380
A teacher workshop, carrying Act 48 credits

Presentation by Robert S. Levine

There are only two books in print on Martin R. Delany: Martin R. Delany, Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Representative Identity and The Martin R. Delany Reader, and they are both by Robert S. Levine.
The Martin R. Delany Reader offers readers a chance to discover, or rediscover, Delany in all his complexity. Through nearly 100 documents–approximately two-thirds of which have not been reprinted since their initial nineteenth-century publications–it traces the full sweep of his fascinating career. Included are selections from Delany’s early journalism, his emigrationist writings of the 1850s, his 1859-62 novel, Blake (one of the first African American novels published in the United States), and his later writings on Reconstruction. Incisive and shrewd, angry and witty, Delany’s words influenced key nineteenth-century debates on race and nation, addressing issues that remain pressing in our own time.
“Levine’s Martin R. Delany will stand as the definitive collection for some time to come. It provides a plethora of previously unavailable material about the life of this controversial leader. . . . Delany, as Levine’s work shows us, was a complex figure whose life embraced the full gamut of nineteenth-century American thought.” –Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Martin R. Delany, Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Representative Identity- The differences between Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany have historically been reduced to a simple binary pronouncement: assimilationist versus separatist. Now Robert S. Levine restores the relationship of these two important nineteenth-century African American writers to its original complexity. He explores their debates over issues like abolitionism, emigration, and nationalism, illuminating each man’s influence on the other’s political vision. Though each saw himself as the single best representative of his race, Douglass has been accorded that role by history–while Delany, according to Levine, has suffered a fate typical of the black separatist: marginalization. In restoring Delany to his place in literary and cultural history, Levine makes possible a fuller understanding of the politics of antebellum African American leadership.
Robert S. Levine is of Professor of English at the University of Maryland and director of the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies. He has been an influential force in American and African American literature for thirty years authoring Dislocating Race and Nation, Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity and Conspiracy and Romance: Studies in Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Melville.

Saturday May 12, 7pm

Challenging Racism for 150 years

A program on Martin R. Delany’s life and thought, which is the story of challenging racism in the nineteenth century, presented by Robert S. Levine, counterpointed by Frank Meeink’s story of embracing and then rejecting racism in the twentieth century.
Moonstone Arts Center, 110A S. 13th Street, 215-735-9600
There are only two books in print on Martin R. Delany: Martin R. Delany, Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Representative Identity and The Martin R. Delany Reader, and they are both by Robert S. Levine. Levine will discuss Delany’s life and work and his own journey of discovery as he explored Delany.
Bob Levine has been an influential force in American and African American literature for thirty years, and more recently has contributed important new work to the burgeoning field of hemispheric American literature. His prominent publications, such as 2008′s Dislocating Race and Nation, 1997′s Martitn Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity, and 1989′s Conspiracy and Romance: Studies in Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Melville, cover an array of themes critical to an understanding of 19th-century American literature. In addition, Levine’s numerous scholarly editions of Melville, Hawthorne, Martin Delany, William Wells Brown, and Harriet Beecher Stowe have helped restore lesser known works to wider audiences. Levine is a highly visible figure in literary circles, sitting on the editorial boards of American Literary History, Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, serving as editor for the Norton Anthology of American Literature, and as editor of numerous volumes of collected criticism. Besides organizing the annual
Frank became a Skinhead at 13. By 18 he was roaming the country as a Skinhead leader and Neo-Nazi recruiter. In Illinois he had his own cable-access TV show, “The Reich”. He was finally arrested and convicted of kidnapping and beating a member of a rival SkinHead gang. While in prison he befriended men he used to think he hated, men of different races. After being released from prison, Meeink tried to rejoin his old SkinHead pals but couldn’t bring himself to hate those whom he now knew to be his friends. Now a noted speaker, author and founder of Harmony Through Hockey, Frank’s life stands for tolerance, diversity and mutual understanding in racial, political and all aspects of society. A story of fighting the demons of hatred and addiction, Frank’s downfall and ultimate redemption has the power to open hearts and change lives.

Wednesday May 30, 6pm

The Bayard Rustin Centennial Celebration

Featuring Michael G. Long editor of I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters and a screening of the new film Brother Outsider
William Way Community Center
1315 Spruce Street
“Rustin was a life-long agitator for justice. He changed America – and the world – for the better. This collection of his letters makes his life and his passions come vividly alive, and helps restore him to history, a century afer his birth. I Must Resist makes for inspiring reading.” – John D’Emillio, author of Lost Prophet
A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement, and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence. Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era.
Martin R. Delany and the Politics of Identity
Martin R. Delany and the Politics of Identity will use the two hundredth birthday of Martin R. Delany as a lens through which to explore both historical and current politics of identity. The project investigates three areas of study: history, science and sociology. History: we are examining the life and activities of Martin R. Delany, an important mid-nineteenth century figure who is considered the father of Black Nationalism but is not well known. Science: we are investigating the Human Genome Project and recent DNA research to explore the biological basis of race. Sociology: we are exploring contemporary issues around identity, the social construct of race and the problem of racism. Most programs in the project will have three speakers, a historian, a scientist and an anti-racism activist.
Moonstone has developed an educational model that deliberately places programs in a variety of venues, using various types of events, co-sponsored by numerous organizations, to bring a divergent community together to explore a topic. We use a twelve page newspaper supplement, distributed by the sponsors, venues, and through the public library and school systems, and other public locations to promote all of the events. This has proven successful in increasing both the demographics and the size of the audiences at all of the venues. By combining respected scholars and community activists, our programs attract an audience that is made up of both academics and members of the general public who do not regularly attend humanities programs.
Martin R. Delany and the Politics of Identity starts out by exploring the United States in the mid-nineteenth century – a time heavily influenced by states that promoted slavery and white supremacy – and Martin R. Delany’s response, which was the creation of the philosophy of Black Nationalism. Two hundred years after his birth we know that there is no biological basis for race and that 99% of every human being’s DNA is the same, which brings into question the underpinnings of both white supremacy and Black Nationalism.  When we arrive at this, we may put forth the questions: “who am I?” and “what do we do about racism?”
Martin R. Delany lived an extraordinarily life as a social activist and reformer, black nationalist, abolitionist, physician, reporter and editor, explorer, jurist, realtor, politician, publisher, educator, army officer, ethnographer, novelist, and political and legal theorist. Born on May 6, 1812, free, in the slave state of Virginia, his response to white supremacy was to create an Africanist vision of Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism. A pivotal person of the mid-nineteenth century, he is not well known today. He published Mystery, one of the first African-American newspapers, in Pittsburgh (1843), and co-edited North Star with Frederick Douglass (1847).
He attended Harvard Medical School in 1850, but was expelled by Oliver Wendell Holmes, then president of Harvard, in response to white student’s refusal to attend class with a “colored.” Delany organized a number of “emigration” conventions to organize a “back to Africa” movement in the United States and Canada (1850’s) and then led an expedition to the Niger Valley where he negotiated a treaty with the kings of the Yoruba for African-Americans to emigrate (1859). His novel, Blake or the Huts of America, (1859) is one of the first presentations of an African American hero in literature and perhaps the first novel by an African American male.  Delany became a recruiter for the Union Army (1863) and after meeting with President Lincoln was appointed the first African American officer (Major) in the Union Army (1865). He worked with the Freedmen’s Bureau in South Carolina during Reconstruction and then stayed in Charleston, South Carolina until 1884. During this period he became involved in Charleston real estate and politics, becoming a judge (1875). Martin R. Delany died in Wilberforce, Ohio on January 24, 1885.
Confirmed Schedule
  • Thursday May 3, 2012 – 10am –
    Race in America: A Discussion with Clarence Page
    School District of Philadelphia Auditorium
    400 N. Broad Street – Pending
  • Thursday May 3, 2012 – 3pm -
    Race in America: A Discussion with Clarence Page 

    National Constitution Center – Pending
  • Sunday May 6, 2012 – 11am -
    200th Birthday of Martin R. Delany Celebration
     

    First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
    2125 Chestnut Street, 215-701-9072
    A program of speakers, poetry, and music featuring Tim Wise
  • Sunday May 6, 2012 – 11am -
    200th Birthday of Martin R. Delany Celebration
     

    Mother Bethel AME Church
    419 S. 6th Street, 215-925-0616
    The Myth of Race program follows Reverend Tyler’s sermon
  • Sunday May 6, 2012 – 7pm –
    An Evening with Tim Wise
     

    Moonstone Arts Center
    110A S. 13th Street, 215-735-9600
    An Evening with Tim Wise author of Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority and White Like Me
  • Monday May 7, 6pm –
    The Myth of Race
     

    The Ogontz Branch Library
    6017 Ogontz Avenue
    Screening of the 19 minute film, The Myth of Race, followed by a discussion on Martin Delany and the struggle
    against racism
  • Monday May 7, 2012 – 7pm -
    Poetry of Identity
  • Moonstone Arts Center
    110A S. 13th Street, 215-735-9600
    Poetry reading Sonia Sanchez and others followed by an open reading
  • Tuesday May 8, 6pm –
    The Myth of Race
     

    Joseph E. Coleman NW Regional Library
    68 W. Chelten Avenue
    Screening of the 19 minute film, The Myth of Race, followed by a discussion on Martin Delany and the struggle against racism
  • Wednesday May 9, 2012- 2:30pm –
    Martin R. Delany and the Birth of Black Nationalism
  • Blockson Collection-Temple University
    1330 W. Berks Street, 215-204-6632
    A lecture by Molefi Kete Asante
  • Wednesday May 9, 2012 – 2pm –
    An afternoon with Bill Ayers
     

    Moonstone Arts Center
    110A S. 13th Street, 215-735-9600
    A discussion with Bill Ayers author of Race Course and To Teach
  • Wednesday May 9, 2012 – 6pm –
    Martin R. Delany & The Politics of Identity
     

    Historical Society of Pennsylvania
    1300 Locust Street, 215-735-6200
    Panel with Molefi Kete Asante, historian, author of 100 Greatest African Americans; Alondra Nelson, sociologist,  editor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DMA, Race, and History; William Ayers, educator, author of Race Course
  • Thursday May 10, 2012 – 1pm –
    Confronting Racism
     

    Furness High School
    1900 South 3rd Street, (215) 952-6226
    Frank Meeink author of Autobiography of a Recovering SkinHead talks to students about overcoming racism. Frank grew up in South Philadelphia, hung out at 2nd and Porter, went to Furness High School and then was sent to Slayton Farms Reform School. He became a SkinHead at 13. by 18 he was roaming the country as a SkinHead leader and Neo-Nazi recruiter.
  • Thursday May 10, 2012 – 7pm –
    Journey of Mankind
  • First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
    2125 Chestnut Street, 215-701-9072
    Screen of the film Journey of Mankind with discussion on DNA
  • Thursday May 10, 2012 – 7pm –
    Martin R. Delany, Author
  • Moonstone Arts Center
    110A S. 13th Street, 215-735-9600
    Discussion on Martin R. Delany’s books led by Sonia Sanchez
    Blake or the Huts of America (a novel), The Condition Elevation, Emigration and
    Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, and The Origin of Races and
    Color
  • Saturday May 12, 10am
    Martin R. Delany, Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Representative Identity
     

    African American Museum in Philadelphia
    701 Arch Street, 215-574-0380
    A teacher workshop, carrying Act 48 credits, co-sponsored by the Social Studies Department of the School District
    of Philadelphia – Presentation by Robert Levine, author of Martin R. Delany, Frederick Douglass and the
    Politics of Representative Identity
    and Frank Meeink author of Autobiography of a Recovering SkinHead
  • Saturday May 12, 2012 – 7pm –
    Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass & the Politics of Representative Identity
     

    Moonstone Arts Center
    110A S. 13th Street, 215-735-9600
    A presentation by Robert Levine author Martin R. Delany, Frederick Douglass and the
    Politics of Representative Identity
    and Frank Meeink author of Autobiography of a Recovering SkinHead

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