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Ida B. Wells Lecture Series

'Stop Telling Stories': A Year of Speaking

Stop Telling Stories: A Year of Speaking: 'The Story of Us: Race, Labor, and Sexuality in Atlanta, Georgia 1881'

When: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 6 p.m.
Where: Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D.
Academic Center, Room LL32
GPS Address: 440 Westview Drive, Atlanta, GA
Free and Open to the Public

In keeping with the theme of this year's Ida B. Wells-Barnett Distinguished Lecture and Performance Series,  Professor Beverly-Guy-Sheftall will expand the terrain of Spelman College's founding story.

Drawing on her own research as well as other scholarship about women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Guy-Sheftall will situate the "founding" of Spelman inside the larger contexts of the removal of indigenous nations of the U.S. Southeast, the 19th century lives of independence that white women missionaries carved out for themselves, and the1881 labor action of Black washerwomen in Atlanta - all silent backdrops of the College's beginnings.

Professor Guy-Sheftall will also discuss Spelman College in the context of complex ideologies that shaped dominant 19th and early 20th century discourses about race, gender, class and sexuality.
Not satisfied to expand the historical narrative, Beverly Guy-Sheftall will also connect the missing dots in the College's  founding story to contemporary issues Spelman grapples with as it reimagines itself for the 21st century. 

The Story of Us:  Race, Labor and Sexuality in 1881 Atlanta will be one of the First Year Colloquia (FYC) seminars during the 2015-2016 academic year.  The colloquium will be taught by Mona Taylor Phillips,  Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Collaborative and Series.

How This Speaker Series Came to Be

The cautioning language of silence is familiar to all of us: "Stop Telling Stories" we have been told when our stories have been suspiciously true.

"Don't talk back," we have been told.

Respect the comforting authority of gender, race, position and tradition and ideas that...

Stand Still.
Be Quiet.

The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Collaborative, Social Justice Program, Women's Research and Resource Center, Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Program, Museum of Fine Art and the STEM Women of Color Legacy Project will be sponsoring events throughout the 2014-2015 academic year about telling stories, as well as the art and methodology of storytelling itself.

While each event stands on its own, they are all connected by the shared theme of the urgent beauty, precision and necessity of stories.

The 2014-2015 theme was crafted by a multidisciplinary group of faculty, the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and Holly Smith, the Spelman College activist.

Past Events

Ida B. Wells Speaker Series at Spelman College The Sexual Economy of Slavery: Stories Told, Retold and Untold

Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.
Media Release

Speakers T. Lang and Adrienne Davis will engage in a cross-disciplinary discussion about Black women’s bodies, labor and representation as part of a year of exploration around the art and methodology of storytelling and "speaking."

Crafted by a collaborative representing multiple disciplines, the 2014-2015 series theme cautions against languages, ideas and traditions that serve to silence. 



Speaker Profiles

Ida B. Wells Distinguished Lecture Series at SpelmanT. Lang, M.F.A., Director of the Spelman College Dance Theatre and Professor  in the Department of Drama and Dance

As founder and artistic director of T. Lang Dance, Lang invites audiences to explore the complex issues of Black women’s sexuality, bodies and representation. In addition to leading her own company, T. Lang is an assistant professor in dance at Spelman and director of the Dance Theater. She also founded  the Atlanta summer dance intensive, SWEATSHOP, and is a faculty member at  the Staibdance Summer Intensive in Sorrento, Italy. In 2013, T. Lang joined the faculty of the American Dance Festival which the New York Times considers "One of the nation's most important institutions." 

Ida B. Wells Speaker Series at Spelman CollegeAdrienne Davis, J.D., Vice Provost and William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law, Washington University, St. Louis

Professor Davis is renowned for her scholarship and teaching on gender and race relations; theories of justice and reparations; feminist legal theory; and law and popular culture. She has written extensively on the gendered and private law dimensions of American slavery and is the co-editor of the book, Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America (NYU Press), as well as numerous articles and book chapters. A Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, Professor Davis directs the Black Sexual Economies Project at the WU law school’s Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Work and Social Capital. She also founded and runs the Law & Culture Initiative.