December 2013

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In This Issue
From the Director

A Successful Book Sale

Support for Documenting Hiphop and Bounce Music

Grants Support Mission and Special Initiatives

2014 Exhibition Schedule

Fine Arts Collection Travels

Holiday Greetings

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From the Director

Annual giving is tremendously important to Amistad Research Center and vital to its continued success. These gifts provide the Center with current-use funds for immediate program enhancement, and they provide the foundation of support that enables Amistad to respond to its most pressing priorities and maintain a competitive rate of progress among peer institutions.


The significance of the annual appeal has been underscored this year by our earlier-than-usual solicitations and sharing of needs, hoping that the extra contact would increase participation and overall support. Please indulge one final request. If you have not yet contributed to this year's annual fund, do so and reap the benefits of an immediate 2013 tax deduction.


While the staff worked so diligently to enhance annual giving during the period since our last newsletter, we have also put finishing touches on the achievement of lofty goals that were set forth in strategic and tactical plans at the outset of the year. Several outstanding projects and special programs are recalled in this issue. Given the extraordinary occurrence of varied activities at the Center and increased online communications with global constituents, there is much to report.

It is also important that we not forget the advent of the holiday season. During this time, our thoughts traditionally turn to those who have made our progress possible. Recalling the past year, we are extremely grateful for your confidence in us and consider it one of the things for which we have to be thankful. From all of us at Amistad: Peace, prosperity, and happiness during the holidays and throughout the New Year.


Executive Director
Lee Hampton
A Successful Book Sale
Amistad's Reading Room
prior to the booksale

A tremendous selection of duplicate copies and out-of-scope titles were offered at Amistad's book sale, which was held at the beginning of November. Due to the overwhelming public interest and the large stock of books and magazines, the sale was held over for an extra week as the Center turned its Reading Room into a temporary used book store. Over 150 visitors browsed books, talked with staff, and enjoyed some Amistad hospitality. The sale exceeded Amistad's expectations and all proceeds went toward the Center's book acquisition fund and preservation efforts. 


Thank you to everyone who joined us in support of the Amistad Research Center. And happy reading! 

Help Support Project to Document New Orleans Hiphop and Bounce Music

The Amistad Research Center is a wonderful resource for researchers interested in African American musicians and vocal artists. The Center holds the personal papers of concert and operatic stars such as William Warfield, Carol Brice, Anne Wiggins Brown, Camilla Williams, Annabelle Bernard, Mattiwilda Dobbs, and Thomas Carey. Jazz music is well-documented in the papers of Ellis Marsalis Jr. and Harold Battiste, while the papers of composers include those of Hale Smith and Howard Swanson. The topic of music education is found within the papers of Lucile Hutton and Mildred Katharine Ellis. And there is so much more.


Amistad is currently expanding its music-related collections into new genres -- hiphop and bounce music. Recent donations, described below, have placed the Center at the forefront of efforts to document and preserve materials that chronicle the development of these genres in New Orleans.


Holly Hobbs, a Ph.D. student at Tulane University working on a dissertation on post-Katrina New Orleans hiphop and recovery, has begun donating video interviews gathered as part of The NOLA Hiphop Archive. The Archive was founded in 2012 as an effort to collect, document, and make accessible to the public the oral histories of New Orleans' influential rappers, producers, and DJs who helped to create and popularize hiphop and bounce music traditions, in the city and beyond. The collection currently holds more than 30 videotaped interviews with the city's hiphop and bounce artists and pioneers, including Mannie Fresh, Mystikal, Partners N Crime, Dee-1, Ricky B, DJ Raj Smoove, Nesby Phips, Nicky da B & Rusty Lazer, and Queen Blackkold Madina, star of the Academy Award-winning Katrina documentary, Trouble the Water.

Complementing the Hiphop Archive is a portion of audio interviews recorded as part of the Where They At bounce project. The Where They At project was begun in 2008 by photographer Aubrey Edwards and journalist Alison Fensterstock, with the assistance of a grant from the Greater New Orleans Foundation. It collected over 50 photographic portraits and audio interviews with New Orleans rappers, DJs, producers, photographers, label owners, promoters, record store personnel, journalists, and other parties involved in the New Orleans hip-hop and bounce scene from the late 1980s through Hurricane Katrina, as well as ephemera including original fliers, posters, vintage photographs and an extensive collection of record, CD and cassette tape scans. In a multimedia exhibition form, Where They At was presented at the Smithsonian-affiliated Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Austin's Birdhouse Gallery and SXSW festival, Minneapolis' Soap Factory, New York City's Abrons Art Center, and the Direktorenhaus in Berlin, Germany. It currently lives in online form at Amistad currently houses 19 audio interviews and 37 interview transcripts as part of the Where They At collection. 


Preliminary descriptions of the collections at Amistad can be found in Amistad's online finding aid database: NOLA Hiphop Archive Project Collection and Where They At Collection. In Spring 2014, Amistad will work with our donors and Tulane University's Digital Library to launch the community-accessible NOLA Hiphop and Bounce Archive, which will provide online access to the NOLA Hiphop Archive video interviews and portions of the Where They At audio interviews.


To support this digital initiative and to assist in the collection of an additional 30 new videotaped oral histories, a Kickstarter campaign has been launched by the NOLA Hiphop Archive. A portion of the proceeds of this campaign will assist with the foundation of a public audiovisual station in Amistad's Reading Room. With its "all-or-nothing" funding model, Kickstarter campaigns are limited in time and in the targeted funding amount. With a goal of concluding the campaign prior to the Christmas holiday, an expedited 20-day campaign is being conducted. Please consider donating, sending to your friends and family, sharing via social media, or any other assistance you are able to provide. A donation of any amount toward the successful goal will help to further document and provide support and recognition for these important members of the New Orleans creative community and beyond. The Kickstarter webpage includes excerpts from some of the video interviews, and can be accessed by clicking the image below.

Amistad Receives Grants to Support Mission and Special Initiatives

Christmas has indeed arrived early with the news that Amistad has received three new grants.  We are pleased to announce that we are on the receiving end of generous philanthropy from the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, the Daniel Hand Fund of the United Church of Christ, and the RosaMary Foundation in support of Amistad's mission and special initiatives.  


The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation awarded $124,000 for a two-year project to bolster the capacity of the Center to create online digital exhibitions, particularly those geared toward incorporation in public schools curricula.


The Daniel Hand Fund contributed $57,822.76 toward the Center's general operational funds for 2014.  Given by the United Church of Christ Local Church Ministries, the Daniel Hand Fund was established in 1888 to support the education of "colored people" of African descent residing in the former slave states of that time.  The gift assists the Amistad Research Center in a joint mission, to continue the legacy of the American Missionary Association (AMA).


The RosaMary Foundation awarded $15,000 to Amistad to help fund a project to reformat and digitize the narratives of New Orleans Civil Rights Movement activists, including one of the namesakes of the foundation and friend of Amistad, Rosa Freeman Keller.  Activist interviews, which formed the basis of Kim Lacy Rogers' book Righteous Lives: Narratives of the New Orleans Civil Rights Movement, also include Albert Dent, Oretha Castle Haley, Ernest "Dutch" Morial, Revius Ortique, Betty Wisdom, and others.

Exhibition Schedule for 2014
"It was beautiful, though sad, to see her as I did, when too sick to sit, lying upon her bed, surrounded by her scholars, teaching them to read..."  These words were written by Lewis C. Lockwood in March 1862 to describe his fellow educator Mary S. Peake, who was an African American teacher and the first to teach freedmen at Fort Monroe, Virginia. Lockwood's letter, and many more documents chronicling the history and legacy of schools founded by the American Missionary Association, are currently on display through December 20th in Amistad's Reading Room and Exhibition Gallery. The exhibition ends soon, so stop by the Center to view Lockwood's touching letter and related documents. 

If you can't visit before the end of the year, don't worry, as 2014 will be an exciting year for exhibitions at the Center. Below is the schedule, so plan your visits now!

The Free Southern Theater and the Black Arts Movement in the South
January 6 - April 25

Originating as a community theater group in 1963, the Free Southern Theater (FST) became a cultural arm of the Civil Rights Movement. As part of a community-wide celebration honoring the 50th anniversary of the founding of the FST, this exhibition will highlight the records of the Theater and its place within the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s.


Rising Up II: The Life and Work of Hale Woodruff
May 5 - August 29

Complementary to the touring exhibition "Rising Up: Hale Woodruff's Murals from Talladega College" at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Center will exhibit selections from the personal papers of Woodruff, as well as examples of Woodruff's artistic oeuvre from Amistad's fine arts collection.


Behind Every Good Movement: Women of the Civil Rights Era
September 8 - December 19

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this exhibition will highlight the participation of women in the Civil Rights Movement and address issues of patriarchy and feminism within the Movement. The personal papers of activists Fannie Lou Hamer, Clarie Collins Harvey, and others will be exhibited.

Amistad Fine Arts Collection Continues to Reach Audiences
Triborough Bridge by Aaron Douglas (oil on canvas, 1936)
One of the jewels of Amistad's Fine Arts Collection is currently on display at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York, as part of an exhibition entitled "Industrial Sublime: Modernism and the Transformation of New York's Rivers, 1900-1940." Aaron Douglas' Triborough Bridge can be viewed along with over 60 other works at the museum through January 17, 2014, before it travels to the Norton Museum of Art in Florida from March 20-June 22. More information on the exhibition can be found at the Hudson River Museum website
More works from the Amistad Research Center will be on loan for upcoming exhibitions at the Louisiana State University Museum of Art's "The Visual Blues" exhibition (March 8-July 13, 2014), the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati.
Holiday Greetings from the Amistad Research Center
Snow at Amistad
The Friendship of those we serve is the

foundation of our progress,

and in that spirit we say simply, but sincerely,

thank you and best wishes for a

joyous holiday season and a New Year

of peace and goodwill.


From the Staff of the Amistad Research Center