March 2013 Archives

The Emancipation Proclamation

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This year is also the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. As noted by the National Archives:

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"President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free." From the first days of the Civil War, slaves had acted to secure their own liberty. The Emancipation Proclamation confirmed their insistence that the war for the Union must become a war for freedom. It added moral force to the Union cause and strengthened the Union both militarily and politically. As a milestone along the road to slavery's final destruction, the Emancipation Proclamation has assumed a place among the great documents of human freedom. The original of the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, is in the National Archives in Washington, DC."

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To honor this event, the USPS has issued special commemorative stamps as well.

Here in the Libraries, we have incredible documents, videos, books and articles that you can use to learn more about this era and the key importance of this proclamation to the development of our country. For example:

  • Use our Proquest Historical Newspapers database to follow the events of the Civil War, the reactions to the proclamation and other political events in the pages of the New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune or many other papers as they were read at the time.

  • Read a good book - we have 7 million of them to choose from. On Abe Lincoln alone we have over 1,000 books listed in MNCAT.

  • Watch one of our wonderful documentaries of the era. From Ken Burns' Civil War to other programs, we have thousands of DVDs that are engaging and informative.

  • From our own University Digital Conservancy you can read through actual reports and other information from our own UMN - the Board of Regents, various committees, presidential papers, etc., during this time. The UMN was established in 1851 and during the Civil War students and faculty were involved. The archives are available for everyone to use - a very interesting journey into our past!

  • We have access to over 100,000 journals - imagine all of the articles published on the Civil War. Was Mary Lincoln crazy? Did Abe Lincoln really want to free the slaves or just save the union...or both?

In any case, the 150th anniversary of this key document is worth celebrating!


LBJ: Nixon's Treason


In a conversation with a faculty member recently we talked about the legacies and still gaping wounds from so many of the key events of the 1960s. The 'greatest generation' had, if nothing else, winning WW2 as a framework for the actions, atrocities and horrors of that conflict. For Vietnam, the Civil Rights years, there has always remained unanswered questions, and ongoing (and much belated) releases of key information and documents that forces anyone who lived through these years to relive the pain and the loss - until the wounds are finally seen, acknowledged, we can't help but continue to re-experience the events and horror of these times.

We, as a country, still apparently have so much to learn, to accept about what happened during the 1960s. This time the new information released deals with Nixon's apparent treason in 1968 in thwarting efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement in Vietnam in order to win the presidential election.

Of course, the 1960s have never been simple. The reason Lyndon Baines Johnson found out about Nixon's actions was because his administration was illegally wire-tapping foreign embassies - an who knows what else. Not a simple history to tell.

You can listen to the just-released tapes for yourself here.

Here are some key resources that might help you better understand this era and the issues that still remain:

Sir! No sir! the suppressed story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam - This 2006 DVD in the Walter SMART Media collection presents "the untold story of the rebellion of thousands of American soldiers against the war in Vietnam. This movie profiles an event that profoundly impacted American society, yet has been virtually obliterated from memory." 84 min.

Vietnam long time coming - This 2007 DVD tells the story of " the 1998, World T.E.A.M. (The Exceptional Athlete Matters) Sports organized a 16-day, 1,100 mile bicycle expedition through Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. The non-profit organization, which focuses on events for the disabled, drew an array of veterans from the U.S. and Vietnam, as well as celebrity riders like Greg La Monde and Senator John Kerry. Past enemies ride as one team in peace across a landscape they once killed to stay alive on. The real finish line is the painful emotional confrontation each rider must make alone along the way." Two hours.

The Vietnam War - This 2008 A&E cable documentary looks at the war. "At a total cost of more than 3.1 million lives, the Vietnam conflict is, to date, America's longest and most controversial war. It also marked the first time TV journalists ventured out to the frontlines to bring the spectacle of combat into American living rooms. Across the nation, Americans watched, captivated by the surprise Tet Offensive, the slow-motion tragedy of the Battle of Khe Sanh, and the courage and skill of the American soldiers. Profiles the decision makers and chronicles the key events in the Vietnam War, from the advisor's arrival in 1959 to the airlift from the roof of the American Embassy in 1975." Over 340 minutes on multiple discs.

Do you remember Vietnam? a report - This 2006 Bullfrog doc takes us back to 1978: " "In 1978, three years after the fall of Saigon, John Pilger went back to Vietnam to find out what had happened under the new regime. He talks with a young tour guide at a war crimes museum, who had been imprisoned in the infamous US tiger cages. He follows a former North Vietnamese soldier into the underground base where he spent 20 years crawling through tunnels undetected. He visits the street in Hanoi that was the target of the largest single aerial bombardment in history. And he shows us the re-education camps where former drug addicts, prostitutes, South Vietnam soldiers, and others are being taught what to think. An he reminds us of the long history of Vietnam's wars for independence. 44% of Vietnam's forests have been decimated, poisonous chemicals have produced babies with deformations, 58,000 Americans and 2-5 million Vietnamese lost their lives. And all of this suffering was for what? "To stop the spread of Chinese communism" was the rationale. And yet, Pilger argues, if we had let them form their own independent state in the late 1940s, what probably would have emerged is what is emerging now -- a kind of Asian Yugoslavia." 52 min.

My Lai - PBS documentary: "The words 'My Lai' are seared into our memories of the Vietnam War, but few know what really happened in the small Vietnamese village on March 16, 1968. Now, drawing on 400 hours of recently discovered audio recordings and new interviews with participants, eye witnesses, and investigators, the complete story can finally be told about one of the most shocking atrocities in modern times, and about lesser-known acts of remarkable courage." 90 min.

The fog of war eleven lessons from the life of Robert S. McNamara - " The story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense, under President Kennedy and President Johnson, Robert S. McNamara. McNamara was one of the most controversial and influential political figures of the 20th century. Now, he offers a candid and intimate journey through some of the most seminal events in contemporary American history. He offers new and often surprising insights into the 1945 bombing of Tokyo, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the effects of the Vietnam War." 2004, 107 min.

We have over 150 videos on Vietnam and the war in our collections. If these don't look that interesting...I'm sure we have what you'd need to better understand this era and its lasting impact on our country and culture.




Due to popular demand, the Protest Music exhibits in Music Library and Wilson Library have been extended through April. In April we will be having a teach-in as well as, hopefully, other activities.

So, if you haven't had the time to stop over to give the exhibit a good look, it's not too late.


Bob Dylan & the American Academy of Arts and Letters

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Just a few days ago, the American Academy of Arts and Letters announced that it was voted Bob Dylan into their organization. Dylan will be inducted as a American Honorary membership, according to press releases: "The board of directors considered the diversity of his work and acknowledged his iconic place int he American culture. Bob Dylan is a multi-talented artist whose work so thoroughly crosses several disciplines that it defies categorization."

I'd agree there. His ideas and music started with the beat generation, through the Civil Rights and antiwar years and continues to this day to inspire, critique and express the currents of our times.

Want to know more about Dylan? We have DVDs in the Walter Media collections, music and biographical materials in the Ferguson Music Library and Wilson Library as well.

A quick search in MNCAT under "Bob Dylan" came up with over 200 results, including:

  • Over 130 books

  • 20 videos

  • Over 50 audio recordings

  • Seven scores

You might want to give them a look!

Celebrate one of the greats in protest music!

I was asked this question by a student who assumed that once a country could overcome barriers and prejudices to elect an African-American as President of the United States, we've somehow passed a corner .... or have we? She was very concerned about recent racial 'episodes' on college campuses - Oberlin, University of Ottawa, University of New Mexico, New York's Binghamton University, Washington University in St. Louis, Duke University........well, you get the trend here.

Despite these 'isolated' incidents, most students today haven't seen the types of overt, open, brutal and direct racism has played in our past.

However, we have wonderful resources that can help you understand how racism has played out in our society in our history. All of these DVDs are available in Walter Library for you to view on-site in one of their viewing areas, or many can be checked out for 3-days to view in your dorm or home. You may find these compelling - even quite shocking - but as Desiderius Erasmus said "There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other."

The Angry Eye with Jane Elliott (25 minutes, 2004) Documentary on Jane Elliott's blue-eyed/brown-eyed exercise in discrimination involving college students forced to experience racist treatment minorities have received for years.Slaying the Dragon (2011, 88 min) Describes racial and gender stereotyping of Asian women in U.S. motion pictures as well as other filmic media, with "Reloaded" updating the original documentary by noting the effects of globalization and a changing population within the past 25 years. Includes interviews with actresses and other Asian American women who describe their experiences of such stereotyping.

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (2005, 70 min.) The film that helped reopen one of history's most notorious cold case civil rights murders is the result of the director's 10-year journey to uncover the truth. In August, 1955, Mamie Till-Mobley of Chicago sent her only child, Emmett Louis Till, to visit relatives in the Mississippi Delta. Little did she know that only 8 days later, Emmett would be abducted from his Great-Uncle's home, brutally beaten and murdered for one of the oldest Southern taboos : whistling at a white woman in public. It was Beauchamp's nine years of investigation, summarized in the film, that was primarily responsible for the Justice Department reopening the case.

Freedom Riders (2011, 115 min.) This inspirational documentary is about a band of courageous civil-rights activists calling themselves the Freedom Riders. Gaining impressive access to influential figures on both sides of the issue, it chronicles a chapter of American history that stands as an astonishing testament to the accomplishment of youth and what can result from the incredible combination of personal conviction and the courage to organize against all odds.

Analyzing White America (2006, 58 min.) Stand up comedian Paul Mooney's targets include racism and white America.

Overcoming Personal Racism What Can I Do? (2004, 54 min. - online) "Based upon testimony before President Clinton's Race Advisory Board, Dr. Sue suggests what each of us can do to overcome our personal racism. He first speaks to the barriers that prevent us from being honest with ourselves, including emotional roadblocks regarding racism, and the difficulty in understanding the oppressor position one occupies. He extracts five basic principles of how one overcomes racism: (1) learn about people of color from sources within the group, (2) learn from healthy and strong people of the culture, (3) learn from experiential reality, (4) learn from constant vigilance of your biases and fears, and (5) learn from being committed to personal action against racism."

The Pathology of Privilege Racism, White Denial & the Costs of Inequality (2008, 57 min) Tim Wise offers a unique, inside-out view of race and racism in America. Wise provides a non-confrontational explanation of white privilege and the damage it does not only to people of color, but to white people as well. This is an introduction to the social construction of racial identities, and a new tool for exploring the often invoked--but seldom explained--concept of white privilege.

A Race is a Nice Thing to Have (2008, 53 min .) In this film, Allen E. Ivey interviews Janet E. Helms on her involvement in the multicultural and social justice movements. Her principal contribution is to help people think beyond racial or ethnic categories. The chief objective of her work is to assist people with identifying how assigning people to categories can lead to psychological constructs that have profound implications for their psychology and quality of life.

And that's not all - we have thousands of videos (and over 7 million books) that will give you more information on this important topic. Stop in and check them out!


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One very special upcoming event is a Teach In - those of us old enough to remember these know how powerful and important these can be - being led by Mark Pedelty and his colleagues and students from his COMM 1901 class. We want this to be a smashing success! So, please join us!

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Teach in: (noun) A practical, participatory learning event, oriented toward action. Generally includes presentations, discussion, & questions; involvement from the audience is essential to success.

Join faculty and student musicians as well as the students of COMM 1901: Environmental Communication and Performance as they present performances and lead a discussion about environmental and protest music as part of social movements.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 17th 4:00--5:00 p.m.

WHERE: 280 Ferguson Hall (West Bank)



"Bloody Sunday" Relived Yesterday


No, it's not the movie "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," or the U2 hit single. Bloody Sunday is the name given for the beating of voting rights activists -- including a young US House Rep. John Lewis -- by state troopers as they began a march to Montgomery Alabama in March 1965 to protest impediments to free and open voting. The 50-mile march prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act that ended all-white rule in the South.

Yesterday, led by Rep. Lewis and Vice President Joe Biden, people re-enacted the march in remembrance of this key event in our history.

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Few of us were there then - and most of you weren't even born yet - but you can relive the Civil Rights era today by checking out some of these great videos that we have in our collections in Walter's SMART Learning Center Media Collection:

  • Civil Rights Movement. Boycotts and Sit-ins (2011) A documentary film that traces the history and examines the social and political significance of the civil rights movement in the United States, with a focus on the boycotts and sit-ins that took place in Montgomery, Alabama; Brooklyn, New York; and in the Washington, DC, area. 45 minutes long.

  • Eyes on the Prize. Program 6, Bridge to Freedom, 1965 (1987) This excellent PBS production covers the push for black voting rights in Alabama and nationally. The division within the civil rights movement between the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) grows, particularly in their approach to the Selma-Montgomery Freedom March in 1965. That same year sees the National Voting Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. 60 minutes.

  • Fannie Lou Hamer, Voting Rights Activist (2009). They don't get any more powerful or successful than Fannie Lou Hamer, who who raised the cause of equality and freedom for all Blacks in America and who won the right to vote for Black Americans.
  • system. 31 minutes.

  • Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story (2012, drama) In 1966 Frank De Felitta made a documentary for NBC News about life for Southerners in Mississippi. The content of the film upset many white Southerners and led to the beating of a black man, Booker Wright, the loss of his job, and eventually his murder. Forty-six years later Booker's granddaughter, Yvette Johnson, and Frank's son, director Raymond DeFelitta, are on a quest to discover who Booker was and how he changed life for black people.

And this is just the start - we have over 60 videos in Walter related to the Civil Rights era. Something worth checking out!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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