Department of English Anti-racist Resources

 

The Department of English of FSU stands in solidarity with all those engaged in the fight against systemic and institutionalized racism. The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and here in Tallahassee, Tony McDade—as well as the deaths of countless named and unnamed others—testify to the ongoing violence committed against Black people in our communities. The deeply entrenched historical roots of this violence along with those more casual acts of racism that perpetuate racial injustice must be denounced and resisted.

We also recognize that issuing this statement is in no way a substitute for the necessary and sustained work of dismantling and combating systemic and institutionalized racism; that we must continue to examine our own practices and complicities in the injustices we condemn, and that we must be active rather than passive participants in this fight. As teachers, scholars, and staff members we hereby declare our commitment to this work and to providing a place of learning, of safety, solidarity, and inclusion.

This site represents one part of the English department's efforts to foster and implement anti-racist practices in our classrooms, workplace, and the community at large. A collaborative space where members can access and share resources, the site relies on community members' contributions in the form of documents, links, pedagogical resources, multimedia files, announcements, and other relevant items.

Please explore this page, and please continue to check back regularly as we update with more information.

 

Faculty resources

>> Professor Maxine Montgomery is a featured guest for an online book discussion of Toni Morrison’s tenth novel, Home. The discussion, Friday, November 13, noon ET, is part of the Goodreads Discussion Group’s Read/Respond Project featuring conversations by international scholars on texts dealing with the relation between Literature, History, and Human Rights. The Zoom meeting login information is Meeting ID: 639 4660 2193, Password: 521455.

>> FSU English Assistant Professor John J. Garcia recently created a video to promote his participation as panelist for an Oct. 20, 2020, Rare Book School symposium on “Race and the Boundaries of the Book.” Garcia’s video s titled “Runaways: African American Papermakers During the American Revolution,” and his contribution is one of seven trailers for the symposium. “Race and the Boundaries of the Book” was a 45–minute panel discussion followed by 15 minutes of Q&A via Zoom.

The Rare Book School is a nonprofit organization based at the University of Virginia and supports the study of the history of books, manuscripts, and related objects. The seven 'bibliovideos' range from Indigenous contributions to 17th-century printing to the Emancipation Proclamation and can be found on the school’s YouTube channel.

>> FSU English Assistant Professor John Ribó and FSU English doctoral students Jeannine Ortega and Kristy Cherry-Randle have launched an anti-racist, decolonial reading group. The aim of the monthly meetings is to provide an informal forum for discussions of short texts that imagine anti-racist and decolonial alternatives to the status quo.

To provide structure initially, the three organizers will select short texts, distribute them electronically, and lead hour-long discussions for the first three meetings. The meetings will be held on Zoom and are open to faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and community members in Tallahassee and beyond.

English department graduate students in all three programs can receive one hour of credit for participating in the reading group, which is listed as ENG 5998-0011 with Dr. Ribó as the instructor of record. There is, however, no need to sign up for the one-hour course to participate in the reading group.

The first meeting was Thursday, August 27, and Dr. Ribó led a discussion of Christina Sharpe’s short essay “Lose Your Kin” from The New Inquiry, available here. If you are interested in attending, please contact one of the organizers for the Zoom invitation and access to the reading group’s Canvas site. Dr. Ribó's email address can be found on his faculty page. Also feel free to spread the word to students, colleagues, or anyone else who might be interested.

>> Assistant Professor L. Lamar Wilson, a 2001 Florida A&M alumnus who returned to Tallahassee this fall to join FSU's English department faculty, collaborated with Rada Film Group as an associate producer and lead subject for the award-winning film The Changing Same, (PBS/POV Short, 2019), which centers Wilson's Pushcart-nominated poem “Resurrection Sunday” and portends the uprisings against white supremacist violence that have erupted around the globe.

The Changing Same revisits Wilson's annual half-marathon for a 1934 lynching victim in his Florida Panhandle hometown of Marianna, just 65 miles west of the Big Bend, from the POV of four participants. The film inspired an episode of the NPR podcast “Code Switch” titled “A Strange And Bitter Crop.” The episode features journalist Ben Montgomery, a participant who's not on-screen, as he recounts how he came to report on the spectacle killing of Claude Neal that drew thousands to the town, learned of Lamar's run, and felt compelled to accompany him.

You also can hear Lamar discuss the film, his 2017 stage production The Gospel Truth, and his 2013 debut collection Sacrilegion with Tom Flanagan on WFSU.

>> Please listen to and read this NPR interview with English Associate Professor Alisha Gaines titled "Code Switch: The Limits of Empathy."

Other publications by Alisha Gaines: Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy

>> Please read English Assistant Professor Ravi Howard's June 12, 2020 essay in The Article

Other publications by Ravi Howard: Like Trees, Walking; Driving the King

>> Publications by Professor Maxine Montgomery: New Critical Essays on Toni Morrison's God Help the Child: Race, Culture, and History;

Contested Boundaries: New Critical Essays on the Fiction of Toni Morrison; The Fiction of Gloria Naylor: Houses and Spaces of Resistance

 

Statements

Letter to FSU's Black Students from Black Faculty: click here

Letter to FSU's Black Students, Staff, and Faculty from Latinx Faculty: click here

American Studies Association, President's Statement on Black Lives Matter and the Rebellion of 2020

Modern Language Association statement

 

Other Resources

>> Meet the Brave but Overlooked Women of Color Who Fought for the Vote—article in The New York Times

>> The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

>> Soujourner Truth: Ain’t I A Woman?—Speech

>> English Department staff members submitted this “Staff Picks” watch list, movies and documentaries related to and concerning racial issues.

>> Nic Stone, author of the best-selling young adult novel Dear Martin, explains why your anti-racist reading lists aren’t enough. Read "Don’t Just Read About Racism—Read Stories About Black People Living" here.

>> Florida State University and Florida A&M University alumna and current Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of History at Florida Memorial University Tameka Bradley Hobbs: Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida

Please listen to Dr. Bradley Hobbs’ June 4, 2020, lecture in which she contextualizes her book.

>> Daniel R. Weinfeld, graduate of Harvard College and NYU School of Law, currently an attorney in New York City: The Jackson County War: Reconstruction and Resistance in Post–Civil War Florida and After War Times: An African American Childhood in Reconstruction-Era Florida (editor)

"These books are important texts for anyone who wants to understand the machinations in and around Tallahassee from Reconstruction to the worst periods of Jim Crow,” English Assistant Professor L. Lamar Wilson says. “Although Weinfeld focuses on Jackson County in his first book, his second traces Marianna native T. (Timothy) Thomas Fortune’s journey to Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and ultimately New York, where he’d flee Reconstruction violence to help shape the public correspondence and journalistic work of movements led by Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Marcus Garvey. Many of Tallahassee’s power players pop up throughout all of these books.”

>> One of the earliest instances of grassroots student activism during the civil rights movement occurred in Tallahassee and was led by Quincy native Patricia Stephens Due and other FAMU students. Patricia’s daughter, Tananarive Due, has recounted their 1960 efforts in Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights

>> Please read Spring of 2020 English department graduate Sabine Nemours' June 16 essay at Medium. Sabine won the department's 2020 Fred L. Standley Award for Outstanding English Undergraduate Career.

>> FSU Library recommended reading list: click here.

>> Antiracist resources for your 2020-2021 teaching, compiled by the MLA

>> You May Be Your Black Colleagues’ Amy Cooper

>> 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

 

Collaborative Voices: A Gathering With FAMU's and FSU's English departments

Professors, graduate students, undergraduate students, authors, and others from the Tallahassee community came together November 7, 2019, for a very special event -- an inter-departmental get-together with Florida A&M University and Florida State University. The event featured FSU English Professor David Kirby and FAMU Visiting Professor of English Yolanda J. Franklin (both pictured above), who read from their recent publications, Get Up, Please and Blood Vinyls, respectivelyFranklin earned her Ph.D. from FSU in 2017.

This event was the first of what is scheduled as an annual gathering, intended to foster a spirit of inter-departmental collegiality between Tallahassee’s two sister institutions. The next gathering is tentatively scheduled to take place in the fall of 2020 on FAMU's campus.

Please click here for more information about FAMU's Department of English.