Black History Month

Tag: Black History Month

Life, Legacy of Lynching Survivor Focus of Lawrence University Black History Presentation

APPLETON, WIS. — James Cameron, the sole survivor of a 1930 lynching and the founder of the Black Holocaust Museum, will be the subject of a Black History Month presentation at Lawrence University.

Sandra Adell, professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, presents “The Life and Legacy of Dr. James Cameron,” Monday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Science Hall 102.

As a 16 year old, Cameron narrowly escaped one of the most infamous lynchings in the nation’s history after he and two acquaintances were arrested, accused of robbing and killing a white man and raping his girl friend in Marion, Ind. Shortly after their arrest, the three men were dragged from jail by a lynch mob. While the other two young men were hanged from a tree in front of the courthouse, Cameron, with noose around his neck, was spared when a voice in the crowd cried out he had nothing to do with killing or raping anyone.

Cameron, who kept a piece of the rope that had scarred his neck, was later sentenced to five years in prison for robbery. In 1993, Marion city officials pardoned Cameron, issued a formal apology and presented him a key to the city.

His near-death experience and a trip to Israel’s Jewish Holocaust Museum inspired Cameron to create the Black Holocaust Museum, which chronicles the history of lynchings in America. After nine years of work and $5,000 of his own money, Cameron opened the museum on June 19, 1988 in Milwaukee.

Cameron recounted the events of his hallowing experience in his 1982 memoir “A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story.” The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee recognized Cameron with an honorary degree in 1999. He passed away at the age of 92 in 2006.

Adell, a scholar of black literature, has taught in the UW Afro-American Studies department since 1989. She recently edited a revised edition of “A Time of Terror” that is under review at the University of Wisconsin Press and was the volume editor of the “Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Culture: African American Culture.” She also is the author of the 2002 book “Literary Masters: Toni Morrision.”

Lawrence University Hosts Town Hall Forum with Four Black Authors

Four distinguished writers will participate in a town hall style forum at Lawrence University Monday, Feb. 21 as part of the 2005 Black Author’s College Tour. The forum, focusing on issues that shape and impact the African-American community, will be held at 7 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 102 on the Lawrence campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Participating in the forum will be authors Brandon Massey, Jamise Dames, Lois Benjamin and Yasmin Shiraz. Each will give a brief talk addressing a specific issue related to the African-American community and then take part in an open discussion with audience members.

A resident of Atlanta, Ga., Massey will address issues of the black man’s challenge in America. He self-published his first novel, “Thunderland,” in 1999 and a revised edition was republished in 2002 by Kensington Publishing. His second book, “Dark Corner,” a vampire novel set in rural Mississippi, was released in January, 2004, while “Dark Dreams: A Collection of Horror and Suspense by Black Writers,” was published last August. His latest work, the supernatural thriller “Within the Shadows,” is scheduled for release in June.

Dames, a published songwriter and former recording artist, will share her insights on the importance of sustaining self esteem in the black community. She is the author of the national best-seller “Momma’s Baby Daddy’s Maybe” (2003) and “Pushing Up Daisies” (2004). A graduate of the University of Connecticut with a degree in English and an emphasis in creative writing, Dames is currently pursuing graduate studies.

Benjamin, a professor of sociology at Virginia’s Hampton University, will speak on the secrets of the black elite. She is the author of “The Black Elite: Facing the Color Line in the Twilight of the Twentieth Century,” for which she interviewed 100 prominent African-Americans. She also served as editor of the 1997 book “Black Women in the Academy,” a collection of essays written by 33 black female academics and administrators from around the country who discuss their experiences of working in higher education in America. Benjamin earned a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley.

Shiraz, a journalist and empowerment speaker, will examine the impact of hip-hop culture on the African-American community. She is the author of the 2004 book “The Blueprint for My Girls” and is working on a sequel, “The Blueprint For My Girls In Love.”

As an entertainment reporter, Shiraz has written for a variety of publications, including Black Enterprise, Upscale, Impact and the Electronic Urban Report and has interviewed numerous celebrities, including Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, singers Jay-Z, Queen Latifah and Brandy, actors Jada Pinkett-Smith and Martin Lawrence and attorney Johnnie Cochran, among others.

The Black Authors Tour program is sponsored by Lawrence’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and is part of the college’s celebration of Black History Month.