Tag Archive | "Department of History"

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Recognition for ‘White Sand Black Beach’


Greg Bush and Florida’s first lady, Ann Scott, at the Florida Book Awards ceremony.

Greg Bush, an associate professor of history, has won a prestigious silver Florida Book Award for non-fiction for his book about a pivotal struggle in Miami’s civil rights history, White Sand Black Beach: Civil Rights, Public Space and Miami’s Virginia Key.

Bush, who was honored with other winning authors from across the state in Tallahassee last month, said he never imagined his life would be consumed largely by “what I learned from our history as I became an advocate (and organizer) trying to preserve and enhance the public spaces along Miami’s waterfront.”

In White Sand Black Beach, Bush chronicles the unique story of Miami-Dade County’s “black” beach, the current state of Miami’s public waterfront, and the potential to stimulate civic engagement. As he notes, environmentalists, community leaders, and civil rights activists have come together recently to revitalize Virginia Key, which was begrudgingly designated as a beach for African-Americans in 1945 after activists protested Jim Crow-era laws that denied blacks access to the recreational waterfront.

The beach became a vitally important gathering spot for African-American families and represented a tangible victory in the continuing struggle for civil rights in public spaces. But, as white leaders responded to desegregation by decreasing attention to and funding for public spaces in general, the beach was largely ignored and eventually shut down.

Bush was one of more than 200 writers to compete for the awards, which recognize, honor, and celebrate the best books about Florida published in the previous year. The competition is coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries with assistance from across the state.

For more information on the full list of winners, visit the Florida Book Awards

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History Professors Win NEH Fellowships

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History Professors Win NEH Fellowships

By Alex Bassil
UM News

Bernath- Lindemann-NEHAwards

Michael Bernath and Mary Lindemann

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 1, 2017) — Michael Bernath and Mary Lindemann, College of Arts and Sciences faculty members and colleagues in the Department of History, have been awarded National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowships for 2017.

Bernath is the Charlton W. Tebeau Associate Professor of 19th Century American history, and Lindemann the chair and professor of early modern German, Dutch, and Flemish history and medical history in the early modern world. They will use their awards for book projects on, respectively, Northern Teachers in the Old South and the aftermath of the German Thirty Years War.

“We are proud and excited that two of our distinguished history professors in the College of Arts and Sciences were awarded NEH fellowships, a tremendously respected award in the humanities,” said Leonidas Bachas, dean of the college. “Awards such as these not only promote scholarship in the humanities, but also lead to knowledge shared with our students seeking a deeper understanding of the human experience. The UM Center for the Humanities provides funding to enable these research ideas to reach the stage of NEH support.”

The UM fellowships were among $16.3 million in grants awarded nationwide by the NEH for 290 projects. The Fellowship for University Teachers’ program supports college and university teachers pursuing advanced research. This year the NEH received 1,298 applications and funded 86 of the total, approximately 6.6 percent of the proposals, making the fellowships among the most competitive humanities awards in the country.

Bernath’s project, “In a Land of Strangers: Northern Teachers in the Old South, 1790-1865,” looks at the experiences, reception, and perception of thousands of Northerners, both men and women, who came to teach throughout the Southern states. Bernath argues that the presence of these Northern teachers represented the most intimate, sustained, and widespread contact point between Northerners and Southerners during the antebellum period. He begins here to examine when, how, and where ideas of Northern and Southern identity emerged.

“Given how difficult it is to win an NEH award, I’m honored to be one of two faculty members in the same department and university, a highly unusual occurrence,” Bernath said. “The NEH plays an essential role in facilitating groundbreaking research and the exploration of vital issues that benefit us, not only as scholars and universities, but also as a society.”

Lindemann’s project, “Fractured Lands: Northern Germany in an Age of Unending War, 1627-1721,” analyzes the effects of the Thirty Years War on Germany for a century after the conclusion of peace. The project is innovative in the sense that it looks not only at political and social development but also considers the impact of the war on the environment.

“Such NEH grants have been critical in my career,” said Lindemann, who credited two previous NEH grants for the publication of two books, the first with Johns Hopkins University Press in 2006 and the second with Cambridge University Press in 2015.

“The time needed to do deep archival research and write is absolutely critical for scholars employed at major universities,” she continued. “I’m grateful for the support of the NEH and UM’s College of Arts & Sciences. In a political climate where the NEH is in danger of being either eviscerated or eliminated it is important to emphasize how valuable it is for sustaining and nurturing high-quality scholarship throughout the U.S.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.


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Demonstrations from the Diamond: Professor’s C-Span Lecture Details Negro League Efforts during the Civil Rights Movement

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Demonstrations from the Diamond: Professor’s C-Span Lecture Details Negro League Efforts during the Civil Rights Movement

History professor Donald Spivey lectures on the Negro Leagues Impact on the civil rights movement. The February 13 session of his class, Sport in American History: The Black Athlete, was filmed by a film crew for a future broadcast on C-Span 3.

History professor Donald Spivey lectures on the Negro Leagues’ impact on the civil rights movement. The February 13 session of his class Sport in American History: The Black Athlete was recorded by a film crew for a future broadcast on C-Span 3.

During a C-Span filming of Donald Spivey’s class on Sport in American History: The Black Athlete, the UM history professor talked about the impact Negro League baseball players, in particular the iconic Leroy “Satchel” Paige, had on the civil rights movement.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 14, 2014) – It was pitching prowess with a purpose, a demonstration from the diamond intended to be more protest than bravado.

When iconic Negro Leagues pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige would have his infielders sit down behind him and then strike out the side with ease, he was sending a message that black baseball players, who were forbidden from playing in the Majors, were just as talented as their white counterparts.

Paige, whose exploits as a pitcher were matched by his charisma as a showman and storyteller, was “always at odds with his environment” in the era of desegregation, and from the pitcher’s mound, he did “his best to strike out Jim Crow,” University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences professor Donald Spivey explained to his Sport in American History: The Black Athlete class on Thursday.

The hour-and-15-minute class had previously met nine times during this still-young spring semester. But what made this session unique was its new location—in the Senate Room of UM’s Student Activities Center—and the presence of studio cameras and technicians who were recording the lecture for an episode of a C-Span series that showcases history classes from colleges and universities around the nation.

Spivey spent 12 years researching and writing his book, If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy "Satchel" Paige.

Spivey spent 12 years researching and writing his book If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige.

With cameras rolling and students hanging on Spivey’s every word, the professor talked about the impact Negro League baseball players—in particular, Paige—had on the civil rights movement. When they weren’t barnstorming throughout the country, drawing larger crowds than Major League games, Negro Leaguers got involved in anti-lynching campaigns, Spivey said, noting that they collected money for the legal defense of nine black teenagers—Scottsboro Boys—accused of rape in Alabama in 1931.

Spivey also called attention to the social activism of Negro League owners like Effa Louise Manley, co-owner of the Newark Eagles baseball franchise from 1935 to 1946, who organized a boycott of stores that refused to hire black salesclerks.

He based much of his lecture on his latest book, If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige (University of Missouri Press, 2012), which is one of the required readings of his course.

The biography, which details every facet of Paige’s life—from his days growing up in Mobile, Alabama, to the time he spent in a Mount Meigs reformatory school, to his pitching prowess for various teams during the 1920s through 1950s, to the integration of baseball and his eventual entry into the Major Leagues—was the longest project on which Spivey has ever worked. “I thought it could be done in three years. But I soon found out that it couldn’t be completed in that time span because Paige went everywhere,” said Spivey. “And he didn’t have a stash of personal papers, which meant I had to dig and conduct research from every imaginable archive.”

Filming in session: A crew makes preparations to film Spivey's class just before it gets underway.

Filming in session: A crew makes preparations to film Spivey’s class just before it gets underway.

Spivey interviewed more than 160 former Negro League players, sometimes traveling to Negro League Baseball Museum events to interview groups of the players in a single day. He conducted the longest and most extensive interviews with legendary Negro Leaguers John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil and Theodore Roosevelt “Double Duty” Radcliffe.

A former collegiate halfback who attended the University of Illinois on a football scholarship, Spivey also visited scores of libraries. “You name it—the Library of Congress, Baseball Hall of Fame, University Library in Puerto Rico, the National Archives,” he recounted. Even UM’s own Richter Library, where Spivey consulted the Pan Am Collection, using it to learn that Paige flew on one of the airline’s planes to the Dominican Republic.

Spivey admits that writing the book wasn’t the hard part. It was the search for information to write the book—a process that even carried him out of the country—to the D.R. and Puerto Rico—and on a chase for leads that sometimes yielded little information. “I couldn’t do my research using just books,” he said. “I needed to be there and experience it.”

A longtime fan of Paige, Spivey wanted to write the book because other source material that existed on the Hall of Famer was merely a restating of facts or altogether wrong. “Getting the story correct and putting it into a historical context was important to me,” said Spivey.

UM student William Saunders, 22, a history major from Baltimore who was among the 50 students in Spivey’s class, already knew about Satchel Paige from stories his father told him. “But I didn’t realize how much of a social icon he was, and how much hope people got from him,” said Saunders.

According to C-Span, Spivey’s lecture will be broadcast on C-Span 3 in late March or early April as part of the network’s “Lectures in History” series, which airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. and midnight. C-Span 3 streams every weekend at c-span.org/history.

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