Dillard partners with Legacies of American Slavery Network
Students with Barbara Trevigne, Creole historian and artist in 2019. Photo: Sabree
For Immediate Release
February 11, 2021
Contact: Lauren R.D. Fox, email@example.com
NEW ORLEANS — Dillard University will serve as a regional collaboration partner for Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) for its multiyear project, “Legacies of American Slavery: Reckoning with the Past.” The institution was selected after a rigorous and competitive proposal, interview and selection process. Richard Ekman, president of CIC, said it was very difficult to choose just seven Regional Collaboration Partners from a pool of strong institutional applicants. “The selection process highlighted the depth and breadth of scholarship, teaching, and public engagement that many CIC members have already devoted to exploring the pervasive legacies of slavery,” says Ekman. “This augurs well for the success of the national initiative.” Dillard’s selection makes the University a primary and intellectual hub of a national network.
The initiative is designed to help Dillard, other CIC member institutions, their students, and communities explore the continuing impact of slavery on American life and culture. Each Partner will focus on a specific theme that has both local and national significance, organizing regional activities while contributing to a national conversation about race, equity, freedom, political power, and cultural resilience. Dillard University will focus on Cultural Creativity and the project’s faculty lead will be Zella Palmer, chair of the Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture. Dr. Yolanda Page, vice president for Dillard’s Division of Academic Affairs will serve as the lead administrator.
Through the Cultural Creativity theme, Dillard will explore the complex history and legacy of foodways as it relates to slavery while charting the impact of food insecurities and food related health issues on African-Americans in the South and Post-Great Migration cities such as Chicago and Detroit. Dillard’s history makes it well prepared to address this theme. The Dillard University student newspaper, the Courtbouillon is named after a famous Creole dish that was once as popular as gumbo. First published in 1935, the newspaper’s name recognizes how integral foodways were to the student population and the city of New Orleans. Cultural Creativity will also be defined as an expression in all its forms as a way to understand and cope with slavery and its aftermath. This includes artistic legacies in theater, art, dance, music, poetry, and fiction, but also in popular culture, folklore, and folkways. The Ray Charles Program was established by the late music great Ray Charles in 2004; the program includes a Food Studies Minor and Restaurant & Catering Management Continuing Education courses. It also educates students and the greater New Orleans community about New Orleans cuisine, dating back to U.S. slavery, and creating a holistic understanding of the food industry.
The six other participating partners are: Austin College: “Racial Violence and Resistance”;
Centenary College of Louisiana and Huston-Tillotson University in partnership: “Race,
Health, and Medicine”; Lewis University: “Race, Place, and Migration,” with “Mass
Incarceration” as a secondary theme; Meredith College: “Contested Citizenship,” with
“Economic Disparities” as a secondary theme, and Sewanee: The University of the South:
“Commemoration and Memory.”
Pulitzer-Prize winning historian David W. Blight, Sterling Professor of American History at Yale University and executive director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition (GLC) at Yale’s MacMillan Center is the project director.
Programmatic activities will begin this spring and build toward a series of regional conferences hosted by the Regional Collaboration Partners during the 2021–2022 academic year. For more information, please visit, www.cic.edu/LegaciesofSlavery.
Legacies of American Slavery is an initiative of the Council of Independent Colleges, in cooperation with the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the MacMillan Center, Yale University. It is supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with supplemental funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Dillard University, located in New Orleans at 2601 Gentilly Blvd., is a private four-year
liberal arts historically black institution with a history dating back to 1869. For
more information, please visit www.dillard.edu. Also, follow us on Twitter, Facebook @DU1869 and Instagram, Dillard University.