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Annual Meeting Spotlight: Judith Sloan

Judith Sloan is an actor, audio artist, writer, radio producer, human rights activist, educator and poet whose work combines humor, pathos and a love of the absurd. For over twenty years, Sloan has been producing and presenting interdisciplinary works in audio and theater, portraying voices often ignored by the mass media.  Her commentaries, plays, poetry and documentaries have aired on National Public Radio, New York Public Radio, WBEZ Chicago, PRI, BBC, and listener sponsored stations throughout the U.S. She is a member of the faculty at Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU and a member of the Dramatist Guild and the Network of Ensemble Theatres. Sloan has been a guest performer and lecturer at Dartmouth College, Columbia University, Yale University, SUNY Purchase, University of Hawaii, and University of Massachusetts, among others. Along with Warren Lehrer, Sloan is co-founder of EarSay, a non profit arts organization creating projects bridge the divide between documentary and expressive forms in books, exhibitions, on stage, in sound & electronic media. EarSay  committed to fostering understanding across cultures, generations, gender and class, through artistic productions and education. We bring our work to theatres, museums, schools, prisons, festivals and universities. With Lehrer she is the co-author and creator of Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America, a multi-media project that includes a book, performance, radio series, and traveling exhibition documenting the lives of new immigrants and refugees in the United States through photographs, stories and sounds. The critically acclaimed project won the Brendan Gill Prize for its ability to capture a group portrait  of a multi-ethnic, multi-racial community that is a magnifying glass for the future of America and a celebration of resilient, prismatic character – in search of home.

Judith Sloan’s YO MISS! Transforming Trauma Into Art, will be performed on Saturday evening at the annual meeting. Fusing the art of theatre, radio, and music, Judith Sloan’s YO MISS! is an eye- and ear-witness account of one artist retelling stories of teaching immigrant/refugee teenagers and incarcerated youth grappling with the cataclysmic events that shaped them. Using midi-controllers and an original musical score to accompany her compelling performance, Judith Sloan transforms into a multitude of characters ages 14 to 80 years young. In this sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always truth-seeking show, she confronts issues of race and cultural divides, and learns from her students as they learn from her about finding resilience, humanity and humor in each other’s stories.

She is one part Studs Terkel, one part Lily Tomlin, two-parts originality.” The Herald / Bloomington, Indiana 

A world view that sees comedy and tragedy as two bones of the same skeleton in the closet. Superb!.” The Scotsman

On Saturday morning, Judith Sloan will present the teacher workshop Oral History, Cultural Identity, and the Arts. She will lead workshop participants in a series of exercises that focus on the art of listening and transforming stories into artistic expression. The tools and techniques can be used in a range of situations from elementary to university classes, with small groups healing from trauma, in community projects, in radio and journalism, interviewing for creation of theater, poetry, multimedia work, and can be adapted for all ages.

Come learn more about EarSay and visit Judith Sloan in the Exhibit Hall during the annual meeting! Listen to a recent public radio feature on Judith Sloan.

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Annual Meeting Plenary: The Guantánamo Public Memory Project

The Guantánamo Public Memory Project is a multi-year collaborative public history project that seeks to build public awareness of the long history of the U.S. naval station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and foster dialogue on its current uses and possible futures for the site. Launched in 2009 from the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience in conjunction with Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, the Project entails a growing collaboration of universities, organizations, and individuals. Historians Liz Ševčenko and Patrick Moore will discuss the project’s goals, activities, and outcomes, especially emphasizing the role of oral history as a means of collecting and sharing new stories about the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station. From 2011-2014, Ševčenko, Moore, and teams of students and faculty from more than a dozen universities worked with people who lived, worked, served, or were held at GTMO — as well as with journalists, lawyers, human rights activists, artists, and museum professionals — to encourage community conversations about the US base and consider its relevance to numerous issues including national security, militarism, immigration, public health, and incarceration.

Liz Ševčenko was the founding director of the Guantanamo Public Memory Project. She also was founding director of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a network of historic sites that foster public dialogue on pressing contemporary issues. As Coalition Director, Ševčenko worked with initiatives in more than 60 countries to design replicable programs and practices that reflect on past struggles and inspire citizens to become involved in addressing their contemporary legacies. She is currently co-director of the Humanities Action Lab at the New School, and director of its Global Dialogues on Incarceration.

Patrick Moore is the current president of the National Council on Public History and the founder and director of the Public History Program at the University of West Florida. Professor Moore and his colleagues at UWF developed the mobile app Next Exit History™, a GPS-based system that provides iPhone and Android smartphone users with on-site historic information that Moore takes on the road in conjunction with his UWF summer travel courses on Route 66, Civil Rights, and the Lewis and Clark expedition. Moore’s other notable projects include a study of Cuban commuters and exiles at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, as well as an assessment of Hurricane Katrina’s impact on Gulf Coast fishing communities. As a fellow at the Kennedy Space Center, Moore helped create an oral history and knowledge-mapping program and is in the final edits of an oral history-based manuscript titled Voices From the Cape.

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2015 International Committee Scholarship Recipients

This year the Committee awarded $4,000 to international recipients to attend the 2015 Annual Meeting in Tampa this coming October.

The Committee received 11 applications and awards were made to 7 recipients. The awardees are:

Dzhanyl Bokontaeva from Kyrgyzstan

Sean Field, South Africa

Adan King, Canada

Carol McKirdy, Australia

Jorge Mercado, Puerto Rico

Jacky Moore, England

Christin Quirk, Australia

Over the next few months we will feature abstracts from these recipients.

Congratulations to all those who were awarded scholarships.

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June Education Committee Blog

From the Southern Oral History Program Blog:

Lumbee History Service-Learning Research Projects

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Annual Meeting Spotlight: Keynote Speaker Charles E. Cobb, Jr.

Remembering and Telling the History of the Southern Civil Rights Movement

The keynote speaker for the Friday lunch at the annual meeting will be Charles E. Cobb, Jr.  Cobb is a prolific author who has worked tirelessly to document and preserve the history of the Black Freedom Movement in America.  From 1962-1967, Cobb served as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), mainly in Mississippi. After SNCC, he and other SNCC veterans established Drum and Spear Bookstore in Washington, DC which became for a time the largest bookstore in the country specializing in books for and about black people. Later he traveled through parts of Africa, including Tanzania, where he lived in 1970 and 1971.

In 1974 Cobb began reporting for WHUR Radio in Washington, DC.  He later worked at National Public Radio as a foreign affairs reporter, working on the network’s coverage of Africa and helping establish NPR’s first coverage of African affairs. After leaving NPR, Cobb worked as a correspondent for the PBS show Frontline from 1983 until 1985. In 1985 he became the first black staff writer for National Geographic Magazine. He was a member of National Geographic’s editorial staff from 1985-1997.

Currently Cobb is a senior analyst at  He has taught about the southern civil rights movement at several universities and authored four books including Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project (with Robert Moses), On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail, and, most recently, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible.

In 2011, Cobb helped establish the SNCC Legacy Project, which works with SNCC veterans to archive historical documents, and to support their efforts to tell, teach, and reflect on civil rights history and the ongoing impact of the movement in America.  On March 2, 2015 the SNCC Legacy Project in collaboration with Duke University launched a One Person One Vote website: In April Duke received a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to continue and expand this project over the next three years. Cobb has been on Duke’s campus as the “scholar-activist” in this effort.

For more on Charles Cobb, see these excerpts from an oral history interview conducted by OHA executive director Cliff Kuhn for the National Center on Civil and Human Rights:

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