Call My Name, Clemson: Documenting the Black Experience in an American University Community
Call My Name, Clemson: Documenting the Black Experience in an American University Community

Call My Name, Clemson: Documenting the Black Experience in an American University Community

by Rhondda Robinson Thomas

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Between 1890 and 1915, a predominately African American state convict crew built Clemson University on John C. Calhoun’s Fort Hill Plantation in upstate South Carolina. Calhoun’s plantation house still sits in the middle of campus. From the establishment of the plantation in 1825 through the integration of Clemson in 1963, African Americans have played a pivotal role in sustaining the land and the university. Yet their stories and contributions are largely omitted from Clemson’s public history.

This book traces “Call My Name: African Americans in Early Clemson University History,” a Clemson English professor’s public history project that helped convince the university to reexamine and reconceptualize the institution’s complete and complex story from the origins of its land as Cherokee territory to its transformation into an increasingly diverse higher-education institution in the twenty-first century. Threading together scenes of communal history and conversation, student protests, white supremacist terrorism, and personal and institutional reckoning with Clemson’s past, this story helps us better understand the inextricable link between the history and legacies of slavery and the development of higher education institutions in America.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781609387419
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Publication date: 11/02/2020
Series: Humanities and Public Life
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 284
File size: 32 MB
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About the Author

Rhondda Robinson Thomas is Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature at Clemson University. She is author of Claiming Exodus: A Cultural History of Afro-Atlantic Identity, 1770–1903. She is faculty director for “Call My Name: African Americans in Early Clemson University History,” and lives in Anderson, South Carolina.

Table of Contents

Contents Foreword by Anne Valk and Teresa Mangum, series editors Preface Call: The Black Fruster Family’s Clemson Connection by Eric Young and Response: Hush, Oh, Hush, Somebody’s Calling My Name by Rhondda Robinson Thomas Section One Call: Of String and Mammy by Rhondda Robinson Thomas Response: Black Lives Have Always Mattered by Michael LeMahieu Chapter 1. The Calling: I Will Testify Section Two Call: Love, Duke Ellington by Rhondda Robinson Thomas Response: “World-Famous” Duke Ellington, the Central Dance Association, and the Tiger by Brendan McNeely Chapter 2. The Project: Call My Name Section Three Call: The Twelve-Year-Old Felon by Rhondda Robinson Thomas Response: A Seat at the Table by Thomas Marshall Chapter 3. The Challenge: Creating Collaborations Section Four Call: Loyal Slave or Dangerous Trickster? by Rhondda Robinson Thomas Response: The Fire This Time by Emily Boyter and Edith Dunlap Chapter 4. The Impact: Clemson History as Public History Section Five Call: Post-desegregation Clemson by Rhondda Robinson Thomas Response: A Tale of Parallels by Shaquille Fontenot Coda: The Power of Calling a Name Postlude Call: Reconciling My Lineage to Strom Thurmond by Monica Williams-Hudgens Response: Where There’s a Will... by Rhondda Robinson Thomas Contributors Acknowledgments Notes Bibliography Index

What People are Saying About This

Leslie M. Harris

“Through a compelling blend of history, contemporary experiences, observation, and personal honesty, Thomas reveals how the nation’s institutions continue to rely
on a small group of people to make change in the area of race and racism, not to mention other forms of diversity. Call My Name, Clemson is a fascinating, thought-provoking read for anyone interested in how political change happens.”—Leslie M. Harris, coeditor, Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies

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