Archive | June, 2012

National Archives at St. Louis Hosts Preservation Road Show July 10 and 12

28 Jun

On Tuesday, July 10, and Thursday, July 12,  the National Archives at St. Louis will host a Preservation Road Show featuring a panel discussion on preservation and a hands-on preservation workshop.These events are free and open to the public and will be of particular interest to genealogists, family historians, and anyone who is interested in preserving documents or photographs on paper or in digital format. The following workshops will be held at the new National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) facility in St. Louis.

Panel discussion: Practical Preservation: Using Preservation Techniques in the Home
Tuesday, July 10, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The panel discussion on preservation will feature local preservation experts: Michael Everman, Supervising Archivist, Missouri State Archives-St. Louis; Nadia Ghasedi, Film Archivist, Washington University; Tim Achee, Archives Processor, St. Louis University; and Sara Holmes, Supervisory Preservation Specialist, National Archives at St. Louis. This panel will be hosted by Christian Cudnik, Saturday morning announcer for FM 90.7 KWMU – St. Louis Public Radio.

Hands-on Preservation Workshop
Thursday, July 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Members of the public can bring one item from home, and Preservation Road Show professionals will answer questions and provide instruction on preservation techniques you can apply at home. They will not provide appraisal services. Allowable items include documents, photographs, home movies, scrapbooks, comic books, and artwork. Weapons of any kind (swords, guns, knives, etc.) are prohibited. Free Public Parking and shuttle service at Hazelwood East Middle School.

Additional note:  While the events are free, photo identification is required to enter the National Archives building. 

Information for this was taken from the National Archives press release. For more information about this event, see the contact info on the press release.


Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

22 Jun

“Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story” published by Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.) – 1957

The Film & Media Archive holds a copy of the very rare comic, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Gathered by filmmaker Henry Hampton for the series Eyes on the Prize, it is part of the remarkable legacy of the civil rights movement that continues to have an impact today.

Printed in eye-catching colors and meant for readers of all ages the comic was published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a Christian organization, in 1957.The story of the comic began earlier in 1955 but continued far beyond that as it was translated into numerous languages including Spanish, Arabic, and Farsi. The comic book and the philosophy of nonviolence employed by Dr. King during the civil rights movement has been distributed and employed in South America, South Africa and most recently in Egypt during the protests in Tahrir Square in 2011.

Mixing fictional and real characters it tells the story of the bus boycott in a graphic format. According to an article published by Booker Rising,

Just five months after the start of the bus boycott, a pacifist organization called the Fellowship of Reconciliation began work on the comic book. It hoped that the comic-book medium would appeal to children and adults, white and black Americans. The organization collaborated with the Al Capp Organization (creators of “L’il Abner”) on the artwork. Blacklisted comic writer Benton Resnick, who had testified at the Senate Comic Book Hearings of 1954, was hired to write the script. Though it was originally intended to focus only on King and what was thought at first to be a short-term boycott, the final comic book bears witness to the more complex history that unfolded during its two-year production process.

“Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story” published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.) – 1957

Although Dr. King and the participants of the Montgomery Bus Boycott were proponents of nonviolence, the resistance against them was violent. The comic details several acts of violence which occurred, including the bombing of several local churches including that of Rev. Graetz and Rev. Ralph Abernathy.

Mixing fact with fiction, the comic portrays a character called, “Jones” who is seen in the panel below deciding to organize a boycott in support of Rosa Parks. In reality a local activist named Jo Ann Robinson organized the boycott including the mimeographing and distribution of the notices to boycott the buses after Rosa Parks’ arrest. Robinson was interviewed for Henry Hampton’s series Eyes on the Prize, and described her role in the boycott,

I, as President of the main body of the Women’s Political Council, got on the phone and I called all the officers of the three chapters. I called as many of the men who had supported us as possible and I told them that Rosa Parks had been arrested and she would be tried. They said, you have the plans, put them into operation. I called every person who was in every school and everyplace where we had planned to be at that house…have somebody at that school or wherever it was at a certain time that I would be there with materials for them to disseminate. I didn’t go to bed that night. I cut those stencils. I ran off 35,000 copies…and I distributed them. –Interview with Jo Ann Robinson for Eyes on the Prize

“Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story” published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.) – 1957

By the time the comic was published in 1957, the Bus Boycott had been successfully resolved and the civil rights movement was gaining momentum across the South. The last section of the comic has a nonviolence “handbook” or primer titled, “How the Montgomery Method Works.” The history of Gandhi’s protests and eventual victory over the British is told, and then practical steps are listed for how to conduct a nonviolent campaign.

The direct simplicity of the comic book form and the powerful message of how a minority or oppressed group can enact social change through nonviolent protest has had resonance around the globe. The comic has been translated into Spanish, Farsi, and Arabic.

Comic Alliance reported in 2011 that a version of the Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Bus Boycott comic had been translated and reprinted by the American Islamic CongressHAMSA initiative,

With the endorsement of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Ziada [ Egypt Director of the American Islamic Congress] distributed 2,000 copies of the comic throughout the Middle East…In a recent newsletter to supporters of the American Islamic Congress, Ziada indicated that the translated Martin Luther King comic book had been identified as contributing to the air of peaceful revolution in Egypt.

The full version of the comic can be read online here.

National Film Preservation Foundation Grant

14 Jun
George T. Keating Home Movie featuring Ford Madox Ford

George T. Keating Home Movie featuring Ford Madox Ford

Washington University’s Film & Media Archive has been awarded a National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) grant to preserve the only known footage of the influential writer, editor, and critic, Ford Madox Ford.

Ford Madox Ford was one of the most prolific writers and literary critics of the 20th century. He is well-known for his personal and professional associations with legendary writers, such as Joseph Conrad (with whom he collaborated on three novels), Ernest Hemingway, Henry James, Thomas Hardy, H.G. Wells, James Joyce and Ezra Pound, among others. His 1915 novel, The Good Soldier, is often cited by critics as a masterpiece. For example, it is listed in Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels and The Observer included it in their 100 Greatest Novels of All Time.

Ford lived in Paris in the 1920s and in addition to being a writer published an influential journal, The Transatlantic Review. He published numerous writers who would go on to great acclaim including Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Jean Rhys, and many others. As a writer, Ford used innovative narrative techniques including intricate flashbacks and shifting of time, especially in his acclaimed novel, The Good Soldier.

The George T. Keating Home Movie featuring Ford Madox Ford consists of images of Mr. Ford enjoying an afternoon with family members and friends on the grounds of Mr. Keating’s home in Plainfield, New Jersey, circa 1929. As the only known footage of Mr. Ford in existence, this rare portrait preserves the legacy of one of the most prolific writers of modernist literature.

The Modern Literature/Manuscripts unit of Washington University Libraries Department of Special Collections also holds a collection of Mr. Ford’s papers, including drafts, galleys and correspondence. The preservation and accessibility of the George T. Keating Home Movie featuring Ford Madox Ford will complement these materials as researchers are provided with a more complete representation of Mr. Ford. Without preservation of this film, Mr. Ford only lives on through text-based resources.

The Film & Media Archive will screen the newly preserved film at the 2012 Home Movie Day event. In addition, the film will be screened at an event co-sponsored by the Modern Literature/Manuscripts unit of Special Collections. Scheduled for spring 2013, this event will showcase the film as well as the other Ford materials held by the university. In conjunction with this event, a digital exhibition will be made freely available via the web.  Like all Special Collections events, these events will be free and open to the public.

For a full list of the grants, see the National Film Preservation Foundation’s press release.

The Dana Brown Collection

7 Jun

An Exhibit: June – August, 2012

Image from The Dana Brown Collection – Washington University Film & Media Archive

An exhibit introducing the recently acquired Dana Brown Collection will be on view at the Film & Media Archive from June – August 2012. The Archive is open Monday – Friday, 8:30 – 5:00.

Dana Brown was born in West Virginia in 1905. The eleventh of twelve children, Brown left home as a teenager and traveled across America working a variety of jobs, many of them involving manual labor on the railroad, or as a ranch hand, before eventually finding work as a Fuller Brush salesman. By 1946 he was living in St. Louis and working for the General Grocer Co. In 1950 Manhattan Coffee was established as a division of General Grocer and Dana Brown became linked with the product that would help earn his fortune. From the 1950s on he went on a series of journeys and safaris and began documenting his trips with film and audio recordings.

From 1954 to 1990, he went on over 35 trips, and his destinations included the Belgian Congo, Nepal, Sumatra, India, Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Vietnam, and many other places. As time went on, he incorporated the footage and audio he captured into commercials and nature films that gave viewers a glimpse of amazing landscapes and animals, and almost always ended with a mention of Safari coffee. Brown eventually left Manhattan Coffee, which had been bought by Nestle, to start his own coffee company and continued to sell Safari coffee. Brown’s entrepreneurial success enabled his philanthropy and he gave a $10,000 gift to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis in 1985. The trust he established continues to pursue charitable works.

The Dana Brown Collection contains original film and audio material, scripts, and correspondence, including Dana Brown’s letters to editors of various publications. Researchers will find a rich source of material in this collection about the cultural history of the mid-to-late twentieth century as well as an environmental record of natural areas throughout Africa and Asia.

For more information, please contact the Film & Media Archive.

Medal of Freedom awarded to John Doar and Toni Morrison

1 Jun
John Doar in "Eyes on the Prize"

John Doar in “Eyes on the Prize”

The Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be given to civilians, was awarded to John Doar, former Assistant U.S. Attorney General, and Toni Morrison, acclaimed author of Beloved and many other works, by President Obama on May 29, 2012. The two were honored along with several other recipients including musician Bob Dylan and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The Film & Media Archive at Washington University holds original interviews from John Doar and Toni Morrison. Doar was interviewed for the Blackside series about the civil rights movement, Eyes on the Prize, and Morrison was interviewed for I’ll Make Me a World, a series about African Americans in the arts.

The entire interview with John Doar can be read online. In his interview he talked of the many cases and incidents he was involved with during the 1960s, including the desegregation of the University of Mississippi with the enrollment of James Meredith, and voter registration efforts in Mississippi. Doar worked to increase voter registration of African Americans in Mississippi with civil rights activists Medgar Evers and Bob Moses. In his interview for Eyes on the Prize, Doar described the hierarchical system which existed throughout the southern states during the 1960s:

…describing the system is not so much talking about the weapons or the obstacles. It’s the situation, and black citizens were second-class from cradle til grave. They went to segregated schools. They used segregated bathrooms. They sat in the back of segregated buses. They were buried—they had different color birth certificates–they were buried in different cemeteries. Everything was second-class. They couldn’t vote; they couldn’t have the same freedom that white people did, and it’s a terrible system, a caste system, and it was a monumental disgrace for the country. And the weapons that, that the southern white people used were to keep the blacks from voting. And once the Justice department and the Civil Rights organizations began an effort to force the white officials, state officials, to permit blacks to voting, then is when the intimidation occurred, or when it started to build up. And our objective was to try to keep the intimidation at a minimum, and to stop it if we could while we built up the registration and voting of blacks.

–John Doar from Interview with John Doar (Eyes on the Prize)

For more information on the Interview with John Doar, or any of the other interviews conducted for Eyes on the Prize, please visit the site created by Digital Library Services and the Film & Media Archive, Eyes on the Prize: The Complete Series.

Toni Morrison’s interview for I’ll Make Me a World is not available online at this time, but it is available to view in the Film & Media Archive. Please contact us for more information.