In this vital transnational study, Kimberly D. Hill critically analyzes the colonial history of central Africa through the perspective of two African American missionaries: Alonzo Edmiston and Althea Brown Edmiston. The pair met and fell in love while working as a part of the American Presbyterian Congo Mission — an operation which aimed to support the people of the Congo Free State suffering forced labor and brutal abuses under Belgian colonial governance. They discovered a unique kinship amid the country’s growing human rights movement and used their familiarity with industrial education, popularized by Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, as a way to promote Christianity and offer valuable services to local people.
From 1902 through 1941, the Edmistons designed their mission projects to promote community building, to value local resources, and to incorporate the perspectives of the African participants. They focused on childcare, teaching, translation, construction, and farming — ministries that required constant communication with their Kuba neighbors. Hill concludes with an analysis of how the Edmistons’ pedagogy influenced government-sponsored industrial schools in the Belgian Congo through the 1950s. A Higher Mission illuminates not only the work of African American missionaries — who are often overlooked and under-studied — but also the transnational implications of black education in the South. Significantly, Hill also addresses the role of black foreign missionaries in the early civil rights movement, an argument that suggests an underexamined connection between earlier nineteenth-century Pan-Africanisms and activism in the interwar era.
As the UT Dallas community – and the nation at-large – take steps towards better understanding racial differences and histories, faculty from the School of Arts and Humanities have compiled a catalogue of resources for individuals who want to learn about African American studies and race.
Dr. Kimberly Hill, assistant professor of history, said the faculty wanted to provide information to members of the UT Dallas community who have brought renewed attention to racial justice issues.
“Several School of Arts & Humanities faculty and staff offer courses, publications, and public service that can enhance this conversation,” she said. “The topics of race and African American Studies contribute to the ways that we study a variety of fields. The range of publications also suggests the influence of these topics on U.S. and world history.”
Current and Previous Academic Resources Relevant to African American Studies
- ARHM 3342 – Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies in the Arts and Humanities – The
Harlem Renaissance (Kimberly Hill and Sabrina Starnaman)
- COMM 4350 – Intercultural Communication (Melissa Hernandez-Katz)
- COMM 3351 – History & Theory of Communication (Barbara Baker)
- COMM 3352 – Media & Culture (Carie King, Janet Johnson)
- FILM 3342 – Topics in Film – Race, Gender, & Cinema (Shilyh Warren)
- HIST 1301 – U.S. History to the Civil War (Ben Wright, Kimberly Hill, and Whitney Stewart)
- HIST 1302 – U.S. History from the Civil War (Whitney Stewart)
- HIST 2301 – History of Texas (Whitney Stewart)
- HIST 2330 – The Civil War and Reconstruction (Ben Wright)
- HIST 2381 – Survey of African American History (Natalie Ring)
- HIST 2384 – U.S. Women from Settlement to Present (Anne Gray Fischer)
- HIST 3366 – Themes in Social History – Migration and American Civilization (Kimberly Hill)
- HIST 3366 – Themes in Social History – History of Prisons (Anne Gray Fischer)
- HIST 3390 – Twentieth Century African American History (Kimberly Hill)
- HIST 4376 – Public History (Whitney Stewart)
- HIST 4378 – Topics in History – Slavery in American Popular Culture and Film (Natalie Ring)
- HIST 4384 – Topics in Southern History – Origins of the Jim Crow South (Natalie Ring)
- HIST 4381 – Topics in Comparative History – The African Diaspora (Kimberly Hill)
- LIT 3300 – Western Literary Tradition (Sean Cotter)
- LIT 3314 – Continental Modernist Poetry (Sean Cotter)
- LIT 3329 – Ethnic American Literature – Harlem Renaissance (Tim Redman – retired)
- LIT 3337 – Literature & Military Dictatorship in Latin America (Sarah Valente)
- LIT 3329 – Ethnic American Literature – Foundations of African American Literature, 1850-1950 (Sabrina Starnaman)
- LIT 4348 – Topics in Literature – Literature & Social Engagement (Sabrina Starnaman)
- LIT 4329 – Major Authors – Toni Morrison (Theresa Towner)
- HIST 6320 – Nineteenth-Century America (Ben Wright)
- HIST 6325 – America in the Twentieth Century (Kimberly Hill)
- HIST 6332 – Slavery in America (Ben Wright)
- HUHI 6314 – Thought, Culture, and Society in the United States – Long Civil Rights Movement (Kimberly Hill)
- HIST 7306 – Women and the Holocaust (Sarah Valente)
- HUHI 6346 – New Directions in Southern Studies – Race and Religion in the American South (Kimberly Hill)
- HUHI 6346 – New Directions in Southern Studies (Natalie Ring)
- HUSL 6309 – Continental Modernist Poetry (Sean Cotter)
- HUSL 6309 – Literary Movements – Harlem Renaissance (Tim Redman – retired)
- HUSL 6381 – Critical Approaches to Translation (Sean Cotter)
- HIST 6390 – Topics in History – Slavery in American Popular Culture and Film (Natalie Ring)
- HIST 6390 – Topics in History – History of Prisons and Punishment (Natalie Ring)
- HUSL 6398 – World Literature (Sean Cotter)
- HUHI 6320 – Early American Material Culture (Whitney Stewart)
- HUHI 6390 – Public History (Whitney Stewart)
- Stephanie Cole, Natalie J. Ring, and Peter Wallenstein, eds. The Folly of Jim Crow: Rethinking the Segregated South (University of Texas Press 2012).
- Kimberly D. Hill, A Higher Mission: The Careers of Alonzo and Althea Brown Edmiston in Central Africa (New Directions in Southern History series) (UPK 2020).
- Kimberly Hill, “Anti-Slavery Work by the American Women of the Presbyterian Congo Mission,” in Faith and Slavery in the Presbyterian Diaspora, William Harrison Taylor, Peter C. Messer, eds. (Lehigh 2016), 205-230.
- Kimberly Hill, “Maria Fearing: Domestic Adventurer,” in Alabama Women: Their Lives and Times, Lisa Lindquist Dorr and Susan Youngblood Ashmore, eds. (UGA 2017), 90-107.
- Natalie Ring, The Problem South: Region, Empire, and the New Liberal State, 1880-1930 (Politics and Culture in the Twentieth-Century South) (UGA 2012).
- Ben Wright, Bonds of Salvation: How Christianity Inspired and Limited American Abolitionism (LSU 2020).
- Ben Wright and Zachary W. Dresser eds., Apocalypse and the Millennium in the American Civil War Era (LSU 2013).
- Joseph L. Locke and Ben Wright eds., The American Yawp: A Massively Collaborative Open U.S. History Textbook (Stanford 2019).
- Amy Louise Wood and Natalie Ring, eds. Crime and Punishment in the Jim Crow South (Univ. of Illinois Press 2019).
- Anne Gray Fischer, “‘Land of the White Hunter’: Legal Liberalism and the Racial Politics of Morals Enforcement in Midcentury Los Angeles,” Journal of American History, 105, no. 4 (March 2019), 868–884.
- Anne Gray Fischer, “‘The Place is Gone!’: Policing Black Women to Redevelop Downtown Boston,” Journal of Social History, 53, no. 1 (Fall 2019), 7–26.
- Anne Gray Fischer, “Centering Women on Occupied Territory,” Journal of Civil and Human Rights (forthcoming, December 2020).
- Whitney Nell Stewart and John Garrison Marks, eds., Race and Nation in the Age of Emancipations (Athens: University of Georgia, 2018).
- Whitney Nell Stewart, “Fashioning Frenchness: Gens de Couleur Libres and the Cultural Struggle for Power in Antebellum New Orleans,” Journal of Social History 51, no. 3 (February 2018), 526–56.
- Whitney Nell Stewart, “The Material Culture of Freedom: African American Women and the Southern Free Black Home after the Civil War,” in Creators and Consumers: Women and Material Culture and Visual Art in 19th-Century Texas, the Lower South, and the Southwest, The David B. Warren Symposium, vol. 5(Houston: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2016), 46–58.
- Shilyh Warren, “Recognition on the Surface of Madeline Anderson’s I Am Somebody,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 38, no. 2 (Winter 2013): 353-78.
- Richard S. Newman and Ben Wright, eds., The Abolition Seminar: An educational tool for teachers, students, and all who fight for freedom (abolitionseminar.org).
- Joseph L. Locke and Ben Wright eds., The American Yawp Reader: A U.S. History Primary Source Collection (http://www.americanyawp.com/reader.html).
- Undergraduate Success Scholars Mentor (Ben Wright and Kimberly Hill); USS Presenter (Melissa Hernandez-Katz and Carie King)
- Black History Month programming organizer (Kimberly Hill)
- Diversity Awards Ceremony and Multicultural Achievement Ceremony volunteer (Kimberly Hill)
- First Gen Program Supporters (Melissa Hernandez-Katz, Megan Hering Gray, and Carie King)
- Member, Dallas Memorial to Victims of Racial Violence Advisory Board (Kimberly Hill)
- Member, Diversity Scholars Network, National Center for Institutional Diversity (Anne Gray Fischer)
- Dr. Melissa Hernandez-Katz received the 2018 UTD Diversity Award.
While travelers to antebellum New Orleans consistently commented on a pervasive French aura in the city, exactly what and who defined this Frenchness was in flux over the first half of the nineteenth century. From the city’s earliest days, residents constructed myriad and often conflicting definitions of Frenchness, but most versions associated the Frenchness of New Orleans with the city’s mixed-race character. Colonial society exhibited a tripartite racial structure that legally situated free people of color, many of whom had mixed-race ancestry, between white individuals and enslaved people. Culturally and socially, however, mixed-race Francophones, known as gens de couleur libres, had for decades existed on a relatively equal footing with white Francophones. But beginning slowly in the 1830s and accelerating in the 1850s, the tripartite racial structure of New Orleans gave way to a binary one. As part of this legal, social, and cultural shift, white Francophone New Orleanians began to dissociate Frenchness from its mixed-race past. They emphasized their whiteness as a way of associating themselves with Americans, thereby augmenting their own power and lessening that of gens de couleur libres. Elite gens de couleur libres countered by deploying cultural resources that demonstrated their Frenchness and its mixed-race essence. One of their most potent tools was fashion. As consumers and producers of French fashion, elite gens de couleur libres wielded their influence over New Orleans’s French material culture to counter the regressive race relations of this cosmopolitan city. Fashioning Frenchness: Gens de Couleur Libres and the Cultural Struggle for Power in Antebellum New Orleans
A powerful documentary that features heroes of the anti-sex-trafficking movement in order to raise awareness, expand the movement, and present practical solutions to eradicate it. Every soul matters.
Dr. Wright’s research on slavery has created the unique opportunity for him to be involved in the movement to end modern slavery, firmly believing that if we look at our past and understand how these social injustices survived, we can adapt this information to today’s human and sex-trafficking industries to bring forth effective solutions. Siddhayatan Tirth,“Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex-Trafficking” (2017). Featuring Ben Wright
The exchange between Peter Park, Dan Flory and Leah Kalmanson on Park’s book Africa, Asia and the History of Philosophy: Racism in the Formation of the Philosophical Canon (Albany: SUNY Press, 2013) took place during the APA’s 2016 Central Division meeting (Chicago, Illinios) on a panel sponsored by the Committee on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies. After having peer-reviewed the exchange, JWP invited Sonia Sikka and Mark Larrimore to engage with these papers. All the five papers are being published together in this issue. Author Meets Readers
Are science and technology independent of one another? Is technology dependent upon science, and if so, how is it dependent? Is science dependent upon technology, and if so how is it dependent? Or, are science and technology becoming so interdependent that the line dividing them has become totally erased? This book charts the history of technoscience from the late nineteenth to the end of the twentieth century and shows how the military–industrial–academic complex and big science combined to create new examples of technoscience in such areas as the nuclear arms race, the space race, the digital age, and the new worlds of nanotechnology and biotechnology. A History of Technoscience: Erasing the Boundaries between Science and Technology
Another addition to the Southern Women series, Alabama Women celebrates women’s histories in the Yellowhammer State by highlighting the lives and contributions of women and enriching our understanding of the past and present. Exploring such subjects as politics, arts, and civic organizations, this collection of eighteen biographical essays provides a window into the social, cultural, and geographic milieux of women’s lives in Alabama.
Featured individuals include Augusta Evans Wilson, Maria Fearing, Julia S. Tutwiler, Margaret Murray Washington, Pattie Ruffner Jacobs, Ida E. Brandon Mathis, Ruby Pickens Tartt, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, Sara Martin Mayfield, Bess Bolden Walcott, Virginia Foster Durr, Rosa Parks, Lurleen Burns Wallace, Margaret Charles Smith, and Harper Lee.
Faith and Slavery in the Presbyterian Diaspora considers how, in areas as diverse as the New Hebrides, Scotland, the United States, and East Central Africa, men’s and women’s shared Presbyterian faith conditioned their interpretations of and interactions with the institution of chattel slavery. The chapters highlight how Presbyterians’ reactions to slavery—which ranged from abolitionism, to indifference, to support—reflected their considered application of the principles of the Reformed Tradition to the institution. Consequently, this collection reveals how the particular ways in which Presbyterians framed the Reformed Tradition made slavery an especially problematic and fraught issue for adherents to the faith.
Faith and Slavery, by situating slavery at the nexus of Presbyterian theology and practice, offers a fresh perspective on the relationship between religion and slavery. It reverses the all too common assumption that religion primarily served to buttress existing views on slavery, by illustrating how groups’ and individuals reactions to slavery emerged from their understanding of the Presbyterian faith. The collection’s geographic reach—encompassing the experiences of people from Europe, Africa, America, and the Pacific—filtered through the lens of Presbyterianism also highlights the global dimensions of slavery and the debates surrounding it. The institution and the challenges it presented, Faith and Slavery stresses, reflected less the peculiar conditions of a particular place and time, than the broader human condition as people attempt to understand and shape their world.
Kimberly Hill, “Anti-Slavery Work by the American Women of the Presbyterian Congo Mission,” in Faith and Slavery in the Presbyterian Diaspora, edited by William Harrison Taylor and Peter C. Messer (Lehigh University Press, 2016)
Why do modern Americans believe in something called a sense of humor and how did they come to that belief? Daniel Wickberg traces the cultural history of the concept from its British origins as a way to explore new conceptions of the self and social order in modern America. More than simply the history of an idea, Wickberg’s study provides new insights into a peculiarly modern cultural sensibility.
The expression “sense of humor” was first coined in the 1840s and the idea that such a sense was a personality trait to be valued developed only in the 1870s. What is the relationship between Medieval humoral medicine and this distinctively modern idea of the sense of humor? What has it meant in the past 125 years to declare that someone lacks a sense of humor? How is the joke, as a twentieth-century quasi-literary form, different from the traditional folktale? Wickberg addresses these questions, among others, using the history of ideas to throw new light on the way contemporary Americans think and speak.
The context of Wickberg’s analysis is Anglo-American; the specifically British meanings of humor and laughter from the sixteenth century forward provide the framework for understanding American cultural values in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The genealogy of the sense of humor is, like the study of keywords, an avenue into a significant aspect of the cultural history of modernity. Drawing on a wide range of sources and disciplinary perspectives, Wickberg’s analysis challenges many of the prevailing views of modern American culture and suggests a new model for cultural historians. Daniel Wickberg, “The Senses of Humor: Self and Laughter in Modern America” (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015)
Historian Eric R. Schlereth places religious conflict at the center of early American political culture. He shows ordinary Americans—both faithful believers and Christianity’s staunchest critics—struggling with questions about the meaning of tolerance and the limits of religious freedom. In doing so, he casts new light on the ways Americans reconciled their varied religious beliefs with political change at a formative moment in the nation’s cultural life.
After the American Revolution, citizens of the new nation felt no guarantee that they would avoid the mire of religious and political conflict that had gripped much of Europe for three centuries. Debates thus erupted in the new United States about how or even if long-standing religious beliefs, institutions, and traditions could be accommodated within a new republican political order that encouraged suspicion of inherited traditions. Public life in the period included contentious arguments over the best way to ensure a compatible relationship between diverse religious beliefs and the nation’s recent political developments.
In the process, religion and politics in the early United States were remade to fit each other. From the 1770s onward, Americans created a political rather than legal boundary between acceptable and unacceptable religious expression, one defined in reference to infidelity. Conflicts occurred most commonly between deists and their opponents who perceived deists’ anti-Christian opinions as increasingly influential in American culture and politics. Exploring these controversies, Schlereth explains how Americans navigated questions of religious truth and difference in an age of emerging religious liberty. Eric R. Schlereth, “An Age of Infidels: The Politics of Religious Controversy in the Early United States” (Philadelphia: U. Pennsylvania Press, 2013)