Wednesday, June 29, 2016

AALCI in NYC

From June 23 - 27, the AALCI Fellows, institute founder/director Joycelyn Moody, and I spent time in New York City. We visited the Museum of the City of New York, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the African Burial Ground, and the Strand Book Store, among other places. We also, as always, walked, explored, and talked about what we were seeing and thinking.




Visiting the Strand Book Store

On June 27, the Fellows visited the Strand Book Store. We spent an extended amount of time perusing and discussing books and ideas in the store.












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AALCI in NYC
Visiting the African Burial Ground
Touring Harlem & the Schomburg with Doris G. Lango-Leak
AALCI 2016   

Visiting the African Burial Ground

On June 25, our group visited the African Burial Ground. The visit gave the group a chance to consider aspects of New York City that had previously remained hidden.





Touring Harlem & the Schomburg with Doris G. Lango-Leak

Doris G. Lango-Leak discusses the Schomburg with AALCI Fellows.

On June 24, our group received the special opportunity of an impromptu tour from guide extraordinaire Doris G. Lango-Leak. She guided us around the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. And she made us aware of notable people and important historical landmarks.


I've met Sister Lango-Leak for years during annual visits to the African Burial Ground. She let me know that she gave tours of Harlem and various other locales in New York City. So what good fortune we had by bumping into her at the Schomburg.

Sister Lango-Leak is deeply knowledgeable about black history and particularly about people, places, and culture in Harlem. We'd take two or three steps, and she was informing us about some little known fact, or some useful bit of information, or a reminder about someone special who had walked the same streets that we occupied.


All our Fellows agreed that one of the highlights of our trip to New York City and perhaps for the summer was getting the opportunity to learn from this fountain of knowledge known as Doris G. Lango-Leak.






Related: 
AALCI in NYC
Visiting the Strand Book Store 
Visiting the African Burial Ground 
AALCI 2016  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

2016 Poster Session

Today, our Fellows presented aspects of their ongoing research projects at our annual poster session.
















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AALCI 2016

Meeting with Dean Agbenyiga

Fellows meet with UTSA, Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Brenna LaFa Agbenyiga.

On June 21, we met with DeBrenna LaFa Agbenyiga, Vice Provost and Dean of the graduate school at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). It was an important opportunity for the Fellows to converse with a university leader and get first-hand information about pursuing graduate studies at UTSA.

During our time with her, Dean Agbenyiga discussed specific programs offered by the graduate school at UTSA. She discussed funding and professional support, and she responded to questions about various processes and opportunities of graduate study at the university.

She also talked about her on journey from student to professor to assistant and associate dean positions to Dean. The Fellows and I were quite impressed. Dean Agbenyiga's leadership, thoughtfulness, and accomplishments are inspiring.       

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AALCI 2016

Harriet Kelley: A treasured art collector


Harriet Kelley gives an overview of the McNay

What a wonderful time we had. On June 21, the Fellows, Institute founder/director Joycelyn Moody, and I spent the morning touring the McNay Art Museum with one of our country's most important African American art collectors, Harriet Kelley.

Beginning in the 1980s, Kelley and her husband Harmon Kelley devoted themselves to learning as much as they could about artworks by African Americans, and they began collecting.  And collecting. Since that time, they have loaned pieces from their collection to museums across the country, making it possible for thousands and thousands of people to view magnificent works of art by black people from the late 19th century through the 20th century. 


Harriet Kelley meets with AALCI Fellows and Joycelyn Moody

When the Kelley's began collecting, she informed us, there was no Internet with images of rare paintings by black people. So she and her husband wrote to people in places where paintings were, and in return, they received Polaroid images of works by artists that they were seeking. Sometimes the images were of such poor quality that the Kelley's had to struggle to confirm whether they were viewing authentic pieces.

But they persisted. They traveled the country collecting works and attending exhibits. Along the way, they became increasingly knowledgeable and greatly respected for their contributions preserving African American artistic works. 

Harriet Kelley discusses a work by Jacob Lawrence.

On Tuesday, we enjoyed the benefits of Kelley's expertise and generosity. She walked us around the museum and showed us a variety of paintings and sculptures, some of which were donated by the "Harmon and Harriet Kelley Foundation for the Arts" to the McNay. 



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Art collector Harriet Kelley & AALCI
AALCI 2016
The Harmon & Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper