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Spring 2021 Newsletter

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Spring 21 FAQ 

Recovering erased history

Beginning in February, the Humanities Institute will host a series of events exploring the idea of “erased history.” These are not simply events that history has forgotten but events that have been, and continue to be, actively repressed, ignored, or misrepresented. We will look at both local and national examples that share some common historical origins and see how those events continue to shape community relations and identities.

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 // 7:00 PM (EST) // Online
The Ocoee Massacre: A Documentary Film Viewing and Discussion

About this event

This documentary produced by Cox Media Group and WFTV, an ABC affiliate in Orlando, uses oral histories and archival records to tell the story of the massacre of the thriving black community in Ocoee, Florida. When African American citizens of the town insisted on their right to vote in the 1920 election, white supremacist groups stormed the town. Lead by deputized members of the KKK, residents were burned alive in their homes, shot while trying to escape, or lynched. The violence resulted in the displacement of hundreds of black residents; their property was then seized and resold without their consent. This powerful film will be screened at 7pm, followed by a group discussion.

Learn more about this documentary here.

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 // 7:00 PM (EST) // Online
Deliberately Forgetting the Destruction of Dreams: Looking Back on 100 Years of Documenting the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 

Tulsa Standpipe Hill 1921

Image courtesy of Special Collections at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa

About this event

Guest Speaker: Lynn Wallace, Library Director, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa.
A growing and prosperous African-American community had their aspirations and dreams destroyed on the night of May 31st 1921 when a newspaper article and rumors incited one of the worst incidents of racial violence in this nation’s history. Deliberate efforts to suppress the truth of these events kept Tulsa Oklahoma out of the history books for decades and members of the community either silenced or unaware.

What happened that night?  Why have so few heard about this history?  What happened to the dreams destroyed?  Where are the records and documents that record this history? 100 years later, what questions still go unanswered?  
Join us February 23rd to explore the history of Black Wall Street, The Tulsa Race Massacre, the aftermath, the fear that silenced a generation and the efforts to document, preserve and provide access to surviving documents and eyewitness accounts.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021 // 7:00 PM (EST) // Online
Remembering the Ocoee Election Day Massacre and Re-Learning US History

About the event

Guest Speaker: Paul Ortiz, University of Florida.

The state of Florida has recently mandated a law requiring that public schools and state institutions teach the history of the Ocoee, Florida Election Day Massacre. What happened in Ocoee, Florida in 1920? How has the City of Ocoee and other civic organizations worked to commemorate and remember the victims of this traumatic incident? How do the tragic events that transpired in Orange County intersect with the broader histories of the African American freedom struggle as well as today's efforts at historical truth and reconciliation in the age of Black Lives Matter? Finally, what is our role as educated individuals in making sure that future generations never forget the Ocoee Massacre? The author will draw from his book Emancipation Betrayed as well as more than 20 years of involvement in local history initiatives in Ocoee.

Call to Action Charges from Paul Ortiz:
  • Train and provide resources for our public educators.
  • Encourage high school students to register to vote.
  • Attend your next school board meeting or call your local school board member. Bring the new statute and encourage school boards and districts to brainstorm how to structure, implement, and fund this new required curriculum.
Recommended Upcoming Events and Resources for Further Exploration:
Emancipation Betrayed

Bestiary Cover Image

Book Group:
Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

Thursday, March 4, 2021
7:00 PM (EST) • Online

About this event

A fantastic multigenerational tale that uses memory and folk-lore to weave a story of migration, queer lineages, and girlhood. The novel begins when Mother tells Daughter the story of Hu Gu Po, a tiger spirit who lived in a woman’s body and hungered to eat children. Soon afterward, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. More mysterious events follow all while Daughter is falling for Ben, a neighborhood girl with strange powers of her own.

Book group is open to all students, faculty & staff, and the community.


Binti Cover Image

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
7:00 PM EST • Online

About this event

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself, but first she has to make it there, alive.

Book group is open to all students, faculty & staff, and the community. Join us for a virtual discussion of this reading by registering above to receive the event link.


Tuesday, march 30, 2021 // 7:00 PM (EST) // Online

An Evening with Nnedi Okorafor

The Judy Genshaft Honors College and the Humanities Institute are proud to host internationally renowned author, Nnedi Okorafor on March 30. Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Okorafor is known for weaving African culture and folklore into creative, evocative settings with memorable characters. This free event focuses on Africanfuturism, a term coined by Dr. Okorafor, and the power of literature and storytelling to change the world.

Nnedi Okorafor

Read more

Okorafor is considered by many to be the successor to Ursula LeGuin for her literary quality fantasy and sci-fi creations. She’s a multi New York Times bestselling author, and her many literary awards include a Nebula and Hugo Award. She has a passionate YA following for her Binti series, and the Akata Witch books. Okorafor is also a celebrated author of several comic book series. She writes for both The Black Panther and Shuri, both from Marvel Comics, and she authored a spinoff graphic novel, Wakanda Forever. Her other comics include Antar: the Black Knight (IDW/Mirage Films), and LaGuardia. Author George R.R. Martin and HBO are turning Nnedi’s adult novel, Who Fears Death, into a TV series. Students in several classes will be reading Okorafor’s work this semester and the Humanities Institute has selected the first Binti novella for its spring book group.


Gloria Munoz Event




BLM thumbnail

What does "Black Lives Matter" believe?

Click here to read more.


How To Be An Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi


Jim Crowe

The New Jim Crow
by Michelle Alexander



USF Libraries' Antiracist Reading List

View list of compiled materials here.


NPR's List of Books, Films And Podcasts About Racism

 Click here for the list of resources.

 New Yorker

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Read The New Yorker book review here.

 Terrance Hayes

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes

Learn more about the book here









 For further information or assistance, please contact Jade von Werder at