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Release date: Dec. 28, 2000
Contact: Deb Hammacher, Assistant Director, 404-727-0644, or dhammac@emory.edu

Exhibit Explores Contributions of African Americans To Oxford and Emory

WHAT:

A Dream Deferred: African Americans at Emory and Oxford Colleges, 1836-1968

WHEN: Exhibition opening at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, featuring choirs from Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Rust Chapel United Methodist Church. The exhibit will be on display through January. Beginning Jan. 17 the library hours are: Sunday 2 p.m.-2 a.m., Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-2 a.m., Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
WHERE: Hoke O'Kelley Memorial Library, Oxford College of Emory University, Hammill St., Oxford, Ga.
COST: Free and open to the public. For information, call 770-784-4664.

"A Dream Deferred," developed by students in Oxford College's "Cultures of the African Diaspora" course, explores the diverse contributions of African Americans to Oxford College and Emory University, from the founding of Emory College in 1836 to the desegregation of Emory-at-Oxford in 1968.

The exhibit combines Oxford student scholarship with objects loaned from white and African-American families in the Oxford community, including valuable quilts and family photographs. A centerpiece of the exhibit is the desk of Methodist Bishop James Osgood Andrew (1794-1871), an early champion of civil rights who paradoxically was a slave owner. Andrew was the first president of the Emory College board of trustees, and his ownership of the slave Kitty led to the 1845 split of the Methodist Church.

Themes explored in the exhibition include slavery in antebellum Oxford, memories of labor, faith and community, family history, and the impact on campus of segregation and the civil rights movement. The exhibition is part of Emory's Year of Reconciliation, a collection of events and exhibits highlighting reconciliation-related work happening university-wide in many disciplines.

"Reconciliation, in many ways, needs to begin at home," says Oxford anthropology professor Mark Auslander, who teaches the course. "On Emory's 'mother campus' we are keenly aware of the long historical debt Emory owes to Oxford's African-American community. Generations of African-American employees, during the eras of slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crow, labored for the school knowing that neither they nor their children could attend Emory or Oxford as students, so we hope that this exhibition contributes in some small measure to the long-delayed process of acknowledging early African-American historical contributions to this institution."

Speakers at the opening include Emory University Secretary and historian Gary Hauk; Rev. Michael Lee of Mt. Zion Baptist Church; Mark Sanders, director of African-American studies at Emory; Rev. Bridgette Young, associate chaplain at Emory; J.P. Godfrey, Oxford City Council member and grandson of Israel Godfrey, the African-American mason who built Oxford's Day Chapel; and Bond Fleming, former dean of Oxford College who presided during the school's desegregation in 1968. Choirs from Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Rust United Memorial Church will perform.

The exhibition and its opening are free and open to the public. When spring semester classes begin on Jan. 17, the library hours will be Sunday 2 p.m.-2 a.m., Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-2 a.m., Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


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