2015 Kimbilio Litfest will introduce African-American fiction writers’ organization to SMU Thursday, Oct. 15

Kimbilio Fiction logoLiterature fans and aspiring authors in SMU’s Dallas neighborhood have an opportunity to get acquainted with an African-American fiction writer’s group, founded by a University faculty member, that hosts an annual retreat at SMU-in-Taos.

The inaugural Kimbilio Litfest tour stops on the main campus from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in 131 Dedman Life Sciences Building. The event is sponsored by the SMU Department of English.

2015 Kimbilio Litfest banner

“This is our first opportunity to introduce Kimbilio to Texas,” says Professor of English and Creative Writing Director David Haynes, who started Kimbilio in 2012. “These are some really extraordinary writers and readers, and we’re really excited to present this emerging national organization to Dallas and the SMU community.”

> Learn more about Kimbilio at kimbiliofiction.com

October’s guest authors include these literary lights:

  • Reginald Dwayne Betts is the author of two books and one poetry collection. Jailed at a young age, Betts spent his late teen years in solitary confinement. While in prison, he corresponded with any poet who would write him back. Once released, he earned an undergraduate degree from Maryland and then a Masters degree in writing from Warren Wilson College. He’s now in his third year at Yale Law. [More about Reginald Dwayne Betts at the Poetry Foundation]
  • Sanderia Faye is a Kimbilio Fellow and author of Mourner’s Bench (University of Arkansas Press, September 2015). Her work has appeared in various literary journals and in Arsnick: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas. Faye is also a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas-Dallas. [Sanderia Faye at sanderiafaye.com]
  • Ravi Howard is the author of two novels, Driving the King (Harper, 2015) and Like Trees, Walking (Amistad, 2007), which received the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. Howard has recorded commentary for NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Massachusetts Review, and Salon. [Ravi Howard on Facebook: Ravi.Howard]
  • LaToya Watkins is a Kimbilio Fellow who has has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and Kimbilio Fiction. Her stories have appeared in online and print publications including Joyland Magazine, Lunch Ticket: Antioch, Los Angeles, Kweli Journal, Ruminate Magazine and Potomac Review. Most recently, she was awarded a 2015 Pushcart Prize for short fiction. [LaToya Watkins on Twitter: @LaToyaSWatkins]
  • Rosalyn Story is a Dallas resident, Kimbilio Fellow, classical violinist, journalist and author of both fiction and nonfiction. A member of the violin section of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, she divides her time between performing and writing magazine and journal articles on the visual and performing arts. She has also penned three books – including Wading Home, which was adapted as an opera through a collaboration between SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and the cities of Dallas and New Orleans. [More about Rosalyn Story at GoodReads.com]

Written by Kenny Ryan

> Visit SMU’s Department of English online: smu.edu/english

2015 SMU Stanton Sharp Lecture explores Texas’ hidden Civil War history, Wednesday, Oct. 14

2015 SMU Sharp Lecture, 'A War That Could Not End at Appomattox,' Gregory P. DownsWhen Texans study the history of the Civil War in grade school, they learn it ended when General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox on April 8, 1865, and that Texas played a relatively small role in the conflict.

Historian Greg Downs argues these lessons are wrong on both counts in his new book, After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War. He will challenge the traditional teachings during a lecture, Q&A and book signing at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“Greg Downs wants to challenge the idea the Civil War reached a neat and tidy end in April of 1865,” says History Chair Andrew Graybill. “What Greg does well is extend the geographical scope to the West. A big focus of his book is Texas, which was one of the last Confederate states to surrender.”

> More on the Stanton Sharp Lectures and Symposium

During Reconstruction, 50,000 Union Army troops were deployed to Texas, which proved the most difficult of the former Confederate states to subdue. At any given time between 1866 and 1870, 40 to 50 percent of the Union troops stationed in the south were garrisoned in Texas.

“People in Texas were still being bought and sold after Appomattox,” Downs says. “Texans still thought slavery would stay. Army officers were imprisoned and murdered in Texas. In some ways, the Civil War was just beginning in Texas as it was ending elsewhere in the South.”

Written by Kenny Ryan

> Visit SMU’s William P. Clements Department of History online: smu.edu/history

SMU faculty to help lead immigration history conference at Dallas’ Old Red Museum Sept. 19, 2015

Immigrants going through San Angelo, Texas - early photograph, Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photography Collection
A photo by M.C. Ragsdale ca. 1885-90 of immigrants passing through San Angelo, Texas. From the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photography Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU.

The challenging task of teaching a controversial subject to middle- and high-school students will be the focus of an upcoming immigration conference featuring several University faculty members.

SMU and the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture are partnering with Humanities Texas and the Texas Historical Commission to present a conference on the history of U.S. immigration from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 at the museum.

“Issues surrounding immigration are at the forefront of public discourse these days,” said Zac Harmon, executive director of the Old Red Museum. “Statistics and beliefs are strongly held but are often mistaken for facts. This conference will provide documented, factual information for teachers, politicians and other citizens who really want to understand the issue. We are grateful to the Philip R. Jonsson Foundation for sponsoring this first of what we hope will become an annual conference.”

Conference participants can choose to hear two of six speakers scheduled during the morning session. Lunch and a keynote address by Margaret Spellings, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and former secretary of education (2005-09), will follow.

Afternoon breakout sessions will provide teachers with lesson plans, materials and strategies to help them make history come alive for students of all grade levels. Teachers attending both sessions can earn six Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

Topics and speakers include:

  • “D/FW Becoming an Immigrant Gateway” – Caroline Brettell, University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Ruth Collins Altshuler Director of SMU’s Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute
  • “Gone To Texas: Immigration to the Lone Star State in the 19th Century” – Gregg Cantrell, Emma and Ralph Lowe Chair of Texas History, TCU
  • “Immigration and the Changing Face of America” – Neil Foley, Robert and Nancy Dedman Chair in History, Dedman College
  • “Visualizing the Changing Landscape of U.S. Immigration” – Kyle Walker, assistant professor of population and urban geography, TCU
  • “Managing Migration in an Era of Globalization” – James F. Hollifield, Ora Nixon Arnold Professor of International Political Economy and director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies
  • “Immigration and the Changing Demography of Liberal Democracies” – Gary Freeman, professor of government, University of Texas-Austin

Registration, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch, parking, materials and access to the exhibit area, is $25 and can be completed online at www.oldred.org. For information, contact Shannon Page at the Old Red Museum, 214-757-1927.

Written by Kenny Ryan