The Rubenstein Rare Book Collection: Holocaust Seminar

By Rebecca Wagner

Stepping foot on the campus of Duke University for the first time allowed me to understand why it is known as a prestigious university. The atmosphere and architecture of the gothic style buildings were breathtaking. I could never imagine a more beautiful campus. The pictures I have seen of the school do not do the university justice. Although the point of the trip was not to take a tour of Duke University I enjoyed getting a chance to walk around campus and become engulfed in its beauty.

Furthermore, the trip itself was very informative. I enjoyed getting a chance to see the exhibit of the Rubenstein Rare Book Collection that the curator was able to put together for us. The range of information and dates that the articles covered proves that discrimination of races ranged in multiple ways. The content and pictures that the documents included astonished me. I could not wrap my mind around the fact that the Klu Klux Klan was able to take a group picture in the middle of the day in 1927 with no problems. I can’t begin to think what would happen if this was to take place today. Also, the one book that really made me step back and appreciate the rare book collection was the book full of survivor’s stories that was bound by a prisoner of war’s clothing. Being able to put my hands and eyes on this book was touching. The book made everything that I had ever heard about the Holocaust become even more of a reality. It seemed that I was holding the blood, sweat, and tears of the prisoners in between my palms. The last articles that stood out the most to me throughout the exhibit were the newspapers written by W.A.R., I had a hard time believing that these newspapers were really published and distributed amongst Americans. The information that was written in the publications was awful. For example, inside they were selling “racial stickers” and CD’s with “racial songs” on them. Another thing that stood out in the papers was the statement that they approve of colored people having abortions and they push for them to have them, however it is unforgivable if someone that is “one of them” has an abortion. I could not believe the graphic language and connotations that were made within this text. However, I was glad that the newspaper was within the collection because to me that meant that the Southern Poverty Law had stopped W.A.R.’s awful work.

I applaud The Southern Poverty Law for their efforts and work that they have done thus far. The hatred in this world is disgusting and should be put to an immediate stop. I often forget that these hate groups still exist today however the exhibit showed that this is still as much a factor today that it was years ago. Duke University is fortunate to be able to house this information from The Southern Poverty Law in their collection. I am glad I was able to go on this enriching trip with our seminar group to help further my knowledge on the Holocaust and other hate groups.

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A Reflection on the Duke Exhibit

By Jeanann Woodard           

As we pulled up on the icy day, we were greeted by the majestic chapel stretching above the trees.  While I was admiring the architecture, I could not help but think of the religion that most commonly used the chapel.  It brought to mind how even though Christianity has caused many positive things, it can be taken to a dangerous extreme and be used to falsely support stereotypes against people of other religions.  Then, the exhibit in the library furthered my thoughts of how easily people can twist things to make them seem more appealing to the majority of the population.

Our guide warned us at the beginning that some of the things we would see would shock us but that we should keep in mind that the purpose of the Southern Poverty Law Firm is to ensure these hate groups and publications are brought to an end.  One of the most shocking things I saw in the newspaper WAR was the things they had for sale.  There was a T-shirt with a cleverly disguised swastika made of interlocking arms and hands.  Also, there was a page of stickers like one that was trying to convey what they believed an African-American mind was made up of.  The heading even used a derogatory word; then the picture just made it even worse as the illustrator portrayed the man’s lips as half the size of his face.  The three big sections of the brain were divided into stereotypes such as craving watermelon, desire for gold chains, drugs, alcohol and the like, and criminal motives, leaving only pea-sized sections for virtues such as responsibility.  Also, the way people slip some of these stereotypes to best improve their appeal in is unbelievable such as a journal finding or pride in your race.  Some things were just blatantly out there, such as the entire Spotlight magazine.  When I saw the comic claiming that the truth was the only thing that had be harmed by the crematoria, I could not believe the lengths they went to in order to try to justify the burning of Jews “to prevent disease spreading.”  Plus, the picture of the Nazis and the picture of the Ku Klux Klan in such public places are disheartening to think people simply watched these groups take control.

Another memorable thing Patrick, Kendra, and I got to experience was meeting a student at the university over lunch.  Introducing himself as “Edison like Thomas Edison,” what we had learned early in the day about the famous inventor’s anti-Semitic views popped into my thoughts.  Through the rest of our conversation, we were able to learn a lot about Duke as well as what high schools were like in Edison’s hometown of Beijing, China.  I especially enjoyed learning more about these differences because it is very important to broaden your worldview in order to avoid another event like the Holocaust.  As history has shown, when you are ignorant to other cultures, you will more easily fall victim to propaganda and be largely swayed by the stereotypes you hear.

In the Nasher Art Museum, when I heard from one of the curators the background of the artist of a set of black and white works, I was not surprised to hear that when Hitler came to power he made certain to remove the female professor from the art institute.  Knowing that Hitler applied to many different art schools, and he was denied by all, leaves you wondering if his forced removal of the female professor partly stemmed from damaged pride.  Another shocking thing from the museum portion of our trip was one of the Motley paintings that featured many stereotypes.  Because he had African-American roots, I was surprised to see him portray African-American males with huge clown-like lips, women, as the caption read, with “voluptuous” shapes, and a child with messy braids.  This whole day brought to light for me many things I now feel I was sheltered from and would find hard to believe if I had not seen it.  In my classroom, this will further pushes me to make sure my students one day know the truth behind history.

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Duke Excursion

by Patrick Banzon

The trip to Duke University had events that colorfully illustrated the themes and events of Nazi Germany and the prominence of anti-Semitism. The information of the birth, life, and death of the National Socialist Party was shocking, unsurprisingly. The lasting impact of how Nazism affect lives of the human race was foreseeable. To be objective and unbiased is difficult for something that ultimately test a human being’s morals. Emotions immediately flustered the minds of the students. Ultimately, the excursion to Duke University opened up new questions on topics about the Holocaust and human life, itself.

The first stop to Purdue Library at Duke University was the main event during the excursion. There an exhibit was set up displaying a small portion of the archives the university has collected of the years. In the portion of the archive, letters, journals, books, magazines, pamphlets all had either history or propaganda of Nazism and extreme white supremacy. It is ironic and interesting that there is so much history and actual events and so much propaganda and blatant lies and exaggerations all in the same exhibit.

What was really impactful was the prevalent anti-Semitism and racism, especially towards the Blacks. The interesting thing is that it is still predominant in some areas today. As history has depicted about the horrible accounts humans has done to other humans, there are still people who still put others down extensively through race. It is a sad fact, but due to human nature and error will probably never be eradicated. One magazine approached the new generation of the technology age by combining anti-Semitism with video games and music. It also condemned famous actors and singers that had Jewish roots. Other articles somehow tried to connect tragedies with Jewish evil conspiracies. In summary, all these documents displayed a immense hatred of Jews and others unlike the “True White Race”.

The next part of the trip was to the Nasher Museum of Duke University. Here, modern art takes the whole building as it surrounds the asymmetrical, contemporary type of architecture. There was also a few paintings from artists that lived through WWI and Nazi Germany. It depicted the grief, stress, and anxiety in a mother in Germany. Though it was filled with emotion, the paintings were in monochromatic. It was one of those paintings that meant a lot more due to the meaning.

Overall, the excursion to Duke University was very insightful and informative. It was enjoyable to see a group of students and a handful of scholars take a trip back into Nazism and its influence on humanity. Along with a magnificent bus, great food, entertaining company, and an escape from classes, this is a trip that should happen every semester in this class.

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Honors student Kimberly Miller wins writing award

By Dawn Wainwright

GREENVILLE (09/08/2014) The winners of the 2014 W. Keats Sparrow Writing Awards were recognized in a ceremony at Joyner Library on August 27. The awards recognize excellence in research and writing by students in ECU’s English 1100 and 1200 composition classes.

The Friends of Joyner Library sponsored the event named in honor of the late Dr. W. Keats Sparrow, Professor Emeritus of English and former dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.  Mrs. Elizabeth (Liz) Sparrow, who serves on the Friends of Joyner Library Board of Directors, was on hand for the event.

During the program, the winners read excerpts of their papers.  Ashley Campbell, first place, won $200 for “The Effects of Text Messaging on Students’ Literacy.”  The second place entry, “Emergence of Antibiotic Resistance:  MRSA,” was written by Sarah Stout who won $150.  Kimberly Miller placed third with a $100 prize for “Land of the Free – Why not ‘Sea of the Free?’”  Marc Peterson was the instructor for all three winners, a first in the award program’s history.

“Joyner Library and the Department of English have a well-established information literacy program that helps students develop research and critical thinking skills,” says Jan Lewis, interim dean of Joyner Library.  “Since its inception in 2000, the W. Keats Sparrow Award program has recognized students who have excelled in these areas. It is always a delight to meet these students, listen to excerpts from their papers, and talk with them about their education, career plans, and the importance of the Library to their success.”

For more information about this writing award program, contact David Hisle, coordinator of instructional services at 252-328-4978.

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I Love Ecuador Already

By Zach Evans

The following are excerpts from Zach’s original blog: Reflections of an Immersion in Ecuador.  

¡Hola a todos!

For the academic year of 2014-2015, I will be studying abroad at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. I chose to study in Ecuador because of USFQ’s renowned reputation as one of the premier research institutions of the world. Research from USFQ has been published numerous times in National Geographic, Nature, and other reputable research journals. Ecuador is the most biodiverse country on the planet with four distinct ecosystems. I will be living with a host family and continuing to work toward my degrees in Psychology and Latin American studies. My goals are to broaden my worldview, to become bilingual, and to explore the four ecosystems Ecuador has to offer: the Andes mountains, La Costa (some of the most beautiful beaches in the world according to various sources), the Amazon Jungle, and the Galapagos Islands.

Here is a video of the sustainable tourism movement, All You Need Is Ecuador. It’s only three minutes long and shows a lot of the activities I hope to do while I’m here.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Ecuador thus far. My host family is beyond amazing and my school has far exceeded my expectations.

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Here is a picture of the Carrillo-Galvez family I’ll be living with until May. The guy in the blue shirt is their last foreign exchange student who was surprisingly from Asheville! I’ve never met him. They’ve had many over the past ten years… son profesionales!

Our house is at the base of Mount Pichinch in the urban sector of Quito called Concepcion.

Pichincha_desde_ItchimbiaThe house has three floors and I have the third floor to myself. ¡Me gusta mucho!

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This is the view outside my bedroom window.

Let me tell you a bit about my host family…

Pachingo, mi padre, is a doctor. He retired a few years ago, but was unsatisfied with the retired life so he went back to practicing medicine. He is so friendly- he has taken me under his wing as if I were his own son…Pachingo loves teaching me lessons about Ecuador. Each night after dinner, we talk for an hour or so on a different topic. One topic which resonated with me quite heavily was a discussion about the differences between environmental conservation priorities between the US and Ecuadorian government. Although there are preserves and national parks in Ecuador, the US’s demonstrated care for the preservation of it’s natural beauty is evidently unparalleled. I am incredibly grateful for Pachingo’s consistent words of wisdom and his help with my acclimation to Ecuador.

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Here is a picture of Maria Sol and I…

About my Spanish…these past few days have taught me that my Spanish is much better than I thought! I came to Ecuador very down on myself about my Spanish speaking abilities (telling people I spoke like a 6 year old) and regretted not pushing myself harder in the first two years of Spanish at ECU. I always thought there was a fault in the foreign language education system in the States because the basic courses require hardly any speaking. Although this may be true, my two years at ECU and my classes at Carolina Day School in high school equipped me with the skills necessary to be at least competent in conversations. I seldom have problems understanding what people are saying, yet often have problems coming up with sentences on the spot. I am not too worried about this because I see my Spanish improving daily and I am sure that this won’t be an issue after another week or so.

My courses this semester will be:

Process Philosophy
Seminar on the Psychology of Religion
Introduction to Ecuadorian Culture
Intermediate Spanish Conversation
Introduction to International Relations
Kundalini Yoga
Weight Training

 ¡Saludos y muchas gracias amigos!

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