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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 26, 2004

Visiting Lecturer To Speak On Military Integration Jan. 30

A leading scholar of black history will visit the University of Iowa to speak about the integration of the U.S. armed forces at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30 in room 704 Jefferson Building. Kimberley L. Phillips, associate professor of history, American studies and black studies at the College of William and Mary, will speak on "Fighting for Democracy: African American Military Stories about World War Two."

The lecture is part of a yearlong lecture series "Cultural Frameworks for Civil Liberties," commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.

Using memoirs and autobiographies by black novelists, jazz musicians and filmmakers who served in the U.S. military, Phillips examines their narratives with the same care that other scholars have given to ex-slave narratives to reveal a specifically African American war story about democracy, imperialism and violence. The military had a mandate to integrate during World War II, but did not fully do so until after the Brown decision. Though it could have moved aggressively to end segregation, it instead kept pace with civilian institutions and their racial and class hierarchies. Nonetheless, the military was far more integrated than any other institution in the lives of African Americans.

Phillips is the author of "AlabamaNorth: African-American Migrants, Community, and Working-Class Activism in Cleveland, 1915 to 1945" (University Illinois Press, 2000) and articles about oral history methods, black migration out of the South, and black church building in the urban north. Her new research includes an edited collection of essays on African American popular culture and a study of African Americans' cultural production about war. She holds a doctorate in American studies from Yale University.

The "Cultural Frameworks" series is co-sponsored by the department of American studies, department of history, African American world Studies program, American Indian and Native Studies program, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Perry A. and Helen Judy Bond Fund for Interdisciplinary Interaction and the Office of the Provost Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact American studies department in advance at 319-335-0320.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: American studies department, 319-335-0320