The Natchitoches Parish Library will host “Generations of Struggle: Perspectives on Race and Justice from Reconstruction to the Present” beginning July 5 from 6-7:30 pm. Registration is required for this 4-week program that centers on the experience of African Americans since the Civil War.
Dr. Mark Melder and Dr. Sarah McFarland will present perspectives on three critically acclaimed works and help spark conversation:
Slavery By Another Name, a documentary film that spans 1865 to 1954, and traces the development of the post-Reconstruction criminal justice system, Jim Crow, and segregation.
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines, a novel about centered on the lives of African American men in a small Louisiana town that earned Gaines a National Book Critics Circle Award.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a memoir that received a 2015 National Book Award.
The discussion programs will serve to sustain the conversations that began with the public programs funded through the LEH’s support of “Purchased Lives.” This continued engagement is crucial in deepening the humanities-based conversation around race in Louisiana and the nation. The LEH developed the syllabus for “Generations of Struggle” in partnership with Cheylon Woods, Assistant Professor and Archivist/Head of the Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Dr. Kara Tucina Olidge, Executive Director of the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University.
Dr. Mark Melder grew up in Natchitoches, the son of teachers, Dr. Ellis Melder and Coach Trent Melder. He served in the Marine Corps and after leaving the service, earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at NSU, and then his Master’s and Ph.D. at LSU in Criminology. He has published research on militia movements and his doctoral dissertation examined racial differences in female perpetrated intimate partner homicide. He teaches courses on race and ethnicity, gender, crime, social movements and terrorism in the Criminal Justice, History and Social Sciences Department at NSU.
Dr. Sarah McFarland is Professor of English at Northwestern State University, where she teaches American literature and theory and coordinates the MA in English program. Raised in Los Angeles, Sarah earned her BA in American Literatures at Cal State University and did her MA and PhD at the University of Oregon before moving to Natchitoches.
The program is made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. To reserve a place in this program and free copies of both books to be discussed, please call the NPL at 318-357-3280.