Karen Sieber, Humanities Specialist at the McGillicuddy Humanities Center, will speak at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, about her research, “Tarred and Feathered: UMaine’s Hidden Connection to the Red Summer of 1919.” Free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by the McGillicuddy Humanities Center and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. Join via Zoom at: https://maine.zoom.us/j/85185694577.
Sieber, who comes from a background in public history and the digital humanities, has made it her one-woman mission to increase awareness about the Red Summer of 1919, the term given to a nationwide wave of violence against African Americans that year. Over the past five years she has built the world’s largest database and archive on the topic, Visualizing the Red Summer, which is now the most used classroom resource on the Red Summer in the nation. Her work has been featured or cited by the National Archives, American Historical Association, History Channel, Zinn Education Project and others.
Sieber recently discovered a previously undocumented case of Red Summer violence at the University of Maine that year. Two African American brothers, Samuel and Roger Courtney, were tarred and feathered by their fellow students. The incident was kept out of the press and university records until now. She is using the incident as an opportunity to work with students in Liam Riordan’s Public History class to build an interactive map of this and other hidden histories on campus.
Sieber will discuss her work building what she calls a “rogue archive,” her recent discovery of the Courtney Brothers incident and parallels it holds to current events, and her work with students to think about campus as not just a neutral place where history is studied but as an active place where history has made, forgotten, and at times erased.