Friday, June 5, 2015

107. Interview with Sheryl St. Germain, Part 1.

107.  We interview poet Sheryl St. Germain.  A native of New Orleans, Sheryl has taught creative writing at The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Knox College and Iowa State University. She directs the MFA program in Creative Writing at Chatham University where she also teaches poetry and creative nonfiction.  The author of many books, her work has received several awards. 
  1. This week in Louisiana history. June 7, 1892. Homer Plessy is arrested for taking a seat on a train that was marked "Whites Only."In 1890, the state of Louisiana passed a law (the Separate Car Act) that required separate accommodations for blacks and whites on railroads, including separate railway cars. Concerned, a group of prominent black, creole, and white New Orleans residents formed the Comité des Citoyens (Committee of Citizens) dedicated to repeal the law. They persuaded Homer Plessy to participate in a test case. On June 7, 1892, Plessy bought a first class ticket at the Press Street Depot and boarded a "whites only" car of the East Louisiana Railroad in New Orleans, Louisiana, bound for Covington, Louisiana. Additionally, the committee hired a private detective with arrest powers to detain Plessy, to ensure he was charged for violating the Separate Car Act, as opposed to a vagrancy or some other offense. As planned, Plessy was taken off the train at Press and Royal streets. Plessy was remanded for trial in Orleans Parish.  His loss in the trial Plessy v Ferguson made Jim Crows laws permissible until the modern civil rights movement.
  2. This week in New Orleans history. Joseph Samuel Clark, educator, civic leader. Born, Sparta, La., June 7, 1881. Education: public and private schools in Bienville Parish, Coleman and Bishop colleges; Leland University, B. A., 1901; Ph. D., 1914; Selma University, M. A., 1913; Arkansas Baptist College, Ph. D., 1921. Further studies at Chicago and Harvard universities. Served as principal of Slater High School, Donaldsonville, and of Baton Rouge Academy between 1901 and 1912; president of Southern University, 1913-1938. During his administration, the school progressed from an institution with an enrollment of forty-seven students and an appropriation of $10,000 to a university with 3,067 students and an appropriation of approximately one million dollars.
  3. This week in Louisiana.
    The Last Surrender
    June 1st, 2015 - June 30th, 2015
    Forts Randolph and Buhlow State Historic Site
    135 Riverfront Street, Pineville, LA 71360
    Forts Randolph and Buhlow State Historic Site, Pineville - The Last Surrender, This event commemorates the LAST FORTS SURRENDERED DURING THE CIVIL WAR, Forts Randolph and Buhlow. Union soldiers and sailors take possession of the forts after accepting the surrender of the local Confederate forces. A sesquicentennial ceremony will be reenacted for the public as Confederate colors are lowered for the last time.
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Sheryl St. Germain