portrait of Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Your Wake-Up Call, America

Coming September 1, 2020 from Chemeketa Press

Chemeketa history instructor Taylor A. Marrow III and editor of America Awakened: The Anti-Lynching Crusade of Ida B. Wells-Barnett invites you to a Facebook Live event on July 16, 2-4 pm (Pacific), for a frank and honest conversation about race in America.

This event celebrates the social justice work of investigative journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett on what would have been her 158th birthday. Marrow’s talk will focus on Wells-Barnett’s early activism, her groundbreaking reporting, the history of lynching, and how her work speaks to current events and trends in the policing of Black communities.

As a historian with sixteen years’ teaching experience at Chemeketa, Marrow is an expert in the Black Freedom Movement and U.S. race relations. His work with Chemeketa Press involved selecting and editing Wells-Barnett’s pamphlets, adding footnotes and explanations of dated language, and writing a contextual introduction to help students better understand Wells-Barnett’s legacy.

What I Learned as Guest Editor with the Press

Headshot of Taylor A. Marrow III
Chemeketa History instructor Taylor A. Marrow III discusses his work as faculty editor for America Awakened.

Working with Chemeketa Press on America Awakened: The Anti-Lynching Campaigns of Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a fulfilling experience. Academically I felt as though I was in a rut because I teach lower division core courses which are limited in variety. This project allowed me to reengage my research and writing skills, but most importantly, it provided an opportunity to expose my students to Ida B. Wells-Barnett and the sordid history of lynching.

Another result of completing America Awakened is the new information I learned about Wells-Barnett. While composing the introduction, I learned of the racial divisions within prohibitionist temperance movement between Wells-Barnett and Francis Willard. Of importance is the fact the Wells-Barnett was uncompromising when critiquing the prejudiced ideas of Willard that reinforced unfounded notions of disproportional alcoholism and vice in the Black community.

Throughout my sixteen-year academic career at Chemeketa, I have exposed my students to Wells-Barnett, but I was hesitant to assign her writings because of accessibility and cost. Now, my students have the ability to read and study a primary source that reveals the stark reality of racism in America, and it gives them the experience of analyzing and interpreting historical texts. Finally, I enjoyed the experience of working with the Chemeketa Press editors and staff because I got to know people outside of my department and across disciplines.

A New Model for Textbook Publishing

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