The big good news is that I have been offered and have accepted an appointment as presidential fellow in peace studies within Wilkinson College at Chapman University, in Orange County, California. The appointment is for two years and begins in August 2019. I will be teaching courses similar to those I have been teaching at Columbia College. And I will have the opportunity to integrate my experience with providing opportunities for study and travel to Southern Africa, with substantial institutional support.
I am particularly pleased about this new opportunity because the peace studies department at Chapman is an innovative and socially committed program built up over decades by my friend and comrade Don Will. Don died at the age of 65 in 2014, after almost thirty years on the faculty at Chapman University, where he was widely respected. His contributions as a social justice activist and educator far exceed any record one can find on him through Google. He was a committed anti-apartheid activist, and a member of the Southern California chapter of the African National Congress, who represented the chapter at the historic conference in Morogoro, Tanzania in 1969.
As a result of this transition from Chicago to California, there will be no Making the Road open-recruitment study seminars for the summer of 2019. I will, however, be leading a less formal tour for a small group of families and individuals to whom I have long promised the opportunity to travel with me to Southern Africa.
On this, and on any future programs in Southern Africa, I will be working closely with Vernon Rose in Cape Town, who has long experience in social-justice-oriented study abroad programs, and who organized Making the Road´s visit to Cape Town in 2018. Vernon has recently extended his programs to include an option for shorter programs (as short as one day) for groups of 10 people or more visiting Cape Town, to introduce them to the realities behind the tourist glamour in contemporary South African society. See Cape Town Global Education Experience (http://www.ctgee.com/) for more details and contact information.
Apart from preparing for the move to California, which still includes the need to sell my house, I also am putting time into the social history project that I told you about in my last email in December. The recent deaths of several friends from my generation have been painful reminders of the importance of recording my memories of many others whose significant contributions to social justice have been largely missing from the public record.
Zeb Larson has begun interviews with me as well as with others in my networks, and I have been actively engaged in collecting other documentation, including those remaining in my personal papers. As many of you know, I have already contributed significant documentation to the University of Wisconsin, Columbia College, and the African Activist Archive Project at Michigan State University. But there remain many materials to be sorted and annotated, such as an extensive photo collection (see below for an example from the 1950s). We are continuing to work on preparing my Uncle George´s manuscript to find a publisher. And we have a prospectus for funding a first phase of the project which we are sharing with potential donors.
But as of now, funds are still short, and any amount is helpful with specific tasks such as transcribing interviews and scanning documents as well as providing support for the time (now unpaid) that both I and Zeb are putting into the project. So any help that you are able to provide, with a tax-deductible contribution, is most welcome.
A Luta Continua,
Make your secure tax-deductible donation on-line through the South African Development Fund, which serves as the fiscal sponsor for Making the Road. Be sure to designate your donation for Making the Road. You can also send a check, made out to the South Africa Development Fund and designated for Making the Road, to SADF, 555 Amory Street, Boston, MA 02130.
Prexy Nesbitt (striped jacket) participates in a Sunday school lesson at Warren Avenue Congregational Church in Chicago, circa 1958. This church hosted Martin Luther King Jr. in his Chicago campaign in the 1960s. In the 1950s, anchored by two Nesbitt families, this interracial congregation already had strong links to the African continent. Pastor Ed Hawley and his wife Gretchen were friends of Eduardo Mondlane, the future leader of Mozambique's liberation movement. Like Prexy, the Hawleys would join Eduardo Mondlane in Dar es Salaam in the 1960s.
P.S. If you have questions or want more background, please feel free to call me on my cell (708-790-8931). Please note that the email address this message is sent from is used for updates related to Making the Road. For personal messages to Prexy, please use his personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org