“Indigenous Appalachia” is an exhibit designed to increase awareness of the contributions of Indigenous Appalachians to the region’s shared history and present while also recognizing continuing injustices faced by Indigenous people.
“The Humanities Center is excited and humbled to sponsor this event,” Humanities Center Director Renée Nicholson said. “It brings together the Art in the Libraries program, the Native American Studies program, and a tremendous group of artist and scholars, two of which will visit our campus for the opening.”
“Most Americans do not know about Indigenous culture, from history to today, but they are a large part of America’s fabric. Invisibility is a modern form of bias,” WVU Libraries Exhibits Coordinator Sally Brown said. “With this exhibit, we hope to both acknowledge the contradictions in the Indigenous histories of our areas and in our collections, and highlight Indigenous stories, perspectives and successes, all curated in collaboration with Indigenous advisement.”
Dr. Jessie Wilkerson, an associate professor in WVU’s Department of History, and graduate student Emily Walter will discuss the oral history project and what they have learned talking to women miners from the region.
The Women Miners Oral History Project aims to collect and preserve the life histories of women in the Appalachian region who entered the mines as protected workers in the late 1970s after decades of exclusion.
The WVU Humanities Center is pleased to present “An Evening with Matthew Salesses” on Thursday, November 3, at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Salesses will read from his work and discuss contemporary Asian American literature, his innovative approaches to writing workshops and other topics. This reading and discussion is a Campus Read tie-in event.
“We are excited to continue the conversation about Asian American writing with this event,” WVU Humanities Center Director Renée Nicholson said. “Our Campus Read, “Interior Chinatown,” brought up some important issues around the Asian American experience. By bringing in Matthew Salesses, we not only further that discussion, but we also have the opportunity to see how writing spaces can be re-imagined to reduce bias.”
The West Virginia University Humanities Center will host “From WV to NY: Hip Hop Geography,” a panel discussion around hip-hop, Black culture and place, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair’s Blue Ballroom.
Amy M. Alvarez, an assistant professor of English, will moderate the discussion between West Virginia natives Steven Dunn, a novelist, and Deep Jackson, a hip-hop artist. Alvarez is a New York native, poet and self-described hip-hop head.
Also, as part of the program, Dunn will read from his new book “Travel with Nas” and Jackson will perform.
WVU Libraries will host “Collage Art: A panel discussion around collage as an art and therapy” Friday at noon. Preregistration is required for this Zoom event.
The panel presentation is in conjunction with artist Corrine Lightweaver’s collage display currently up in Health Sciences Library through December.
Presenters will be Annie McFarland, WVU assistant professor and Art Therapy Program coordinator, and Linda Rosefsky, art historian. Libraries Exhibits Coordinator Sally Brown will moderate.
Lightweaver is the EveryLibrary 2021 Artist-in-Residence. Her exquisite collage-work is about the “delicate balance between people and nature as part of the story of public, private and school libraries.” The exhibition of collages, weaving animal imagery with people, domestic objects and architecture, debuted at Hastings Library in Pasadena, California in 2021.
“In choosing a book like ‘Interior Chinatown,’ we not only bring a book of outstanding literary merit to our campus, but one that challenges us to think deeply about aspects of race in America, of the roles we play, and of our sense of home, among many others,” WVU Humanities Center Director Renée Nicholson, who oversees the Campus Read, said. “It balances the weight of these themes with a compelling protagonist and satirical humor.”
Students who are interested in book-related careers can learn more about job opportunities post-graduation, including how to prepare academically, personally and professionally to pursue these career paths.
The West Virginia Day program brings together West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman and the poetry of noted Appalachian poet Maggie Anderson.
“We are thrilled for Marc to headline our first in-person West Virginia Day program since 2019,” WVRHC Interim Director Lori Hostuttler said. “Although Maggie isn’t able to participate in the program, she will be present through Marc reading her works. Listening is poetry is always moving and inspiring, and will help us celebrate the experiences and relationships we as West Virginians value most.”
Victorine Louistall Monroe made history twice at West Virginia University. She received her master’s in education from WVU in 1945, making her the first known Black female to be awarded a graduate degree from the University. Then, Monroe made history again in 1966 when WVU hired her to teach Library Science, making her the University’s first Black faculty member.
In April, WVU Libraries unveiled a portrait of Monroe (1912-2006), Professor Emerita of Library Science, the first painting to be commissioned as part of the Inclusive Portrait Project, in the Downtown Library’s Robinson Reading Room.
“We are excited to celebrate Victorine Louistall Monroe with this portrait,” Libraries Dean Karen Diaz said. “A true Mountaineer, Victorine broke several barriers throughout her life and set a shining example for future generations to emulate.”
West Virginia University Libraries will unveil a portrait of Victorine Louistall Monroe (1912-2006), Professor Emerita of Library Science, the first painting to be commissioned as part of the Inclusive Portrait Project, April 28 from 4-6 p.m. in the Downtown Library’s Robinson Reading Room.
“We are thrilled to honor Victorine Louistall Monroe with this portrait,” Libraries Dean Karen Diaz said. “A true Mountaineer, Victorine broke several barriers throughout her life and set a shining example for future generations to emulate.”
Monroe graduated from Kelly Miller High School in Clarksburg and earned her bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State College. She received her master’s in education from WVU in 1945, making her the first known Black female to be awarded a graduate degree from the University.
Food is vital to sustaining all living things; yet, not everyone has access to a constant food supply, let alone fresh healthy foods. Do you want to know what local organizations are doing to help the community access food security?
West Virginia UniversityLibraries will host a panel discussion titled “Community+Food” April 13 from 4-5 p.m. in the Downtown Library, Room 104. The program is in conjunction with the “Food Justice in Appalachia” exhibit and will give panelists the opportunity to share their organization’s role in making food more accessible to the community. For those who can’t physically attend, the discussion will also be available for viewing on Zoom.
The histories of traditionally marginalized groups have long gone unrepresented in archives. As part of its effort to reduce that disparity, the West Virginia & Regional History Center will host researcher and author Susan Ferentinos to discuss how to better represent LGBTQ+ communities in archival collections. The hybrid event will take place on March 31 from 3-4 p.m. in the Milano Room in WVU’s Downtown Library and on Zoom.
“Engaging the Queer Feminist Archive” is part of the WVRHC’s newly developed West Virginia Feminist Activist Collection (WVFAC). The growing collection works to capture the stories of West Virginia individuals and organizations who have fought for social justice and equity. Often, such activists are left out of the historical record for going against the status quo and/or having marginalized identities.
In the early the morning of February 26, 1972, a coal slurry impoundment on Buffalo Creek collapsed, sending millions of gallons of wastewater rushing into the valley below. Hundreds of people died or were injured, and thousands were left homeless. The cleanup, investigations, and lawsuits that followed further strained the community.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the disaster, WVU Libraries and the Department of History have created exhibitions online and in the Downtown Library’s Atrium that will remain on display through December.
In conjunction with the exhibits, the Libraries’ Local to Global Film Series and Department of History will host a virtual screening of Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man and Buffalo Creek Flood Revisited followed by a discussionwith award-winning film director Mimi Pickering on March 3 at 7 p.m. Registration for the event is open.
Early on the morning of February 26, 1972, a coal slurry impoundment on Buffalo Creek collapsed, sending millions of gallons of wastewater rushing into the valley below. Hundreds died or were injured, and thousands were left homeless. The cleanup, investigations, and lawsuits that followed further strained the community.
Located in Logan County, West Virginia, the Buffalo Creek Valley is a series of communities built upon the coal mining industry along the banks of a small stream known as Buffalo Creek. At 8 o’clock in the morning on that fateful day, Dam No. 3 failed, sending 132 million gallons of water careening down the Buffalo Creek Valley. It traveled in a twenty- to thirty-foot-high flood wave that moved at about seven feet per second. Within three hours, the wall of water had traveled over seventeen miles, and seventeen communities were partially or totally destroyed by the flood. In total, 118 people were killed in the flood, while seven were never accounted for after the disaster. There were 1,119 people who were physically injured by the floodwaters. Approximately 4,000 people were left homeless when 507 homes were destroyed, 273 homes were left with major damage, and 44 mobile homes were completely destroyed. Ten bridges were destroyed in the flood as well as hundreds of miles of roads and highways. The destruction left behind in the valley after the water receded would take years to recover from, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Governor Moore created the Ad Hoc Commission of Inquiry into the Buffalo Creek Flood to investigate the reasons for the failure of Dam No. 3. The commission was charged with determining who was at fault for the collapse of the dam and the resulting loss of life and the destruction of property. The Commission gathered witnesses, heard testimonies, and talked to experts in the field of coal mining operations to best figure out why the tragedy occurred, who was responsible for it, and how it could be avoided in the future. In their conclusion, the Commission placed the blame on the parent company of Buffalo Mining Company but acknowledged that the lack of laws and regulations by the state and federal governments contributed to the failure of the dam.
On the 50th anniversary of the disaster, an online exhibit explores its history and implications for the present. The Buffalo Creek Disaster: 50 Years From Flooding is an online exhibit that showcases the disaster and aftermath of the devastating flood that hit Logan County in 1972. Curated from documents and photographs available through the West Virginia and Regional History Center, this exhibit focuses on the tragedy and recovery of the Buffalo Creek area. There is also an in-person exhibit that will be on display in the Downtown Library Atrium until December 2022. This exhibit will have some documents and photographs from the archives that show and discuss the disaster. During the spring semester, Mimi Pickering, filmmaker and director of “The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man,” will be hosting a virtual screening on her film at the Downtown Library. More information will be available as the event draws closer.
Having had the opportunity to sort through the papers from the Arch Moore administration about the disaster, I feel more connected to the event and the devastation that it left behind. Putting the exhibit together allowed me to sift through some of the more unseen side of the flood and people’s response to it. It gave me a deeper appreciation for the response of people all around the world when disaster strikes and they see other people in need. Seeing the letters, photographs, newspaper articles, disaster reports, and memos telling the governor of another body that was identified has allowed me to truly see even more meaning in the work that archives do in preserving emotion and memory.
Plan to log on to “Justice for Afghan Women and Girls Now: Understanding and Action,” a virtual event January 25 from 6-7 p.m. that will explore the aftermath of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 that has placed many women and girls in crisis.
The Art in the Libraries Committee and Dean of Libraries Karen Diaz selected Payton Brown, a first-year MFA candidate in painting, and Liuqing Ruth Yang, a senior BFA candidate in painting graduating this December, to receive the 2021 Dean of the Libraries’ Student Art Award.
Brown received the award for her work, “The Star Theatre,”an oil canvas painting. Brown describes the subjects of her paintings as, “vintage, seemingly outdated scenes of urban life in America” with the goal of perpetuating a “sense of nostalgia and longing amongst viewers.”