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Falvey Library Welcomes Dr. Dionne Irving

Africana Studies is hosting Dr. Dionne Irving for a public lecture of her work in Falvey Library’s Speakers’ Corner on Monday, Feb. 19, at 5 p.m. The title of Irving’s talk is “Caribbean Women Will Have Their Revenge on the New World.”

Irving is originally from Toronto, Ontario. She is the author of Quint (7.13 Books) and The Islands (Catapult Books). Her work has appeared in StoryBoulevardLitHubMissouri Review, and New Delta Review, among other journals and magazines. The Islands was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, The Scotiabank/Giller Prize, The New American Vices Award, and The Clara Johnson Award. Irving teaches in the Creative Writing Program and the Initiative on Race and Resilience at the University of Notre Dame.

Registration is encouraged. RSVP HERE.

This ACS approved event, co-sponsored by the Department of Global Interdisciplinary Studies, the Department of English, and Falvey Library, is free and open to the public.

View the full calendar of Black History Month events on campus.



Weekend Recs: Black History

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

Happy Friday, Wildcats! It’s the beginning of February, which means it’s officially Black History Month. Last year, I kicked off Black History Month with some Black independent film recommendations, which you can check out here. This year, I wanted to focus on the history part of the holiday. So, if you want to explore works on Black history and the contributions of Black activists and historical figures in American history (and not just The Help), here are some recommendations to get you started over the weekend.

If you have 5 minutes…and want to learn about the origins of BHM and the theme for this year, read this article.

If you have 15 minutes…and want to learn about some of the most influential Black Americans in history, check out this article. It’s impossible to fit every single history-making Black American into one blog, but this article does a good job of sharing a glimpse into some noteworthy figures we should all know.

If you have 42 minutes and 56 seconds…and like podcasts, listen to “The Fight for a True Democracy,” the first episode of  1619 from the New York Times. The 1619 audio series, along with the other episodes and the subsequent book 1619 Project: A New Origin Story (available to read online through Falvey), reframes the common (racist) narrative of American history to emphasize the importance of Black people in making our country what it is today.

If you have 58 minutes…and want to go on a “disturbing voyage” through racism and racist stereotypes in the United States, watch the documentary Ethnic Notions, available to stream online through Falvey, by the late Marlon Riggs (also known for his more experimental queer poetry film Tongues Untied).

If you have 1 hour and 33 minutes…and are a fan of James Baldwin, watch his award-winning documentary I Am Not Your Negro, available to stream online through Falvey. Baldwin explores his experiences during Civil Rights Movement by focusing on the lives and deaths of his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. King.

Bonus: if you want to watch a recently released movie about the Civil Rights Movement, watch Rustin on Netflix. Starring Colman Domingo, Rustin tells the story of Bayard Rustin, a Civil Rights activist, advisor to Dr. King, and an openly gay Black man. Not only is the topic of this film important to Black history, but Domingo’s Oscar nomination makes him the second openly queer actor to be nominated for playing a queer character and the first Afro-Latino men to ever be nominated for Best Actor.

If you have 2 hours and 5 minutes…and love biopics, watch Harriet on Netflix. As the name suggests, this movie follows Harriet Tubman as she escapes slavery and becomes one of the most prolific “conductors” for the Underground Railroad.

Bonus: If you want to see more strong Black women in history on screen, watch The Woman King, highlighting the Agojie warriors of the Dahomey kingdom, on Netflix.

If you have 3 hours…and need something to do this weekend, see Ava DuVernay’s Origin in theaters. The film follows real-life writer Isabel Wilkerson as she writes her best-selling book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, which explores race as a part of a caste system (available to read at Falvey).

Bonus: if you want to check out some of Ava DuVernay’s other films, watch Selma, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection, and 13th on Netflix.

If you have 6 hours…and want to stay on theme this year with “African Americans and the Arts,” read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, one of the most popular works of Black American literature (or just ever) by Maya Angelou, available online through Falvey.

Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.

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Weekend Recs: Revisiting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is without a doubt the most remembered and revered Civil Rights activist in the United States. From his rise to prominence with his activism and work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to his horrific assassination, and with an entire day dedicated to his life, his modern acclaim is unsurprising.

Consequently, as Civil rights and racial justice have progressed (although the progress is sometimes very meager and disappointing), the radical nature of Dr. King has largely been replaced with a liberalized image, a man seeking moderate change. Yet, in the 1950s and 60s, Dr. King was anything but a liberal or moderate figure, he was directly challenging the U.S. government, a government that very much needed to be challenged. Many of the choices he made were not just moral, but strategic and trailblazing. In honor of MLK Day this upcoming Monday, this weekend’s recs will hopefully shine a slightly different light on Martin Luther King Jr. and his philosophy, politics, and activism.

If you have 12 minutes…and want to focus less on the past and more on the future, read this article in Counter Punch. Meyer, Jeffers, and Ragland place an emphasis on learning from organizers and activists of the past to combat racial hate and violence today, and they push back against the modern oppositional dichotomization of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If you have 13 minutes…and need to brush up on your Civil Rights history, watch this Crash Course video on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the SCLC.

If you have 17 minutes…and want to read one of his most famous works, read “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” available at Falvey. This open letter was written by Dr. King after he was arrested during the nonviolent Birmingham protest campaign in 1963 and offers his guiding beliefs, arguments, and principles.

If you have 20 minutes…and only plan to read one thing from this list, read “MLK Now” by Brandon Terry, available online through Falvey. This piece is truly a standout work that revisits and offers a reconsideration of Dr. King and his work in today’s age and what we can and should learn from him.

If you have 26 minutes…and want to hear from Dr. King himself, watch this NBC interview with Dr. King. This interview really sheds light on Dr. King’s perspective on his Civil Rights work and where he saw the movement heading 11 months before his assassination.

If you have 30 minutes…and are interested in learning about King’s dedication to strategic nonviolence, read Karuna Mantena’s essay, “Showdown for Nonviolence: The Theory and Practice of Nonviolent Politics” by Karuna Mantena, available (in the 4th chapter of To Shape a New World) at Falvey.

If you have 2 hours and 8 minutes…and still haven’t seen it, watch Ava DuVernay’s Selma, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection. Although the film’s sole focus is not on Dr. King, it shows his efforts to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed and puts his courage and the violence with which he and other Civil Rights activists were met into perspective.

If you have 11 hours…and want to read essays exploring Dr. King and his work from a variety of different perspectives, read Shelby and Terry’s To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr, available in Falvey. This book has some great essays that look at King through diverse and interesting lenses.

Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Library.


An Evening with Sr. Thea Bowman (1937-1990): Songs, Service, Struggle on April 27

Sr. Thea BowmanThe Villanova campus community is invited to join Campus Ministry for an evening of prayer and reflection, April 27, 7-8:15 p.m., with the song and spirit of Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA. Presenters Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart and Michelle Sherman will guide participants through the story of Sr. Thea using examples of song, service, and struggle as she called the Church to address its institutionalized racism.

This event is co-sponsored with Falvey Memorial Library and is open to faculty, staff, and students.

Register at the Campus Ministry Retreats website or at this direct link. A Zoom link will be sent to you the day of the event.


Dig Deeper:

To learn about Thea Bowman, African American spirituality, biblical interpretation, and more, please check out the list of Falvey resources below.

For more information about student retreats offered by Campus Ministry, please check their webpage.

Gina's headshotRegina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.





Throwback Thursday: Black History Month

By Kelly McMahon

In the first week of Black History Month, I went back to a 1993 edition of The Villanovan to learn how the campus community honored Black History Month in the past.

One of the largest events of the ’93 Black History Month celebrations included a presentation by black feminist author, documentary maker, professor, and social activist Toni Cade Bambara. According to The Villanovan, “the presentation will concentrate on black women in the creation of literary and cinematic texts.” If you’re interested in learning more about Bambara, click here to find some of her works in the Library’s collection.

Additionally, the article reports that “for the first time in history,” Black History Month included student presentations. The reporter focused on a student series on the historical functions of rap music in American society, including a discussion of female rappers and “hardcore rap.”

In this article, the reporter observes that there has “been a transition” on campus, from celebrating MLK Day to “the emergence of an entire month dedicated to black history.”

Want to know more about this year’s Black History Month? Check out the calendar of events.


Kelly McMahon CLAS ’22 is a student assistant in the Communication and Marketing department at Falvey.



Researching Hallowed Ground: Meet Jubilee Marshall, 2019 Falvey Scholar

Jubliee wins Falvey Scholar Award

Jubilee Marshall receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship Jeehyun “Jee” Davis.


This is part 3 of a 6-part series featuring the 2019 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Tuesday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the library’s bi-annual publication.


Scholarly Stats:

Jubilee Marshall ’19 CLAS

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Faculty Mentor: Whitney Martinko, PhD, assistant professor of History

Research: Public Health and Urban Space in Philadelphia’s Black Burial Grounds, 1750-1850, presented at the American Historical Association’s 2019 annual meeting and the Organization of American Historians’ 2019 conference

Other Honors: Fulbright U.S. Student Program award winner, Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship

In her own words:

Jubilee’s Research:

I began this research project in the fall semester of 2017, in the History department’s Junior Research Seminar, where I conducted a broad literature review to help narrow my topic, and wrote a Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship grant application for the summer of 2018.

During the summer, I focused on primary source research, and met with countless historians, archivists, and site managers (including Dr. Aaron Wunsch, Terry Buckalew, Adrienne Whaley, and Dr. Nicole Dressler) to get a sense of the landscape of churches and burials in Philadelphia in the revolutionary period. I spent a lot of time in archives.

Jubilee Marshall

There, I examined newspapers, church records, death records, land deeds, board of health regulations, maps, and other historical documents. In conducting this primary source research, I worked to identify trends and themes and in doing so eventually came to recognize that public health was a major concern for Philadelphians in the era.

Upon the completion of the summer grant period, I then spent the fall semester of my senior year completing supplementary secondary source research to get a broader understanding of how public health and urbanization may have affected black residents of the city from 1750-1850. In the spring semester, I wrote my thesis.

This process, which I’ve undertaken with extensive guidance from my advisor, Dr. Martinko, culminated in a 60-page, two-chapter thesis that I defended and plan to submit for publication.

“Falvey Experience”:

I could not have completed this project without Falvey Memorial Library. Much of my research depended on access to online databases, such as JSTOR and Accessible Archives. Over the summer, I met with a research librarian who helped me to navigate the specific databases I was using for my project which allowed me to locate and analyze sources I would not have been able to find on my own.

I checked out countless monographs from Falvey’s own collection, and regularly used EZ-Borrow and Interlibrary Loan to access other relevant texts that were not available in the stacks. Having access to this network of libraries allowed me to incorporate secondary source works that ended up being central to my broader argument. I also learned from the research librarian that I could request microfilm through ILL and view it in the library.

This was very helpful as I relied heavily on church records, many of which have been transferred to microfilm but are not yet available on the web. In addition to these services, I also used the library for my logistical needs. It provided me with a place to work, and with crucial access to a disk drive — my computer does not have one, and local historians frequently sent me CDs full of historical data. Falvey Memorial Library not only enhanced my project but made it possible, providing me with the resources and active guidance necessary to ensure my work would be well-supported.

The Impact on Her:
Jubilee Marshall

I have learned a lot and developed a wide array of skills from my research experience. In addition to learning how to locate, organize, and analyze sources, I have also learned how to navigate physical and digital archives; how to network with other historians in order to tap into existing networks of shared knowledge surrounding my research topic; how to successfully manage a long-term project; what work style best suits my needs and habits; how to apply for grant money; how to think broadly about historical evidence and think creatively about how to answer questions when the answers are not immediately evident in the historical records; how to write a thesis-length paper; and, finally, how to present my information and argument in multiple mediums in a way that is both engaging and convincing.

In addition to these skills, this research experience has also enable me to present my research at professional conferences, including the American Historical Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting and the Organization of American Historian’s 2019 conference, which has given me insight into the world of academia and helped to inform my post-graduate plans.

What’s Next:

Jubilee will work as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in the Czech Republic. Upon completion of her Fulbright year, she intends to pursue a graduate degree in the field of Public History.


Shawn Proctor

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.



Last Modified: June 18, 2019

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