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Archives of Marcus Bruce Christian

From & To Friends, Colleagues, & Wife

 

 

Books by Marcus Bruce Christian

Song of the Black Valiants: Marching Tempo / High Ground: A Collection of Poems  / Negro soldiers in the Battle of New Orleans

I am New Orleans: A Poem / Negro Iron Workers of Louisiana: 1718-1900 /  The Liberty Monument

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Letter 21

Christian Proposes to Albert Dent 

a Dillard University Press

 

New Orleans, Louisiana 

December 26, 1942

Mr. A.W. Dent, President 

Dillard University 

New Orleans, Louisiana 

Dear Mr. Dent: 

Just prior to Doctor Nelson's resignation I proposed to him the founding of a Dillard University Press. The main purpose of such venture was to make use of the valuable source material that we now have by publishing at spaced intervals printed monograph concerning the Negroes' part in Louisiana history. This undertaking was to have been over and above anything that we might do in the publication of a book.

One of the means by which it was proposed to bring about the founding of this project was to make use of my knowledge of printing and bookbinding, and to put into operation the two small hand printing presses that I have at home, in addition to the large 12 x 18 motored press and a large bookbinder's cutting machine. In using this equipment to bring out small publications, we had planned to use either hand-set type or linotype matter--according to whether cheapness or speed was most desired.

In getting our publications ready for the press, we were to ask Doctor Quarles to serve as chairman of our editorial board, while asking other faculty members, such as Doctor Crawford and Professor Edmonds to serve as members of this board. I was to be the compiler, writer, and editor of such publications as were to be released quarterly or twice each year.

Special documentary notes were also to be included in each issue, and this material was to be so published that it could be used by historians and sociologists throughout the country. For example, we seem to know about as much as anyone else concerning the Negro's part in the Battle of New Orleans, and a booklet issued by the university on this subject might do much for the prestige of the institution at a time when this topic is very much in the national spotlight. The Dillard University art department could probably assist us in planning illustrations, and in furnishing front cover decorative designs.

When I broached the subject to Doctor Nelson, he seemed very much interested in a Dillard University press, and advised me to proceed with my plans. When his resignation came, I was waiting for a written statement from Mr. Saxon, promising to allow the research material to remain at the institution indefinitely. Last week Mr. Saxon assured me that this can be done. The worth of the material to which he has promised us access to is valued at many thousands of dollars.

I am writing this with the hope that such a plan may be put into operation at some future date, even though I have no connection with the university at this time. I believe that a project of this type would give the institution more prestige among scholars, educators, and historians than any other one thing I know of at present.

In addition to this, our present material could be augmented from time to time, until we could ask one of the foundations to supply us with compartments to place around the walls of our present office. Then the source material on cards could be cross-indexed for subject matter, and triple-indexed for names. Under this new system reference for any type of material could be found with little difficulty. When this was finished, it would then be possible to gather all of the institution's Louisiana and Negro history material, and place it in this room.

If these suggestions could be carried out, I might then be willing to place with this material my own historical collection--a collection which Sterling Brown says is the finest private Negro collection that he has seen in the South.

All of the foregoing may prove to be an excellent idea, and one that Dillard may be able to make use of one day. I realize that for the last few years the university has placed little emphasis upon historical research, but it is very probably that there will be a readjustment of its historical perspective in the near future.

Finally, I should like to say that, even though Mr. Embree and the university find it impossible to give any financial assistance in completing THE LOUISIANA NEGRO, I am definitely committed to the completion of the work in its first final form. Beyond that I am planning to appeal to the Rosenwald Fund, and asking the privilege of personally speaking to the Committee on awards in behalf of a grant for the coming year.

Sincerely, 

Marcus B. Christian

<<---Previous    Next--22->>

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Dr. Albert W. Dent (1904-1984), the university's third president served from 1940 to 1969, under his leadership Dillard University became a charter member of the United Negro College Fund in 1944, and in 1958 was admitted to membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The university gymnasium named in his honor was rededicated on October 14, 1999. Built in 1969 at the end of his service, Dent Hall is the home of the Blue Devils and the Lady Blue Devils basketball teams. 

A graduate of Morehouse College, Mr. Dent became superintendent of Flint-Goodridge Hospital after a brief business career in Georgia and Texas.

For six years he served simultaneously as business manager of Dillard University and superintendent of Flint-Goodridge Hospital. In 1931 he married Ernestine Jessie Covington. From 1941 to 1969 Albert Dent was the president of Dillard University.

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Tom Dent

Born in 1932, Tom Dent grew up in a socially aware southern family and graduated from Morehouse College in 1952. His writing career began around that time when he was hired at the Houston Informer and he later wrote for New York Age. In 1961 he became a public information worker for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Through that assignment he became deeply involved in the civil rights movement and the importance of the struggle was reflected in some of his writings. After living in New York, Tom Dent returned to New Orleans where he helped run the Free Southern Theater and then taught at local universities

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Jesse Covington Dent: Concert Artist

Noted classical pianist and Charter Member of the New Orleans Alumnae Chapter, Jessie Covington Dent died on March 10, 2001. The daughter of the late Dr. and Mrs. Benjamin Jesse Covington and wife of past Dillard University President, the late Dr. Albert W. Dent, Soror Dent was ranked among the eminent citizens of the city for a long number of years. On June 20, 1936, Soror Dent and ten other prominent women chartered the Alpha Eta Sigma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, later renamed New Orleans Alumnae Chapter. During her tenure as the chapter's second president, the first collegiate chapter in the city of New Orleans, Beta Gamma Chapter, was chartered at Dillard University.

Through the years, Soror Dent remained well informed about the chapter activities. It became the chapter's tradition to present her with flowers in celebration of Founders Day. She warmly received sorors in her home and graciously provided reflections on the chapter's historic beginning. In 1996, Soror Dent was the Honorary Co-Chair of the chapter's 60th Anniversary Celebration.

Soror Dent achieved many impressive firsts. She was among the first fellowship students to enter the Juilliard Musical Foundation when it was inaugurated in 1924. Additionally, she was the recipient of the first Amistad Fine Arts Award in New Orleans, founding member of the New Orleans Chapter of Links, Inc., founding member of the New Orleans Chapter of Jack and Jill, and first President of the New Orleans Iris Garden Society. She was also a member of Central Congregational United Church of Christ.

New Orleans Alumnae Chapter President Sylvia Stanley Turner led the Omega Omega Service for Soror Dent on Thursday, March 15, 2001, in Lawless Memorial Chapel on the campus of Dillard University. Past President of the New Orleans Alumnae Chapter, Soror Hazel Stamps Moore gave the eulogy and reflected on the special times she shared with Soror Dent.

Survivors include two sons, Benjamin Albert and Walter Jesse Dent; and two grandchildren. Soror Dent was also the mother of noted playwright, poet, and civil rights activist Thomas Covington Dent, who died in June 1998.

The Jessie Covington Dent Memorial Scholarship in Music has been established at Dillard University. Contributions may be sent to the: Dillard University / Office of Development / 2601 Gentilly Boulevard / New Orleans, Louisiana 70122  

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Selected Letters  Selected Diary Notes

Memories of Marcus B. Christian (CainsChristian's BioBibliographical Record    Introduction to I AM NEW ORLEANS 

A Theory of a Black Aesthetic   Magpies, Goddesses, & Black Male Identity

Activist Works on Next Level of Change   Intro to I Am New Orleans   Letter from Dillard University

A Labor of Genuine Love  Letter of Gift of Photos   Letters from LSU and Skip Gates

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Negro Iron Workers of Louisiana: 1718-1900

By Marcus Bruce Christian

 

Study of the blacksmith tradition and New Orleans famous lace balconies and fences.

Acclaimed during his life as the unofficial poet laureate of the New Orleans African-American community, Marcus Christian recorded a distinguished career as historian, journalist, and literary scholar. He was a contributor to Pelican's Gumbo Ya Ya, and also wrote many articles that appeared in numerous newspapers, journals, and general-interest publications.

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Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

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Bob Dylan: Only a pawn in their game / The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll

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Panel on Literary Criticism

26 March 2010

 National Black Writers Conference

Patrick Oliver, Kalamu ya Salaam, Dorothea Smartt, Frank Wilderson discuss the use of literature to promote political causes and instigate change and transformation.  The event is at the Medgar Evers College at the City University of New York. C-Span Archives

Panel on Politics and Satire

26 March 2010

 National Black Writers Conference

Herb Boyd, Thomas Bradshaw, Charles Edison and Major Owens discuss how current events are reflected in the writings of African Americans.  The event is at the Medgar Evers College at the City University of New York. C-Span Archives

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Selected Letters  Selected Diary Notes

Memories of Marcus B. Christian (CainsChristian's BioBibliographical Record    Introduction to I AM NEW ORLEANS 

A Theory of a Black Aesthetic   Magpies, Goddesses, & Black Male Identity

Activist Works on Next Level of Change   Intro to I Am New Orleans   Letter from Dillard University

A Labor of Genuine Love  Letter of Gift of Photos   Letters from LSU and Skip Gates

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Negro Iron Workers of Louisiana: 1718-1900

By Marcus Bruce Christian

 

Study of the blacksmith tradition and New Orleans famous lace balconies and fences.

Acclaimed during his life as the unofficial poet laureate of the New Orleans African-American community, Marcus Christian recorded a distinguished career as historian, journalist, and literary scholar. He was a contributor to Pelican's Gumbo Ya Ya, and also wrote many articles that appeared in numerous newspapers, journals, and general-interest publications.

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Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 17 April 2010

 

 

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