One of Ms. Dunham’s passions included the country of Haiti. “[Dunham arrived] in Haiti where she stayed for nine months. Her work in Haiti resulted in her thesis, “The Dances of Haiti: Their Social Organization, Classification, Form, and Function” and another book, Island Possessed. These pioneering dance/anthropology works were significant first steps toward the now recognized sub discipline of dance anthropology. But of even more significance was the effect Dunham’s fieldwork had on her own artistic development. During her time in Haiti, Dunham came to understand–both intellectually and kinesthetically–the African roots of black dance in the West Indies. From this physical understanding of what she considered her cultural roots, Dunham began to develop the first African American concert dance technique.” Source: http://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200152685
After this country was hit by a devestating earthquake, it seemed fitting that the Dunham Museum organize a donation effort.
This effort was very successful! As you can see from the picture below, the Dunham Museum collected mounds of clothing to send overseas.
Many of these donations had to be sorted through, organized, and boxed up for their trip overseas!
Here is a picture of the group of volunteers that made this possible!
One of the many projects of the SIUE IUR is to create the East St. Louis virtual historical society. This website contains many historic East St. Louis documents and pictures for use of students and for the public to explore the history of the city! If you have not seen this great resource, feel free to visit it here: http://www.siue.edu/graduate/iur/eslhistory/
Part of the virtual historical society involved traveling to East St. Louis to obtain recorded interviews about how life was like in East St. Louis from the people who lived there. In order to do this, the IUR visited the Joseph Center/ Eagle’s Nest. According to their website, “Eagle’s Nest is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to empower homeless military veterans to achieve their highest level of self-sufficiency, economic independence, and rejoin the community as productive members of society. In November of 2009, Eagle’s Nest opened their doors to The Joseph Center, a full-service living center in East St. Louis. It provides supportive housing to 26 homeless veterans and is the only center of its kind in the entire St. Louis metropolitan area.” Source: http://www.thejosephcenter.org/
Here is a picture of IUR volunteers conducting an interview.
A picture of the group!
On a Saturday in November, the Institute for Urban Research partnered with student organizations from SIUE to clean up one of the treasurers of East St. Louis: the Katherine Dunham home. This home, which was occupied by Ms. Dunham, had fallen into disrepair. With the help of many volunteers, we were able to get the home in much better shape!
In 1975, “The Katherine Dunham Fund purchases three adjoining houses in East Saint Louis from Southern Illinois University. Located on Tenth Street, one is to be Dunham and Pratt’s residence; one is to be used as an office (and later for storage); and the third, a stone building referred to as the “corner house,” is to be a residence for students, instructors, and visitors.” Source: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/html/dunham/dunham-timeline.html
Here is a picture of Ms. Dunham’s house.
A few images of the destruction in Ms. Dunham’s home due to years of misuse and neglect.
After many hours, Ms. Dunham’s house came back to life. In addition to cleaning, many artifacts were collected and stored at the Katherine Dunham museum down the street. These artifacts will one day be useful for students and the general public to learn about Ms. Dunham and the progress she was able to make for society.
A picture of the group of volunteers who worked very hard on this project.
The city of East St. Louis, Illinois turns 152 years old today! To honor the city’s birthday, The Institute for Urban Research at SIUE has officially launched the Virtual East St. Louis Historical Society, a web portal that provides digital access to a variety of first and second-hand historical sources about the city of East St. Louis.
The site gives users an interactive way to explore the rich history of East St. Louis through a variety of photos, videos, articles, newspapers, and facts about the city.
Click here to visit the Virtual East St. Louis Historical Society.
Come join the Institute for Urban Research on February 23, 2013, in collecting video histories of East St. Louis Veterans at the Joseph Center.
We will meet on campus at 8:30 a.m. in Lot A for a carpool to the Joseph Center. The carpool will leave campus no later than 9 a.m., and will return to campus no later than 2 p.m.
Participating in this event will give you an opportunity to communicate with our former military service members and learn about what life has been like for them.
If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact Patience Ferry in the Institute for Urban Research at 650-5262 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomorrow, Wednesday January 30, 2013, Institute for Urban Research Director Dr. Andy Theising will be featured on the “St. Louis on the Air” show on St. Louis Public Radio.
Dr. Theising will be discussing the latest book in the East St. Louis Sesquicentennial Series, “An East St. Louis Anthology: The Origins of a River City”. Edited by Dr. Charles Lumpkins of Pennsylvania State University, the book reveals the history of the city through essays and historical documents.
“St. Louis on the Air” airs live at 11:00 a.m. on St. Louis public radio, KWMU- 90.7 FM, and streaming online at http://www.news.stlpublicradio.org/programs/st-louis-air.
If you miss the original broadcast, the show will be repeated at 10:00 p.m. both on the radio and online.
The book is available for purchase at amazon.com.
“An East St. Louis Anthology: The Origins of a River City”
Please join the STLMRE for the next brown bag lunch event, featuring Joanna Ganning, Ph.D., and “Spread and Backwash Effects for Non-metropolitan Communities in the U.S.”
Thursday, November 15
Harris-Stowe State University
University Library: Seminar Room
Please see the attached flyer for more details.