KU News Release

May 5, 2011
Contact: Heather Anderson, Dole Institute of Politics, 785-864-1422

Dole Institute, KU Libraries collaborate on series about African-American WWII vets

LAWRENCE — The Dole Institute of Politics and University of Kansas Libraries will kick off a new three-part series titled “World War II: The African-American Experience,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at the Dole Institute. The event is free and open to the public.

The opening program will feature author and historian Christopher Moore as he discusses his book, “Fighting for America: Black Soldiers, the Unsung Heroes of WWII.”

“Chris Moore’s book provides a wonderful opportunity for people of all generations to connect with a previously invisible history of World War II and the roles played by the heroic black American men and women who served in that war,” said Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute.

The collaboration will include the three-part series at the Dole Institute and an exhibition and oral history project through the Kansas Collection at KU’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library that will document the experiences of African-American World War II veterans in Kansas. The exhibition will be on display at the Dole Institute. The programs are made possible through the support of Sandra Gautt of Lawrence.

“This partnership between KU Libraries and the Dole Institute, made possible by the generous support of Sandra Gautt, will provide a unique glimpse into African-American history,” said Lorraine J. Haricombe, dean of libraries. “We are grateful for the opportunity to document and share the personal experiences of those who served in World War II.”

Moore is a historian and special projects and exhibitions research coordinator for the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He is also the author and co-author of several works, including “The Black New Yorkers: 400 Years of African American History,” “Standing in the Need of Prayer: African American Prayer Traditions,” “Slavery in New York” and “Santa and Pete: Novel of Christmas Past and Present.”

His major Schomburg exhibitions include “The African Burial Ground,” “Malcolm X,” “Blacks on Stage,” “Ralph Bunche Centennial” and “Lest We Forget: Triumph over Slavery,” published as “Jubilee: The Emergence of African American Culture.” He has served as exhibition consultant to the New York Historical Society and the National Park Service.

Moore wrote and co-produced the History Channel’s award-winning series “The African Burial Ground: An American Discovery” and is featured in the Annenberg Media’s Teaching Multicultural Literature program “Langston Hughes and Christopher Moore” and the film “New Jack City: Harlem Walking Tour with Christopher Moore.” He is a consultant to the PBS show “History Detectives.”

A former journalist and news editor for ABC Radio and National Black Network News, Moore broke the story of the unearthing of the African burial ground in lower Manhattan for Fox News in 1991. Moore is a contributor to the New York Times, USA Today and the African American National Biography. He is a commissioner of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and the NYC Archival Review Board. In 2008, he received the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus’s Veteran’s Braintrust Award.

The series is dedicated to Gautt’s father, Thaddeus Whayne, and all African-American World War II veterans.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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