Join us in celebrating International Games Day, an initiative of the American Library Association. Presented in collaboration with UM’s Department of Cinema & Interactive Media and UM Video Games Club, we’ll have board games, video games, student-created and locally produced games, vintage games, and more. Come learn new games, play your favorites, and share your skills! Learn more »
By Patricia Sowers, Director of Warmamas
The Afghanistan-Iraq war is described as our country’s longest war. From 2001 to 2014, over 2.5 million men and women were deployed, most of them to war zones. Multiple deployments were not uncommon. Most of those deployed said goodbye to a mother.
Saying goodbye to a son or daughter leaving for war has never been easy. It matters little if it is a first or last deployment—a mother’s anguish is the same. I, too, had to say goodbye to my own son when he announced that he was being sent to the Middle East in a diplomatic capacity. For six years, I lived in secret fear. Eventually I realized that my own feelings of foreboding were dwarfed by what mothers with children in direct combat were experiencing. Their voices were rarely heard and yet were an essential part of our ongoing national narrative on the gravitas of war. There was a need for a place where these women could share their experiences. Warmamas was created out of this need.
None of us were prepared for the kinds of stories we heard. They were beautiful, they were painful, they were inspiring. Some were tragic. They all told a story of strength. There was a story about a mother who takes to bed for three days when her son tells her he has joined the Marines; the mother who sends her second son off to war but refuses to let her third one go; the mother who talks about developing patience when there is no letter for months; the school-teacher whose son returns with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and yet shows a determination to get well that she never expected; the mother talking by phone to her son in Afghanistan and suddenly hearing a bomb explode as his camp is attacked; another mother determined to fly to Kabul when she hears her son is injured; the mother who called an admiral at the Pentagon to complain that her son hadn’t written for six months; the mother who doesn’t cry as her daughter leaves for Iraq so as not to upset her. There are many stories about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how one mother has struggled with her son’s suicide by creating a foundation to help other at-risk veterans.
Many mothers expressed surprise that anyone would be remotely interested in their experiences. They have come to understand, however, that their stories have value and are part of the larger story of war and peace and that perhaps one day a stranger or even a grandchild would want to listen.
Warmamas is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) founded in Coral Gables by Gail Ruiz, local artist and attorney, Philip Busey, UF agronomist and political activist and myself, an English teacher at Miami Dade College and hand-wringing mother. Warmamas began by filming, documenting and publishing mothers’ stories and later partnered with the University of Miami and StoryCorps in 2014 and 2015 as part of the Military Voices Initiative which focused on veterans and their families. The veteran narratives are stored at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC and are also—along with the Warmamas’ mother interviews—part of UM Special Collections’ StoryCorps-Warmamas Community Archive.
We are presently interviewing mothers of veterans of all wars. Most interviews are videotaped in the mother’s home. Audio recordings of veterans of any war can be done at the veteran’s home or at the studio in Richter Library.
For more information, please contact:
Patricia Figueroa Sowers, Director
You can also watch her full oral history interview here.
This pop-up exhibition is a platform for exploring identity through art and the written word.
The ID Project opened on October 27 at the Lowe Art Museum as a pop-up exhibition and experimental space that encourages visitors to reflect on and explore notions of identity. The exhibition encompasses a display of identity-centric artists’ books and zines for purchase and browsing, with a focus on questions such as: Who am I? Who are you? Who are we?
The ID Project is the result of a unique partnership with the Lowe, co-curated and co-created by Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator of the Lowe; Cristina Favretto, Head of Special Collections at University of Miami Libraries; and Amanda Keeley, Founder of EXILE Books, and occupies the space of the Lowe’s former Store.
During the opening on October 27, guests engaged in a variety of activities to “curate their identities,” including:
• Making and decorating a 3D paper mask with different materials
• Using mirrors to study their reflection and draw their self-portrait
• Creating and sharing a 10-line bio-poem with friends, other guests, or….just for them
• Using a special app to develop their own personal musical beat on an iPad
• Placing color beads in vessels to express reactions to six selected artworks in the Lowe
• Writing Class Radio, who was on hand to facilitate writing true stories about personal identity
On view through April 2017, The ID Project will be accompanied by a series of “identity salons” that invite visitors to tackle this fundamental concept from a wide range of angles, including gender, sex, culture, race, age, and socio-economic status. In addition, special programs will address the theme of identity, and complement the Lowe’s dynamic exhibitions currently on view, all of which speak to the notion of identity and Walt Whitman’s truism: “We contain multitudes.” The schedule of salons and programs will be announced.
“Identity shapes our lives, both independent and collective,” says Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator of the Lowe. The ID Project provides an exciting platform for expressing ideas about how we define ourselves and how we see others, and serves as a flexible viewing and making space for education, enrichment, and enjoyment,” she adds.
The ID Project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida.
The University of Miami Libraries and Department of Geography will present a series of workshops and discussions on November 16 demonstrating the real-world applications of geographic information systems (GIS). Sessions will take place at the Otto G. Richter Library from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Learn more »
By Koichi Tasa, University Archivist
Even when I was a newly hired University Archivist in fall 2007, I knew the name Ray Bellamy, his face, and his historical importance for the University as the first black athlete (1967) and the first black president of the student government (1971) from Dr. Charlton Tebeau’s 1976 publication The University of Miami: A Golden Anniversary History, 1926-1976.
So, the staff of the University Archives were thrilled to meet the legendary alumnus during his recent visit to Miami in the last week of September. He first visited the current UM Libraries exhibition Miami Celebrates: The Orange Bowl Festival, 1930s-1990s, then came up to the 8th floor to review our materials on him as well as our historical collections of black students and faculty.
He talked to us about his experience when at the University in the midst of the racial integration struggle in Miami.
You can find out a lot about Mr. Bellamy’s accomplishments on the Internet and YouTube as well as in numerous articles and publications of the University. I would like to show you a compelling documentary I found on YouTube titled Changing the Game: a Deep South Conflict, a Compromise of Attitudes, which was created by David and Matt Mariutto (see below). I think this is not only a great piece on Mr. Bellamy but also a powerful teaching material on diversity.
Mr. Bellamy was brought to us by Ms. Denise Mincey-Mills, who is one of the co-chairs of the Alumni Association’s program “First Black Graduates Project,” which celebrates the first black graduates of the University of Miami in the 1960s and the 1970s. Please go to the link below for further information about the program, which takes place on February 24 and 25, 2017.
Included in the program is a visit to the Otto G. Richter Library to view an exhibition “U Trailblazers – Black Students and Faculty Who Broke Color Barrier in the 1960s and the 1970s” (*tentative title) curated by the University Archives for the Black History Month as well as a reception offered by Richter and a lecture by UM’s history professor Dr. Donald Spivey.
(Courtesy of Hurricanesports.com / Release: 2/04/2013)