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Jean Toomer Conference 2013 : Reflection, Reconnection, Renaissance: Jean Toomer 's Cane 90th Anniversary


When Jun 20, 2012 - Jun 23, 2012
Where Sparta, GA (100 mi from Atlanta)
Submission Deadline Jan 20, 2013
Notification Due Feb 25, 2013
Final Version Due May 10, 2013
Categories    culture   history   sociology   music

Call For Papers

Reflection, Reconnection and Renaissance: Jean Toomer’s Cane, 90th Anniversary

Sparta’s Hancock County, Georgia’s Rich History

The purpose of this Conference is to unveil the rich history of Hancock County and its relationship to Jean Toomer’s 90th Anniversary of the novel Cane


Dates of Event: Thursday June 20, 2013 to Sunday, June 23, 2013

Conference Location: Sparta High School, Sparta, GA 31087

Registration $75.00; Lunch and Dinner per day $25; Complementary Sunday Lunch


1) To celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the novel “Cane” that was written by Jean Toomer.

2) Develop an atmosphere of collaborative historical findings.

3) To unravel the rich legacy of Toomer and his novel.

4) Enhance historical components of Sparta, Hancock County and the state of Georgia.

5) Increase continued discourse around sociocultural concerns in the form of lectures, discussion, and writings.

6) Increase international awareness of Jean Toomer and the southern culture legacies.

Thursday, June 20, 2013-Youth Program: “Discovery of Jean Toomer’s Cane and its Legacy” (youth ages up to 16 years)

9:00 am- 12 noon with Lunch included ($5.00 per student)
6:00 p.m. Guest Lecturer, free and open to the public

Friday, June 21, 2013-and Saturday, June 22, 2013 Registration and Musical Workshop Registration

Conference Timelines: 9:00-10:30 am; 12:15-1:30 pm [Lunch]; 1:45-3:15 pm; 3:30 pm-4:45 pm; 5:00-7:00 [Dinner]

Sunday, June 23, 2013 11:00-12:30 pm; 12:45 pm – 2:00 pm [Lunch] 2:30 pm Concert

Renaissance: Toomer and Hancock County’s History

Slavery in Antebellum Georgia, grew from 29, 264, in 1790 to 59,699 by 1810. Its growth was due to newly mechanized cotton gins,
with the most famous by Eli Whitney. Yet, it was Hancock County that was the economic heart of this plantocratic industry.

During the fall of 1921, Toomer spent eight weeks in the homeland of his abandoned father. Seeking to connect to his paternal roots
Hancock County and especially the city Sparta inspired him to write and publish Cane in 1923. Some of the suggested discussions,
but not limited to, are:

. Toomer’s election to the Georgia Hall of Fame (2002)
. The novel Cane (1923) Analysis of class and cast (secrecy and miscegenation)
. Toomer, principal at the Sparta Agricultural and Industrial School for blacks in Sparta (1921)
. Toomer’s Paternal Relocated Roots
. Segregation and labor Peonage
. Georgia’s Constitutional Disfranchisement
. Toomer’s grandfather, PBS Pinchback, the first African American US Senator

Reconnection: The Melding of Religion and Slavery: Religious Justification for Human Bondage

In 1806, Georgia Methodism met in Sparta. Present were two prominent Sparta community Methodist bishops, Bishop George Foster
Pierce and African American Bishop Lucious Hosley. By 1854, Hancock County had 21 churches and in 1870, a 41 total. The Evangelical
Christian churches reinforced slaveholder’s authority by reminding slaves of scriptural admonishments, which the Holy Bible was
used as tool for control. Yet, it was the African Methodist Episcopal denomination that developed 13 churches in Hancock County to
enhance spiritual emancipation with two churches in the city of Sparta, Warren Chapel Circuit and Sandy Run.

. Historical relationship of religion and racism
. Bonds of Bishops George Foster Pierce and Lucious Hosley
. Hancock County’s faith community growth
. The Evangelical Christian church slaveholder reinforcement
. Use of the Holy Bible and Oppression
. Understanding the AME Church’s relationship towards emancipation

Amanda Americus Dickson, Wealth and Privilege

The largest plantation owner, David Dickerson left a major bulk of his estate to his daughter, Amanda America Dickson
(1849-1893). Her mother, Julia was twelve years old when she was raped by Dickerson. Yet, Amanda spent her childhood
in the home of her paternal grandmother. She then became the wealthiest woman of color in the US. In 1892, Dickson
married Nathan Toomer, the future father of the Jean Toomer.

. Legacy of privilege and color
. David Dickson’s white relatives contest the will
. Upholding the Will: “…rights of each race are controlled and governed by the same enactments or principle of
. Privileges of unwedded white children and mixed-race children
. Establishing segregation as the ruling social order in the public sphere
. Dickerson’s life reflects power of family and class
. Race, class, and law

This Train Is Bound for Glory: Negro Spirituals and Gospel Music Workshop

Although it was against the law for slaves to learn how to read or write, songs of encoding, messages, and emotional freedom were important component of slave culture. This four-day workshop will discuss the historical frameworks of African American music that will accumulate in an afternoon Concert at Warren Chapel Circuit Church, Sparta, GA.

Submit inquiries, and proposals to:

This Conference is facilited through the Warren Chapel Circuit Family Life Center, Sparta, GA, the city of Sparta, GA, Green-Williams & Associates, and the Georgia Historical Socity.

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