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Fannie Rushing

Specializing in the history and culture of African people in Latin America and the Caribbean, Professor Fannie Theresa Rushing was born in Chicago on February 3, 1943, and grew up in the community of Hyde Park. With family roots in Holly Springs and Meridian, Mississippi, Rushing traces her ancestors back four generations, three of which were college graduates on her mother’s side. Her paternal great uncle, the Reverend Charles Wesley Burton, earned a B.D. from Yale University and was a confidant of A. Phillip Randolph.

As a volunteer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Rushing developed a keen interest in the civil rights movement while still at Hirsch High School. In 1961, Rushing briefly attended University of Illinois before serving as a SNCC field secretary and Freedom School teacher from 1962 to 1966.The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, Rushing earned a B.A. in anthropology from Roosevelt University in 1974 and an M.Ed. in psychology from Chicago State University in 1986. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago in 1992. Her dissertation is entitled Cabildos de Nacion, Sociedades de la Raza de Color: AfroCuban Participation in Slave Emancipation and Cuban Independence 1865-1895.

As coordinator of the Southern Africa Program of the American Friends Service Committee from 1976 to 1977, Rushing organized a major international conference on Trans National Corporations and Southern Africa. She has taught several courses over the years including: The African Diaspora in Latin America, Black Resistance in the Americas, Race and Power in Contemporary Brazil, and Culture and Literature of the Caribbean. She has also worked as Director of Minority Services at Rosary College, and as a lecturer at Northwestern University, Governors State University, Dominican University, Columbia College, University of Illinois, and DePaul University. Rushing is currently an associate professor in the Department of History at Benedict University.

Accession Number

A2003.288

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/5/2003 |and| 7/20/2005

Last Name

Rushing

Maker Category
Schools

Hirsch Metropolitan High School

Charles Kozminski Elementary Community Academy

Roosevelt University

University of Chicago

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Evenings, Weekends

First Name

Fannie

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

RUS04

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

None

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/3/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chocolate

Short Description

Civil rights activist, african diaspora historian, and history professor Fannie Rushing (1943 - ) focuses her research and writing on the African influence in Central America.

Employment

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

American Friends Service Committee

Rosary College

Northwestern University

Governors State University

Dominican University

Columbia College

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

DePaul University

Benedictine University

Saint Mary's High School

Favorite Color

Blue, Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Fannie Rushing's interview, session one

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Fannie Rushing lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Fannie Rushing describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Fannie Rushing talks about her interest in her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Fannie Rushing describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Fannie Rushing remembers her great-uncle Charles Wesley Burton, the founder of Lincoln Congregational Church in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Fannie Rushing describes her mother's upbringing and subsequent work as a cook

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Fannie Rushing describes her father's work as a blacksmith for the Pullman Company in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Fannie Rushing talks about her father's reaction to losing his job at the Pullman Company

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Fannie Rushing describes her childhood in Hyde Park in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Fannie Rushing describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Hyde Park, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Fannie Rushing describes her love of reading and other hobbies from her childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Fannie Rushing describes her time at Kozminski Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Fannie Rushing describes racial prejudice at Hirsch High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Fannie Rushing describes her studies and interests at Hirsch High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Fannie Rushing describes her early experiences with the Civil Rights Movement while at Hirsch High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Fannie Rushing describes her relationship with the school community at Hirsch High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Fannie Rushing describes her activist efforts while attending the University of Illinois at Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Fannie Rushing describes her parents' reaction to her decision to leave the University of Illinois at Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Fannie Rushing describes being terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan in Cordele, Georgia during the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Fannie Rushing describes being terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan in Cordele, Georgia during the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Fannie Rushing talks about the goals and operations of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Fannie Rushing narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Fannie Rushing narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Fannie Rushing narrates her photographs, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Fannie Rushing's interview, session two

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Fannie Rushing talks about the United States government's efforts to destabilize the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Fannie Rushing describes her travels to Mexico in 1966 and 1967

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Fannie Rushing relates her reactions to the 1973 military coup in Chile

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Fannie Rushing talks about the leadership of SNCC traveling to Africa in 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Fannie Rushing talks about studying anthropology at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Fannie Rushing describes her early work studying the African Diaspora in Latin America

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Fannie Rushing describes her work in support of African and Latin American liberation movements during the 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Fannie Rushing talks about the United States government's efforts to destabilize the Puerto Rican independence movement

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Fannie Rushing describes activist causes, including efforts to create a socialist third party, during the 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Fannie Rushing talks about returning to school to get her Ph.D. degree at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Fannie Rushing talks about the college courses she has taught on the African Diaspora

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Fannie Rushing talks about distinctions between race and nationality in Latin American cultures

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Fannie Rushing talks about the history of early liberation movements in Latin America

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Fannie Rushing talks about the role of religion in early liberation movements in Latin America

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Fannie Rushing talks about the role of Santeria in Cuban history

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Fannie Rushing talks about the history of slavery in Latin America

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Fannie Rushing describes the history of the favelas in Brazil

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Fannie Rushing talks about the role of government-provided social services in combating poverty

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Fannie Rushing talks about her plan to preserve the history of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Fannie Rushing talks about books about the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Fannie Rushing talks about books about the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Fannie Rushing describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Fannie Rushing considers what she would have done differently in her life

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Fannie Rushing talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Fannie Rushing reflects upon her legacy and the legacy of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Fannie Rushing reflects on the success of the liberation movement in South Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Fannie Rushing describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
Fannie Rushing remembers her great-uncle Charles Wesley Burton, the founder of Lincoln Congregational Church in Chicago, Illinois
Fannie Rushing describes being terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan in Cordele, Georgia during the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 1
Transcript
Are there any stories that have passed down from that side that, that you--$$Well--$$--you remember?$$Yes, my, my great-uncle on that side, my grandmother's [Fannie Burton Rushing] brother, was a really extraordinary man. His name was Charles Wesley Burton, and he founded Lincoln Congregational Church here in Chicago [Illinois]. He got his divinity degree at Yale University [New Haven, Connecticut] and went and got his B.A. at Talladega [College, Talladega, Alabama], his doctorate in divinity at Yale. And that would have been about 1888, I think. And then he came here to Chicago, and as I said, he founded Lincoln Congregational Church, which is the first black Congregational church in the city. And then he went to Northwestern University [Evanston, Illinois] and got a law degree and became a lawyer. And he was very, very influential in helping the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters when they were attempting to form a union. When the other ministers in Chicago refused to allow the Brotherhood to meet in their churches anymore, my uncle still kept his church open for the Brotherhood. And when he died in 1950, the Brotherhood sent a beautiful letter thanking him in memoriam for the work that he had done with the Brotherhood and for his commitment to civil rights. It's interesting because certainly growing up as a child, I saw him all the time, but you know, then it's just your, your uncle. And you know, you knew he was involved in, in, in doing things, but you don't have the same, you don't have the same understanding that you have as an adult. And then one day I was reading a book on A. Philip Randolph. And there was all of his information about Uncle Charlie and what he had done with, with the Brotherhood. And so then I started to ask more questions and to find out more about the man. And the man of course was an extremely interesting one. So, yeah, those were the stories.$$So he, he attended Yale when probably he was maybe one of the--$$From Mississippi he--$$Yeah.$$--was like the first, the first black person to actually attend Yale.$$Okay, so he, he came out of Yale in 1888?$$It would have been, would've, would've been around 1888.$$Around, around 1888.$$And of course what had been very important to him was being at Talladega. And he, he developed a, a, a network of friends at, at Talladega and remained active with their alumni association. So on both sides of the family from very, very early on there was a, a strong commitment to education and particularly from my mother [Ella Jones Rushing] always a commitment to the historically black colleges [HBCUs]. And my mother would always say, you know, when we couldn't go to these other places, we had the historically black colleges, and that's why they must be preserved. And she spent a lot of her time trying to make sure that she never missed the United Negro College Fund Dinner, and she never missed contributing to the Rust College Club [Rust College, Holly Springs, Mississippi]. She was one of the founding members of the alumni association here. So I, I have a real healthy respect for the, the historically black colleges.$And what we had done was we had had a Freedom School with kids from the South and kids from the North here in Chicago [Illinois] for four weeks. And then for four weeks we were gonna go south and have Freedom School in Georgia. And the day we got to town, a young black man had been arrested for the alleged saying something to a white woman, and it had changed the whole dynamic of the town. People were terrified. They were terrified: a) that this young man was going to be killed because the [Ku Klux] Klan [KKK] was saying that they were gonna take him out that night; and they also were now frightened that, you know, got, you got these civil rights people here, and you know, what is this gonna do? And although people had agreed to house us, now people were, were nervous. They were, you know, should we, you know, should we do this? So the whole afternoon was spent trying to, you know, get things back in order in, in town, and actually see that we still have places to, to stay, and also to see that what we could do about this young man who had been arrested. And so we, you know, ended up having a mass meeting.$$Now this is in what town in Georgia again? This is--$$Cordele.$$Cordele, okay.$$And that night the, the Klan began its demonstration early. And we had to go back to where we were living. And of course, you know, in that, in, in that part of town, you know, there are no lights; there's just nothing. I mean you're just walking in the dark. And so we, you know, we had to get all these kids settled in in the places where they were gonna stay and then where we were gonna stay. There were four of us SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] workers. And when we finally got to where we were gonna stay, we knew that the Klan was right behind us. And they started shooting. And we, we were in the house by that time, but you know, everybody was pretty much sure this is, you know, this is it. And I remember calling my parents [Ella Jones Rushing and Albert Rushing], and it was a kind of a way of saying goodbye. And I remember when my, my mother picked up the phone, and I was saying that, you know, I was calling her and my mother just dropped the phone, you know. And I am sure at this point, you know, looking back at it, I mean the, you know, the terror that she must have been feeling. And you know, she just--my father picked up the phone, and you know, and he said you know, this--you know, what are you doing? You know, this is exactly what we told you. And I, you know, I said, you know, this is what's happening. And I needed them to, you know, to make calls, and they did. But you know, it was only in that moment, and still not entirely in that moment, that I realized that my parents were not just concerned about the fact that I had left school, that they were actually really, really concerned about my safety. So--$$What, what, what calls did you ask them to make?$$Well, I needed them to call the SNCC people here so that they, they would then know the appropriate calls to make to the Justice Department [U.S. Department of Justice]. You know, we had a whole list of--we had a routine for what you do when this kind of thing happens, not that it was necessarily gonna do any good, but you know, that was all we had. So, my, my mother called Sylvia and Charlie Fischer, and they were the chairs of the Friends of SNCC office--I mean the Friends of SNCC committee here in Chicago. And you know, then they started making the appropriate calls. So, anyway, I ended up spending oh, the next four or five years working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee--