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Update: Celebrating the AC Phoenix News Archive at Digital NC and Rodney Sumler Day (March 13) 2019

posted Feb 1, 2019, 8:12 AM by Rahni Sumler   [ updated Feb 1, 2019, 8:15 AM ]
This year, we are practicing Sankofa by celebrating the digitization of the AC Phoenix News. The AC Phoenix News was created by Rodney Sumler, community activist and entrepreneur in Winston-Salem, NC.  In 2015 while celebrating his life, the Mayor of Winston-Salem declared March 13 Rodney Sumler Day to honor his life of service. This year we will be celebrating his service, the preservation of the AC Phoenix Newspaper, as well as kicking off the Rodney Sumler Research Foundation; whose mission is to continue the work of rewriting negative cultural narratives for people of color through education, research, and development. Help us celebrate wherever you are by signing up for our twitter campaign for March 13.

AC Pheonix Archive @ Digital NC: Injustice in 1994

Snapshot of a full page from AC Phoenix January 1994 edition. Features an opinion editorial by, then, Editor Tanya Wiley Brown. Copywrited to the Rodney Sumler Research Foundation. Obtained from Digital NC

Archived Op-Ed by Tanya Wiley-Brown,  © to the Rodney Sumler Research and posted with permission. Tanya Wiley-Brown took over for Rodney Sumler while he served time in prison. Ms. Wiley-Brown talks about injustices and a damaged justice system, including Mr. Sumler's wrongful imprisonment. The issue also honors Dr. Matin Luther King Jr, who was also frequently imprisoned. You can view the full issue here at Digital NC.

The Rodney Sumler Research Foundation, in partnership with the Bluford Library at North Carolina A&T State University and Digital NC, has digitalized 81 issues of the AC Pheonix News. The archive can be accessed here. 

NC A&T continues to collect and preserve copies of the AC Pheonix News to be preserved  added to the archive as well. 

Practicing Sankofa: How you can Participate

Sankofa is looking back and retrieving values that may have been lost to the march of time. These insights are what help guide our way into the future. Here are some ways to practice and participate.

Collect and help preserve Old Community Rotationals

Community rotationals include community newspapers, playbills from community theaters, year books and bulletins from community events including churches. This can also include any small business directories and events. Digital NC itself is a program within the University of North Carolina school system, at the Wilson Special Collection Library. When finding a place to preserve and digitize the newspapers, we began with talking to a number of Librarians: 
  • Crystal McKay, Supervising Librarian at the New York Public Library, 125th Street Branch
  • Megan Wacha, Scholarly Communications Librarian, Office of Library Services, City University of New York
  • James R. Stewart Jr., Archives and Special Collections Librarian, F. D. Bluford Library at North Carolina A&T State University
They all happened to triangulate on the Digital NC program. For finding places to archive your community rotationals and memorabilia in your area, begin first by asking your local librarian. 

Schedule a Tweet: #RodneySumlerDay Twitter Campaign

Twuffer allows you to  schedule a tweet for a specific event or date. When large amounts of people tweet posts with the same hashtag, this can make the cause trend on twitter for a short time. It's a great way to bring awareness to an issue. For the Rodney Sumler Day Campaign, in addition to celebrating this tremendous milestone, we are bringing awareness to archives: the continued work of preserving and amplifying voices in the community. This serves to dispel negative cultural narratives. When you know more about a people, it becomes harder to hate them. Looking back also gives us insight on how to solve future problems. It is easier to do this when we work with libraries to archive and parse voices in our community.
Sign up to Twuffer and schedule your own tweet for the Rodney Sumler Day here. It takes less than 2 minutes to sign up. Remember to to use the #RodneySumlerDay hastag in your tweet. Here's a suggested tweet:

#Libraries archives captures the soul of our community for everyone! Its to hard to blindly hate someone once you get to know them intimately. Congratulations to the #RodneySumlerResearchFoundation for archiving the #ACPhoenix! #RodneySumlerDay

Feel free to personalize the message for what this event means to you. Click here to commit to posting about Rodney Sumler Day

Encapsulate the Present: Write Opinion Editorials

Opinion Editorials, also known as Op-Eds, serve as a barometer for the community. This is because they are letters to the editor from members of the community discussing their experience. They can be from researchers in the field talking about their observations, activists discussing trends in the movement, or from normal people talking about how current events impact them. All of these insights serve to build a snapshot of what is happening at any given moment and are a goldmine for people researching events. The more people who submit op-eds, the more detailed the snapshot becomes.
For the month of February, the AC Pharos is taking op-eds about environmental justice, economic empowerment, and practices of Sankofa as we celebrate Black History Month. We can help you with getting started on writing op-eds, you can learn more here.

Donate to the Rodney Sumler Research Foundation

The Rodney Sumler Research Foundation for Economic Empowerment and Environmental Protection has a mission to continue Rodney Sumler's work. Our mission is to rewrite negative cultural narratives for people of color through education, research, and development. One way to contribute is to participate in the Rodney Sumler Day event on March 13. If you are in Harlem, NYC on March 13, we invite you to come join us! RSVP here with a suggested donation of $13. [https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rodney-sumler-day-economic-environmental-justice-and-organizing-action-tickets-42486191342]
If you aren't in the area, you can still participate by joining our livestream. Regardless, there will be an e-scavenger hunt, looking for fascinating events now preserved in the newspaper:
  • Coverage of Katrina
  • Michael Jackson Tribute
  • Election of Obama
  • Tsunami in South East Asia and rebuilding in Myanmar
You can also watch our old-school dance party, marching to many of the anthems Rodney Sumler and his contemporaries enjoyed mixed by Zachery Osbourne.

You can also donate at this landing page here. The foundation also has sponsorships available, where you can interact with out community, reinvest into your business and get valuable services. You can find out more about here.  
The Rodney Sumler Research foundation is a 501(c)3, public non-profit. All donations are tax deductible. 


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