Website creator, Charles Lester is currently an Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University, where he teaches courses on monuments and memorials in American history, American popular culture and social protest, and healthy democracies, among others. Dr. Lester’s research focuses on the intersection of culture and politics. His essay, “‘You Just Can’t Keep the Music Unless You Move With It:’ The Great Migration and the Black Cultural Politics of Jazz in New Orleans and Chicago” appeared in an anthology entitled, Escape from New York! The New Negro Renaissance Beyond Harlem by editors Davarian L. Baldwin of Trinity College and Minkah Makalani from the University of Texas at Austin. The anthology was released in October 2013 from the University of Minnesota Press. He is currently revising his dissertation, “The New Negro of Jazz: New Orleans, Chicago, New York, the First Great Migration, & the Harlem Renaissance, 1890-1930,” into a manuscript for the University of Temple Press’s Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy Series. Charles Lester was interviewed by USA Today‘s Matthew Daneman, along with Dr. Baldwin and Dr. Makalani, in 2015 about the New Negro Renaissance. You can read the article here:
Dr. Lester also has a publication that appeared in The Public Historian in the May 2017 issue. The essay, “‘They’ve Taken it All Away. The Only Thing Here is Me:’ The Struggle to Preserve the Legacy of King Records” sheds light on the efforts to preserve the legacy of King Records in Cincinnati. King Records was one of the largest independent record labels in the United States in the 1950s and into the 1960s. It was the first label to record artists in both country and rhythm & blues categories, and as such it was very influential in the earliest days of rock & roll. King forever changed the course of American music by signing and promoting stars like Hank Ballard, the Stanley Brothers, Bootsy Collins, and James Brown. While King’s significance is firmly implanted in rock & roll history, the effort to preserve that legacy in Cincinnati is a long-fought, contentious and on-going battle. This latest project will serve as the basis for a book on record companies during the Civil Rights movement that were either black-owned or run largely by African Americans like King Records, Motown and Stax Records. Like King Records, Motown and Stax are the subjects of memorialization efforts in Detroit and Memphis, and the book will discuss these developments.