In Jesus, Jobs and Justice (Knopf, 2010), Temple University historian Bettye Collier-Thomas tells the stories of numerous religious and politically active African American women, their organizations, informal gatherings and intellectual movements. Her groundbreaking book gives us a remarkable account of the religious faith, social and political activism, and extraordinary resilience of black women during the centuries of American growth and change.

In researching the book, Collier-Thomas became a kind of sleuth. She said she soon learned that what she needed could not be found in libraries, so she began searching for primary source materials in church basements. According to Collier-Thomas,  she found out that the way to find what she needed for her research, such as old meeting minutes, was to ask the janitors if they knew of any boxes of documents in attics. She clipped and indexed countless articles with the help of research assistants and even had to wear gloves when handling some of the source materials due to the fact that they were so old and dusty. She said she literally invented a research methodology for her project which had no precedents.

In the end, Collier-Thomas created a moving record of heroic women with enduring faith.

Read a review from the New York Times.

–Kim Fischer

Everyone, or so it seems, is talking about Mad Men, the critically-acclaimed AMC drama series known for its visual style and historical authenticity. Set in 1960’s

Temple historian Beth Bailey comments on how historical accuracy helps push the Mad Men storyline. Set in 1960’s New York City, Mad Men centers a high-level advertising creative director on Madison Avenue.

Temple historian Beth Bailey comments on how historical accuracy supports the Mad Men storyline.

New York City, Mad Men centers on Don Draper (Jon Hamm), a high-level advertising creative director at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue. The series has won numerous awards and Emmy nominations.

In anticipation of Mad Men’s third season, which is scheduled to begin Sunday, August 16, Temple historian Beth Bailey commented on the show’s historical accuracy and how that accuracy helps to move the drama forward.

“What’s so interesting is the way in which mood is created by historically accurate framing that is chosen with an enormous amount of sophistication to create a sense of character, personality and relationship. Each character has a well-thought out back story that is embodied in the way the dress, the furnishings they choose and the places in which they appear. These are not just part of backdrop,” Bailey said.

Read more of Bailey’s comments on Mad Men in the Temple Newsroom

– Kim Fisher