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“Who will Dry My Tears?” Reflections on the History of a Lynching

Sarah Gualtieri, English

April 17, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:30 pm · 15 Joseph Henry House

Department of English

Nola Romey, a Syrian grocer, was lynched in Lake City, Florida in 1929, and his wife was murdered by Florida police. Prof. Sarah Gualtieri revisits the oral histories and archival methods she used to write the history of these events. She brings to the fore previously uncited letters written by their surviving daughter in a reparative move that centers the daughter as narrator, family archivist and justice advocate. Gualtieri addresses questions around silence as a productive category in Arab American studies. Not to be confused with absence, silence can pose challenges to historians trained in practices that encourage uncovering, documenting, and augmenting the stories of those marginalized by dominant historiographies.

Gualtieri also addresses the histories of the lynching in light of the recent constitution of a digital archive of Romey family photographs. What are the ethical considerations related to the dissemination of images of the victims, and how can feminist, anti-racist analysis inform practices of retrieval and respect for the memory of the bereaved?

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