John Alexander

Associate Director of SHANTI (Sciences, Humanities and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives), the University of Virginia

John Alexander is the Associate Director of SHANTI (Sciences, Humanities and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives), which he administers as well as managing the Teaching + Technology Partners (TTSP) Program. John's educational background in the humanities, his experience teaching at four institutions of higher education, and his experiences as a general manager at UVa for over 40 years have almost prepared him for his current responsibilities.

Currently, John teaches a course each spring, "Spiritual Journeys in Young Adult Fiction." The focus of that course is reflective writing. John has a book in development on that approach. He is also engaged in a research project exploring the Poor People's Campaign of 1968 and the recent emergence of a New Poor People's Campaign.

SNCC, Mariela Varela, and the Poor People's Campaign

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last project was his most ambitious--a Poor People's Campaign (PPC). It would expand the struggle for justice far beyond the confines of the Old South. The groundwork for the PPC, however, began in 1960 with the creation of SNCC. Ms. Ella Baker reflected deeply about her hard won experience in other organizations such as the NAACP and SCLC. This reflection resulted in her vision for a new, powerfully democratic, non-hierarchical grassroots organizing group that would be launched under her guidance as SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee).

Among the breakthroughs that SNCC established and which then infused the PPC were:

  • Deep Democracy-- Non-hierarchical leadership
  • Welcoming the marginalized into the center
  • Deep listening without judgement
  • Aligning around common ground and common purposes
  • Non-violence as a strategic necessity
  • Resolutions Hotly Contested, Fiercely Engaged
This provides one type of DNA that then replicates throughout the PPC. A second DNA was developed because of the "Great Migration." The diaspora of blacks and poor whites from the South into the rest of the country established a cultural DNA receptive to the human rights rhetoric of the PPC. Three individuals illustrate the rich variety within these unifying themes: Julian Bond, Maria Varela and John Lewis. Their lifetime of service is a testament both to their extraordinary gifts and the commitment they forged in the hot heart of SNCC's democratic practice.

Derrick Alridge

Professor, Curry School of Education, the University of Virginia

Derrick P. Alridge Professor in the Curry School of Education, is a U.S. educational and intellectual historian whose work examines African American education and the civil rights movement. He is the author of The Educational Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois: An Intellectual History (2008) and co-editor, with James B. Stewart and V.P. Franklin, of Message in the Music: Hip-Hop, History, and Pedagogy (2011). He is currently writing The Hip Hop Mind: Ideas, History, and Social Consciousness (University of Wisconsin Press) and is co-editor, with Neil Bynum, of The Black Intellectual Tradition in the United States in the Twentieth Century (in progress). Alridge is a former fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities and postdoctoral fellow of the National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation and Distinguished Lecturer for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Alridge is also the founder and director of Teachers in the Movement, an oral history project that examines the ideas and pedagogy of teachers in the civil rights movement.


Derrick Alridge will be participating in the panel JULIAN BOND & THE CIVIL RIGHTS ARCHIVE @ THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA on Thursday October, 20 at 10:00 - 11:30 am.

Rebekah Barber

Senior, English and History, North Carolina Central University

Rebekah Barber is a graduating Senior at North Carolina Central University double majoring in English and History. While at NCCU, Rebekah has been active mobilizing around voter engagement campaigns, the Fight For $15 movement, and the fight to expand Medicaid. In 2014, she worked as a field organizer with Moral Freedom Summer—a voter registration and engagement initiative created by the North Carolina NAACP to continue the legacy of the 1964 Freedom Summer. Currently, Rebekah serves as the Historian for the Youth and College Division of the NC NAACP. She is also a Researcher and Writer at the Institute for Southern Studies, a nonprofit research organization that was cofounded by Julian Bond and others in the 1970s to continue the legacy of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Upon graduating in December, Rebekah plans to continue her work at the Institute before heading to Law School to become a Civil Rights Attorney.


Rebekah will be participating in the panel Students on the Frontlines on Friday October 21, 2016 from 1:45 - 3:00 pm.

Ian Baucom

Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the University of Virginia

Ian Baucom came to U.Va. after serving 17 years in Duke University's Department of English as a professor and director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke. Since arriving at the University of Virginia in the summer of 2014 as the new Buckner W. Clay Dean, Ian Baucom has led a series of key initiatives within the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

He is overseeing an ambitious hiring campaign that, in the midst of a generational turnover of esteemed faculty, aims to bring upwards of 200 new faculty to the College in the next five years. With nearly half of the Arts & Sciences faculty projected to be new by 2018-19, Baucom has emphasized the importance of recruiting at the highest level of excellence and of enhancing the faculty¹s diversity.

Baucom is also guiding the College's efforts to revise its undergraduate curriculum for the first time in four decades, while working with the College¹s leadership team to develop creative initiatives in global, digital and cross-disciplinary studies. At the same time, Baucom is working to strengthen further the graduate programs, coordinating an examination of the Graduate School¹s programs on a departmental level.

He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Wake Forest University and holds a master's degree in African Studies and a doctorate in English, both from Yale University.

Aniko Bodroghkozy

Professor of Media Studies, the University of Virginia

Aniko Bodroghkozy is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia and has been on its faculty since 2001. She is the author of Equal Time: Television and the Civil Rights Movement, which was published in 2012 by the University of Illinois Press. Her first book, Groove Tube: Sixties Television and the Youth Rebellion was published by Duke University Press in 2001. At the moment she is pursuing two book projects. The first is a single author work tentatively titled Black Weekend: How Television Covered the Assassination of John F. Kennedy and Gave Birth to Our Media World. The other is an anthology for Blackwell's "Companions in Cultural Studies" series, A Companion to the History of American Broadcasting. She has published numerous articles on American cinema and television and the social change movements of the postwar era. Her work has appeared in scholarly journals such as Cinema Journal, Screen, Television and New Media, and the online TV Studies journal Flow. Her work has also been frequently reprinted and anthologized in volumes such as Television: The Critical View, Hop on Pop: The Pleasures and Politics of Popular Culture, and Critiquing the Sitcom. She teaches American broadcasting history and historiography, media theory and criticism, and topics courses such as media in the Kennedy era and media and the civil rights movement.

Visual Media and the Movement: From Birmingham and Selma to Ferguson

In a 2001 article that my students read for my "Media and the Civil Rights Movement" class, Julian Bond argued that historians needed to "unravel the complex links between the southern freedom struggle and the mass media" if they wished to have a more complete understanding of the civil rights movement. That call has been central to my scholarship and teaching in recent years. In this talk I will discuss the significance of photojournalism and television news to the movement’s successes. Historians tend to privilege print journalism but I would argue that the much less studied visual media were far more impactful and consequential in how the American public engaged the phenomenon of the southern struggle. I’ll talk about the 1963 Birmingham campaign and photojournalism and the 1965 Selma campaign and television coverage, particularly the iconic newsfilm of marchers being beaten and gassed on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. I suggest that the airing of that film leads quite directly to the swift passage of the Voting Rights Act five months later as the former campaign led to the (slower) passage of the Civil Rights Act. I will also connect my analysis of civil rights era photojournalism and television news coverage to media coverage of the Ferguson uprising of 2014 and the Black Lives Matter movement. I want to suggest that we see similar tropes and themes associated with iconic civil rights era visual media from Birmingham to Selma in some of the most circulated photojournalism of the contemporary black empowerment movement.

Charles Cobb

Field Secretary, SNCC

Charless E. "Charlie" Cobb Jr. joined the sit-in movement during his freshman year at Howard University in 1961, in 1962 he went to work as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the Mississippi Delta, where he met and worked closely with Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer and other grassroots leaders. As a SNCC field secretary he conceptualized and proposed the Freedom School program for the 1964 Freedom Summer. Since then, those schools have inspired dozens of similar projects. Cobb is a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists. He began his journalism career in 1974 as a reporter for WHUR Radio in Washington, DC. In 1976 he joined the staff of National Public Radio as a foreign affairs reporter, bringing to that network its first regular coverage of Africa. After leaving NPR in 1979 he worked as a freelance writer and reporter. He was the reporter on Frontline’s Emmy award-winning “A Class Divided” in 1985. That film focused on the effort of a teacher in the tiny town of Riceville, Iowa to teach her students about racism and discrimination by awarding special privileges to blue-eyed students while discriminating against brown-eyed students. From 1985-97 Cobb was a member of the Editorial Staff of National Geographic magazine—that magazine’s first black staff writer Cobb’s journalism has won several awards including a national Emmy for “A Class Divided.” In 1995, a two-part series on Eritrea, Africa's newest nation, that he produced aired on National Public Radio and won the Harry Chapin Award for best radio broadcasting about a developing nation. In 2008 the National Association of Black Journalists honored Cobb's work by inducting him into their Hall of Fame. His books include On the Road to Freedom, a Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail and Radical Equations, Civil Rights From Mississippi to the Algebra Project, co-authored with Robert P. Moses, He was a co-editor of the book, No Easy Victories, American Activists and African Liberation Movements Over a Half Century, 1950-2000 (Africa World Press 2008) His latest book is This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns made the Civil Righs Movement Possible (Basic Books, June 2014).

Julian Bond, SNCC, the Movement: Changing a Generation

This presentation is directly drawn from my work as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Mississippi and from my association with Julian Bond in SNCC. It is not, I stress, the product of academic research for I am not a member of the academy. The southern civil rights movement of which we were part of as young people hardly changed the world, although we gained some ground in challenging and changing an oppressive system, but it certainly changed us. The arc of Julian's life with SNCC and beyond vividly illustrates this, and illustrates as well the fact that continuing struggle is the real movement legacy. Julian and SNCC also underscore the most significant but least explored dimension of the civil rights movement: As much as it challenged white supremacy, more importantly it was the challenges that Black people made to one another within the Black community that best defines civil rights struggle. This is where the most relevant and useful lessons for the continuing struggle today, now being shaped by the movement for Black lives, can be found.

Wesley Arden Dick

Professor of History, Albion College

Wesley Arden Dick was born and raised in eastern Oregon. After graduation from Whitman College, he enrolled in graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle where he received a Ph.D. degree in history. Wesley began his teaching career at Albion College in Michigan in 1968 just as Black Studies were emerging and the Vietnam War was casting its shadow over college campuses and classrooms. Soon added to this mix was the rise of the environmental movement and environmental studies. This baptism of fire amid Black, Peace, Social Justice, and Environmental Studies created a trajectory that tied the teaching of history to activism. Julian Bond’s Civil Rights South Seminars were a natural fit that both heighted Wesley's social justice awareness and enriched his Albion College history classes on the "1960s." Wesley is married to Leslie Dick. They have four children. Their family experience with the Civil Rights South Seminars is unique. Three daughters, one granddaughter, and Leslie have participated in the Seminars. Wesley and Leslie teach an Albion College first-year seminar on Albion, Michigan's community history entitled: "A Sense of Place: Albion & the American Dream." Wesley is active in the Albion Branch NAACP. He is midway in the first semester of his 49th year at Albion College.

The Civil Rights Movement in History & Memory: Reflections on Julian Bond’s Civil Rights South Seminars

The Jim Crow, segregation era does not fit America's triumphal historical narrative of exceptionalism. Consequently, racism in modern American history is frequently downplayed or denied. The Civil Rights Movement confronted America's apartheid racial system. As Julian Bond declares in "Eyes on the Prize," Americans fought a second American Revolution "to make America be America for all of its citizens…. It was a hard fight, but the prize was freedom, and no American could afford to lose." The Movement won landmark victories. However, just as those achievements are vulnerable, in the United States of Amnesia, the Movement's history is always at risk. Julian Bond did his part in perpetuating the memory of the Movement through his Civil Rights South Seminars, 2007-2015, travelling to historic shrines and sacred places in six states. Most are aware of pilgrimages to Civil War battle sites. The Civil Rights Movement was, in some sense, a second civil war. Blood was shed and martyrs paid the price for standing for justice. Sites of suffering were among the places of pilgrimage for the Civil Rights South Seminar. This history is painful, but the courage in the face of adversity on the part of Movement participants is inspiring. This inspirational quality was brought home to the Seminar by John Lewis and a myriad of guests that only Julian Bond could attract. The Seminar worked closely with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Equal Justice Initiative, programs devoted to preserving history. The Civil Rights South Seminars brought history to life and served as a call to conscience to challenge injustice in today’s world. A participant in eight Seminars, the author will discuss their impact.

Ajamu Dillahunt

Sophomore, Political Science and History, North Carolina Central University

Ajamu Dillahunt is a Sophomore at North Carolina Central University double majoring in Political Science and History. His senior year in high school he was an intern with Legal Aid of North Carolina working to end the school-to-prison pipeline. He was also a member of NC H.E.A.T which is a youth led organization that seeks civil and human rights in public schools. He is currently an organizer fellow with Ignite NC, a member of BYP100- Durham chapter and a member of Black Workers for Justice. This summer he interned with Democracy North Carolina; the premier voting rights organization in North Carolina. In March he was able to travel to South Africa with the NCCU law school and learned about the anti-apartheid struggle and the current struggle for economic justice. After undergrad Ajamu plans to go to law school to practice civil/human rights law and get his masters in African History.


Ajamu will be participating in the panel Students on the Frontlines on Friday October 20, 2016 from 1:45 -3:00 pm.

Emma Edmunds

Research, journalist, Mapping Local Knowledge: Danville, Va., 1945 - 1975

Emma Edmunds is the principal researcher for Mapping Local Knowledge: Danville, Va., 1945–75. She is a journalist by training, having worked as a reporter at the Atlanta Constitution and as a writer and editor at Atlanta Magazine. In 1998, she was a fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Ms. Edmunds is a native of Halifax, Virginia, a town of 900 people located about thirty miles from Danville. Since 1998, she has conducted more than thirty oral histories and collected dozens of documents related to the African-American history of the Danville region.

Mapping Local Knowledge: Danville, Virginia

Edmunds will be presenting her research on mapping local knoweledge in Danville, Virginia during the panel PANEL ONE: JULIAN BOND & THE CIVIL RIGHTS ARCHIVE @ THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA on Thursday October 20, 2016 from 10:00 -11:30 pm.

Julius Fleming

Assistant Professor of English, the University of Maryland, College Park; Carter G. Woodson Post-Doctoral Fellow

Julius Fleming, Jr. is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park, and is currently a Carter G. Woodson Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Virginia. He earned a doctorate in English, and a graduate certificate in Africana studies, from the University of Pennsylvania. Specializing in African Diasporic literatures and cultures, he has particular interests in performance studies, visual culture, sound studies, philosophy, medicine, and southern studies—especially where they intersect with race, gender, and sexuality. Julius is currently completing his first book manuscript, entitled "Technologies of Liberation: Performance and the Art of Black Political Thought." This project uncovers the centrality of theatrical performance to the cultural and political landscapes of the modern Civil Rights Movement. He is also beginning work on a second book project that traces the historical role of black performance in producing and dismantling the medical industrial complex.

"On the White Interior: Theatre, Visual Culture, and the Modern Civil Rights Movement"

An abiding faith in the visual was vital to the cultural and political terrains of the modern Civil Rights Movement. And the visual has managed to retain a formative presence in the contemporary moment, especially in the production of civil rights history and memory. But there has been a troubling proclivity within critical discourse to limit conceptions of the visual to television and photography, and to thereby obscure the vast range of visual culture practices and visual technologies that fueled and animated the movement. In this talk, I argue that theatre—like cameras and televisions—functioned as a key visual technology during the modern Civil Rights Movement. More specifically, I demonstrate how black performers and dramatists unsettled habits of racialized looking that desired and fetishized representations of damaged black interiors: from the maimed body of Emmett Till to the battered "hearts and minds" of black children at the center of Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Critically analyzing James Baldwin's 1964 civil rights play, Blues for Mister Charlie, I demonstrate how Baldwin—like Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Childress, and Douglas Tuner Ward—imagined innovative theatrical performances that disrupted global obsessions with producing and consuming images of damaged black interiors. Using theatre as a visual technology, Baldwin crafted innovative aesthetics of time and space to retrain the public gaze, directing his audiences' vision to multiple sites that form what I call the white interior. More still, in using drama to access and contemplate the innards of whiteness, Baldwin developed instructive philosophies of race that furnished a different lens for theater audiences—from Broadway to London—to see and contemplate race, rights, and justice. Likewise, he affords scholars a different vantage point for emplotting histories and memories of the movement

Lynn French

Adjunct Professor of History, the University of Virginia; Executive Director of Hope and a Home, Inc.

Lynn French is


Lynn French will be moderating the Panel "'A Band of Sisters and Brothers in a Circle of Trust': The Early Days Of SNCC" on Thursday October 20, 2016 from 1:15 - 2:30 pm

Jon Hale

Associate Professor, College of Charleston

Dr. Jon Hale is an associate professor of educational history at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. His research focuses on the history of student and teacher activism, grassroots educational programs, and the role of youth activism during the Civil Rights Movement. His manuscript, The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement was recently published with Columbia University Press. He is also co-editor of The Freedom School Newspapers: Writings, Essays and Reports from Student Activists During the Civil Rights Movement. His research has been published in the Journal of African American History, the History of Education Quarterly, South Carolina Historical Magazine, and the Journal of Social Studies Research. He has also written for The Atlantic, CNN, and Education Week. Dr. Hale's service is connected broadly to civil rights education initiatives and he serves as the executive director of the Charleston Freedom School, co-director of the Quality Education Project, and the vice-chair of the Burke High School Improvement Council in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Freedom Schools: Students on the Frontlines of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement

In 1964, Julian Bond identified the intrinsic value of the Freedom Schools and sought to capture the history in a series of publications with Staughton Lynd, the Freedom School coordinator. The project never materialized, which helps explain how the Freedom Schools have often been relegated to the back pages of American History. Yet the history of the Mississippi Freedom Schools, a network of over forty schools from 1964-1965 that aimed to train youth to become movement leaders, demonstrates the integral role of educational activism in the Civil Rights Movement. This presentation will focus on the lives of Freedom School students to illustrate the deep local history that laid the foundation for the schools and the dynamic experiences that unfolded during the Freedom Summer campaign of 1964. Students actively engaged the Freedom School curriculum and pedagogy as they joined the frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement. Students still in middle and high school were arrested, jailed, and expelled from school. Youth also galvanized local movements as white schools desegregated for the first time in Mississippi history and, at the same time, demanded racial autonomy in separate schools that resonated with calls for Black Power. Their participation prompted deep questions among leadership about the emancipatory role education should play in the struggle. Though marginalized in civil rights history, the legacy of the Freedom Schools is manifest in the indelible impact the schools had on students long after the summer of 1964.

Jack Hamilton

Assistant Professor of American and Media Studies, the University of Virginia

Jack Hamilton is assistant professor of American Studies and Media Studies as the University of Virginia and the author of the book Just around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination, recently published by Harvard University Press. The book focuses on the transatlantic interplay of popular music and racial thought during the 1960s, and explores how rock and roll music moved from an interracial form to being widely understood as a "white" one by the end of the decade. He received his Ph.D in American Studies in 2013, and spent 2013-2014 as the inaugural postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado – Boulder's Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture. He is also the pop critic for Slate magazine, where he writes about music, sports, and other areas of culture, and his work has appeared in The Atlantic, NPR, ESPN, Transition, L.A. Review of Books, and many other venues. He has taught at the University of Virginia since fall of 2014.

Changing Times, Coming Changes: A Story of Civil Rights and Rock and Roll

Aside from a shared status as two of the most influential singers and songwriters of the 1960s, Sam Cooke and Bob Dylan appear to have little in common: one was a gospel-turned-R&B pioneer from Clarksdale, Mississippi by way of Chicago, the other a folk-turned-rock pioneer from Duluth, Minnesota by way of Greenwich Village. This talk, drawn from the first chapter of my recent book, explores the historical convergence of Dylan and Cooke at the nexus of their extraordinary influential fusions of music and politics. Cooke’s landmark 1964 anthem of racial justice, "A Change Is Gonna Come," was inspired by Dylan’s own civil rights ballad "Blowin' in the Wind," released the previous year. (Cooke expressed amazement at "a white boy writing a song like that.") I will discuss both artists' beginnings in musical communities self-defined as fiercely traditionalist and often anti-modern; their defections from these communities in pursuit of popular appeal; and their continuous challenges to form and genre. I'll argue that while Dylan has been lionized for his flouting of genre convention and his music's shift from communitarian concerns to personal ones, much of Cooke's music has been critically and historiographically marginalized by anxieties over genre and racial authenticity. Hearing and exploring these two artists side by side—their apostasies, their triumphs, their totemic positions in R&B and rock music—offers insight into the racialized constructions of authenticity that continue to haunt genre ideologies, as well as the potent role that the political energies of the civil rights movement played in shaping popular music.

Rutha Mae Harris

Former Freedom Singer

Rutha Mae Harris was one of the original Freedom Singers in Albany Georgia. She, along with Bernice Johnson Reagon, Cordell Reagon, and Charles Nesbett formed the SNCC Freedom Singers. She later joined Bernice Johnson Reagon as part of Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Performance by the Original Freedom Singers

8:00 pm - October 20th, 2016

Paramount Theater

Wesley Hogan

Director of the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University

Wesley Hogan is the director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and teaches the history of youth social movements, African American history, women's history and oral history. Her book on SNCC, Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC and the Dream for a New America (2007), won the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Scott-Bills Memorial Prize for best work in peace history, and the Library of Virginia nonfiction literary award. She was the co-director of the Institute for the Study of Race Relations at Virginia State University from 2006-2009, whose mission is to bring together community organizers, researchers, and young leaders to promote healthy communities. Between 2004-2008, she was active with the project bringing together the Algebra Project, the Young People’s Project and the Petersburg City Public Schools, and coordinated an oral history project of the civil rights movement in Petersburg. She is currently working on a post-1960s history of young people organizing in the spirit of Ella Baker, and co-facilitates a partnership between the SNCC Legacy Project and Duke, “One Person, One Vote-The Legacy of SNCC and the Fight for Voting Rights,” whose purpose is to bring the grassroots stories of the civil rights movement to a much wider public through a web portal, K12 initiative, and set of critical oral histories.

Ella Baker's Children: Bring Activists Together Across Generations

In 2013, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke and the Duke Libraries partnered with the SNCC Legacy Project to create a Digital Gateway platform that would allow activists to tell their own histories, contextualize the documentary record of their work, and help us to better understand how SNCC was able to do the pathbreaking voter registration work of the 1960s. In 2015, we furthered that work by inviting 100 youth activists — youth who were part of the Dream Defenders, United We Dream, Black Lives Matter, North Carolina NAACP Youth and College Division, and others — to meet with 100 SNCC and CORE veterans for three days of workshops on Voting Rights. We aimed to mark the milestone of the 1965 Voting Rights Act with a working conference that developed an agenda of how multiple generations could work together going forward. This roundtable will examine briefly the outcomes of that conference; Dillahunt-Holloway and Barber will discuss the work they are engaged in as student-activists today in North Carolina and across the country and how other generations might best connect with that work.

Benjamin Jealous

Former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Benjamin Todd Jealous is the former president and CEO of the NAACP. He stepped down from his post at the end of 2013. Ben has been a leader of successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights, secure marriage equality, and free multiple wrongfully incarcerated people. Under his leadership, the NAACP grew to be the largest civil rights organization online and on mobile, experienced its first multi-year membership growth in 20 years, and became the largest community-based nonpartisan voter registration operation in the country. Prior to leading the NAACP, he spent 15 years serving as a journalist and community organizer. While at Mississippi's Jackson Advocate newspaper, his investigations were credited with exposing corruption at a state penitentiary and proving the innocence of a black farmer who was being framed for arson. A Rhodes Scholar, he has been named to the 40 under 40 lists of both Forbes and Time magazines. He is #1 on's 2013 list of black leaders under 45. Jealous serves as an advisor for multiple tech startups that work to close gaps, particularly in the areas of financial inclusion, justice tech, and low wage work. He serves as a board member at Pigeonly and a board advisor at PayNearMe.

Hasan Kwame Jeffries

Associate Professor, the Ohio State University

Hasan Kwame Jeffries was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated summa cum laude from Morehouse College with a BA in history in 1994. He earned a MA in American history (1997) and a PhD in African American history (2002) from Duke University. In 2003, he joined the faculty at The Ohio State University in the history department. In 2009, Hasan published his first book, Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama's Black Belt (NYU Press). He is also the editor of Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement (University of Wisconsin Press), a collection of essays on how to teach the Civil Rights Movement written by leading civil rights scholars and teachers. The book will be released in 2017. Hasan has worked on several public history projects. Most recently, he served as the lead historian and primary scriptwriter for the five-year, $25 million renovation of the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

From 'Freedom Now' to 'BlackLivesMatter': Activism and African American Youth in the Age of Obama

This paper examines key similarities and differences between the activism of African American youth during the height of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements and the activism of black youth today. It examines origins - the ways that the murders of Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin, as well as the miscarriages of justice in the trials that followed their deaths, energized a new generation of young people. It explores strategies and tactics, from direct action protest in Nashville to rebellion in the streets of Baltimore. It looks at tools and techniques used for shaping and controlling the narrative of the movement, from television to social media. And it explores commonalities in the obstacles and the opposition faced, including the militarization of the police. The aim of this paper is twofold. It is, first, to locate the activism of today's black youth on the continuum of the African American freedom struggle. And second, to assess the legacy of activism by young people during the Civil Rights era by identifying points of continuity and divergence with the activism of black youth today.

Timothy Jenkins

SNCC, 1960 - 1965, Chariman Unlimited Visions Multimedia, Inc.

Hasan Kwame Jeffries



Eva Latterner

Doctoral candidate, English Literature, the University of Virginia

Eva Latterner is a doctoral candidate in English and manager of the Digital 64 civil rights archive at the University of Virginia. Her research interests include nineteenth century American literature and culture, and practices of interpretation at the intersection of race and gender.


Eva will showcase the Movement of the Movement civil rights archive and introduce the project, student assistants, and objectives during Panel One: The Civil Rights Archive @ the University of Virginia from 10:00 - 11:30 am


La Tasha Levy

Assistant Professor of American Ethnic Studies, the University of Washington-Seattle

La Tasha Levy is Assistant Professor of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington-Seattle where she teaches courses on African American history and culture. She earned her Ph.D. in African American Studies at Northwestern University and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for her research on Black Republican politics during the height and decline of the Black Freedom Movement. In 2015, she served as the academic liaison for the 10th annual Civil Rights South Seminar with Julian Bond, a six-day tour of historical sites of the civil rights movement. As an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia, Levy had the opportunity to take Bond's course on civil rights history.

From Protest to Politics: Julian Bond as the People's Representative

In 1965, Julian Bond, with the support of SNCC activists Ivanhoe Donaldson, Judy Richardson and Charles Cobb, Jr. launched a political campaign to win a seat in the Georgia State House of Representatives. As one of the foremost leaders of the student protest movement in Atlanta, and a resident of the state, Bond accepted the challenge of demonstrating the uneasy transition from protest to politics. In this paper, I explore the strategies and principles of the Bond campaign within the context of SNCC's radical democratic vision. Not only did the Bond campaign integrate active community participation in the political process and agenda, it emphasized principles over political party labels, serving as a threat to political structures steeped in corruption, exclusion and unbridled racism. Indeed, SNCC's democratic praxis, exemplified through the Bond campaign in Georgia, provides critical lessons for understanding the present crisis in electoral politics, the importance of local and state elections and the limits of American democracy.


H. Timothy Lovelace

Associate Professor, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University

H. Timothy Lovelace, Jr. is an Associate Professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. He has published articles in journals including the Law and History Review and the Journal of American History, and his article, "William Worthy's Passport," was selected for the 2015 Law & Humanities Interdisciplinary Junior Scholar Workshop. Lovelace’s current book project, The World is on Our Side: The U.S. and the U.N. Race Convention, examines how U.S. civil rights politics shaped the development of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.   Lovelace teaches American legal history, advanced constitutional law, and race and the law. In 2015, he received the Indiana University Trustees' Teaching Award. During the 2015-2016 academic year, he served as a Law and Public Affairs Fellow at Princeton University. Lovelace earned his J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. During law school, he was an Oliver Hill Scholar, the Thomas Marshall Miller Prize recipient, and the Bracewell & Patterson LLP Best Oralist Award winner. As a doctoral student in history, Lovelace was a Virginia Foundation for Humanities Fellow and the inaugural Armstead L. Robinson Fellow of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies. Before joining the Maurer faculty, Lovelace served as the Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Judging Vietnam: Bond v. Floyd and the Warren Court

In Julian Bond v. James "Sloppy" Floyd, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Georgia House of Representatives' high profile decision to disqualify a legislator from its membership. Julian Bond, the former Communications Director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the newly elected state representative, had been excluded from the Georgia House for endorsing SNCC's 1966 statement against the Vietnam War and expressing admiration for men who refused military induction. Chief Justice Warren, writing for a unanimous Court, declared that the legislature's exclusion of Bond violated Bond's constitutional right to freedom of expression. Warren declared, "The manifest function of the First Amendment in a representative government requires that legislators be given the widest latitude to express their views on issues of policy. The central commitment of the First Amendment," Warren continued, quoting New York Times v. Sullivan, "is that 'debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.'" The Court also held that the Georgia House had improperly applied Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. Under Article VI, state legislatures may require that legislators pledge their loyalty to the Constitution as a condition of office. Yet, the Georgia House had created an arbitrary test for a Bond's allegiance to the Constitution. For Warren, such a selective application of Article VI "could be utilized to restrict the right of legislators to dissent from national or state policy or that of a majority of their colleagues under the guise of judging their loyalty to the Constitution." Bond's right to dissent had been vindicated, and he was seated in the House during the following legislative session.   There, however, remained a major constitutional issue that the Warren Court left unresolved: the racial motives of Bond’s opponents. Bond and his supporters charged that the Georgia House's decision to exclude the activist was "inextricably involved with race prejudice." Bond had a storied civil rights career, led protests at the state legislature years earlier, and now faced tests of loyalty not required of his white colleagues. In fact, many of the Georgia legislators who questioned Bond's willingness to uphold the Constitution had stonewalled implementation of Brown v. Board of Education. Moreover, Bond represented a newly drawn, virtually all-black House district that was the result of court-ordered reapportionment. Nonetheless, Chief Justice Warren expressly declined to address whether Bond's exclusion was racial backlash. "Because of our disposition of the case on First Amendment grounds," the Court wrote, "we need not decide the other issues advanced by Bond and the amici."   This presentation mines a wealth of archival sources to reconsider the role of race in the Warren Court's Bond opinion. The archival record demonstrates that while Warren claimed that race was not an issue in deciding Bond the opposite was true. Warren's understanding of Southern racism fundamentally informed his views on the First Amendment, Article VI, and the political question doctrine in the case.

Waldo E. Martin

Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professorship of American History and Citizenship, University of California Berkeley

Waldo Martin is Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of American History and Citizenship at the University of California, Berkeley. The principal focus of his scholarship and teaching is African American cultural and intellectual history, in particular the Modern African American Freedom Struggle. With Joshua Bloom, he is co-author of Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (2013). With Deborah Gray White and Mia Bay, he is the co-author of Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans with Documents (2013). With Patricia A. Sullivan, he is the co-editor of Civil Rights in the United States: An Encyclopedia (2000). He is the author of No Coward Soldiers: Black Cultural Politics in Postwar America (2005), Brown v. Board of Education: A Brief History with Documents (1998), and The Mind of Frederick Douglass (1985). Martin has published numerous articles and lectured widely on a variety of topics in modern African American history and culture. His current book project is "A Change is Gonna Come," a cultural analysis of the modern African American Freedom Struggle.

"GO ON WITH YOUR BAD-D- D SELF": Julian on the Racial and Cultural Politics of 1950s Popular Music

For several years at the turn of the century, Julian taught for a week as a faculty member of a NEH seminar for college teachers at Harvard’s Du Bois Institute on the Modern Black Freedom Struggle: From Civil Rights to Black Power. His teaching was always very popular: powerful and engaging. In 1999 alone, for example, Julian participated in a stunning array of panels, including “The Role of Women in the Movement,” with Joanne Grant; “SNCC and Student Movements,” with Howard Zinn and Joanne; “Black Power and SNCC,” with James Forman; and, “Black Music and Popular Culture,” with Cornel West and Peter Guralnick.

Every summer one of the highlights of the seminar was Julian’s awesome and infectious lecture: “Bridging the Color Line— From Rhythm and Blues to Rock and Roll.” In that well- crafted lecture, replete with musical clips and his own graceful moves, he analyzed freshly and insightfully why, how, and with what consequences the growing embrace by 1950s white teenagers of rhythm and blues music — Black Popular Music — helped contribute to breaking down the color line and paving the way for greater interracial tolerance and acceptance. Seminarians, colleagues, and friends marveled at Julian’s cogent command of the material and his engaging yet seemingly effortless delivery, as well as his “smooth moves.” My talk will discuss Julian the keen observer and analyst of American popular culture, in particular the popular culture of the 1950s, and especially the era’s popular music.


Kim Forde-Mazrui

Mortimer M. Caplin Professor of Law, the University of Virginia

Kim Forde-Mazrui is the Mortimer M. Caplin Professor of Law at the University of Virginia where he teaches Constitutional Law, Employment Discrimination, and Race and Law. He is also Director of UVA’s Center for the Study of Race and Law. He earned his B.A. in Philosophy, summa cum laude, from the University of Michigan in 1990, and his Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School in 1993.
Forde-Mazrui's scholarship focuses on equal protection law and theory, especially with respect to race and sexual orientation. He served from 2003 to 2010 as the inaugural Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Law, a position he resumed in the fall of 2016. The Black Law Students Association twice awarded him the Service to BLSA Award. UVA's Office of Equal Opportunity Programs named him an "EOP Champion" in 2009. And the University of Virginia selected him as the winner of the 2013 John T. Casteen III Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Leadership Award.

Racial Justice and Law

White Supremacy pervades American history. Moreover, notwithstanding landmark civil rights gains and egalitarian aspirations, America remains segregated and unequal. This book examines the role of law in reinforcing and ameliorating racial injustice. Although surveying key historical precedents, its primary focus is the present. Drawing on the recently-published book, Racial Justice and Law: Cases and Materials, ed. by R. Richard Banks, Kim Forde-Mazrui, Guy-Uriel Charles and Cristina Rodriguez, this presentation examines contemporary controversies across a variety of settings, animated by three fundamental questions: What is the current racial order? To what extent is it unjust? How can law and legal actors advance a more racially just order?


Nqobile Mthethwa

Fourth Year (Senior), the University of Virginia

Nqobile Mthethwa is a fourth year in the College majoring in Foreign Affairs. For the past three years, she has been a project assistant for the Movement of the Movement digital archive project at the Carter G. Woodson Institute. Her research interests include higher education policy, organizational structures of grassroots movements, and federal legislation of the Civil Rights era.


Julian Bond: The Legacy of a Historian

The presentation will center on Julian Bond's influence as a historian. Materials from University of Virginia's Special Collections offer Julian Bond's commentary on the importance of historically informed and critically engaged political activism. The presentation will conclude with a reflection on how these documents and Julian Bond's lessons radically alter views on the larger Civil Rights narrative.

Charles D. Neblett

Former Freedom Singer

Charles D. Neblett was a key organizer in the Cairo, Illinois, and South Missouri Sit-in-Movement in 1960. Early in 1961, Neblett was recruited to be a member of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee as a field secretary and to organize in the Mississippi Delta around Greenville and Natche, then the (Black Belt) of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana and other areas of the south organizating voter registration, sit-ins, and mass marches. He was arrested 27 times in the early sixtes, served 42 days in Parchman Pentientiary in Mississippi for criminal anarchy. Incident of Emmit Till, Dr. King on television and the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision influnced Charles to commit his life to social justice.

Not only a SNCC Field Secretary, song leader, activist, Charles D. Neblett became a chartered member of the original SNCC Freedom Singers with, Cordell Reagon (founder), Rutha Harris, and Bernice Johnson Reagon. Charles Neblett has kept alive the repertoire and tradition of the original SNCC Freedom Singers for national and international performances and tours. President and founder, Charles with his wife runs a non-profit organization called Community Projects, Inc. which brings educational programs to the children of Logan County in partnership with local schools. He is former Human Rights Director of Bowling Green, KY; presently on the board of the Western KY African American Museum, Historic Russellville, Logan County NAACP, where he serves in many positions.

Performance by the Original Freedom Singers

8:00 pm - October 20th, 2016

Paramount Theater


Kwame E. Otu

Assistant Professor, the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, the University of Virginia

Kwame E. Otu is currently an Assistant Professor of African-American and African Studies at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. He earned his PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Syracuse University. Kwame’s research, which draws on his own experience as a self-identified black, gender non-conforming queer man has received several prestigious awards and fellowships. These include, among others, a Wenner Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant and the Carter G. Woodson Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. In 2013, Kwame was selected as one of thirty Laureates to participate in the South-South Institute, a tri-continental forum that brings together scholars from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Prior to receiving this award, the American Anthropological Association had named him an Emerging Leader in Anthropology for the Association of Queer Anthropology Section. He wrote and acted in the award winning short film Reluctantly Queer, which was the result of a collaborative project between him and Ghanaian-American Filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu. An epistolary short film chronicling his experiences as a gay man in the United States yearning for the love of his mother, the documentary was a finalist in the Short Films segment at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival. Kwame fuses his academic interests with his love for art and activism. For him, these pursuits blend and bleed.

Bond/ing with Afro-Queer Diasporas: Julian Bond, Transnational LGBTI Human Rights Activism, and the LGBTI situation in Postcolonial Africa

In this presentation, I draw on Julian Bond’s reflection of his experience in Lesotho, that tiny country surrounded by South Africa, to make a case for the transatlantic qua transhistorical confluences inherent in black and queer libratory politics. The trip marked Bond’s third visit to Africa, which had been intransigently touted in white supremacist imaginaries as the “Dark Continent.” Bond’s chronicle, in my opinion, represents an ethnographic documentation of and historical rumination over the predicaments of blackness in specific scenes of empire. Most importantly, his account of that cursory encounter successfully weds the experiences of South Africans, in particular, and Africans in general to African American experiences. Here, I argue that Bond’s diasporic approach to Africa also leaves us with a civil rights perspective necessary for rethinking the construction of Africa as a homophobic continent in LGBTI human rights discourses today. In other words, Bond’s story compels that long overdue exploration of how his experience in Africa shaped anti-apartheid and anticolonial struggles in Africa. These interventions, I insist, are relevant for reimagining LGBTI human rights activism today. Encouraging a diasporic reading of the African experience, then, I maintain that Bond’s relationship to Africa opens up a space to historicize those conditions that produced Africa as “the worst place to be gay.”

James Perla

Independent scholar and freelance radio producer

James Perla an independent scholar and freelance radio producer working as a communications consultant at the Carter G. Woodson Institute. James has a BA and MA in English Literature from the University of Virginia. During his time at the University, James managed the Movement of the Movement digital archive, which he will present with the research team at the symposium. In his other life as a radio producer, James is producing a podcast about environmental conservation and indigenous issues. His freelance work has featured on Living Planet, the UnDark Magazine podcast in association with MIT and the Knight School of Journalism, and Marketplace from American Public Media.


James will introduce the research team currently working on the Movement of the Movement digital archive. The digital civil rights archive grows out of the "50 over 5" commemorations and Professor Deborah E. McDowell's teaching. Though the project proceeds chronologically from 1963 to 1965, we are interested how the archives can create movement between the main dates, figures, and accomplishments of the movement for civil rights. Comprised of a graduate student manager and undergraduate research assistants, the research team works closely with the University of Virginia's Special Collections Library to develop this archive. As such, many of the stories seek to illuminate how Virginia-specific developments inform, complicate, or uphold national narratives.

Imani Perry

Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies, Princeton University

Imani Perry is Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she is also affiliated with the Programs in Law and Public Affairs and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is the author of More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States (NYU, 2011) and Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop (Duke, 2004) as well as numerous articles in the fields of law, cultural studies and African American studies. She has a forthcoming book on the history of the Black National anthem from Oxford University Press and another on gender, neoliberalism and the digital age from Duke University Press.

May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem

In this paper, relying upon research for my forthcoming book: May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem, I will explore how Julian Bond was a crossroads figure in the use of anthemic song as a mode of identity formation, as a tool of political organization and protest, and as a means of asserting community. In his early life, deeply connected to Black educational institutions, Bond participated in the ritual singing of the anthem as part of Black school culture. The transformation in Black political life signaled by the student sit ins, of which Bond was one of the early participants and leaders, was paralleled to a shift to "freedom songs". Bond wrote insightfully about what this transition signified. At the same time, his life operated as a concomitant path towards new phases of the struggle. As the Civil Rights movement waned, and the rise of Black Power and Black electoral politics rose, Lift Every Voice and Sing, returned to prominence. Bond's adult political life took a parallel course as well. Through the archive of Bond's written work, including the book he edited on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Lift Every Voice and Sing, it becomes evident that his journey, and that of his family, through the complex terrain of Black history in the 20th century, was one of uplift and movement, with the anthems of the people serving as an ever present soundtrack.

Guthrie Ramsey

Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Music, the University of Pennsylvania

Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania. A widely published writer, he is the author of Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop (University of California Press, 2003). It was named outstanding book of the year by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. He also has recently completed In Walked Bud: Earl “Bud” Powell and the Modern Jazz Challenge, which is forthcoming from the University of California Press. His next book, Who Hears Here?: Essays on Black Music History and Society, a mid-career collection of his essays is also forthcoming. He was recipient of the Lowens Award from the Society for American Music for best article on an American music topic in 2001.

Judy Richardson

Filmmaker and SNCC activist

Judy Richardson was on SNCC staff from 1963 to 1966: in Maryland; Mississippi, during 1964 Freedom Summer; and in Georgia and Alabama. She ran the office for Julian Bond’s successful first campaign for the Georgia legislature; co-founded Drum & Spear Bookstore in D.C., then the country's largest African American bookstore; and was Director of Information for the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice. Her experiences in the Movement influenced the rest of her life. She worked on Blackside's Academy Award-nominated, fourteen-hour PBS series Eyes on the Prize and was its education director. She also co-produced Blackside's Malcolm X: Make It Plain. As a Senior Producer with Northern Light Productions she produced African American historical documentaries for broadcast and museum, including two History Channel documentaries and all the videos for the National Park Service's "Little Rock Nine" historic site and, most recently, PBS's Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre, 1968. She has worked for numerous social justice organizations and writes, lectures, and conducts teacher workshops on the Civil Rights Movement.

She co-edited Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC, with 5 other female SNCC staffers. Published by University of Illinois Press, the anthology includes the memoirs of 52 courageous women on the front lines of the 1960's Southern Civil Rights Movement. She is also on the board of the SNCC Legacy Committee, formed to publicize SNCC's work and legacy. It is collaborating with Duke University on several projects, including the website: She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Swarthmore College and was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Brown University. was on SNCC staff from 1963 to 1966: in Maryland; Mississippi, during 1964 Freedom Summer; and in Georgia and Alabama. She ran the office for Julian Bond’s successful first campaign for the Georgia legislature; co-founded Drum and Spear Bookstore in D.C., then the country's largest African American bookstore; and was Director of Information for the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice. Her experiences in the Movement influenced the rest of her life. She worked on Blackside's fourteen-hour PBS series Eyes on the Prize and was its education director. She also co-produced Blackside's Malcolm X: Make It Plain. As a Senior Producer with Northern Light Productions she produced African American historical documentaries for broadcast and museum, including all the videos for the National Park Service's "Little Rock Nine" historic site and, most recently, PBS's Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre, 1968. She has worked for numerous social justice organizations and writes, lectures, and conducts teacher workshops on the Civil Rights Movement.


Grassroots Organizing and Philosophy and Culture of SNCC

My remarks will focus on Julian Bond’s life and work through the lens of our long-time association: during our time as staff workers in the "band of brothers and sisters in a circle of trust" that was SNCC; during his first, successful campaign for the Georgia House of Representatives, for which I was the office manager; and during production of the 14-hour PBS series, Eyes on the Prize, which he narrated so memorably and for which I was Series Associate Producer. The context for my reflections will be the grass-roots organizing philosophy and culture of SNCC – and the values of the larger human rights movement - which firmly grounded Julian Bond throughout his life.




James "J.T" Roane

McPherson/Eveillard Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Africana Studies, Smith College

James "J.T" Roane J.T. Roane is the McPherson/Eveillard Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Africana Studies at Smith College. He received his PhD in 2016 from Columbia University in History and is also a 2008 alumnus of the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia. Roane is primarily interested in questions of place in relation to black histories and is currently at work on a manuscript titled "Sovereignty in the City: Black Infrastructures and the Politics of Place in Twentieth Century Philadelphia." The manuscript charts the history of two very different visions for social affiliation and obligation, black vitality and sanitized citizenship, and the ways they shaped Philadelphia—a primary testing ground for urban policies, sociological and historical inquiry, and social experiments of reform up through the twenty-first century. Specifically, Roane sets modes of alternative land stewardship and governance from Philadelphia’s black working class communities in contrast with the urbicidal practices of reformers who worked to enhance the profitability of the region at the expense of black and working class neighborhoods between 1940 and 1991. Roane is also at work on a second book project about changing land usage, environmental destruction, and black social activism in rural Tidewater Virginia.

Black Vitality as Black Environmentalism: Forging Alternative Human Infrastructures across Two Geographies of Dis-accumulation

Just as the 2005 Katrina disaster sparked Julian Bond’s focused engagement with environmental justice, it likewise served as a catalyst in my burgeoning black studies consciousness. It brought into sharp focus the ways that environmental vulnerability marks black communities exposing them unduly to the worsening effects of climate change and to disproportionate toxicity. And yet, even as the state abandoned the women, men, children, and elders and many of them died, many more survived. They were named looters and criminals, and yet within that and despite the lack of the basic requirements for life, they lived. Critically, their survival indexes a much longer history in which black communities have grafted African cultural ingenuity on top of catastrophe in order to create the conditions for futurity in the Americas and in the wider Diaspora. Within our radical vulnerability, we also possess the capacity to live and even to thrive constituting what I call black vitality—the skillful negotiation of the necrotic geographies of capitalism and the generation of a life enhancing force in the face of gratuitous violence and death. In creating new methods of place-making and alternative modes of human connection, black vitality constitutes a kind of environmentalism. While not focused on abstractions such as “the earth” or “the forest” black vitality has envisioned human infrastructures more sustainable than those implemented as profit-driven land tenure, resource allocation, and earth stewardship. In this paper I present two brief examples of black urban and rural communities forging alternative human infrastructures and heterodox configurations of place that, when taken together, suggest a usable history of black vitality as environmentalism articulated across two geographies of dis-accumulation. It is my contention that these practices suggest ways to reimagine urban cores beyond unsustainable elite enclaves, to rethink abandoned rural locations as potential sites of future thriving, and to anneal the small scale relations between urban and rural sites that remain interdependent despite the dislocations of the global age. Black vitality might be just the mode of human reciprocity and connection that can render life in both locations more just and sustainable for all (including the non-human actors) as we face the aftermath of oil.


Jeanne Theoharis

Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College of CUNY

Jeanne Theohais is the author of numerous books and articles on the civil rights and Black Power movements, the politics of race and education, social welfare and civil rights in post 9/11 America. Her newest book is The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.


Myths of the Civil Rights Movement in the Era of Black Lives Matter

Over the past three years, as Black Lives Matter movement has gained national attention, a distorted history of the civil rights movement has been repeatedly invoked to cast young protesters as dangerous, reckless, as failing to live up to the respectable, unified legacy of the civil rights movement. These framings both misrepresent the movements that BLM activists are building across the country, as well as the history of the civil rights movement. According to those who criticize the tactics of BLM, "Martin Luther King would Never Shut Down a Freeway," or "shout down" a speech-in-progress by a presidential candidate. Contrary to these and other current myths, youth leadership was central to the Civil Rights Movement, and much like those in the vanguard of today’s BLM, that leadership was visionary, disruptive, and often unpopular. Julian Bond was in the forefront of that leadership and has much to teach us today about the centrality of youth to the advancement of the Civil Rights Movement both in his times and ours.


Robert Trent Vinson

Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies, the College of William and Mary

Robert Trent Vinson is the Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at the College of William and Mary. A scholar and teacher of black transnationalism that connects the histories of the United States, the British Caribbean and South Africa, his first book was The Americans are Coming!: The Dream of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa (2012). His second book, Chief!: The Domestic and Transnational Anti-Apartheid Politics of South Africa's Albert Luthuli (Ohio University Press, 2017) radically revises our understanding of Luthuli, the 1961 Nobel Peace Prize winner and president of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1952 to 1967. Vinson is also completing two additional book projects, Shaka's Progeny: Zulu Cultures and the Making of the Modern Atlantic World, co-authored with Benedict Carton and Crossing the Water: African Americans and South Africa, 1890-1965, a documentary history co-edited with Robert Edgar and David Anthony, contracted with Ohio University Press. He has also published several articles, including in the Journal of African History, the African Studies Review, and the Journal of Southern African Studies, as well as several peer-reviewed book chapters. Vinson is on the editorial board of the African History series and the African Diaspora series of Michigan State University Press and Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies and has given invited lectures in Africa, Europe, North America and the Caribbean.


Just Means, Jeremiads, and Regenerative Violence in the Transnational Christianity of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Luthuli

Fellow Nobel Peace Prize winners and anti-apartheid activists Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Luthuli, president of the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa's leading liberationist organization, combated the civil religion of transnational white supremacy with prophetic Christian-informed visions of inclusive, anti-racist, egalitarian global societies. American Civil Rights activists drew great inspiration from African independence movements, King aspired to be “the American Luthuli” and the two men corresponded and worked together on anti-apartheid initiatives, preferring non-violent methods of Gandhian civil disobedience and economic pressure to achieve the "Beloved Community." But these two deeply Christian men explored strategic uses of violence in their intertwined liberation struggles. In the American context, King's non-violent strategies relied heavily on the violence of hostile whites to elicit domestic and international support for Civil Rights campaigns that helped end, if not ongoing state-sanctioned violence, at least segregationist laws. Yet, South Africa met Luthuli's similar non-violent methods with increasing waves of state violence, an ultimate ban on even non-violent protest and the implementation of Grand Apartheid. Luthuli assented to sabotage as a form of controlled, strategic violence to increase pressure on the apartheid regime. Luthuli and King both justified the turn to armed struggle in South Africa by pointing to the intensifying violence of the South African state. Luthuli and King also cast themselves within the Judeo-Christian tradition of the Jeremiad, prophesying the divinely ordained destruction of white supremacist societies as the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah predicted Israel's sins would lead to their imminent destruction. To counter white supremacist claims that racial segregation was God's will, these two Nobel Peace Prize winners nevertheless invoked the specter of regenerative, apocalyptic violence to cleanse the earth of the evil of apartheid.


Maurice Wallace

Associate Director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, the University of Virginia

Maurice Wallace is associate professor of English and African-American & African Studies (Carter G. Woodson Institute) at the University of Virginia. He received his BA in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis and his Phd in English literature and literary theory from Duke. Professor Wallace joined the faculty at UVA in 2014. His primary fields of expertise are African American literature and cultural studies, nineteenth-century American literature, the history and representation of American slavery, and gender studies. He has served on the editorial boards for American Literature and Yale Journal of Criticism. His present research and writing agendas include a monograph on early photography in the making of African American identity on the heels of the US Civil War, and a critical exploration into the sound (vibrato-speech) of Martin Luther King Jr’s oratory. Professor Wallace also teaches in areas of visual culture and sound studies.


King's Vibrato: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Sound of Blackness

This talk explores the sonic force and densities of Martin Luther King, Jr's speech- making. In it, I am after a phonic content just past words in the speech-making event. I argue for a materiality of amplified speech and ambient sound that changes everything about the stakes and meaning of having been Martin Luther King, Jr., public speaker. Apart from such a historical consideration of sound and the politics of public address, one might say the fullest possibility of what King sounded like, recordings and rhetorical analyses notwithstanding, has yet to be heard or imagined. In a sense, this talk is part of a historical recovery project aimed at resituating King's voice (as distinct from his words) in time and space. For while sound amplification technology may have augmented the tonality in King's voice as he spoke in Washington and preached in Memphis, for example, it is also certain that this same technology helped mute the state threat to King and his auditors, fearfully heard in the constant clicking of cameras, recorders, timers, and triggers. A greater attention to the soundscapes of black struggle is urgent with us. However systematic our appreciation of "I Have a Dream" or King's "The Drum Major Instinct," in this talk I want to show that knowing the rhetorical architectures and structural grammars of these and other addresses is not at all the same as knowing a great deal about King's unique sound or the dynamics of voice, technology and terror inspiring it.


Luke Williams

Third Year (Junior), Political and Social Thought, the University of Virginia

Luke Williams is a 3rd year majoring in Political Social Thought at the University of Virginia. He enjoys studying the intersectionality of gender and race. Currently, he is a research assistant for the Digital 64 civil rights archive and has spent the past year going through the papers of Julian Bond at the University of Virginia's Special Collections Library. He is fascinated about Bond's lifetime of work.



In this talk, I will discuss about my experience looking through the Bond archives at the University of Virginia's Special Collections Library. I will focus on Bond's speech "A Participant's Commentary", in particular, specifically the way it highlights the evolution of threats to the Voting Rights Act in his time leading up to today.