“The History of Anti-Black Racism in America” Provost’s Seminar and Lecture Series Amherst College 2020-2021

Sign up for the seminar here

The inaugural Provost’s Seminar & Lecture Series aims to bring together students, faculty, and staff for a series of lectures by distinguished historians on “The History of Anti-Black Racism in America” so that we can deepen our understanding of racism in America today. The lectures are open to all and participation in the seminar is not required. The accompanying non-credit seminar is open to students, faculty, and staff who would like to participate in an ongoing learning community. Seminar participants will ideally attend all four public lectures, complete related readings from course syllabus, and meet virtually for a small group discussion four times throughout the semester.  To sign up for the seminar and receive the syllabus, please fill out this form by August 30, 2020. Questions? Contact Jen Manion, Associate Professor of History at jmanion@amherst.edu

Wednesday August 26 @ 7:00pm “Callie House & the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations” Mary Frances Berry

Mary Frances Berry has been a Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History since 1987. She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan and JD from the University of Michigan Law School. She is the author of twelve books and recipient of 35 honorary doctoral degrees. From 1980 to 2004, she was a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and from 1993-2004 served as Chair. Professor Berry will discuss the case for reparations and the history of Callie House, a widowed washerwoman who demanded reparations for ex-slaves in the 1890s.

Tuesday september 22 @ 7:00pm “Vanguard: How Black women broke barriers, won the vote and insisted on equality for all” Martha s. Jones

Martha S. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. She is a legal and cultural historian whose work examines how black Americans have shaped the story of American democracy. Most recently, Professor Jones is the author of Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All (2020) and Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (2018), which earned many awards. Professor Jones will discuss the history of African American women who defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons.

Wednesday October 14 @ 7:00pm “The Condemnation of Blackness” Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Khalil Gibran Muhammad is professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. He is the former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a division of the New York Public Library and the world’s leading library and archive of global black history. Before leading the Schomburg Center, Khalil was an Associate Professor at Indiana University. Professor Muhammad will discuss how the history of the idea of black criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America.


Elizabeth Hinton is Associate Professor in the Department of History and the Department of African American Studies at Yale and Professor of Law at the Law School. Before joining the Yale faculty, Hinton was a Professor in the Department History and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. A Ford Foundation and Carnegie Corporation Fellow, Hinton completed her Ph.D. in United States History from Columbia University in 2013. Professor Hinton will discuss the implementation of federal law enforcement programs beginning in the mid-1960s that transformed domestic social policies and laid the groundwork for the expansion of the U.S. prison system.

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