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Slavery and Black History at the University of Minnesota: National and Regional Trajectories

John S. Wright Luminaries Lecture Series in Africana Studies
November 14, 2019 - 4:30pm to 7:30pm

Photo by Jack Rodgers, Minnesota Daily

To attend RSVP online

The Department of African American & African Studies, in collaboration with the Department of History, the University Task Force on Building Names and Institutional History, the Committee on Historical Injustices, and the Office of the President, is proud to inaugurate its newly endowed John S. Wright Luminaries Lecture Series in Africana Studies with a presentation from Professor Christopher Lehman, chair, Department of Ethnic and Women’s Studies, St. Cloud State University.  

Professor Lehman’s 2016 essay for the journal Hennepin History, titled “Brought to Light: the University of Minnesota’s Heritage of Slavery,” provocatively linked intensive local archival research to the ongoing broader national debates on the history of American higher education institutions and the history of modern slavery.  His recently published Minnesota Historical Society book Slavery’s Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State, expands this work to the broader spheres of public and private life in the Upper Mississippi River Valley and the nation.

The presentation by Professor Lehman will be followed by a discussion, moderated by Associate Professor Yuichi Onishiwhere Professor Lehman and other distinguished panelists will discuss the implications of his work for institutional historiography, public policy, the land grant mission, and community education.

Program Schedule

4:30 to 5:00 p.m.    Welcome reception with light appetizers and beverages
5:00 to 6:00 p.m.    Speaker introduction and lecture
6:00 to 7:00 p.m.    Moderated panel discussion plus Q&A

The lecture will begin promptly at 5:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Speakers

Professor Christopher Lehman    

J.S. Wright Luminaries Invited Lecturer

Professor Lehman is the author of Slavery in the Upper Mississippi Valley, 1787–1865: A History of Human Bondage in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.  He has been a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s W. E. B. DuBois Center for African and African American Research. His articles have appeared in Minnesota History journal and elsewhere.  

Professor David Chang 

Panelist

Professor Chang, chair of the Department of American Indian Studies, is a historian of indigenous people, colonialism, borders, and migration in Hawaii and North America, focusing especially on the histories of Native American and Native Hawaiian people. His first book, The Color of the Land, argues for the central place of struggles over the ownership of Native American lands in the history of racial and national construction by Creeks, African Americans, and whites in the Creek Nation and eastern Oklahoma.  The Color of the Land was awarded the 2010 Theodore Saloutos Prize for best book in agricultural history from the Agricultural History Society. Professor Chang served as a member of the University Task Force on Building Names and Institutional History. 

Professor Malinda Lindquist            

Panelist

Professor Lindquist is a historian who specializes in African American history, US history, gender history, and intellectual history. She is the author of Race, Social Science and the Crisis of Manhood, 1890-1970: We Are the Supermen. She is also the co-author with Professor Keith Mayes of the forthcoming Civil Rights and Black Power: The Struggle for Black Equality in the United States, 1941 to 1975.  Professor Lindquist served as a member of the University Task Force on Building Names and Institutional History.

Ann Pflaum, PhD

Panelist

Dr. Ann Pflaum, with degrees in history from Smith College, Harvard, and the University of Minnesota, has been the University historian since 1999 and is co-author of the volume The University of Minnesota 1945-2000, which describes the challenges and triumphs of Minnesota's premier institution of higher learning during the last half of the twentieth century through recollections by celebrated alumni (including Garrison Keillor, Walter Mondale, and Eric Sevareid); interviews with students, faculty, administrators, and former presidents; and reports of campus life from the Minnesota Daily and other publications. She served as a member of the John Coleman-led President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee on Building Names and Institutional History

Professor Emeritus Riv-Ellen Prell

Panelist

Riv-Ellen Prell, an anthropologist, is professor emeritus of American studies at the University of Minnesota, where she remains affiliated with the Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies. Among her publications are Gender, Class, and Jewishness: New Approaches to the Study of Identity (2011), Fighting to Become Americans: Jews, Gender, and the Anxiety of Assimilation (1999), and Prayer and Community: the Havurah in American Judaism (1989).  She was the creator and co-curator of the ground-breaking exhibition, A Campus Divided: Progressives, Anti-Communists, and Anti-Semitism at the University of Minnesota, 1930-1944; and she served as a member of the John Coleman-led President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee on Building Names and University History, as well as an advisor to the corollary University Task Force.

Professor Emeritus John S. Wright

Panelist

Morse-Amoco Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus of African American & African Studies and English, Professor Wright helped lead the student movement that founded both the University’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Program, which he subsequently administered, and its Department of African American & African Studies, which he subsequently chaired. Also Founding Scholar of the Archie Givens Sr. Collection of African American Literature & Life, he is a cultural and intellectual historian and the author of Shadowing Ralph Ellison:  Art, Leadership, and Technologies of the Spirit.  He served as a member of the Coleman-led President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee on Building Names and Institutional History, and as an advisor to the subsequent University Task Force.