Fall Symposium Connects Activism to the History of Slavery and Emory Land Dispossession
In 1905, the philosopher George Santayana wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. More than a century later, people around the world rely on shared stories and strive to tell larger truths in order to set the record straight. The Emory University community is invited to explore its own past at a symposium this fall, “In the wake of slavery and dispossession”, from September 29 to October 31. 1. The symposium will feature a variety of panel discussions, performances and exhibitions held on the Atlanta and Oxford campuses.
The symposium builds on work started by student activists as well as the Native American Emory Initiative, the Untold Stories and Disabled Populations Task Force, and Emory’s work as a member of the Universities consortium. Studying Slavery. For this event, a diverse steering committee of students, faculty and staff have been working together for almost a year to ensure that as many perspectives as possible are included. (Learn more about them.)
“This is a time when academics, activists and artists of color forced a national conversation about the enduring legacy of anti-black racism and, increasingly, colonialism, including the overlaps between Indigenous dispossession and black slavery in this country, ”said Alix L. Olson, board member and assistant professor of women and gender studies at Oxford College. “Academic communities need to continue these conversations within each of our universities so that real change can happen at the local level. “
Each day of the symposium will focus on three themes: history, impact and healing, and restorative justice. A full list of events will be announced in the coming weeks.
The three-day program will include virtual and in-person events. It will open with a panel on the history of Emory’s student activism, from the admission of the first African-American students in 1964 to the 2015 list of black student demands to the administration.
“The past is part of our living present,” says Walter Rucker, professor of African American studies and history and member of the steering committee. “Slavery, dispossession and Jim Crow created a continuum for the racial logics we live with today. Talking about slavery and how it devalued the lives of black people helps us understand why a policeman can kneel on a man’s neck for nine minutes. The same or similar logics that gave rise to racism also energize patriarchy, homophobia and transphobia. Each person has a role to play in removing these constructions in order to create a more just future. “
There will also be several student-led events including poetry readings, an academic presentation exploring the work of James Baldwin, a panel of Native American students discussing overcoming trauma, and a panel led by Oxford Men of Color and the Black. Student Alliance on the History and Present of Oxford College. On the final day, there will be a Guided Racial Healing Circle, which Emory College junior Ronald Poole II says is mission essential.
“I think that’s all we can hope to do, take care of each other and recover, because this already tiring work is set against the backdrop of a global pandemic and a political landscape oversaturated with ethics. deficient and reactionary, ”said Poole, who is on the steering committee as a member of the Coalition of Black Organizations and Clubs. “I only hope that the symposium provides a forum for spiritual restoration on campus among students, faculty and staff.”
For more information on visiting the symposium, https://libraries.emory.edu/slavery-symposium/index.html.