Through a blending of prose and poetics and historical and contemporary times, Dr. Rhonda Y. Williams will bear witness to the representations, politics, and activist campaigns that expose the tragic everydayness of inequality, as well as the entrenched regimes of injustice that continue to impact black life and existence in the United States. From poverty and the increasing wealth gap, to redlining and predatory loans, to redevelopment and gentrification, to police brutality and the criminal justice system, to #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName, the limits of democracy and the workings of power stand exposed. This lecture ponders, in the prophetic thinking of James Baldwin and the activism of Ella Baker: By whose lives do we judge democracy, and what roles must the people play?
Dr. Williams is an Associate Professor of History as well as the founder and director of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University. She is the author of Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (2015) and The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality (2004). She currently serves as co-editor of the Justice, Power, and Politics series for the University of North Carolina Press.
This talk is co-sponsored by the History Department, Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center of Black Culture and History, and UNC Press. The talk will be held on Thursday, November 19 at 4:30 pm in the University Room of Hyde Hall.