Black history: On Rewind

MON, MAR 21, 2022 (1:13:10)

To celebrate its newly digitized collection of eminent historical black orators, Cambridge Forum, a long-established non-profit devoted to free public discussion, is hosting a live recording of BLACK HISTORY: ON REWIND with in-person speakers at the Lincoln Institute on March 21 at 5 pm. Starting in 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement, Cambridge Forum has been producing live events for 55 years from First Parish Church in Harvard Square, with the aim of providing a safe platform from which to examine salient, social issues.

This event, BLACK HISTORY: ON REWIND offers a timely opportunity for past speakers Professors Randall Kennedy, Danielle Allen and Cheryl Townsend-Gilkes to return to the Forum and evaluate what progress they believe has been made in social justice and equality, to consider the importance of “who” writes the history and to highlight what outstanding issues remain to be addressed by Americans, as a democratic nation. Councilor Denise Simmons will make an introductory address and public TV producer, Roberto Mighty, will act as moderator. The program will be recorded and edited for Cambridge Forum’s weekly show on NPR, a podcast will be posted to the CF website, and WGBH Forum Network will upload the video to YouTube.

According to CF Director Mary Stack, “In light of the disturbing events in Ukraine, it is more important than ever that Americans safeguard their democracy by protecting their freedom of speech, and by allowing respectful, meaningful discussion of potentially divisive issues. As Edmund Burke said, those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.”

+ BIO: Roberto Mighty

Roberto Mighty is a television producer, filmmaker, multimedia artist, photographer, sound designer and musician who uses interactive and online technology in his work. In 2021, he will have three programs simultaneously on nationwide public television. His award-winning, critically acclaimed films are in many festivals. His immersive, interactive exhibitions and artist talks take place online, in museums, colleges, galleries, community organizations and visitor centers. Scroll down to see list of commissions/projects.. His custom-built multimedia studio facilitates creation, development, testing and demonstration of new projects for museum and gallery installations.

+ BIO: Randall Kennedy

Randall Kennedy is a professor at Harvard Law School where he teaches courses on contracts, freedom of expression, and the regulation of race relations. Mr. Kennedy was born in Columbia, South Carolina. For his education he attended St. Albans School, Princeton University, Oxford University, and Yale Law School. He served as a law clerk for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the United States Court of Appeals and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and the Supreme Court of the United States. Awarded the 1998 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Race, Crime, and the Law, Mr. Kennedy writes for a wide range of scholarly and general interest publications, and sits on the editorial boards of The Nation, Dissent, and The American Prospect. A member of the American Law Institute, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Association, Mr. Kennedy was awarded an honorary degree by Haverford College and is a former trustee of Princeton University. Image courtesy of Martha Stewart.

+ BIO: Danielle Allen

Danielle S. Allen is an American classicist and political scientist. She is a professor in the Government Department at Harvard University and at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as the Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Prior to joining the faculty at Harvard in 2015, Allen was UPS Foundation Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. As of January 1, 2017, she is also James Bryant Conant University Professor, Harvard’s highest faculty honor.

+ BIO: Cheryl Townsend Gilkes

CHERYL TOWNSEND GILKES (Pronounced “Jillks”) is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of African-American Studies and Sociology and director of the African American Studies Program at Colby College (Waterville, Maine). An ordained Baptist minister, she is an assistant pastor for special projects at the Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She holds degrees in sociology from Northeastern University (B.A.,M.A., Ph.D.) and has pursued graduate theological studies at Boston University’s School of Theology. She is the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania.

She is a sociologist whose specialties focus on African American women, religion, social change, and the legacy of W. E. B. Du Bois for sociology, African American studies, and religious studies. Her research, teaching, and writing have specifically focused on the role of African American women in generating social change and on the diverse roles of black Christian women in the twentieth century. She is currently at work on a book titled, That Blessed Book: The Bible and the African American Cultural Imagination. She is also exploring the impact of African Muslims on the formation of African American Christianity during slavery; some of that work can be found in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society (2014) and The American Baptist Quarterly (2008). Some of her essays and articles are gathered in her 2001 book, If It Wasn’t for the Women: Black Women’s Experience and Womanist Culture in Church and Community. She served as an editor of the 2012 volume, Sisters of African Descent: Connecting Spirituality, Religion, and Vocation.

Several of her journal articles have been reprinted in anthologies such as African American Religious Thought: An Anthology, edited by Cornel West and Eddie Glaude and Kenneth Aman’s The Border Regions of Faith. Her 2010 essay, “Still the Most Segregated Hour: Religion, Race, and the American Experience” is in Patricia Hill Collins and John Solomos, editors, Handbook on Race and Ethnicity. In 2010, Dr. Gilkes was able to participate in a panel at the Harlem Book Fair that was broadcast on C-Span because of her essay “Outsiders Within the Higher Circles: Two First Ladies as Cultural Icons in a Racialized Politics of Difference,” an essay that explores the work and lives of Michelle Obama and Jacqueline Kennedy. A recent article, “Three Great Revolutions: W. E. B. Du Bois, African American Women and Social Change” can be found on-line in the Berkeley Journal of Sociology.

She has lectured and presented papers at colleges, universities, and scholarly conferences in the United States, Canada, Germany, England, and South Africa. She is active in several scholarly organizations, having held leadership positions in the American Sociological Association, the Association of Black Sociologists, the American Academy of Religion, the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the Eastern Sociological Society, and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. During the 2003-2004 academic year, she served as the national lecturer for Sociologists for Women in Society and, in 1998-1999, as the Robin M. Williams, Jr. Distinguished Lecturer for the Eastern Sociological Society. In February 2008, she received the Eastern Sociological Society’s highest professional award–the Merit Award.

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