The Carter G. Woodson Institute, U.Va.

The Carter G. Woodson Institute

for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia

Symposia Videos

Woodson Events 2008 - Present


Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching

A roundtable discussion on Jarvis R. Givens new book: Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching. Panelists include Francille Wilson, University of Southern California; Pero Dagbovie, Michigan State University. The event was moderated by Derrick Alridge, University of Virginia



Currents in Conversation: Judas and the Black Messiah

A Currents in Conversation event discussing the widely popular film "Judas and the Black Messiah."  

Panelists include: Lynn French, former Black Panther Party member

Mary Phillips, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, Lehman College, CUNY

A.D. Carson, Assistant Professor of Hip-Hop and the Global South,

UVA Moderated by Kwame E. Otu, Assistant Professor of African-American and African Studies, UVA





Julian Bond's Time To Teach: A History of the Southern Civil Rights Movement Book Launch

Panel discussion on the new book "Julian Bond's Time To Teach: A History of the Southern Civil Rights Movement" with co-editors Pamela Horowitz and Jeanne Theoharis. Moderated by Kevin Gaines, Julian Bond Professor of Civil Rights and Social Justice at UVA





ReadingJulian Bond

As a virtual edition of our annual event, "Reading Julian Bond"  brought members of the public together for a day-long read-a-thon of Bond's speeches. The topics ranged from voter education to South Africa, from LGBTQ rights to school desegregation. After the marathon reading, we hosted a panel discussion with a formidable series of guests, including Michael Julian Bond, Julian Bond's son and current Atlanta Council member, scholars who focus on civil rights history, and current student activists at UVa and Duke University. 

Panelists include:

Deborah E. McDowell, AAS/English, UVA

Michael Julian Bond, Julian Bond's son and Atlanta Council-memeber

La TaSha Levy, University of Washington, Seattle

Jeanne Theoharis, Brooklyn College

Zyahna Bryant, UVA student activist 

Rebekah Barber, Duke student writer/activist






Meet the Fellows 2020

During the Woodson Institute's annual event "Meet the Fellows," we welcome new pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows to the Carter G. Woodson's distinguished fellowship program. This is the first virtual "Meet the Fellows" event.






AAS Spring 2021 Course Preview






Njelle Hamilton Book Launch Panel

Phonographic Memories is the first book to perform a sustained analysis of the narrative and thematic influence of Caribbean popular music on the Caribbean novel. Tracing a region-wide attention to the deep connections between music and memory in the work of Lawrence Scott, Oscar Hijuelos, Colin Channer, Daniel Maximin, and Ramabai Espinet, Njelle Hamilton tunes in to each novel's soundtrack while considering the broader listening cultures that sustain collective memory and situate Caribbean subjects in specific localities. These "musical fictions" depict Caribbean people turning to calypso, bolero, reggae, gwoka, and dub to record, retrieve, and replay personal and cultural memories. Offering a fresh perspective on musical nationalism and nostalgic memory in the era of globalization, Phonographic Memories affirms the continued importance of Caribbean music in providing contemporary novelists ethical narrative models for sounding marginalized memories and voices.

Panelists include:

Njelle Hamilton, AAS/English, UVA

Carolyn Cooper, Professor (Emerita), University of the West Indies Mona

Norval (Nadi) Edwards,  Senior Lecturer, UWI Mona (Literatures in English)

Carter Mathes, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Rutgers University (English). 

Jack Hamilton, Media Studies/American Studies, UVA 




Meet the Fellows 2019

During the Woodson Institute's annual event "Meet the Fellows," we welcome new pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows to the Carter G. Woodson's distinguished fellowship program.




André Brock: Interrogating Digital Blackness

Keynote address by André Brock, Associate Professor of Media Studies at Georgia Tech, for the Interrogating Digital Blackness symposium, sponsored by the Page Barbour Lecture series. 




Reading Sula: A Tribute to Toni Morrison

Reading Sula: A Tribute to Toni Morrison is an event dedicated to engaging with Morrison’s second novel “Sula.” From 9:30 am to 4:30 pm in Minor 110, volunteers will read passages from the novel. Drop in at any point during this window to listen to or to participate in reading the novel! We will have light refreshments during the event.

Following the reading, there will be a roundtable discussion from 5:00 pm to 6:00pm in Minor 125. 

Panelists include:

Deborah E. McDowell, Director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute and Alice Griffin Professor of English, UVA

Eleanor W. Traylor, Professor Emerita of English at Howard University 

Caroline Rody, Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English, UVA

Lisa Woolfork, Associate Professor of English 




Conversations in Caribbean Studies Colloquium: Legacies of "the New World Avenger" 

Friday, May 3, 2019 

2019 marks the 15th-anniversary of the publication of Laurent Dubois’s Avengers of the New World (2004), the first narrative history of the Haitian Revolution to be published in the English language since the landmark appearance of C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins in 1938. Dubois' book heralded a new era of interest in the Haitian Revolution among Anglophone scholars. Several newer books that were published in the wake of these earlier works include Julia Gaffield’s Haitian Connections in the Atlantic World: Recognition After Revolution (2015) and Grégory Pierrot’s The Black Avenger in Atlantic Culture (2019). In this, the inaugural event of the Conversations in Caribbean Studies Colloquium, these authors will discuss the broad impact of studies of the New World Avenger on the fields of Haitian, Caribbean, Atlantic, and American historical, literary, and cultural studies.

Introductory remarks by Marlene Daut, Associate Director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute and Associate Professor of African American and American Studies

Panelists included:

Laurent DuBois, Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History and founder of the Forum for Scholars & Publics at Duke University

Julia Gaffield, Associate Professor of History at Georgia State University

Grégory Perriot, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Connecticut at Stamford





Listening Roundtable on A.D. Carson's "SLEEPWALKING 2 [a mixtape/e/ssay | OTR]"

Thursday, Feburary 21, 2019

Introductory remarks by Njelle Hamilton, Assistant Professor at the Carter G. Woodson Institute and UVA's Department of English. 

Panelists included: 

Lanice Avery, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Women and Gender Studies, UVA

Marcus Fitzgerald, Music Producer and Recording Artist

Jack Hamilton, Assistant Professor of Media Studies, UVA

Njelle Hamilton, Assistant Professor of African-American and African Studies and UVA's Department of English

Guthrie Ramsey, Professor of Music & Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania 





Notes on the State Launch Party

On February 15, 2019, the Carter G. Woodson Institute hosted a launch party for the "Notes on the State" podcast series at the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative in Charlottesville, VA. The podcast explores Thomas Jefferson's legacy at the moment of the University's Bicentennial and asks: how do we get Jefferson beyond Jefferson?





Race on the Road in the Automotive Age

Guest speaker Mia Bay, Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor in American History at the University of Pennsylvania-- Wednesday, January 23, 2019






Slavery Since Emancipation Series: Susan Burton

This final event of the Slavery Since Emancipation Series welcomes Susan Burton, an activist, formerly incarcerated person, and founder of A New Way of Life. Susan Burton will discuss her book: Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women.





Currents in Conversation: The Prison Strike and the Carceral State

"The Currents in Conversation" fora are designed to explore issues and topics dominating the headlines, airwaves, and social media platforms with implications for the study of race. This Fall, we pick up on a current that has received precious little air-time on major news organizations: the Nationwide Prison Strike, which took place across 13 states from August 21 - September 9, 2018.





Meet the Fellows 2018

During the Woodson Institute's annual event "Meet the Fellows," we welcome new pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows to the Carter G. Woodson's distinguished fellowship program.




Enduring Questions, New Methods: Haitian Studies in the 21st Century

April 12-13, 2018

The dominant narrative of Haiti remains an under-analyzed story in which cultural and political advocates from the United States, France, Great Britain, and what historian Brenda Gayle Plummer has otherwise called, “the great powers,” have been required to intervene in Haiti on many different occasions in order to “save the country from itself.” However, the asymmetrical and often dialogic influence of Haiti on these world powers in the realms of art, literature, music, culture, and religion, for example, are rarely presented, with many scholars and other writers (especially journalists) focusing instead on long-historical Atlantic World fears about Haiti in the wake of its war of independence (1791-1803), and contemporary fears of Haitian migration to the U.S. in the form of “boat people.”

In the spirit of Papa Legba (a Haitian lwa, or spirit, who acts as a crossroads between the human and non-human worlds), we propose a conference dedicated to what scholar and invitee, Gina Ulysse, has called “New Narratives of Haiti.” We envision this conference as a series of roundtables. Dispensing with formal papers, we hope to facilitate conversation as a crossroads, at which scholars might generatively explore Haitian history, art, politics, and culture in ways that contest narratives of fear, repression, failure, and dependency.  In an effort to counter the fragmentation that can result from the geographic and intellectual diversity of Haitian Studies as a field, this conference will convene national and international scholars, artists, activists, and cultural leaders from a variety of different disciplines. We expect that our participants will represent and intersect with a range of perspectives, including art history, history, literature, anthropology, religion, politics, development, and performance studies. Ultimately, the goal of this conference is to bring together leading thinkers and cultural actors (from Haiti, the United States, and the circum-Caribbean) to share information and thereby deepen our collective understanding of the prominent role Haiti and Haitians have had in making and critiquing the modern world-system.

The conference will engage speakers in English, French, and Haitian Kreyòl and employ translators to ensure maximum accessibility. We also plan to have a mix of established and emerging scholars, along with several politicians, writers, activists, and scholars from Haiti.





August in Perspective: Creative Responses to #Charlottesville

February 1 - March 2, 2018

In the shocking aftermath of August 11th and 12th, the immediate impulse of the UVA community was to understand and position these events in a long historical context.  The first approach was to learn from our faculty, visiting speakers, and experts about why these ideologies persist and manifest themselves in this particular community and at this institution. Yet, however essential is the desire to know and understand, to see August 11th and 12th as the proverbial “teachable moment,” our actions have neglected to consider something equally necessary: to process, to heal, to breathe, and to engage these events through art-making processes and practices. 

Audre Lorde reminds us that “all knowledge is mediated through the body and that feeling is a profound source of information about our lives.” In this light, then, we have thought to focus attention on the neglected approaches to the events of summer 2017, those dedicated to feeling, embodying, to sensing August, to putting August in perspective and entrusting our bodies and our emotions to reveal the profundity of what we already know: that we are intimately and inextricably connected across ideologies, demographics, generations, and geography.

On each Saturday throughout the month of February 2018, the August in Perspective series convened arts workshops to foster community, introspection, and reconciliation through creative expression.





Workshops included: 

February 1-2nd, Paloma McGregor and Rashida Bumbray Dancing While Black Residency

Helms Theater, UVA Drama Building

RUN MARY RUN considers the harmonic ideas and tonal vocabulary of the McIntosh County Shouters—master ring shout artists—as a point of departure. Creating an active ritual for the ceremony of the ring shout, the performers go on a ride through the cosmologies of the Low Country, Geechie Sea Islands, Tennessee Blues, P Funk, and Hip Hop—relating the shout to the history of Black music.

Dance Diaspora Collective is comprised of the alumni and friends of Dance Diaspora, Oberlin College's premier West African and Afro-form dance company.  Made up of artists, musicians and cultural workers, the collective draws from the work and repertoire originally established by its founder, Professor Adenike Sharpley, master dancer and choreographer.


February 10th, “12-Hour Play Project” hosted by the Paul Robeson Players, Minor Hall 125

The Paul Robeson Players is an independent student-run Revolutionary Theatre Organization, but grounded in the roots of African and African-American theater traditions.  Its goal is to cultivate artistic diversity in the realm of theater performance.

With students from the Monticello High School drama program, workshop participants wrote, directed, and performed a play in 12-hours called “8—12—17.”

February 17th “Musical Compositions on Life in Charlottesville” hosted by A.D. Carson, Rap Lab, New Cabell Hall 398

A.D. Carson is Assistant Professor of Hip Hop and the Global South. Carson is a performance artist and educator from Decatur, Illinois. He received his Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design at Clemson University doing work that focuses on race, literature, history, and rhetorical performances.

Through the composition exercises, students from Friendship Court, participating in a grant project with Bama Works funded project with MIMA (Modern Improvisational Music Appreciation), wrote an original song called “The Daily Routine.”

February 24th “Crafting Spaces of Solidarity and Resistance” hosted by Destinee Wright, Ashon Crawely, and Sara Brickman, Citizen Justice Initiative Lab, New Cabell Hall 452

The Solidarity Cards Project began in Charlottesville, Virginia as a response to the 2016 election results. It has since evolved into an anonymous platform for participants to openly voice their concerns about contemporary political issues and social justice causes. Facilitator: Destinee Wright is an alumna of UVA with a B.A. in women, gender and sexuality. Wright is an artist, digital marketing consultant, and the owner and operator of Luxie Hair Services, a mobile hair extension and braiding studio.

Kintsugi Pottery is a traditional Japanese art that uses a precious metal – liquid gold, liquid silver or lacquer dusted with powdered gold – to repair broken pottery. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. Facilitator: Ashon Crawley is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. Professor Crawley works in the areas of black studies, queer theory, sound studies, theology, continental philosophy, and performance studies.

Erasure is a form of found poetry or found art created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem. Facilitator: Sara Brickman is an author, performer, and activist from Ann Arbor, MI. She is a graduate student in the M.F.A. creative writing program at UVA.

Currents in Conversation: Race, Racism, and Immigration

January 22nd, 2018

Minor Hall 125

Since the beginning of his tenure, President Trump has actively targeted immigrants through executive orders, calls to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and, most recently, incendiary comments referring to nations in the African diaspora as “s***hole countries.” Amid the bombastic rhetoric and unconstitutional executive orders, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have detained immigrants in record numbers. According to The New York Times, “the agency arrested more than 28,000 ‘non-criminal immigration violators’ between Jan. 22 and Sept. 2, a nearly threefold increase over the same period in 2016.” In recent weeks, ICE has also targeted immigrants’ rights activists detaining Ravi Ragbir and Amer Othman Adi, and deporting Jean Montrevil and Jorge Garcia. In light of these events, the Woodson Institute reprises its occasional “Currents in Conversation” series on January 22nd 2018 in Minor Hall 125 at 7:00 pm with a forum entitled “Race, Racism, and Immigration.” The Currents in Conversation fora are designed to explore issues and topics dominating the headlines, airwaves, and social media platforms with implications for the study of race. The January 22nd panel will situate the recent comments and events in the research and expertise of University of Virginia faculty working in Africa, Haiti, and the U.S.

Panelists include:

Robert Fatton Jr. is the Julia A. Cooper Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. Born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, he is the author of several books and a large number of scholarly articles, the most of recent which is “Haiti: Trapped in the Outer Periphery.”

Marlene L. Daut is Associate Professor of African American and American Studies at the University of Virginia. She specializes in early Caribbean, 19th-century African American, and early modern French colonial literary and historical studies. Daut is the co-creator and co-editor of H-Net Commons’ digital platform, H-Haiti, and she has developed an online bibliography of fictions of the Haitian Revolution from 1787 to 1900.

Sabrina Pendergrass is an assistant professor of sociology and African American and African Studies. Her research and teaching interests include race, inequality, internal migration, cultural sociology, and the U.S. South.

Kwame E. Otu is an assistant professor of African American Studies at the University of Virginia. His research transects issues of sexual citizenship, gender, human rights NGOs, and neoliberal racial formations in postcolonial Africa.





To Joy My Freedom: A Symposium on Black Feminist Histories

December 1-2, 2017

Minor Hall

Tera W. Hunter’s To ‘Joy My Freedom: Black Women’s Lives and Labors after the Civil War has had an immeasurable impact on a number of dynamic overlapping areas of inquiry including black feminist history, African American Studies, Southern History and Labor History. This work’s crucial interventions, innovative methods and eloquent prose continue to inform and inspire intersectional studies in these and other fields. The anniversary of its 1997 publication presents a unique opportunity for a forward-looking consideration of the generative dynamism of these fields, generously hosted  by  the University of Virginia. This intimate symposium invites scholars to reflect upon Hunter’s pivotal intervention through presentations of their own in-progress work, and insights on new directions in black feminist scholarship.

For a full list of participant bios and program sponsors visit:





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Watch a full archive of the symposium on the Carter G. Woodson YouTube page

The Virginia Roots of Today's Radical Right & the Crisis of American Democracy

October 12, 2017

Clark Hall Room 108

In a presentation co-sponsored by the Department of History, the Power, Violence, and Inequality Collective, and the American Studies Program, Nancy MacLean, the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, discusses her new book "Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America."






Meet the Fellows 2017


October 4, 2017

Minor Hall 110

Video from the annual event "Meet the Fellows" to welcome new members of the Carter G. Woodson's distinguished fellowship program. During the 2017 Meet the Fellows event, the Carter G. Woodson Institute also celebrated its new departmental status.





"Keep the Movement Coming On:" A Symposium in Memory of Julian Bond

October 20 - 21, 2016

"Keep the Movement Coming On" is a multi-interdisciplinary symposium organized in remembrance of Julian Bond, honoring the life and legacy of this lodestar in the modern movement for civil rights and social justice. It is altogether fitting that we host this symposium here at the University of Virginia, where Julian Bond taught for twenty years—from 1992-2012—in the Corcoran Department of History. By conservative estimates, over 5,000 students enrolled in his blockbuster course on the History of the Civil Rights Movement, "making his past our present," as one student noted. Indeed, the phrase "making his past our present" captures perhaps one of the major objectives of this symposium, which looks backward and forward simultaneously: backward at the broad arc of Bond’s 50-year career as a legislator, educator, and life-long champion for civil rights and social justice, and forward to what his illustrious career demands of those of us who strive to honor him over the next two days.

Watch video from the symposium on the Carter G. Woodson Institute's YouTube page





Meet the Fellows 2016

September, 2016

Video from the annual event "Meet the Fellows" to welcome new members of the Carter G. Woodson's distinguished fellowship program. For more information about the current Carter G. Woodson Fellows visit the "Woodson Fellows" page.

Engaging Race: The Race Tax: Economic Predation in Black America

March 24, 2016

Exorbitant rent for inferior housing.  Payday lenders on every block. Police forces that see your neighborhood as a source of municipal revenue rather than a community in need of protection.  In America today, low-income minority neighborhoods suffer not only from a shortage of economic opportunity but also from an abundance of predatory industries and practices.  While forms of economic exploitation have helped cities balance their budgets and businesses and investors amass fortunes, it has compounded the struggles of African American communities and contributed, in no small measure, to the racial wealth gap in America today.   Critics call it the “race tax,” and its roots are buried deep in the soil of America’s segregated cities.  This spring’s Woodson Forum will bring together four of America’s leading scholars on economic predation in Black America’s past and present for an engaging, informative discussion of the devastating effects of often hidden practices.  By shining a light on enterprises and institutions that prey on the urban poor, this event aims to generate greater awareness of the challenges facing many Black Americans today and a deeper understanding of issues informing the BlackLivesMatter movement.

Panelists include:
Devin Fergus, Associate Professor of African American and African Studies at Ohio State University and Senior Fellow at Demos, a policy research institute based in New York. 

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of "From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation," published by Haymarket Books in January 2016. 

N.D.B. Connolly, Herbert Baxter Adams Associate Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University and Visiting Associate Professor of History and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University.

Mildred W. Robinson, faculty at University of Virginia Law School and co-editor of "Law Touched Our Hearts: A Generation Remembers Brown v. Board of Education" (2009).


Engaging Race: Black Girls Matter

November 12, 2015

Focused on black girls, the forum is largely inspired by “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected,” a report released by the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia University and the African American Policy Forum. Authored by Kimberle Crenshaw, Jyoti Nanda and Priscilla Ocen, the report, based on a review of national data and on personal interviews with girls in selected regions of the country, is but one in a growing number of such reports, all describing a disturbing national trend: the percentage of girls in the U. S. juvenile justice system is rapidly on the rise. The excessive disciplinary measures they face in schools lead to escalating rates of violence, arrest, suspension and/or expulsion. Girls of color, in particular, face much harsher school discipline than their white peers. For example, Black girls are suspended six times more than their white peers (while black boys are only suspended three times more than white males). 

Engaging Race: On Violence, Citizenship, and Social Justice

August 27, 2015

Anchored by Khalil Muhammad, Executive Director of the Schomburg Center in Black Culture (of the New York Public Library), the forum, titled "Engaging Race:  On Violence, Citizenship, and Social Justice,” is inspired by recent events in Charleston, South Carolina.  But the Charleston massacre is but one catalyst for engaging a range of issues emerging in its wake.  Among these, by no means new to this hour, are:  the underreported escalation of black church burnings over the last several weeks, the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag, and the unabated instances of police brutality against black bodies, committed with impunity.  It bears remembering that Reverend, and state senator, Clementa Pinckney, one of those slain, championed legislation making south Carolina the first state to require all law enforcement agencies to use body cameras. Irony of ironies, the governor of South Carolina signed this bill into law on June 10 -- exactly a week before  Pinckney and his parishioners were murdered in cold blood.

2009 - 2014

Race, Wealth, and College Admissions 

October, 2013

The forum, titled “Race, Wealth and College Admission,” will be led by Darrick Hamilton, associate professor at the New School for Social Research in New York City; Tressie McMillan Cottom, research associate at the University of California-Davis; and Sabrina Pendergrass, assistant professor of sociology at UVa. The panelists will explore questions about the roles race and class play – and the roles they should play – in college admissions. They’ll also discuss the fast-growing for-profit college industry, which has attracted millions of students, many of them from low-income backgrounds.

Does Reparations Have a Future? Rethinking Racial Justice in a 'Color-Blind' Era 

Organized by Deborah McDowell (Alice Griffin Professor of English and Director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies), Kim Forde-Mazrui (William S. Potter Professor of Law), and Lawrie Balfour (Professor of Politics), the symposium is organized around four sessions—“Reparations in Historical Frame,” “Reparations and the University,” “Reparations and the Nation,” “Reparations around the Globe.” Panelists will examine the range of meanings, questions, controversies, and aspirations the term “reparations” has elicited historically and will explore among other topics, the cultural, legal, economic, and political legacies of slavery and Jim Crow. 

A controversial term provoking a range of meanings and responses, “reparations” has been used most commonly to refer to material compensation in the present as a means of righting the wrongs of the past. In the political arena, the connection between the crimes of the past and the health of the polity has been acknowledged in the recent spate of public apologies, particularly for slavery and Jim Crow. Beginning with the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2007, several states and then the U.S. Congress expressed regret for slavery and segregation and vowed that the lesson of this past history would not be lost. In its 2009 apology, the U.S. Senate observed that "African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow laws—long after both systems were formally abolished—through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty." For many, including the distinguished historian, John Hope Franklin, such apologies cost nothing and carry limited utility as concerns the work of righting wrongs. The next step, he asserted, was “to do something."

Click here for a reproduction of the symposium program 

To listen to audio recordings from the symposium view its YouTube playlist 

Professor Mary Pattillo "Is Public School 'Choice" Good for the Black Community?"

March, 2012

"Choice" has become the buzz word across the policy spectrum, especially in housing, schools, and health care. This talk questions the assumptions, ideology and philosophy undergirding public school choice, using data from two projects. The first focuses on how black community leaders work with whites to bring "choice" schools to a gentrifying black neighborhood in Chicago. The second interviews black parents navigating the landscape of public school "choice." Findings highlight the complicated role black community leaders play in both facilitating and hampering access to high quality public education for low-income African-Americans. Further findings suggest that socioeconomic differences influence, not only who "chooses," but also what black parents hope to gain when they do choose. While there is no definitive answer as to whether public school choice is good or bad for the black community, this research presents important empirical data which contribute to a better understanding of what is at stake in the educational policy of "choice."

Panel: the Politics of the Debt Ceiling Crisis

September, 2012

This panel discussion, "The Politics of the Debt Ceiling Crisis," held at the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia was free and open to the public. 

Professor Fredrick Harris"The Price of the Ticket" 

September, 2012

Barack Obama’s success in winning the presidency took a heavy toll on black politics, according to Fredrick Harris, professor of political science at Columbia University and author of the new book, “The Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and the Rise and Decline of Black Politics.” Harris will speak at the University of Virginia Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Minor Hall auditorium as part of the Carter G. Woodson Institute of African-American and African Studies’ fall open house. Harris will also moderate a discussion following the live streaming of that night’s presidential debate on domestic policy. Harris directs the Institute for Research in African-American Studies and the Center on African-American Politics and Society at Columbia University. His research interests include American politics with a focus on political participation, social movements, religion and politics, political development and African-American politics.

His most recent book puts Obama’s career in the context of decades of black activism, showing that his presidency has not addressed the issues and concerns of the very movement that made it possible. An earlier book, “Something Within: Religion in African-American Political Activism,” was awarded the V.O. Key Award by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Best Book Award by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. He is also the co-author of “Countervailing Forces in African-American Civic Activism, 1973-1994” with Valeria Sinclair-Chapman and Brian McKenzie, which received the 2006 W.E.B. DuBois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and the 2007 Ralph Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association for the best book on ethnic and cultural pluralism.





"Their Eyes Were Watching God" turns 75!!! 

September, 2012

The Cater G. Woodson Institute will commemorate the 75th Anniversary of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and discuss its impact on American literary and cultural history on Sept. 18 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Minor Hall auditorium.

At the event, which is free and open to the public, panelists will give brief remarks on a range of themes that the novel addresses, then open the floor for larger discussion with the audience. Panelists include:

• Lisa Woolfork, associate professor of English, speaking on the history and context of African-American women’s writing;

• Gertrude Fraser, anthropology professor and vice provost for faculty recruitment and retention, on Hurston as an anthropologist and the implications of that training in her fiction;

• Sabrina Pendergrass, assistant professor of sociology, discussing race and migration;

• Kwame Holmes, a post-doctoral fellow at the Woodson Institute, on love and sexuality in the novel;

• Victor Cabas, associate professor of rhetoric at Hampden-Sydney College, on Hurston’s novel and the blues.

• Jason Saunders, doctoral English student, "A Love Supreme: Decolonizing Love in 'Their Eyes Were Watching God."

30th Anniversary Symposium: African American and African Studies at Work in the World 

April 7-9, 2011

We at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies are excited to celebrate our Thirtieth Anniversary. Founded in 1981 as the Institute for African American Research, it was renamed a year later in honor of Virginia native, Carter G. Woodson. Armstead L. Robinson, the Institute's founding director, began his tenure with a two-fold mandate: to promote and enhance the research and teaching of African American Studies in the schools and departments of the University of Virginia and to establish a center for research in African American Studies at this major southern university, the first of Virginia's institutions of higher learning to establish an African American Studies program. Also Professor of History, Armstead Robinson held this position until his untimely death in 1994. Since then, each subsequent head—Acting Director William Jackson, Director Reginald Butler, Interim Director Scot French, Interim Director Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton, and now Director Deborah E. McDowell (2008-)—has worked to advance the Institute's founding mandate. A small, but vital institution, "the Woodson," as it is affectionately known, has always depended on the energy of a committed handful of core faculty, including Professors Roquinaldo Ferreira, Claudrena Harold, and Marlon Ross, as well as supportive faculty affiliates who have staffed its committees, mentored its fellows, advised its undergraduate majors, and taught the wide array of courses that comprise our interdisciplinary program.

Click here for a reproduction of the symposium program 

View UVa Today's coverage of the symposium and the dedication to the Catherine "Kitty" Foster Memorial Site

The Problem of Punishment: Race, Inequality and Justice

April 16 - 17, 2009

Organized by faculty members in the Departments of English (Deborah McDowell), History (Claudrena Harold) and Politics (Vesla Weaver), this multi-disciplinary symposium, sponsored by the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, will examine the historical, political, economic, and socio-cultural roots, as well as the myriad implications of the rise in incarceration in the United States.

Participants include:

Angela Y. Davis, Political Activist and Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz

Michelle Alexander, Ohio State University, Associate Professor of Law

Heather Thompson, University of North Carolina- Charlotte, Associate Professor of History

Marc Mauer, Executive Director, The Sentencing Project

Ruth Gilmore, Director, Program in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California

Click here for a reproduction of the symposium program 

To listen to audio recordings of the every panel view the symposium's YouTube playlist 

The NAACP: A Symposium Celebrating a Century of Civil Rights 

October 2009

The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia will host a symposium on the NAACP's 100th anniversary Oct. 29 and 30. All events, which are free and open to the public, will be held in the auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture/Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

View UVa Today's coverage of the symposium and the report on Julian Bond's interview with Benjamin Todd Jealous

NAACP 100th Anniversary Symposium

Thursday, Oct. 29

9-9:10 a.m.: Opening remarks
Deborah E. McDowell, Director, Carter G. Woodson Institute

9:15-10:45 a.m.: Groundwork for a Southern Movement (Emma Edmunds, U.Va., moderator)
Ervin Jordan, U.Va., "'To Go Boldly': Alice Jackson, African-American Women, and the Desegregation of the University of Virginia"
Claudrena Harold, U.Va., "The Hour Has Come: The NAACP and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the New South"
Lara Fergeson, Longwood University, "Groundwork for a Southern Movement: The NAACP in Virginia"

11 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: The Legal Campaign Against Segregated Schools (Patrice Grimes, U.Va., moderator)
NAACP documentary, "A Study of Educational Inequalities in South Carolina"
Robert A. Pratt, University of Georgia, "Into the Lion's Den: The Role of Local NAACP Attorneys in the Campaign Against School Segregation and the Fight for Racial Justice"
Mildred W. Robinson, U.Va., "Brown v. Board of Education from the Ground Up: Glimmers of Light, Opportunities Lost and Grievous Costs"

1-2:30 p.m.: Lunch

2:45-4:30 p.m.: Recasting the Legacy of the NAACP (Frank Dukes, U.Va., moderator)
Ronald Walters, University of Maryland, "Recasting the Legacy of the NAACP: Fighting 20th Century Slavery"
Herbert Timothy Lovelace, U.Va., "Close the Dump: The Roanoke Virginia NAACP and the Struggle against Environmental Racism"
Ian Grandison, U.Va., "Other Side of the 'Free' Way: College Campuses and Racialized Territories in the Wake of Massive Resistance"

5 p.m.: Reception

7:30 p.m. Keynote address, Julian Bond, "The Beginning of Something Big"

Friday, Oct. 30

9-11 a.m.: The NAACP: The National Stage
Remarks: Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP president and CEO, followed by 
Julian Bond interviewing Jealous

11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Labor and the NAACP (Robert Fatton, U.Va., moderator)
Francille Wilson, University of Southern California, "A Corporal's Guard for Negro Workers: Black Social Scientists and the NAACP's Policies during the Depression"
Risa Goluboff, U.Va., "The Lost Promise of Civil Rights: Evaluating the NAACP in the Pre-Brown Era"
M. Rick Turner, president of the Charlottesville NAACP

12:50-1:50 p.m.: Lunch

2-3:30 p.m. The NAACP: 100 Years and Beyond (Marlon B. Ross, U.Va., moderator)
Daylanne K. English, McCalester University, "The Thorny Stem of Time: One Hundred Years of Crisis (NAACP's magazine)"
Patricia Sullivan, University of South Carolina, "Beyond 'Eyes on the Prize': The NAACP and the Struggle for Civil Rights"
Dianne Pinderhughes, University of Notre Dame, "The NAACP's Second Century: Organizational, Economic, Demographic and Philosophical Challenges"

3:45-5 p.m.: Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement: A Roundtable
Kenneth Mack, Harvard University
Raymond Gavins, Duke University
Daryl Scott, Howard University

Richard Wright at 100 

April 2008

The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia will celebrate and explore the life and work of this influential author during a two-day celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of Richard Wright's birth on Thursday, April 10 and Friday, April 11. All events, free and open to the public, will be held in the Harrison Institute-Small Special Collections Library Auditorium.

The celebration begins on Thursday evening with a theatrical performance directed by University of Virginia drama professor Theresa Davis. The performance is a composition of essays, original works, poems, monologues and excerpts from the stage and screen adaptations of "Native Son." Students from Davis' "African-American Theatre" course will present "A Collage of Wright: Words as Weapons" at 7:30 p.m.

Speakers at the symposium, which goes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., include Arnold Rampersad, who edited critical anthologies of Wright's books and who recently published "Ralph Ellison: A Biography"; Maren Stange, author of "Bronzeville: Black Chicago in Pictures" and "Bare Witness: Photographs by Gordon Parks"; and Joyce Ann Joyce, author of "Richard Wright's Art of Tragedy." Other symposium participants include U.Va. faculty members and graduate students Lotta Lofgren, Marlon Ross and Brian Roberts from the English department, and Melvin Butler from the music department. 

View UVa Today's coverage of the symposium

Richard Wright at 100! A Celebratory Symposium
Harrison Institute-Small Special Collections Library Auditorium

Thursday, April 10

5:30 p.m.        Reception

7:30 p.m.         Performance: “A Collage of Wright”
            Directed by Drama Professor Teresa Davis 
Friday, April 11

8:30 a.m.        Breakfast

9:30 a.m.        Morning Session
•    Lotta Lofgren, Professor of English, University of Virginia
•    Maren Stange, Professor of Humanities & Social Sciences, Cooper Union
•    Brian Roberts, PhD Candidate in English, University of Virginia

12:30 p.m.        Lunch

1:30 p.m.        Afternoon Session
•    Joyce Ann Joyce, Professor of English, Temple University
•    Marlon Ross, Professor of English, University of Virginia
•    Arnold Rampersad, Professor of Humanities, Stanford University
•    Melvin Butler, Professor of Music, University of Virginia
6:00 p.m.        Reception


Find recordings of all the above resources on the Carter G. Woodson Institute iTunes page