Gavin W. Kleespies, Director of Programs, Exhibitions and Community Partnerships
While we certainly miss seeing our Members and loyal program attendees, there are some advantages to holding programs online. For one, it is nice to have the ability to host speakers from across the country. The fact that there is no lengthy travel has enabled us to pair people together for great conversations and panel discussions. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to host online programs for the foreseeable future. Below are some highlights of upcoming programs we will host in February.
We are starting the month off with two great conversations. One 1 February, at 5:30 PM, Gretchen Sorin and MHS President Catherine Allgor will discuss Driving While Black: African American Travel & the Road to Civil Rights. Sorin’s new book explores the important role cars have played in African American households, allowing Black families to evade dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and, when combined with black travel guides including the famous Green Book, presenting opportunities to resist oppression and to enjoy the freedom of the open road. On 11 February, at 5:30 PM, famous Civil War historian James Oakes and renowned legal historian Randall Kennedy will talk about The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln & the Antislavery Constitution. They will discuss whether Lincoln and the Republican Party can be faulted for moving slowly due to a long standing conservatism on abolition and race or if they were adhering to a clear antislavery strategy founded on the Constitution itself.
We will also have two panel discussions in February. We will hold the first of five programs in a series called Confronting Racial Injustice. The first program is scheduled for 18 February, at 6:00 PM. Slavery, Wealth Creation & Intergenerational Wealth, with Nicole Maskiell, Elon Cook Lee, and moderator Jared Hardesty, will explore Massachusetts’s connections to slavery and the slave trade, the wealth–and the poverty–slavery created and bequeathed, and how the legacies of slavery are reflected in injustices that haunt Massachusetts to this day. This series is planned in partnership with Northeastern University Law School’s Criminal Justice Task Force. On 25 February, at 5:30 PM, we will revisit a discussion we had three years ago that explored how marginalized groups have used protest and agitation to advance their rights. Protest & Citizenship: Revisited will feature Crystal Feimster, Hasan Jeffries, Stephen Kantrowitz, and Chad Williams. They will look at the ways in which protest has been used to highlight injustice and change the citizenship rights of certain groups. They will also reflect on how has this conversation has evolved in the wake of the high-profile demonstrations triggered by the murder of George Floyd and what can we take from the past to understand our current political and social climate.
Visit www.masshist.org/events for more information on these and other upcoming programs and to register.