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Race and Resistance, 1858 and 2008: Activists and Allies Symposium, November 7 and 8 at Oberlin College

OBERLIN, OHIO – Scholars, activists, students and community members will gather at Oberlin College the first weekend after the 2008 presidential election to explore the history and legacy of struggles for racial justice before the Civil War and their resonance and relevance for America today.

Titled “Race and Resistance, 1858 and 2008: Activists and Allies,” the event is a symposium presented in collaboration with the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue Coalition and the 150th anniversary celebration of the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue. All sessions are free and open to the public.  

The Oberlin-Wellington Rescue was “a dramatic act of civil disobedience that underscored early Oberlin’s commitment to African American freedom and antislavery mobilization,” says Convener Gary Kornblith, Oberlin professor of history.

“Scheduled for the first weekend after a history-making presidential election, the symposium will offer a timely opportunity to connect past, present and future as we explore together how concerned individuals can work to make our society more just and more equitable.”
The symposium, which is free and open to the public, will take place Friday and Saturday, November 7 and 8 in Room 106 of the College’s King Building, 10 N. Professor St. For more information, please email gary.kornblith@oberlin.edu.

Concluding the event will be a ticketed concert by the renowned women’s vocal ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Sunday, November 9, at 8 p.m. in Finney Chapel.

Funding provided by the Ohio Humanities Council, the Nord Family Foundation, and Oberlin College, including the Office of the President, Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Multicultural Resource Center, African American Studies Department, History Department, Sociology Department, and Comparative American Studies Program

Symposium Schedule:

Friday, November 7

4:30 p.m. – “Canaan's Children: Black Ohio's Revolutionary Legacy,” keynote Address by Robin D. G. Kelley, professor of American Studies and Ethnicity and History at the University of Southern California and the author of Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists during the Great Depression, Yo’ Mama’s DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America, and Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination.

8 p.m. – Special Screening: Beloved, with commentary by actress Lisa Gay Hamilton, who played younger Sethe in the film and has directed the documentary Beah: A Black Woman Speaks.

Saturday, November 8

10 a.m. – “Historical Reflections on the Antislavery Struggle”
Panel: Erica Armstrong Dunbar, associate professor of history, University of Delaware; Patrick Rael, associate professor of history, Bowdoin College; Jane Rhodes, dean for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Macalester College.

1:30 p.m.– “Contemporary Issues for Activists and Allies”
Panel: Lisa Brock, professor of African History and Diaspora Studies, Columbia College Chicago; Scott Kurashige, associate professor of American Culture and History, University of Michigan; Salvador Vidal-Ortiz, assistant professor of sociology, American University.

3:30 p.m. – “Community Perspectives on Contemporary Activism”
Panel: Phyllis Yarber Hogan, Oberlin African-American Genealogy and History Group; Gloria A. Pickett, Women’s Re-Entry Network, Cleveland; Jeff Stewart, Immigrant Worker Project.

5:30 p.m. – Closing Remarks, by Robin D. G. Kelley.

Sunday, November 9

8 p.m. Concert: Sweet Honey in the Rock

Finney Chapel. Tickets – $7 for those with OCID and $20 for the general public – are available at Central Ticket Service (CTS): 440.775.8169 or 800.371.0178 and Wilder Hall, 135 W. Lorain St., Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Sunday noon-11: 30 p.m., 440-775-8102.

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