Issues of civil and human rights, housing and gentrification, and health and income inequalities in American cities will be in sharp focus as the 37th annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series (MTW) invites a wide-ranging discussion of the last half-century of black urban history. The annual Black History Month conference will be held on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., on the campus of Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N). The conference is sponsored by the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience at RU-N.
City Moves: Black Urban History since 1967 will emphasize, as MTW traditionally does, the ways that history helps illuminate the contemporary world. As Newark marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 rebellion, MTW will explore how far the community has come since that crucial event, over years that many consider the darkest for American cities.
The Clement A. Price Institute brings to Newark four eminent scholars whose pioneering and award-winning work has powerfully shaped America’s understanding of development and life in urban areas over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries. The first is Thomas J. Sugrue, Bancroft Prize-winning author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North, and Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race, and professor of social and cultural analysis and history at New York University. Sugrue will deliver the MTW keynote lecture.
The day’s other lecturers will be:
- Alondra Nelson, professor of sociology and gender studies and dean of social sciences at Columbia University and author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination and The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome;
- Mary Pattillo, Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University and author of Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class and Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City;
- N. D. B. Connolly, Herbert Baxter Adams Associate Professor of History and author of A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida.
Following the conference, MTW attendees are invited to a reception in the Great Hall at the historic and recently reopened 15 Washington Street. The reception will feature live musical entertainment by The Bradford Hayes Trio.
All events are free and open to the public.
The MTW lecture series was co-founded in 1981 by the late Dr. Clement A. Price, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of History at Rutgers University, and the late Giles R. Wright, director of the Afro-American History Program at the New Jersey Historical Commission. Over the past 36 years, the conference has drawn thousands of people to Rutgers University-Newark and has attracted some of the nation’s foremost scholars and humanists in the field of African and African American history and culture. It has become one of the nation's leading scholarly programs specifically devoted to enhancing the historical literacy of an intercultural community.
The annual conference was named for East Orange native Dr. Marion Thompson Wright, a pioneer in African-American historiography and race relations in New Jersey, a pioneering historian of race and education, and among the earliest professionally trained women historians in the nation.
The Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series is presented by the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience; the Federated Department of History, Rutgers University-Newark/New Jersey Institute of Technology; and the Department of African American and African Studies. The 2017 conference is made possible by funds and support from: Prudential, the New Jersey Historical Commission/Department of State, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.