MTW 2005On Friday, February 18 and Saturday, February 19, 2005, the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series celebrated 25 years of bringing African American history and scholarship to public light during Black History Month.

Focused on the topic, Lessons From the Past, the 25th annual conference offered an historic retrospect on some of the most significant themes of the previous 24 years by prominent scholars from across the country. The two-day program acknowledged the many changes that mark the research, presentation and appreciation of the history of black people in this country and beyond over the years of the Wright Lecture Series, as well as the likelihood that the field will continue to evolve far beyond its 19th century moorings.

On Friday afternoon, February 18th, the first day to the two-day conference, historians discussed changes in African American historical scholarship as a prelude to the Saturday program. The panel featured Professors P. Sterling Stuckey, the University of California at Riverside, Nell Irvin Painter, Princeton University and David Roediger, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Professor Adrienne Petty, Rutgers-Newark, moderated the panel.

James Oliver Horton, president of the Organization of American Historians, and the Benjamin Banneker, Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University, delivered the 25th Annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture. Professor Horton is a native of Newark, New Jersey, and along with his wife Lois Horton is the co-author of Slavery in the Making of American History.

On the Saturday afternoon Professor Margaret Washington, Cornell University, discussed the evolution of the historiography on slavery, and Professor Michael Gomez, New York University, examined the historiography on the African Diaspora. The program drew to a close after a brief panel discussion by younger historians engaged in the new scholarship on black American life. The panel featured Tiffany Gill, University of Texas, Austin; Anastasia Curwood, Boston College; and Miriam Petty, Geraldine R. Dodge Fellow, Rutgers-Newark. Professor George White, Jr., University of Tennessee, and Geraldine R. Dodge Fellow 2001-2002, moderated the panel