Richards Center to host conference on violence in African-American history

September 21, 2017
The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, the Department of African American Studies, and University Libraries will host a conference, "Rethinking Violence in African-American History: History, Memory, Trauma," on Oct. 6 and 7. Free and open to the public, the conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, Penn State, University Park. Friday’s session will conclude with a keynote lecture at 4 p.m., “Racial Violence, Rendition, and Radical Lawyering: 1930-1960,” by Margaret Burnham, university distinguished professor of law at the Northeastern University School of Law.
Organized by Nan Woodruff, professor of African-American studies and modern U.S. history, the conference will explore the impact of the country’s long history of racial violence, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow segregation and the Civil Rights movement to the present. Conference participants include social activists, Penn State faculty, and visiting scholars from the fields of history, anthropology, political science and law who seek to understand the historical dimensions of racial violence in U.S. history and the terror it created. The conference comes at a time of growing public discourse over the role of race and racism in state violence and the criminal justice system.
Woodruff notes that “racial violence has been central to U.S. history since the founding of a country built on African slavery. The legacies of racial violence and terror continue to resonate in our society as revealed in the persistence of state violence, the incarceration state, and growing racial inequality.”
"Rethinking Violence in African-American History" will place the contemporary discourse on racial and state violence in a historical context and examine the legacy of violence and trauma that can be found in the historical memories of African-American communities, families and individuals.
The schedule is as follows:
-- 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, "Rethinking Violence in African American History: History, Memory, Trauma," day one
--4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, Keynote Address: “Racial Violence, Rendition, and Radical Lawyering: 1930-1960,” by Margaret Burnham
-- 9:30 a.m – 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, "Rethinking Violence in African American History: History, Memory, Trauma," day two
For more information on the conference, the keynote speaker, or the Richards Center, contact the center at 814-863-0151 or visit the website at
  • Dr. Margaret Burnham

    Dr. Margaret Burnham will be giving the keynote address, “Racial Violence, Rendition, and Radical Lawyering: 1930-1960," at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6.

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated December 19, 2017