UNH Hosts Conference on History of the Civil Rights Movement Nov. 12-14
Media Contact:  Lori Wright
UNH Media Relations
Nov. 3, 2009

DURHAM, N.H. –The History Department at the University of New Hampshire, with the support of the Dunfey Endowment, will host a conference on the history of the Civil Rights Movement Nov. 12-14, 2009.

The conference, “Expanding Civil Rights History in Time and Space,” will feature historians who have made, and are making, major contributions to the reconsideration of civil rights history. Among these are Steven Hahn, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2004 for “A Nation Under Our Feet,” and Kevin Boyle, winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2004 for “The Arc of Justice.” The conference is free and open to the public.

In recent years historians of civil rights have expanded their research well beyond the places and people identified so strongly with the years of the “classic” movement of 1954 – 1965: the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education; the major campaigns in the southern states; and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Conference speakers will discuss their work on the deep roots of the movement in the early 20th century, on the impact of the southern movement in the west and north and beyond the boundaries of the United States, and on the ways memories of the movement have shaped contemporary activism.

The program opens at 4 p.m. Nov. 12, in the UNH Alumni Center with the lecture “From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Continuity of Struggle,” by William Chafe, the Mary Baldwin Professor of History and vice provost for undergraduate education at Duke University.

The keynote address, “Redemption: Civil Rights, History, and the Promise of America,” by Kevin Boyle, professor of history at Ohio State University, begins at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 13 in the Swampscott Room of Holloway Commons. Panels will continue that day and the following morning in the Swampscott Room of Holloway Commons.

The panel discussions, which will be held in the Swampscott Room of Holloway Commons, are as follows:

Friday, Nov. 13
10:30 a.m.: The Long Civil Rights Movement

  • Glenda E. Gilmore, Yale University, “Black Women’s Politics and the Long Civil Rights Movement”
  • Adriane Lentz-Smith, Duke University, “Between the Freedom Struggle and Civil Rights”
  • Michael K. Honey, University of Washington, “Martin Luther King, Labor, and the Long Civil Rights Movement”
  • Steven Hahn, University of Pennsylvania, “How About a Shorter Civil Rights Movement?: Black Nationalism, Social Democracy, and the Limits of the Slavery to Freedom Narrative”

2:30 p.m.: Beyond the Southern Struggle Against Segregation

  • Peniel Joseph, Tufts University, “Reimagining the Black Power Movement”
  • George Sanchez, University of Southern California, “‘Walk Out Now or Drop Out Tomorrow!’: The 1968 East. L.A. Blowouts and the Path of Civil Rights Struggles in Multiracial Los Angeles”
  • Kevin K. Gaines, University of Michigan, “Black Power and the Discourse of Slavery”

Saturday, Nov. 14
9:30 a.m.: New Dimensions of Civil Rights History

  • Manfred Berg, University of Heidelberg, “The African American Civil Rights Movement in a Global Perspective”
  • Richard Olaniyan, Obefemi Awolowo University. “The Quest for the Promise: An African Perspective of the United States Civil Rights Movement, 1955-1968”
  • Renee Romano, Oberlin College: “A Really Long, Long Civil Rights Movement? Memory Work and the Struggle for Racial Equality”

11:30 a.m.: Concluding Remarks
Harvard Sitkoff, UNH professor emeritus of history. Author of A New Deal for Blacks; The Struggle for Black Equality, 1954 – 1980; and King: Pilgrimage to the Mountaintop.

UNH's William L. Dunfey Endowment for the Study of History was established at UNH in 1993, to promote discussion and study to reach understanding and resolution of world and national problems. For more information on the conference, visit www.unh.edu/history/civilrights2009.
The UNH History Department offers comprehensive programs for undergraduate and graduate students and a faculty who have won numerous prizes for teaching and scholarship. Courses cover a wide range of times, places, and subjects, with a particular strength in cultural history, women's history, the history of religion, Atlantic history, and African American history. For information about the department, visit http://www.unh.edu/history/index.cfm.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling more than 12,200 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.