The Lefler/Broom Lectures and Discussions on Race and History

Public Reckoning with the Troubled Past

The history of anti-Black racism casts a long shadow onto the present. What role do sites of memory — museums and monuments — play in our future? Can they become tools for change as well as oppression? This series offers the Carleton community an opportunity to hear from distinguished scholars who are actively engaged in thinking about how history can help us create a better future. Students, faculty, and staff are also encouraged to join a discussion group to continue the conversation.

These lectures are sponsored by the Herbert P. Lefler fund and the Broom Fund for Public Scholarship, and co-sponsored by Africana Studies. Lectures will be recorded and available afterwards.



1st Winter Herbert P. Lefler Lecture, “Tacky’s Revolt,” by Professor Vincent Brown, Harvard

Tuesday, January 19th, 5:00 pm CST

The History department is pleased to announce that Professor Vincent Brown, Harvard, will be presenting our winter term Herbert P. Lefler lecture at 5:00 pm (CST), Tuesday, January 19th, on Zoom. Professor Brown will discuss the largest slave revolt of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic World. Please visit Zoom to register or use barcode above. Professor Brown is the Charles Warren Professor of American History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. He directs the History Design Studio and teaches courses in Atlantic history, African diaspora studies, and the history of slavery in the Americas. He is the author of The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (Harvard University Press, 2008), producer of Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness, an audiovisual documentary broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens, and is most recently the author of Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War (Belknap Press, 2020).

Vincent Brown Bar Code

Please contact Serena Zabin for more info.

2nd History Lefler, “Black Media Past & Present: A Virtual Conversation” with Prof Kim Gallon, Brandon Walker ’09, and Harry McKinley Williams, Laird Bell Professor emeritus

Monday, February 15th, 6:00 CST, Zoom.

We are pleased to announce the second virtual History Department Winter Lefler presentation that will take place on Zoom at 6:00 pm (CST) on Monday, February 15th.
Professor Kim Gallon, Purdue University, History Department
Brandon Walker ’09, TV News Reporter at KPRC-TV 2 in Houston, and
Harry McKinley Williams, Laird Bell Professor emeritus, who will moderate the conversation.

Kim Gallon investigates the cultural dimensions of the Black Press in the early twentieth century. She is the author of many articles and essays as well as the book, Pleasure in the News: African American Readership and Sexuality in the Black Press (University of Illinois Press, 2020). She currently serves as the inaugural editor for the Black Press in America book series at Johns Hopkins University Press. She has received numerous fellowships and grants including from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Spencer Foundation for her work in the black digital humanities and spatial humanities and adult education in Ghana. More about her research and teaching follow her on Twitter, @BlackDigitalHum.
Brandon Walker, ’09, TV News Reporter at KPRC-TV 2 in Houston, Texas. After completing his History major at Carleton and grad school at Columbia University School of Journalism, NYC, he was a reporter in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and now, in Houston. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist.
Harry McKinley Williams, Laird Bell Professor emeritus, Carleton College. Our legendary African American history professor, who only very recently retired (December 31, 2020), returns to moderate this exciting upcoming conversation.

Bar Code for Feb 16th
Please register: Zoom

Please contact Serena Zabin for more info.

Spencer Crew Image

The 21st-Century Museum and Social Justice

Thursday, October 22, 5:00 pm CDT

Dr. Spencer Crew is the Interim Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). He is also the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of American, African American and Public History at George Mason University. He has served as president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and was the director of the National Museum of American History (NMAH), Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Crew will discuss how social justice and new technologies lie at the heart of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

This online lecture is open to Carleton students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public.

Susan Neiman

Learning from the Germans 

Monday, October 26, 1:00 pm CDT

Professor Susan Neiman directs the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Neiman studied philosophy at Harvard and the Free University of Berlin. She was professor of philosophy at Yale University and Tel Aviv University before coming to the Einstein Forum in 2000. In 2014 Neiman was awarded the Spinozalens by the Internationale Spinozaprijs Foundation, a biennial prize recognizing international thinkers who concern themselves with ethics and society. Professor Neiman’s lecture will ask what Americans can learn from the Germans about confronting the evils of the past.

This online lecture is open to Carleton students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public.

Discussion Groups for current students, faculty, and staff

We seek to build intentional spaces for conversation about white supremacy and racism in the United States. It is our hope that these discussions will spur our personal and collective growth. We encourage you to attend the public lectures (which will also be recorded), peruse the related readings, view the suggested webinars, and meet virtually to the degree your schedule permits. There will be groups to discuss the lectures as well as related topics; you are welcome to sign up for either or both. Discussions will be held on multiple dates throughout the term.

Questions? Contact Serena Zabin, History Department Chair

To sign up for a discussion group, click here

“History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”

— James Baldwin, “The White Man’s Guilt,” Ebony Magazine, August 1965