The Missouri Historical Society will host a virtual author presentation Tuesday evening to kick off its new event series called “How Did We Get Here: Conversations about Race, Anti-Blackness, and Identity.”
The virtual events are organized under the society’s African American History Initiative, which launched in 2015 to promote greater cultural understanding.
“We launched the MHS [Missouri Historical Society] African American History Initiative to collaborate with the African American community, national scholars, our members and the St. Louis community to foster an understanding of how history has brought us to where we are as a community and a nation,” society president Dr. Frances Levine said in a press release. “The ‘How Did We Get Here?’ series will allow us to address and examine contemporary issues of race, equity and inclusion through the historical lens.”
Author and professor Crystal Marie Fleming will speak to a digital audience at 6:30 p.m. tonight via Zoom about her latest book, How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide. The book blends memoir with critical race theory, social commentary and satire to debunk common misconceptions about race and reveal the inner workings of systemic racism. According to the press release, systemic racism exposes everyone to racial ignorance or “racial stupidity.”
“When left unchallenged, racial stupidity fuels discriminatory behavior, devalues the lives of black and brown people and reproduces the white supremacist status quo from one generation to the next,” the release states. “This wide-ranging talk unveils the historical roots of racial stupidity and explores how racial non-sense manifests in pop culture, (mis)education, media, politics and personal relationships today.”
Fleming earned her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. and master’s degree in sociology from Harvard University. She is a professor of sociology and Africana studies at Stony Brook University in New York, as well as an associate faculty member within the university’s Department of Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies. According to the press release, she seeks to empower people with racial literacy to become anti-racist activists.
“This new AAHI [African American History Initiative] series will help Black, white, people of color, and indigenous populations gain a greater understanding of race relations in this region and how race and anti-blackness keep the region divided,” said Shakia Gullette, director of African American History Initiatives, in the release. “Building upon the work of local historians and national thought leaders, the series allows us to root the conversations in fact and history.”
To watch Fleming’s presentation or participate in other events, visit mohistory.org/events.
Upcoming events in the “How Did We Get Here: Conversations about Race, Anti-Blackness, and Identity” series include:
Youth Activism Workshops (recommended for ages 6 to 12)
- Wednesday, July 8, noon to 1:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, July 22, noon to 1:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Aug. 12, noon
Just Breathe STL, presented in collaboration with The Collective STL
- Wednesday, July 15, 6 to 8 p.m.
- Wednesday, July 22, 6 to 8 p.m.
- Wednesday, July 29, 6 to 8 p.m.
- Wednesday, Aug. 5, 6 to 8 p.m.
- Wednesday, Aug. 12, 6 to 8 p.m.
The Local History of Policing
- Tuesday, July 21, 6:30 p.m.
It’s Bigger Than Target: The Destruction of Black Neighborhoods
- Tuesday, July 28, 6:30 p.m.
A Conversation with Michelle Duster: Ida B. Wells and Today’s Street Journalism
- Tuesday, Aug. 4, 6:30 p.m.
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