Legacies of American Slavery

Legacies of Slavery: Past, Present & Future

Virtual Symposium 4/5/2022 4/5/2022 4/5/20224/7/20224/7/20224/7/2022

About the Symposium

Legacies of Slavery: Past, Present & Future

​Presented by the Council of Independent Colleges
in collaboration with the
Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition
at the MacMillan Center at Yale University

April 5–7, 2022




  • Edward L. Ayers
    Edward L. Ayers
    University of Richmond
  • David W. Blight
    David W. Blight
    Yale University
  • Lonnie G. Bunch III
    Lonnie G. Bunch III
    Smithsonian Institution
  • Kevin Gannon
    Kevin Gannon
    Grand View University
  • Elizabeth Hinton
    Elizabeth Hinton
    Yale University
  • Sonya Douglass Horsford
    Sonya Douglass Horsford
    Teachers College, Columbia University



Legacies of Slavery: Past, Present & Future

Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 7:00–8:30 p.m. EDT


Marjorie Hass, President, Council of Independent Colleges.


David Blight, Sterling Professor of History and Director, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Yale University


Edward L. Ayers, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus, University of Richmond; Founding Chair of the Board, American Civil War Museum
Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; Founding Director, National Museum of African American History and Culture*
Elizabeth Hinton, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies, Yale University

These panelists are among the most important thinkers over the past several decades on the problems of slavery and race in the public culture of the United States. They will address the successes and challenges of grappling with these histories in museums, on the memorial landscape, in legal policy, in popular media, and on university and college campuses.

*Secretary Bunch was unable to participate due to travel delays.


Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 2:30–3:45 p.m. EDT
Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 4:00–5:15 p.m. EDT
Thursday, April 7, 2022, 2:30–3:45 p.m. EDT

What are independent colleges and universities doing to reckon with the legacies of slavery? These sessions will showcase the efforts of seven Regional Collaboration Partners—CIC member institutions that serve as organizing hubs for the national Legacies of American Slavery network. Each institution is leading exciting projects in the areas of research, teaching and learning, and public engagement, while focusing on a specific legacy of slavery. (Learn more about the legacy themes.) These sessions will introduce participants to current and future projects, including opportunities for other colleges and community-based organizations to collaborate.

SESSION I: Places and Memories

Dillard University (New Orleans, LA) and Sewanee: The University of the South (Sewanee, TN)

The Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation at the University of the South will demonstrate a new online database, Locating Slavery's Legacies. The database contains information about Civil War-related memorials on American college and university campuses. It relies on collaboration to build a common resource, yielding insights into the history of the Lost Cause at individual institutions while also enabling comparative analysis of how Confederate memorialization has influenced teaching and learning since emancipation. Dillard University's Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture will highlight an online film and lecture series devoted to The Legacies of American Slavery: Food, Music & Tourism. The series focuses on cultural creativity and expression in these areas—foodways, music, and tourism, especially in New Orleans—as powerful ways to understand and cope with slavery and its aftermath. The film and lecture series combines research, insight, and critical analysis of the past, present, and future and features renowned scholars with expertise in their subject matter.

SESSION II: Reckoning in Classrooms and Communities

Austin College (Sherman, TX), Centenary College of Louisiana (Shreveport, LA), and Huston-Tillotson University (Austin, TX)

Austin College, Huston-Tillotson University, and Centenary College of Louisiana are focusing on issues of teaching and learning about the legacies of slavery. Building intra- and inter-institutional collaborations, as well as dynamic community engagement with public school systems, the three institutions will share their experiences and offer insights into this process at the class, curricular, institutional, and interdisciplinary levels within the contested landscape of race and education today. Representatives from Austin College will consider the intersection between private colleges and  public education in the context of their pedagogical workshops on histories of racial violence and resistance; from Huston-Tillotson University will discuss the development of an environmental justice curriculum and its ties to community; and from Centenary College will examine issues of race and place-based learning in the context of teaching bioethics.

SESSION III: Voices of Change and Community

Lewis University (Romeoville, IL) and Meredith College (Raleigh, NC)

This session will highlight projects at Lewis University and Meredith College designed to document the narratives of politically engaged people of color to help propel change that brings a more equitable future. Working with local community partners, students and faculty members from Lewis University are collecting the oral histories of activists as one step towards combating environmental justice concerns in Fairmont, Illinois. Meredith College is partnering with faculty members and students at other CIC member colleges to interview politically engaged women of color who have held office or have challenged contested citizenship through protest and other types of activism. Meredith College has also worked with state political organizations to develop a Political Institute designed to prepare women of color to seek out elected and appointed political office in North Carolina. These can be models for projects in other states and communities.


Teaching the Legacies of Slavery in the Face of Resistance

Thursday, April 7, 2022, 4:005:15 p.m. EDT


David Blight


Kevin Gannon, Professor of History, Grand View University
Sonya Douglass Horsford, Professor of Education Leadership and Founding Director, Black Education Research Collective, Teachers College, Columbia University

Educators face increasing resistance to frank discussions about race, racism, and the other legacies of American slavery—in school board meetings, state legislatures, social media, news outlets, and elsewhere. How should they respond? Join David Blight in conversation with an expert college teacher, public historian, and faculty trainer (Gannon) and a scholar of educational inequality who is now leading the development of an antiracist curriculum for the New York City schools (Horsford).

Next Steps for the CIC Legacies Project

Philip M. Katz, Director of Projects, CIC

Concluding Remarks

David Blight


The Legacies of American Slavery: Reckoning with the Past initiative is supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this symposium do not necessarily represent those of the NEH, the Mellon Foundation, CIC, or Yale University.

Mellon Foundation logo National Endowment for the Humanities logo In collaboration with
Gilder Lehrman Center logo

Recordings and Resources


Session Resources

Opening Panel: Recording and Slides
Reckoning Session #1: Recording and Slides
Reckoning Session #2: Recording and Slides
Reckoning Session #3: Recording and Slides
Closing Panel: Recording and Slides