2020 - 2021 African American Workshop and Lecture Series

2020-2021 African-American Workshop and Lecture Series speakers are virtual.
See video clips of guest speakers

Available lecture videos



 The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome, with Alondra Nelson  Thursday, April 29 at 1:00pm to 2:30pm Virtual Event

Alondra Nelson

April 29, 2021
The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome 
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.


Alondra Nelson is deputy director for science and society in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She is also president of the Social Science Research Council and the Harold F. Linder Chair and Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. She was previously a professor of sociology at Columbia University, where she served as the inaugural Dean of Social Science.

Watch a video clip of Alondra Nelson on C-Span Book TV


AAWLS Freeman

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III

March 2, 2021
The Empowered University: Shared Leadership, Culture Change, and Academic Success  
5:30-7 p.m.

Freeman Hrabowski has served as President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the 2011 report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. He was named in 2012 by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. His 2013 TED talk highlights the “Four Pillars of College Success in Science.”

Watch a video clip about Freeman Hrabowski


Past 2020-2021 Speakers 



Lia Epperson

Are We Still Not Saved? Race, Democracy, and Educational Inequality

February 12, 2021
UO Law School Derrick Bell Speaker Series 
12 - 1:30 p.m.

Lia Epperson is a Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law. Her expertise areas are civil rights, constitutional law, and education policy. Her scholarship centers on the constitutional dialogue between federal courts and the political branches, and its implications for educational equity. Dean Epperson participated in the O’Connell Conference in 2015, which was held in Portland. Her talk discussed the use of empirical data in educational equity jurisprudence was well received.

Watch a video of  Lia Epperson speak at the Leadership Conference


Tuesday, Feb 9 at 5:30-7P.M. Virtual Event

Kimberly Johnson

February 9, 2021
How Far Do You Have To Go For Justice? Acting beyond the vote.
5:30 - 7 p.m.

Kim Johnson will discuss the inspirations of her timely best selling novel This Is My America, delving into the themes of how racial injustice in our criminal justice system leads to mass incarceration and excessive punishment. She will delve into our 2020 elections and our responsibility in not only our electoral process, but broader acts of social justice and civic engagement.

Kimberly Johnson held leadership positions in social justice organizations as a teen and during her time as a student at the University of Oregon. She is now the UO Assistant Vice Provost for Advising and Director for the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence. 

Watch the book trailer for This is My America

Khalil AAWLS

Khalil Gibran Muhammad

January 13, 2021
The Role of Antiracist Research in the Academy and Beyond


Khalil Gibran Muhammad is a Professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. He is the former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a division of the New York Public Library. Khalil’s scholarship examines the broad intersections of race, democracy, inequality and criminal justice in modern U.S. history. Khalil is an award-winning teacher at Harvard and has received numerous honors for his commitment to public engagement, including BPI Chicago's Champion of the Public Interest Award, The Fortune Society's Game Changer Award, Ebony Power 100, The Root 100 of Black Influencers, and Crain's New York Business Magazine 40 under 40.

Watch a video clip of Bill Moyers and Khalil Muhammad on Facing Our Racial Past

Emmanuel Poster

Emmanuel Akyeampong

December 1, 2020
African and African American Relations, c. 1960 to Recent Times: Transformations in Global Blackness


Emmanuel Akyeampong is the Faculty Director of the Harvard University Center for African Studies and Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. He was appointed Loeb Harvard College Professor in July 2005. Akyeampong is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (FGA), and a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (UK). He serves as the president of the African Public Broadcasting Foundation (US), a co-founder and director of the International Institute for the Advanced Study of Cultures, Institutions and Economic Enterprise (IIAS: ) based in Accra, Ghana. He is the author of several books and articles including Drink, Power, and Cultural Change: A Social History of Alcohol in Ghana, c.1800 to Recent Times .

Watch a video recording of the event

Watch a video clip of We need a generation with bold vision to survive trying times 

Ruth Simmons AAWLS Speaker


Ruth Simmons

November 18, 2020
Civil Society’s Debt to Higher Education

Ruth Simmons has held administrative and professorship positions at the University of Southern California, Princeton University, Spelman College provost, and President of Smith College and President of Brown University. She is the first African American to be named President of an Ivy League university where she established the University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice to explore the university’s historical connection with the slave-trading industry. Simmons has been a particularly prominent advocate of equal opportunity education for students of color. She is currently the president of Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas.

Watch a video recording of the event 

Watch a video clip of Dr. Ruth Simmons | cling to hope as challenges mount



headshot of Eric Holder


Honorable Eric Holder

October 20, 2020​​​​​​
Defending Democracy: A Conversation with Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States (2009-2015)


A Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics 20th anniversary keynote

Eric Holder is an internationally recognized leader on a broad range of legal issues and a staunch advocate for civil rights. He served in the Obama Administration as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States from February 2009 to April 2015, the third longest serving Attorney General in U.S. history and the first African American to hold that office.

Watch Five Questions with Eric Holder