“Race is a mirage but one that humanity has organized itself around in very real ways. To be antiracist is to… recognize the living, breathing reality of this racial mirage, which makes our skin colors more meaningful than our individuality.” --Ibram X. Kendi  

This course explores the long, painful history of race and anti-black racism in the United States and the powerful movements to resist racial oppression from the Civil War, Emancipation and Reconstruction through the Civil Rights movement and today’s Black Lives Matter movement. Rice University faculty present current scholarship and also introduce and facilitate conversations with new and emerging scholars who share historical and contemporary insights on our country’s fraught relationship with race and anti-black racism. We also examine present day efforts to reckon with the legacy of slavery and structural inequity. The series culminates with an invitation to imagine and shape new futures.


March 10. American Slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Daniel B. Domingues da Silva, Ph.D., associate professor of history, Rice University

March 17. The Civil War, Emancipation and Reconstruction. Fay Yarbrough, Ph.D., associate professor of history, Rice University

March 24. Jim Crow, Gender and the Roots of the Civil Rights Movement. David Ponton, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Interdisciplinary and Global Studies, University of South Florida and Alexander X. Byrd, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and associate professor of history, Rice University

March 31. Reckoning and Reparations. Caleb McDaniel, Ph.D., Chair, History Department; Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Humanities; professor of history, Rice University

April 7. Combatting Structural Racism through Educational Equity. Tori Thomas, Ph.D., research analyst, Houston Education Research Consortium, Rice University

April 14. Religion and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Jessica Davenport, Ph.D., Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Religion, Colgate University and Anthony Pinn, Ph.D., Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies, Rice University

April 21. Speculative Black Futures. Nicole A. Waligora-Davis, Ph.D., associate professor of English, Rice University

This course is generously supported by Elizabeth and Albert Kidd.


  • Center for African and African American Studies, Rice University
  • Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning, Rice University
  • Houston Education Research Consortium, Rice University
  • Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Rice University
  • Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice, Rice University

You may also be interested in our spring 2021 course “The Post-Pandemic Future of Houston and the U.S.”


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