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Feinberg Series Opening Event: Reawakening the Black Radical Imagination

A panel conversation with Mary Hooks, Kali Akuno and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

The past decade has been marked by a resurgence of the Black Freedom Struggle. Mary Hooks of Southerners on New Ground, Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From #Blacklivesmatter to Black Liberation and How We Get Free, will explore the emergence of new ideas – Freedom Dreams – of the world to be won. Moderated by Toussaint Losier, W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies.

Free and open to the public. Book signing to follow.


Kali Akuno is the Director of Cooperation Jackson, which is an emerging network of worker cooperatives and supporting institutions. Cooperation Jackson is fighting to create economic democracy by creating a vibrant solidarity economy in Jackson, MS that will help transform Mississippi and the South. Kali served as the Director of Special Projects and External Funding in the Mayoral Administration of the late Chokwe Lumumba of Jackson, MS. His focus was supporting cooperative development, sustainability, human rights and international relations. He is an organizer, educator, and writer for human rights and social justice. Kali is the former Co-Director of the US Human Rights Network. Kali also served as the Executive Director of the Peoples' Hurricane Relief Fund (PHRF) based in New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

Mary Hooks is a 36yr old, Black, lesbian, feminist, mother, organizer and co-director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG), a political home for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South. SONG builds, sustains, and connects a southern regional base of LGBTQ people in order to transform the region through strategic projects and campaigns developed in response to the current conditions in our communities. SONG builds this movement through leadership development, coalition and alliance building, intersectional analysis, and organizing. Mary joined SONG as a member in 2009 and begin organizing with SONG in 2010. Mary’s commitment to Black liberation, which is encompasses the liberation of LGBTQ liberation, is rooted in her experiences growing up under the impacts of the War on Drugs. Her people are migrants of the Great Migration, factory workers, church folks, Black women, hustlers and addicts, dykes, studs, femmes, queens and all people fighting for the liberation of oppressed people. “The mandate; to avenge the suffering of our ancestors, to earn the respect of future generations, and to be transformed in the service of the work. Let’s get free ya’ll!" - Mary Hooks

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. Taylor is author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Haymarket Books, 2016), an examination of the history and politics of Black America and the development of the social movement Black Lives Matter in response to police violence in the United States. Taylor has received the Lannan Foundation’s Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book. Taylor’s most recent book, How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, also with Haymarket Books (2017) won the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction. Taylor’s research examines race and public policy including American housing policies. Dr. Taylor is currently completing a manuscript titled Race for Profit: Black Homeownership and the End of the Urban Crisis, which looks at the federal government's promotion of single-family homeownership in Black communities after the urban rebellions of the 1960s. Taylor looks at how the federal government's turn to market-based solutions in its low-income housing programs in the 1970s impacted Black neighborhoods, Black women on welfare, and emergent discourses on the urban “underclass”. Taylor is interested in the role of private sector forces, typically hidden in public policy making and execution, in the “urban crisis” of the 1970s. Taylor’s research has been supported, in part, by a multiyear Northwestern University Presidential Fellowship, the Ford Foundation, and the Lannan Foundation. Taylor was the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013-2014. Taylor received her Ph.D from the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University in 2013.

Toussaint Losier (moderator) is Assistant Professor in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Dr. Losier holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago, with his research focusing on grassroots responses to the postwar emergence of mass incarceration in Chicago. At the UMass Amherst, he teaches courses on African American History, Black Politics, Criminal Justice policy, and transnational social movements. His writing has been published in Souls, Radical History Review, The Journal of Urban History, Against the Current, and Left Turn Magazine. He is co-author of Rethinking the American Prison Movement with Dan Berger and preparing a book manuscript titled, War for the City: Black Chicago and the Rise of the Carceral State.


Event Details

Location Information: Mahar Auditorium is located just behind Isenberg School of Management and nearby the Robsham Visitors Center (300 Massachusetts Ave) on the southern part of the UMass campus.It is a short distance from lot 34 (located on Massachusetts Ave directly west of the Visitors Center) which is free and open to the public after 5pm. There are several bus stops nearby. More information: bus schedulecampus map with Mahar and nearby parking indicated

Accessibility: Mahar Auditorium has accessible entrances, restrooms, lifts, and seating. More information: accessible parkingcampus accessibility map.

Young People Welcome: Young people of all ages are welcome at this event and all Feinberg Series events. There will be coloring books and crayons available for children. Stipends are available to support transportation for bringing groups of young adults to the event. Contact outreach@history.umass.edu for details.

If you need directions or additional assistance to plan your visit, please contact the History Department's communications assistant, Adeline Broussan, at communications@umass.edu.Links:


About the Feinberg Series

The 2018 Feinberg Series theme is Another World Is Possible: Revolutionary Visions, Past and Present. Series events and initiatives will explore the radical imaginations of intellectuals, artists, political leaders, renegade thinkers, community organizers, and everyday people who have worked to make another world possible. All events are FREE and open to the public. The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is offered every other academic year by the Department of History at UMass Amherst and made possible thanks to the generosity of UMass history department alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg ’67 and associates.

Visit the Feinberg Series webpage for more information about the series.

 

Feinberg Series Co-sponsors and Community Partners: Amherst College: Department of American Studies and Department of Anthropology and Sociology. Hampshire College: Ethics and the Common Good and Hampshire College Art Gallery. Mount Holyoke College: Department of English. Smith College: Department of History and Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program. UMass Amherst: Anthropology Department, Center for Research on Families, Civic Engagement and Service Learning, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Commonwealth Honors College, Communications Department, English Department, Fine Arts Center (keynote), Graduate School (keynote), Institute for Social Science Research, James Baldwin Lecture (keynote), Labor Center, Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies, Massachusetts Society of Professors, Office of Equity & Inclusion (keynote), Office of the Provost (keynote), Political Science Department, Public History Program, Prison Abolition Collective, Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Social Thought and Political Economy Program, Student Affairs and Campus Life (keynote), Student Government Association, University Museum of Contemporary Art, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Department, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. Community Organizations: Arise for Social Justice, All Hamptons Reads, Collaborative for Educational Services, David Ruggles Center, Great Falls Books Through Bars, Historians for Peace and Democracy, International Socialist Organization Western Mass, Massachusetts Peace Action, Northampton Committee to Stop the Wars, Out Now, Pa’lante Restorative Justice, Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Racial Justice Rising, Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, Springfield No One Leaves, Western Mass Jobs with Justice, Western Mass Prison Abolition Network, and Western Mass Showing Up for Racial Justice. 

This event was organized by the Feinberg Series with leadership from committee members from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies.