Tufts University Convenes First "National Dialogue on Race Day"

Holds Sept. 12 Public Forum on "The March on Washington 50th: Continuing the Call for Racial Equality in the 21st Century"; Other Universities Join Effort
September 6, 2013

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Alexander Reid

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MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Calling for a broad discussion of race in America, Tufts University's Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD) is leading other educational institutions and civic groups in convening a National Dialogue on Race Day on September 12, 2013. Tufts is spearheading this inaugural event with Arizona State University, Duke University, Fairfield University, and the University of California-Los Angeles.

The CSRD will host its forum on "The March on Washington 50th: Continuing the Call for Racial Equality in the 21st Century" at 7:00 p.m. in the ASEAN Auditorium of the Cabot Intercultural Center on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus.

The discussion at Tufts is open to the public. It will feature scholars and activists who seek to translate conversation into action, says Peniel Joseph, founding director of the CSRD and professor of history in the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University.

"Inspired by recent events including the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on voting rights and affirmative action, Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech on sentencing reform, and the aftermath of the George Zimmerman case, this initiative invites Americans of all colors to connect discussions about race with public policy change," says Joseph, a frequent national commentator on issues of race, civil rights, and democracy.

"Fifty years after Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech, race continues to play a defining role in determining life outcomes for Americans," he continues. "Openly confronting the realities of race in America is a critical first step towards the transformation of our democratic institutions to ensure equality."

Duke University, one of five universities participating in the national dialogue, has scheduled a two-hour panel discussion that will address similar themes on September 12. "It is vital that we examine closely the fact that there has been no change in the relative economic position of black America since the 1963 March on Washington," says William Darity Jr., professor of public policy, African and African American Studies, and economics at Duke. "It also is vital that we analyze precisely why no change has occurred. The National Dialogue on Race Day provides a valuable opportunity to engage in that examination and analysis." 

 At Tufts, the panelists will be:

  •        Michael Curry, President of the NAACP Boston
  •        Kim McLarin, novelist and Assistant Professor of Writing, Emerson College
  •        Diane McWhorter, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist
  •        Kimberly Moffitt, writer and Professor of American Studies, University of Maryland-Baltimore County
  •        John Stauffer, author and chair of the History of American Civilization, Harvard University
  •        Paul Watanabe, author and director of the Institute for Asian American Studies, University of Massachusetts-Boston

 For information on the conference see: http://as.tufts.edu/csrd/

Members of the news media who would like to attend and reserve a seat and media credentials should contact Alex Reid at 617-627-4173.

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Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.