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Speakers will discuss ending racism, how to talk about race

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Lindsey Hadlock


Two experts on race and racial issues are coming to campus for free public events in September.

F. Michael Higginbotham, the author of “Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America,” will speak Sept. 12 at 4:30 p.m. in Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall. His talk, “Saving the Dream for All,” is sponsored by the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI).

Beverly Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College, will discuss racial identity and campus conversations about race in the 21st century, Sept. 13 at 3 p.m. in Sage Chapel, and will give a talk for the Ithaca community that evening, both sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence.

Higginbotham is an internationally renowned expert on matters of race, civil rights, human rights and constitutional law. His book “Race Law: Cases, Commentary, and Questions” is widely used in colleges and law schools around the world. He is the Joseph Curtis Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

“The law is a powerful weapon to create racial inequality and racial equality,” Higginbotham says. In “Ghosts of Jim Crow,” he spells out the stubbornness of racism and offers solutions to end its existence in America. Despite progress, the choices that individuals make and social structures that have been set up – including wealth, housing, education, the death penalty, political power, work and social opportunities – result in a continuing gap between the well-being of black and white Americans, he argues.


Co-sponsors of his talk include the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity (OFDD), Office of the Dean of Students, the Law School, Graduate School, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and the Africana Studies and Research Center.

Tatum is a nationally recognized authority on racial issues and the psychology of racism in America. Her talk Sept. 13 will be followed by a discussion in Sage Chapel. The first 100 people to RSVP online will receive the newly revised edition of her critically acclaimed 1997 book, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race.”

Tatum will discuss development of racial identity and the challenges in having meaningful conversations on race. She argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential to enable communication across racial and ethnic divides. Encouraging faculty, staff and students to explore racial stereotypes, beliefs and perspectives and continue cross-racial dialogue, she will share activities and discussions she has facilitated to engage others in understanding their racial identity.

The event is cosponsored by OADI, OFDD, the Office of Engagement Initiatives and the Graduate School.

Tatum also will sign books Sept. 13 from 1:15 to 2 p.m. at the Cornell Store on campus, and she speaks at 7 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, 306 N. Aurora St., an event open to the public with a book signing at 8 p.m.

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