Anti-Black racism has played a distinctive, long, and central role in the economic, social, political, and cultural history of this nation. The fight for greater justice and more truly democratic institutions has to be fought on all of these fronts, and at the points where they intersect, if we are to make good on our ideals of freedom and equality.” — Biddy Martin

Biddy Martin speaking at a podiumHosted by President Biddy Martin, this series centers the voices of scholars studying intersections of race and American democracy.

Supported by the Victor S. Johnson Lecture Fund, established for the president to bring to Amherst lecturers in the best tradition of the liberal arts.


Upcoming Events

The Broken Heart of America: A Conversation with Walter Johnson ’88

Walter Johnson Tuesday, March 9 at 7 p.m. EST

Associate Professor of Black Studies and Sexuality, Women's, and Gender Studies Khary Polk will moderate a conversation with Walter Johnson ’88, Winthrop Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, about lessons from the research for his new book, The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States. President Martin will introduce the event.

A recording of this event will be posted on this page after March 9. Please allow five business days for the video to be processed.

Read more about the speakers.

Register for this Event


A Conversation with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Ibram X. Kendi

A photo of Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Ibram X. Kendi Wednesday, March 24 at 7 p.m. EDT

Kimberlyn Leary '82, Amherst College trustee and associate professor of psychology at the Harvard Medical School and an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will moderate a conversation with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, assistant professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University, and Ibram X. Kendi, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research.

A recording of this event will be posted on this page for 14 days after March 24. Please allow five business days for the video to be processed. (Amherst login required.)

Read more about the speakers.

Ibram Kendi photo by Stephen Voss

This event is restricted to members of the Amherst College community. Registration required.

Register for this Event


A Conversation with David Blight

A photo of David Blight Tuesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. EDT

David Blight, Sterling Professor of American History at Yale University and author of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, will discuss the resonance of the life of Frederick Douglass for today’s national conversation about the nature and promise of American democracy.

A recording of this event will be posted on this page after April 27. Please allow five business days for the video to be processed.

This event is restricted to members of the Amherst College community. Registration required.

Register for this Event


Past Events

Imani Perry in Conversation with Anthony Jack ’07

December 3, 2020

Anthony Jack ’07 in conversation with Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and a faculty associate with the Programs in Law and Public Affairs, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Jazz Studies. Read More

Transcript of Imani Perry in Conversation with Anthony Jack ’07