Histories of Multiracial Solidarity and Struggle
Struggles of Indigenous people, Latinx people, and others have often been intertwined with Black radical organizing. Join historians and activists Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Johanna Fernandez, and Paul Ortiz for this important conversation about how organizations like the Young Lords Party, among many others, faced the challenges and possibilities of building genuine solidarity.
Roxanne Dunbar-OrtizCalifornia State University, Hayward
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a historian, author, memoirist, and speaker who researches Western Hemisphere history and international human rights. She grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. She has been active in the international indigenous movement for more than four decades, and she is known for her lifelong commitment to national and international social justice issues. After receiving her PhD in history at the University of California at Los Angeles, she taught in the newly established Native American Studies Program at California State University, Hayward, and helped found the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies.
Her 1977 book The Great Sioux Nation was the fundamental document at the first international conference on Indigenous peoples of the Americas, held at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva. Dunbar-Ortiz is the author or editor of seven other books, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, and Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. She lives in San Francisco.
Johanna FernandezBaruch College CUNY
Johanna Fernandez teaches 20th Century US history and the history of social movements in the Department of History at Baruch College, CUNY. Her book The Young Lords: A Radical History was published in February 2020. In 2015, she directed and co-curated, ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York an exhibition in three NYC museums cited by the New York Times as one of the year’s Top 10, Best in Art. In 2014, Dr. Fernández sued the NYPD for its failure to honor her research-driven, Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request. Her suit led to the recovery of the “lost” Handschu files, the largest repository of police surveillance documents in the country, namely over one million surveillance files of New Yorkers compiled by the NYPD between 1954-1972, including those of Malcolm X.
Professor Fernández is the editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal. With Mumia Abu-Jamal she co-edited a special issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy, titled The Roots of Mass Incarceration in the US: Locking Up Black Dissidents and Punishing the Poor. Her awards include the Fulbright Scholars grant to the Middle East and North Africa and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship of the Scholars-in-Residence program at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. She is the writer and producer of the film, Justice on Trial: the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Fernández is the recipient of a B.A. in Literature and American Civilization from Brown University and a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Columbia University.
Paul OrtizUniversity of Florida
Professor Paul Ortiz (PhD Duke University, 2000) is the author of An African American and Latinx History of the United States, which received the 2018 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence. His book Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 was awarded the Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Book Prize from the Florida Historical Society and the Florida Institute of Technology. He also co-edited and conducted oral history interviews for the book, Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Jim Crow South.
He teaches undergraduate courses and supervises graduate fields in African American history, Latinx history, comparative ethnic studies, U.S. South, labor, social movement theory, oral history and field work methodologies among other topics.
Ortiz is currently working on three books: Settler Colonialism and the ‘War on Terror’: 1492 to the Present, which will be published by Beacon Press. He is co-editing a book with Wesley Hogan of Duke University titled Changing the System Now: People Power, History, and Organizing in the 21stCentury, which includes contributions by William Greider, Lane Windham, Ernie Cortes and other activist intellectuals. He is currently finishing a synthesis of the segregated South with William H. Chafe titled: Behind the Veil: African Americans in the Age of Segregation, 1895-1965.