Jul 19

Honoring the Legacies of Rosa Parks and Eslanda Robeson


  • Mary Frances Berry

    University of Pennsylvania

    Mary Frances Berry is Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of numerous books and articles including, And Justice for All: The United States Commission on Civil Rights and the Continuing Struggle for Freedom in America and Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama's Speeches from the State House to the White House.

    Since her college years at Howard University, Mary Frances Berry has been one of the most visible activists in the cause of civil rights, gender equality and social justice in our nation. Serving as Chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Berry demanded equal rights and liberties for all Americans during four Presidential administrations. A pathbreaker, she also became the first woman to head a major research university, serving at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Berry also served as the principal education official in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, working to improve access and quality education in our schools.

    Her latest book, History Teaches Us to Resist: How Progressive Movements Have Succeeded in Challenging Times, "proves to us through myriad historical examples that protest is an essential ingredient of politics, and that progressive movements can and will flourish, even in perilous times."

  • Barbara Ransby

    University of Illinois, Chicago

    Barbara Ransby is an historian, writer, and longtime political activist. She is Professor of History, Gender and Women's Studies, and African American Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Ransby has published dozens of articles and essays in popular and scholarly venues. She is most notably the author of an award-winning biography of civil rights activist Ella Baker, entitled Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision.

    She is also the author of Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson, and most recently Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century. She serves on the editorial boards of The Black Commentator (an online journal); the London-based journal, Race and Class; the Justice, Power and Politics Series at University of North Carolina Press; and the Scholar’s Advisory Committee of Ms. magazine. In the summer of 2012 she became the second Editor-in-Chief of SOULS, a critical journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society published quarterly.

    Professor Ransby received a BA in History from Columbia University and an MA and PhD in History from the University of Michigan.

  • Jeanne Theoharis

    Brooklyn College CUNY

    Jeanne Theoharis is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. Her book, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, won a 2014 NAACP Image Award. She is the author of A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History. She and Komozi Woodard have edited several collections of scholarship on the Black Freedom Struggle, including Freedom North: Black Freedom Struggles Outside of the South, 1940-1980, Groundwork: Local Black Freedom Movements in America, Want to Start A Revolution?: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle with Dayo Gore, and The Strange Careers of the Jim Crow North: Segregation and Struggle Outside of the South with Brian Purnell.

    Theoharis is the author of numerous books and articles on the civil rights and Black Power movements, the politics of race and education, social welfare and civil rights in post-9/11 America. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, The Nation, Slate, Salon, the Intercept, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Her most recent book, written with Brandy Colbert, is The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks: Young Readers Edition.


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