Apr 05

50 Years After the Assassination of Martin Luther King


This April 4th marks the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. The Black Revolt intensified with King’s murder as city after city rebelled and wave after wave of Black youth organized resistance to racial tyranny, imperial war, and economic peonage. That protracted struggle was part of what W.E.B. Du Bois called “The most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history.” Join the discussion of King’s legacy with this panel of scholars.


  • 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."

  • Thomas Jackson

    University of North Carolina, Greensboro

    Thomas Jackson is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on U.S. political, cultural, and African-American history. He is the author of From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Struggle for Economic Justice, which won the 2007 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians, for the "best book on any aspect of civil rights from the nation's founding to the present."

    Dr. Jackson is currently writing a book, Summer of Discontent: The Black Revolution of 1963 and the Framing of Civil Rights, which examines a national debate over the scope and meaning of civil rights at a watershed moment in movement and policy history. He is also conducting research for a long-term book project, American Gandhi: Martin Luther King, Prophetic Leadership, and the Culture of Celebrity. He has advised curators and film makers at the National Civil Rights Museum, the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, Blackside, Inc., and the Library of Congress. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

  • David Stein

    University of California, Los Angeles

    David Stein is currently a Lecturer in the Departments of History and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 2014-2016, he was the Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He received his PhD from University of Southern California’s Department of American Studies and Ethnicity in 2014. Trained in interdisciplinary methods, Stein is a historian whose work focuses on the interconnection between social movements, public policy, and political economy in post-1865 U.S. history. His fields of interest include African American Studies, history of capitalism, working-class history, policing and imprisonment, U.S. and the world, fiscal and monetary policy, and heterodox economics.

    Stein's book manuscript, Fearing Inflation, Inflating Fears: The Civil Rights Struggle for Full Employment and the Rise of the Carceral State, 1929-1986, is under contract with University of North Carolina Press for their Justice, Power and Politics series. He also co-hosts and produces Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast with Betsy Beasley.

  • 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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