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Black Placemaking and the Politics of Public Memory

Dr. Karla Slocum, Brent Leggs, and Jasmine Reid
Date and Time: 
Monday, October 12, 2020 - 15:30 to 17:00

Via Zoom


Dr. Karla Slocum
Professor of Anthropology, Director, Institute of African American Research, and Thomas Willis Lambeth Chair of Public Policy, 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Karla Slocum is the Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Chair of Public Policy, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Institute of African American Research at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She is also co-founder and co-chair of Black Communities: A Conference for Collaboration, which facilitates community-engaged research partnerships and exchanges. Slocum specializes in studies of place, race, history and black rurality, for which she has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the School for Advanced Research. 
She is the author of Free Trade and Freedom: Neoliberalism, Place and Nation in the Caribbean (University of Michigan Press,2006) and Black Towns, Black Futures: The Enduring Allure of a Black Place in the American West (UNC Press, 2019). Her published articles and book chapters have appeared in such journals and edited volumes as American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Transforming Anthropology, Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, and the Routledge Companion on Inter-American Studies. Most recently, Slocum is the co-creator of #TulsaSyllabus, a resource guide centering sources on and relevant to the Tulsa race massacre of 1921. Currently, she is pursuing a collaborative, interdisciplinary project, Mapping Black Towns, to digitally visualize the story of U.S. Black settlements in their social, geographical, political, and material contexts.
Brent Leggs
Executive Director, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund
Brent Leggs is the Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. The largest preservation campaign ever undertaken on behalf of African American history, the Action Fund has sparked a movement dedicated to telling the truth about our past, and cultivating hope for the future. As Executive Director, Brent leads a growing community of activists, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders who believe that when we preserve African American cultural sites, we create spaces where stories of Black activism, achievement and resilience can enrich our understanding of the American story, inspire us to explore our potential, and invite us to connect with each other.
A Harvard University Loeb Fellow and 2018 recipient of the Robert G. Stanton National Preservation Award, over the past decade, Brent has led efforts to create the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in Alabama, which President Barack Obama designated in January 2017. Other campaign successes include the perpetual protection of cultural monuments like Villa Lewaro, the estate of Madam C. J. Walker in Irvington, New York; Joe Frazier’s Gym in Philadelphia, PA; Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey; A. G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham, Alabama; Nina Simone’s birthplace in Tryon, North Carolina; John and Alice Coltrane’s home in Huntington, New York; and more. Brent has taught or teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, University of Maryland, Harvard University, and Boston Architectural College.
Jasmine Reid
PhD Candidate, Anthropology, Stanford University
Jasmine Reid is a Stanford Anthropology PhD candidate who specializes in heritage studies and post-colonial land rights. Her research explores the role that two Johannesburg community museums play in the political landscape of land rights. Specifically, she follows the commemorative and activistic profiles of these museums, as they both commemorate communities forcibly displaced under apartheid and garner influence with government officials, private developers, citizen action groups, and other heritage practitioners to shape Johannesburg into a spatially just metropolis. Her work consequently intervenes in the broader discussion about settler colonial land restitution as it engages with the materiality of the contested city and the lived experiences of those who currently reside there, all through the lens of the community museum.
Prior to coming to Stanford, she completed her BA in Anthropology and African Studies at Yale University. After college, she worked for nine months in a South African museum, where she helped to curate photographic exhibitions and produced a film about Johannesburg nuns who resisted apartheid-era forced removals in the 1950s and 1960s. She then spent two years working in Washington, DC as an outreach coordinator for a local non-profit providing wraparound services to homeless and near-homeless populations. She carries all of these experiences with her into the PhD.