UA Race, Slavery and Civil Rights Task Force to Host Series of Teach-Ins

The Half Has Not Been Told: The Study of Race, Slavery and Civil Rights is a three-part series of virtual teach-ins this spring sponsored by the Faculty Task Force on Creating a Commission on Race, Slavery and Civil Rights at The University of Alabama.

The first event, Focus on Civil Rights, will be held Wednesday, Feb. 17, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. Registration is required.

As part of a series of teach-ins on the study of slavery and its legacies at The University of Alabama, this Focus on Civil Rights examines how racism and white supremacy have defined systemic inequalities in education.

“These legacies have longstanding consequences that shape our world today, which means students and educators alike need to understand these inequities to rethink the kinds of institutions we want to build,” said Dr. Ellen Griffith Spears, task force member who coordinated the event and an associate professor in New College and the UA Department of American Studies.

Dr. Natalie Adams
Dr. Natalie Adams

Panelists, who will share their research and experiences, are:

  • Dr. Natalie Adams, professor, New College and the College of Education

Adams is the former director of UA’s New College and served as the assistant dean of UA’s Graduate School from 2007-2013. She coordinates the Levitetz Leadership Program at UA. Adams is the co-author of four books, including “Just Trying to Have School: The Struggle for Desegregation in Mississippi” and “Cheerleader! An American Icon.” She was a third-grade student in Winnsboro, Louisiana, when her school was desegregated as a result of the Supreme Court ruling in Alexander v. Holmes (1969). NPR’s Story Corps featured Adams and her classmate, Dr. Eli Brown, in a story about desegregation on the 50th anniversary of the Alexander ruling.

  • Dr. Vincent Willis
    Dr. Vincent Willis

    Dr. Vincent Willis, assistant professor, New College and the UA Department of Gender and Race Studies

Willis centers his work on the historical ideas and actions of Black youth to achieve educational equality. He investigates the consequences of educational policies—federal and local—of operating over-resourced white schools and grossly underfund Black schools, in opposition to the demands of Black students. Willis’s book, “Audacious Agitation: Black Youth and the Uncompromising Commitment to Equal Education” (forthcoming from University of Georgia Press), illustrates how Black youth applied their experiences as public-school students to make public education more democratic.

  • Dr. Charles Ray Nash, vice chancellor emeritus for Academic Affairs for The University of Alabama System
Dr. Charles Nash
Dr. Charles Nash

As a senior academic officer in The University of Alabama System since 1992, Nash was the chief liaison to academic, institutional research and planning officials at UA, UAB and UAH, advising the chancellor on academic policy, providing primary leadership in program planning, development and review, and representing the System in matters of diversity, inclusion and equity. Nash began his career teaching middle school science and was a school principal in McComb, Mississippi. He was dean of the School of Education at Armstrong Atlantic State University (Georgia) and held leadership posts at the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

For more information, contact the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at