Past Events

Past Events at the Lehman Center

Maria John, "Don't Get Sick After June': A Seventy-Year Long Survival Strategy for Native Americans Navigating the Indian Health Service"
Maria John (University of Massachusetts Boston)
'Don't Get Sick After June': A Seventy-Year Long Survival Strategy for Native Americans Navigating the Indian Health Service
{March 11th, 2021}

In the wake of the US federal government’s record-breaking shutdown in January 2019 and the onslaught of COVID-19 just a year later, the severity of Native American health disparities and the precarious reality of funding within the IHS for both reservation and urban communities alike has been thrust into the national spotlight. This paper will historicize these very recent catastrophes in a long-running record of medical neglect, chronic underfunding, and structural barriers to access within the IHS. By unpacking the reasons why, for almost seventy years, the refrain “don’t get sick after June” has remained painfully relevant for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities, this paper argues that the US federal government’s woefully inadequate and underfunded system of healthcare for Native peoples is one of the nation’s gravest examples of structural inequality and racialized disparity created by the government in the realm of health.

Part of the Lehman Center for American History's 2020-21 “Race, Inequality, and Health” lecture series.

Maria John, "''Don't Get Sick After June': A Seventy-Year Long Survival Strategy for Native Americans Navigating the Indian Health Service"
Mary Ziegler, "Abortion and the Law in America: Roe v. Wade to the Present"
Mary Ziegler (Florida State University College of Law)
Abortion and the Law in America: Roe v. Wade to the Present
{February 24th, 2021}

With the Supreme Court likely to reverse Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion decision, American debate appears fixated on clashing rights. The first comprehensive legal history of a vital period, Abortion and the Law in America illuminates an entirely different and unexpected shift in the terms of debate. Rather than simply championing rights, those on opposing sides battled about the policy costs and benefits of abortion and laws restricting it. This mostly unknown turn deepened polarization in ways many have missed. Never abandoning their constitutional demands, pro-choice and pro-life advocates both reflected and deepened the collapse of consensus about the difference between fact and ideology, science and spin. A gripping account of social-movement divides and crucial legal strategies, this book delivers a definitive recent history of an issue that transforms American law and politics to this day.

Part of the Lehman Center for American History's "American Politics, American Identities" series

Mary Ziegler, "Abortion and the Law in America: Roe v. Wade to the Present"
Richard M. Mizelle, Jr., "Chronic Complication: Diabetes, Amputations, and Race in America"
Richard M. Mizelle, Jr. (University of Houston)
Chronic Complication: Diabetes, Amputations, and Race in America
{February 4th, 2021}

Amputations are an additional chronic disease on top of chronic diabetes, and fears of amputation-related deaths are nothing new.  Amputations reflect generational neglect and inequality.  This lecture focuses on the disability, stigma, and medicalization of diabetes-related amputations in vulnerable landscapes and places.

Part of the Lehman Center for American History's 2020-21 “Race, Inequality, and Health” lecture series.

Richard M. Mizelle, Jr., "Chronic Complication: Diabetes, Amputations, and Race in America"
Ira Katznelson, "Southern Nation: Congress and White Supremacy after Reconstruction"
Ira Katznelson (Columbia University)
Southern Nation: Congress and White Supremacy after Reconstruction
{November 19th, 2020}

Southern Nation examines how southern members of Congress shaped national public policy and American institutions from Reconstruction to the New Deal—and along the way remade the region and the nation in their own image. The central paradox of southern politics was how such a highly diverse region could be transformed into a coherent and unified bloc—a veritable nation within a nation that exercised extraordinary influence in politics. Southern Nation reveals how southern members of Congress gradually won for themselves an unparalleled role in policymaking, and left all southerners—whites and blacks—disadvantaged to this day.

Part of the Lehman Center for American History's "American Politics, American Identities" series

Ira Katznelson, "Southern Nation: Congress and White Supremacy after Reconstruction" (November 19th, 2020)
Marcia Chatelain, "Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America"
Marcia Chatelain (Georgetown University)
Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America
{November 18th, 2020}

Often blamed for the rising rates of obesity and diabetes among black Americans, fast food restaurants like McDonald’s have long symbolized capitalism’s villainous effects on our nation’s most vulnerable communities. But how did fast food restaurants so thoroughly saturate black neighborhoods in the first place? In Franchise, acclaimed historian Marcia Chatelain uncovers a surprising history of cooperation among fast food companies, black capitalists, and civil rights leaders, who—in the troubled years after King’s assassination—believed they found an economic answer to the problem of racial inequality. With the discourse of social welfare all but evaporated, federal programs under presidents Johnson and Nixon promoted a new vision for racial justice: that the franchising of fast food restaurants, by black citizens in their own neighborhoods, could finally improve the quality of black life. Synthesizing years of research, Franchise tells a troubling success story of an industry that blossomed the very moment a freedom movement began to wither.

Part of the Lehman Center for American History's "Race, Inequality, and Health" lecture series

Marcia Chatelain, "Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America" (November 18th, 2020)
Simon Balto, "Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power"

Simon Balto (University of Iowa)
Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power
{November 5th, 2020}

In July 1919, an explosive race riot forever changed Chicago. Patterns of extraordinary brutality, negligence, and discriminatory policing emerged to a shocking degree. Those patterns shifted in subsequent decades, but the overall realities of a racially discriminatory police system persisted. In this history of Chicago from 1919 to the rise and fall of Black Power in the 1960s and 1970s, Simon Balto narrates the evolution of racially repressive policing in black neighborhoods as well as how black citizen-activists challenged that repression. Balto demonstrates that punitive practices by and inadequate protection from the police were central to black Chicagoans’ lives long before the late-century "wars" on crime and drugs. By exploring the deeper origins of this toxic system, Balto reveals how modern mass incarceration, built upon racialized police practices, emerged as a fully formed machine of profoundly antiblack subjugation.

Part of the Lehman Center for American History's "Policing America" series

Simon Balto, "Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power" (November 5th, 2020)
Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, Eric Foner, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"Why Reconstruction Matters"
{October 20th, 2020}

The decade following the Civil War saw the passage of three Constitutional amendments that irrevocably ended slavery, established birthright citizenship and equal protection of the laws regardless of race, and sought to guarantee black men’s right to vote. But reaction by white supremacists came swiftly, and the era closed with lynching and anti-black riots, voter disenfranchisement, and the rise of Jim Crow. One hundred and fifty years later, these and other conflicts of the period remain unresolved. This event features a critical conversation on the legacy and continuing relevance of Reconstruction with: Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School; Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History, Department of History at Columbia University; and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor; Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Moderated by Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University in the City of New York, with welcome and introduction by Ann D. Thornton, Vice Provost and University Librarian.

Click below for a link to the video recording.

Why Reconstruction Matters
Martha Jones, "Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, & Insisted on Equality for All"

Martha Jones (Johns Hopkins University)
Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, & Insisted on Equality for All
{October 15th, 2020}

In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women’s movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a movement of their own. In Vanguard, historian Martha S. Jones offers a new history of African American women’s political lives in America. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons. From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women who were the vanguard of women’s rights, calling on America to realize its best ideals.

Part of the Lehman Center for American History's "American Politics, American Identities" series

Martha Jones, "Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All" (October 15, 2020)
Geraldo Cadava, "The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of an American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump"

Geraldo Cadava (Northwestern University)
The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of an American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump
{October 8th, 2020}

In the lead-up to every election cycle, pundits predict that Latino Americans will overwhelmingly vote in favor of the Democratic candidate. But because of decades of investment and political courtship, the Republican party has had a much longer and stronger bond with Hispanics. How is this possible for a party so associated with draconian immigration and racial policies? Intertwining the little understood history of Hispanic Americans with a cultural study of how post–World War II Republican politicians actively courted the Hispanic vote during the Cold War and periods of strife in Central America, historian Geraldo Cadava illuminates the history of the millions of Hispanic Republicans who have had a significant impact on national politics since the 1960s, shining a crucial light on a rapidly changing demographic that will impact American elections for years to come.

Part of the Lehman Center for American History's "American Politics, American Identities" series

Geraldo Cadava, "The Hispanic Republican" (October 8th, 2020)
Andrea Ritchie, "Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color"
Andrea Ritchie (attorney, activist, and Researcher-in-Residence at the Barnard Center for Research on Women)
Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color
{September 24th, 2020}

Invisible No More examines issues of racial profiling, police violence, criminalization, and mass incarceration through the lens of women’s experiences. How do women, trans, and gender nonconforming people experience policing in ways that are similar to other members of communities of color, and how are their experiences unique? What do their experiences teach us about the shape and scope of police violence, and how do they expand our framing of the issues and our demands for justice? How do they call on us to radically reimagine our visions of safety and the means we devote to achieving it? A unique perspective on one of the central issues of our time, rooted in over two decades of experience on the front lines of movements to end police violence.

Part of the Lehman Center for American History's "Policing America" series

 

Andrea Ritchie, "Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color" (September 24, 2020)
Weeksville Heritage Society logo
Harriet Washington and Samuel K. Roberts, Bearing Witness to COVID-19 and Examining the History of Public Health and the Impact of Infectious Diseases on the Black Community in the United States
{September 12th, 2020}

What can history teach us about the current moment? As we’ve watched COVID-19 disproportionately affecting African Americans, the disease has revealed the ugly truth about health inequality in the U.S. To learn more about this history and the present moment, the Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn along with the Lehman Center for American History at Columbia welcomes Harriet A. Washington, a medical ethicist and author of Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present and Dr. Samuel Kelton Roberts, Director of Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), Associate Professor of History & Sociomedical Sciences, and Cluster leader of “Bearing Witness: The Covid-19 & Inequality History Documentation Project,” for a conversation with Weeksville’s Oral History Project Manager, Obden Mondésir. The panelists discuss the impact of COVID-19, examine the history of racialized inequity in the public health system in the U.S, and bear witness to the work of documenting the current pandemic in our communities.

For more information on this event, visit the Weeksville Heritage Center's "Community as Classroom" page.

Part of the Lehman Center for American History's "Race, Inequality, and Health" lecture series

Harriet Washington and Samuel K. Roberts, "Community as Classroom: Bearing Witness to COVID-19" (September 12, 2020)