2020 is the year of the woman. Not only have black women played significant roles in all parts of society throughout history, 2020 is shaping up to be the year of the black woman. It saw the election of the nation’s first African American vice president, Kamala Harris and has shown the growing influence of black women in all sectors. The panel’s Telling HerStory: Saving Black Women’s History is a moderated discussion hosted by journalist and NYU professor Pamela Newkirk. Newkirk will be joined by the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, Tomiko Brown-Nagin; professor and lawyer Anita Hill; writer, activist, and New York City’s First Lady, Chirlane McCray and the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies and English at Spelman College Beverly Guy-Sheftall, who will interview them about their lives, influences and the trajectory of black womanhood. The discussion also features a Q&A session with questions from The HistoryMakers WomenMakers Advisory Committee. Don’t miss your opportunity to view this enlightening discussion on the importance of understanding and protecting the large role black women have played—and continue to play—in American history.
This 90-minute program is scheduled to stream on YouTube at 12:00 noon EST on Thursday, December 17, 2020 as the seventeenth installment of The HistoryMakers 20@2020: 20 Days and 20 Nights Convening and Celebration.
Pamela Newkirk, PhD, is a journalist, New York University professor, author and multi-disciplinary scholar whose work examines contemporary and historical depictions of African Americans in popular culture. Her latest book Diversity Inc.: The Failed Promise of Billion-Dollar Business, exposes the decades-old practices and attitudes that have made diversity a lucrative business while they fail to realize diversity. The book was included on TIME magazine’s “Must-Read” books of 2019 and featured in numerous publications, including Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Chronicle of Higher Education and TIME. Her previous book, Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga, was awarded the 2016 NAACP Image Award and was selected as a New York Times Editor’s Choice and named a Best Book of 2015 by NPR, The Boston Globe, and The San Francisco Chronicle. Dr. Newkirk has compiled and edited two collections of African American letters and is the author of Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media which won the National Press Club Award for Media Criticism and was recently optioned for a feature film. Prior to joining the journalism faculty at New York University she was a daily reporter at four news organizations including New York Newsday where she was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting team. She holds journalism degrees from Columbia and New York universities, and a PhD from Columbia University. Her articles have appeared in a number of leading publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and TIME magazine.
Tomiko Brown-Nagin is an award-winning legal historian, an expert in constitutional law and education law and policy, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Law Institute, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. She has published articles and book chapters on a wide range of topics, including the Supreme Court’s equal protection jurisprudence, civil rights law and history, the Affordable Care Act, and education reform. Her 2011 book, Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford), won six awards, including the Bancroft Prize in U.S. History. In her forthcoming book, Brown-Nagin explores the life and times of Constance Baker Motley, the pathbreaking lawyer, politician, and judge.
In 2019, Brown-Nagin was appointed chair of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery, which is anchored at the Radcliffe Institute. Brown-Nagin has previously served as faculty director of Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute and as codirector of Harvard Law School’s law and history program, among other leadership roles.
She earned a law degree from Yale University, where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal; a doctorate in history from Duke University; and a BA in history, summa cum laude, from Furman University.
Brown-Nagin held the 2016–2017 Joy Foundation Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and became dean of the Institute on July 1, 2018.
Anita Hill received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1980. She began her career in private practice in Washington, D.C. Before becoming a law professor, she worked at the U. S. Education Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 1989, Hill became the first African American to be tenured at the University of Oklahoma, College of Law, where she taught contracts and commercial law. She has made presentations to hundreds of business, professional, academic and civic organizations in the United States and abroad. As counsel to Cohen Milstein, Anita Hill advises on class action workplace discrimination cases. Anita’s latest book is Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race and Finding Home. She has also written an autobiography, Speaking Truth to Power. With Professor Emma Coleman Jordan she co-edited, Race, Gender and Power in America: The Legacy of the Hill-Thomas Hearings. Professor Hill’s commentary has been published in TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Ms. Magazine. She has appeared on national television programs including “Good Morning America”, “Meet the Press”, “The Today Show”, “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Larry King Live”. Professor Anita Hill has received numerous honorary degrees and civic awards. She has chaired the Human Rights Law Committee of the International Bar Association. In addition, she is on the Board of Governors of the Tufts Medical Center and the Board of Directors of the National Women’s Law Center and the Boston Area Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.
Chirlane McCray has redefined the role of First Lady of New York City, managing a robust portfolio to advance an ambitious agenda in support of all New Yorkers. Nationally recognized as a powerful advocate for mental health reform and named a 2019 “World Health Organization Champion,” Ms. McCray created ThriveNYC, the most comprehensive mental health plan of any city or state in the nation. She leads the Cities Thrive Coalition, bringing together more than 200 mayors, county officials, and thought leaders from all 50 states to improve our mental health care delivery system. As Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, she brings together leaders across government, philanthropy, and the private sector. Most recently, the Fund has raised more than $60 million through its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, whose mission is to ensure New York City’s recovery from COVID-19 is rooted in fairness and justice. As co-chair of the Commission on Gender Equity, she is a persistent voice for creating a 50-50 city and world. She led the city’s Domestic Violence Task Force, and in 2015, with her signature, New York City became the first city in the country to join the United Nations Women’s Safe Cities Global Initiative. She also launched and leads the NYC Unity Project, an unprecedented citywide effort to make sure LGBTQIA young people in New York City are safe, supported and healthy.
Beverly Guy-Sheftall is founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center (since 1981) and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College. She is also an adjunct professor at Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies where she teaches graduate courses in their doctoral program. She is currently President of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA).At the age of sixteen, Guy-Sheftall entered Spelman College where she majored in English and minored in secondary education. After graduation with honors, she attended Wellesley College for a fifth year of study in English. After a year at Wellesley, she entered Atlanta University to pursue a master’s degree in English. Her thesis was entitled “Faulkner’s Treatment of Women in His Major Novels.” A year later Guy-Sheftall began her first teaching job in the Department of English at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1971 she returned to her alma mater, Spelman College, and joined the English Department. Guy-Sheftall has been involved with the national women’s studies movement since its inception and provided leadership for the establishment of the first women’s studies major at a historically Black college. Beyond the academy, she has been involved in a number of advocacy organizations which include the National Black Women’s Health Project, the National Council for Research on Women, and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, on whose boards she has served. In her role as Director of Spelman’s Women’s Center, she has also been involved with the development of student activism around misogynist images of Black women in hip hop as well as a broad range of social justice issues, including reproductive rights and violence against women. She teaches women’s studies courses, including feminist theory and global Black feminisms.