THOUGHT

PROVOKING

Book a Distinguished Lecturer from the Organization of American Historians for your next event.

OAH Distinguished Lectureship program 40 years 1981-2021
Woman speaking at podium

VMI Photo by - H. Lockwood McLaughlin

WHY A HISTORIAN?

OAH Distinguished Lecturers are scholars and storytellers, uniquely qualified to bring historical context to some of today's most provocative issues. They engage audiences, sharing their insights and research on the defining moments and stories of our nation's past that influence and inform our world today.

The Distinguished Lectureship Program offers Virtual OAH Lectures (custom-recorded or live with Q&A) and traditional in-person OAH Distinguished Lectures.

This wonderful program affords us the opportunity to bring to our small campus a nationally known speaker and truly enhance the liberal arts experience of our students. Without this program we would have been unable to afford the cost of bringing a speaker of this rank to our campus.

Tonia M. Compton, Department of History and Political Science - Columbia College

Featured Lecturer

Portrait of lecturer

Victoria W. Wolcott

Victoria W. Wolcott is Professor of History at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She has published three books: Remaking Respectability: African American Women in Interwar Detroit (2001), Race, Riots, and Roller Coasters: The Struggle Over Segregated Recreation in America (2012) and Living in the Future: The Utopian Strain in the Long Civil Rights Movement (2022). In addition, she has published articles in The Journal of American History, The Radical History Review, and the Journal of Women’s History among others. She is currently working on two book projects: an edited collection Utopian Imaginings: Saving the Future in the Present for SUNY...
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Featured Lecture

The Utopian Dreams and Practical Politics of Father Divine

African American religious leader, Father Divine, founded the twentieth century’s most successful utopian community. By 1939 his Peace Mission movement was the largest property owner in Harlem, founded extensions throughout the United States and abroad, and had nearly a million followers. This talk seeks to recover the political power of the Father Divine movement. Early twentieth century black religious movements, including Father Divine’s Peace Mission, offered alternative political and racial identities through religious teaching. Father Divine also created a cooperative empire during the Great Depression that provided ample food and housing for followers and other community members. Like other civil rights pioneers Father Divine drew from Gandhi’s teachings on nonviolence and promoted cooperatives as a just alternative to competitive capitalism. And utopian visionaries like Father Divine rejected segregation and nurtured interracial fellowship.

"The Father Divine movement prefigured an egalitarian future without racial segregation or economic inequality. "