History and Public Memory

Keisha Endorsed by the OAH Committee on Academic Freedom and the Western History Association

Saturday, April 1, 2023, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: African American; Politics; Public History and Memory


This panel will examine the intersection of history and public memory in light of the current fights over voting rights, the misuses of civil rights movement history, and the attempts to limit school curriculums to remove Black authors and antiracist materials. The panel will unite contributors from diverse backgrounds to examine these malicious attempts to corrupt American public memory and consider how historians, archivists, curators, and educators can best take an active role in promoting an accurate and inclusive history of the United States. 

Session Participants

Chair: Tyler D. Parry, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Tyler D. Parry is an Assistant Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He received a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 2014. His research examines slavery in the Americas, the African diaspora, the historical memory of slavery in the United States, and resistance movements challenging state authority. His first book, Jumping the Broom: The Surprising Multicultural Origins of a Black Wedding Ritual, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2020. Parry’s book is the first comprehensive examination of the “broomstick wedding,” a popular marital tradition usually associated with Black Americans. He is also co-editor with Robert Greene, II of Invisible No More: The African American Experience at the University of South Carolina, published in 2021 by the University of South Carolina Press. He also contributes to various journals, blogs, and newspapers, and his essays appear in publications like the Journal of African American History, The Washington Post, Black Perspectives, and the Nevada Independent, among others. He is currently working on two books, one co-authored with historian Charlton W. Yingling that examines how Europeans and Euro-Americans used canines to attack and subordinate Black people who resisted slavery and oppression, and another on the history of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department that uses untapped archival resources and newspapers to provide a new perspective on the history of community-police relations in Sin City.

Panelist: Christy S. Coleman, Jamestown Yorktown Foundation
With a career spanning over 35 years, Christy S. Coleman has served as the Chief Executive Officer of some of the nation’s most prominent museums. She’s a tireless advocate for the power of museums, narrative correction, diversity and inclusiveness. Ms. Coleman is an innovator and leader in the museum field having held leadership roles at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and the American Civil War Museum. She now serves as the Executive Director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. She’s written numerous articles, is an accomplished screenwriter, public speaker and has appeared on several national news and history programs. She served as the historical consultant for the award-winning film Harriett and Showtime’s Good Lord Bird. She’s also appeared in award winning documentaries, Lincoln, Grant, Neutral Ground and When The Monuments Came Down. Ms. Coleman is the recipient of numerous awards for her decades of impact, including three Honorary Doctorates. In 2018, Time Magazine named her one of the 31 People Changing the South and in 2019, Worth Magazine named her one of 29 Women Changing the World. 

Panelist: Hilary Nicole Green, Davidson College
Hilary N. Green is an Associate Professor at The University of Alabama. She is the author of Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South, 1865-1890 (Fordham, 2016). She is working on a book manuscript exploring how everyday African Americans remembered and commemorated the Civil War and other publications.

Panelist: Kyle T. Mays, University of California, Los Angeles
Kyle Mays is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies, American Indian Studies, and History at UCLA. He is a transdisciplinary scholar of urban history and studies, Afro-Indigenous Studies, and contemporary popular culture. He is the author of three books. The first, Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America, was published by SUNY Press in 2018. In 2021, he published An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States with Beacon Press as part of their ReVisioning American History series. This book argues that African enslavement and Indigenous dispossession have been central to the founding of the United States and explores how Black and Indigenous peoples have resisted U.S. democracy from the founding of the U.S. to the present. His third book, Cities of Dispossessions: Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, and the Creation of Modern Detroit, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. The book argues that the transformation of modern Detroit (from the late 19th until the emergency management era) is rooted in the simultaneous processes of Black American and Indigenous dispossession. He also contributed the chapter, “Blackness and Indigeneity” in the collection, Four Hundred Souls Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, edited by Keisha Blain and Ibram Kendi.