African American studies scholar to speak on Georgia's civil rights movement

African American studies scholar Chana Kai Lee will speak about “Remaking the Empire State of the South: Georgia’s Black Freedom Struggle” on Feb. 3 at Berry College.

African American studies scholar Chana Kai Lee will speak about “Remaking the Empire State of the South: Georgia’s Black Freedom Struggle” on Feb. 3 at Berry College.

The lecture is at 7 p.m. in Krannert Center and admission is free to the public.

Lee is an award-winning author and associate professor of history at the University of Georgia. Most of her teaching is on the history of the civil rights movement, the history of Georgia, 20th Century U.S. social history and issues in African American life and culture.

“I’m eager to have Dr. Chana Kai Lee on campus. As an African American Studies scholar and a women’s historian, she has won awards for her research that focused on some of the most significant black women leaders in the civil rights movement,” said Berry Associate Professor of History Christy Snider. “The insight that she’ll be able to share on the struggles that African American communities and black women, in particular, faced during their efforts to achieve racial equality and justice should help to place the events that occurred in Rome, Ga., during the 1960s and early 1970s in a broader context.”

Snider and Berry student Cameron Mallet have been conducting research centered on the civil rights movement in Rome, through the Humanities for the Public Good Initiative.

They created a portable exhibit that presents different aspects of the civil rights activism in Rome during the 1960s and early 1970s. The exhibit is based on materials from the Berry Archives, the Sara Hightower Library’s Special Collections, the Rome Area History Museum, the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library at Emory University, and the Cuba Family Archives at the Breman Museum in Atlanta.

Portions of the exhibit will be on display at Lee’s discussion. The integration of the Rome City School System and Berry College will be highlighted, as well as the work of the Rome Council on human relations and the role Main High School students played in the 1963 sit-ins on Broad Street.

Lee has worked as a film consultant for several projects including the critically acclaimed PBS documentary, “Citizen King,” and she serves on the editorial board for the journal “Gender, Women and Families of Color.” She is the leader of a research team on a mission to uncover stories about the lives of enslaved people who lived and died in Athens, Ga., from 1785-1865.

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