Race and the American Story

Race and the American Story is a national educational movement dedicated to cultivating conversation, fostering understanding, broadening knowledge, and building community among people of different backgrounds and walks of life in the U.S.

The project involves faculty and students from universities across the country, including Arizona State University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Missouri. 

The Race and American Story Zoomposium

Each year, the Race and American Story project hosts an annual symposium that brings together students, academics and community members to carry on the vibrant discussions on race and American culture. The symposium acts as the culmination of our students' work throughout the semester.

This year, we had planned to host our symposium in Memphis, Tennessee from March 18-21 at the National Civil Rights Museum. However, given the events that have impacted all of our lives, we had to change those plans. 

But rather than cancelling the symposium entirely, we thought it is still incredibly important to carry on these conversations. As such, we've transitioned four of our major lectures to an online format so our students may still participate. Additionally, we are opening our virtual doors to the community, as well, to join in the vibrant discussions we hope to have over the next several weeks.

*Registration for the upcoming webinars will be available soon. Check back often to sign up! 

Upcoming Schedule

Race and American Sports

A conversation featuring Aram Goudsouzian, Professor of History at the University of Memphis and author of King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution.

When: April 17, 1:00-2:30 MST / 4:00 - 5:30 EST

Register now. 

Race and American Music

A conversation featuring Charles Hughes, Director of the Lynne and Henry Turley Memphis Center at Rhodes College and author of Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South.

When: April 18, 1:00-2:30 MST / 4:00-5:30 EST

Register now. 

Race and the COVID Crisis

In this unusual time of social isolation and fear of an invisible enemy, the Race and the American Story Project aims to remind us all of the antidotes for these ills: human solidarity and love for one another. Isolation and fear are, after all, not new enemies; they are perennial obstacles to the practice of democracy and the achievement of justice. Those who study and live the story of race in America know this perhaps better than anyone. The events of our special Zoomposium will highlight and explore this story from many angles, guided by distinguished scholars.

When: April 24, 1-2:30 MST / 4:00-5:30 EST

Register now. 

The Story of the James Baldwin-William F. Buckley, Jr. Debate

A conversation featuring Nicholas Buccola, Director of the Frederick Douglass Forum at Linfield College and author of The Fire is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Jr., and the Debate over Race in America.

When: April 28, 12:00-1:30 MST / 3:00-4:30 EST

Register now. 

About Race and the American Story

Focusing on the case study of African American history as an important and illuminating thread of the American story, this project aims to learn from and engage deeply in the historic and ongoing struggle for racial justice in the United States. In this way we hope to influence the construction of a shared American historical narrative — an American Story — that is capable of grounding and sustaining our precarious American experiment in the quest for true and equal citizenship for all.

The Course

The core of the Race and the American Story Project is our undergraduate course, which provides a distinctive opportunity for students to listen in on, and actively join, the conversations about race and American political principles that have in many ways defined American history from its beginning up to the present time. At Arizona State University, the course is being offered through the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership each spring. You can learn more and enroll here

How it Began

The “Race and the American Story” project was created by — now — ASU professor Adam Seagrave and his colleague Stephanie Shonekan as a response to racial tensions that were percolating both nationally and on the University of Missouri (Mizzou) campus in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. 

Read more about the Race and American Story origin on the project's website and find out how you can get involved. 

Learn more.