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EIU Media Relations

EIU events to contribute to national 1619 Project discussion


Academic areas collaborate to examine, analyze slavery’s broad impact on America

(Charleston, IL) — Several of Eastern Illinois University’s academic departments are coordinating events this fall intended to examine the country’s sordid history with the practice of slavery—and more importantly, to cast a spotlight on the far-reaching implications of slavery’s role in shaping America’s politics and democracy.

Four hundred years ago, on August 20, 1619, the first documented ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia, beginning the American slave trade. Scholars from a variety of fields agree that this event was one of the most critical and often overlooked events shaping modern America, including a corrosive legacy of racial stereotypes that continue to impact American society today.

The collection of Eastern Illinois University events examining this history have been named “The 400th,” meant to represent the totality of slavery’s impact on America in the 400 years following the first documented slave ship’s arrival. The university’s events also will coincide with The 1619 Project—a nationwide effort intended to focus additional attention on these issues, and to emphasize slavery’s considerable influence in America’s history, development, and growth.

All events will be held this fall on EIU’s main campus, 600 Lincoln Avenue in Charleston, as part of that broader national conversation. Specific events include:

Community Events

Tuesday, September 10

  • 1 to 4 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center concourse
    Radical Forgiveness Participatory Exhibit by The Justice Fleet. Drop by for 20 to 30 minutes to participate in the exhibit on the issue of Radical Forgiveness.
  • 4 to 5 p.m. in the Tarble Arts Center
    Radical Forgiveness and Radical Imagination: A Workshop on Intersectional Justice
    Workshop on Intersectional Justice led by Dr. Amber Johnson in collaboration with Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • 7 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Theatre
    Interested community members are strongly encouraged to attend a keynote presentation by Dr. Amber Johnson, an award-winning assistant professor of communication and social justice at Saint Louis University, on “Radical Forgiveness” and “Radical Imagination.”

Sunday, October 6

  • 1:30 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Theatre

Remembering The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: An Inter-Faith Memorial Event

An interfaith memorial event recognizing the participation of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The Gospel Unity Choir will lead much of the singing, while the entrance to the Theater will include an exhibit on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Individuals or groups who are affiliated with or who regularly attend houses of worship in or around the Charleston community are strongly encouraged to attend this informative and inspiring session.

  • 4:30 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center’s Dvorak Concert Hall
    Cathedrals, Castles, and Colonies: The EIU Choral Ensembles will perform themes tied to a variety of Black Spirituals.

Events Focusing on Larger Societal Impact and Awareness

Monday, October 7

  • 3 to 4 p.m. in the Charleston-Mattoon Rooms of the MLK Jr. University Union:Panel on Race within Health Care
    Participants: Dr. James Hildebrandt, V.P. of Medical Affairs, Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital, and Dr. Özlem H. Ersin, Dean, EIU College of Health and Human Services.
  • 4 to 5 p.m. in the Charleston-Mattoon Rooms of the MLK Jr. University Union
    Panel on Voting Rights with Voter Registration Drive
    Participants: Kevin Anderson, EIU; Michael Smith, Emporia State University.
    Voter Registration Opportunity will be available.
  • 7 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Dvorak Concert Hall:Race in American Politics with a keynote presentation by DeRay Mckesson

DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist focused on issues of innovation, equity and justice.  As a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement and a co-founder of Campaign Zero, DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies that ensure equity. He has been praised by President Obama for his work as a community organizer, has advised officials at all levels of government and internationally, and continues to provide capacity to activists, organizers, and influencers to make an impact.

Friday, October 11

Please note: This is EIU’s Fall Break. Undergraduate student participation will be limited, but the university will continue to offer programming for its active internal audiences.

  • 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the 2nd and 3rd Floors of the MLK Jr. University Union

RISE Conference (Reaching Inclusivity for Student Excellent), hosted by the Making Excellence Inclusive Initiative. This event will include a keynote address from Dr. Mary Howard-Hamilton, Distinguished Research Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at Indiana State University. The event is free to EIU graduate students, faculty, staff and administrators, and $20 for non-EIU participants (registration is required, visit for additional details).

Monday, October 14

  • 6:30 p.m. in Buzzard Auditorium
    Sponsored by Making Excellence Inclusive and the Office of Inclusion and Academic Engagement, EIU will show the film The Color of Fear.
  • 7 to 8 p.m. RISE Chat: Race and Our Society in Buzzard Auditorium
    Panelists will include Carole Collins-Ayanlaja, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, and former superintendent of schools; Navid Farnia, Visiting Professor of History and specialist in African and African American studies; and James Howley, Director of General Studies and sociologist. Student panelists are to be determined.

October 17-20

  • The Mountain Top by Katori Hall will be performed in the Doudna Fine Arts Center
    7:30 p.m. on October 17, 18, 19; 2 p.m. October 20
    The Theatre Department is performing this award-winning play, a fictional account of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last night before his assassination. An exhibit on the Civil Rights Movement will be placed at the entrance to the theater.


Other Cultural and Community Events

October 29

  • The Legacy of Toni Morrison
    4:30 p.m. in the Edgar Room of Booth Library
    Toni Morrison, one of the most notable African-American writers of the twentieth century, died in August 2019. In her fiction, Morrison’s imagination brought many of the last 400 years to vivid life. She was awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions to American culture. In this panel, faculty members and students from EIU’s English Department will reflect on the legacy of Morrison’s writing and life.

November 2

  • 1 to 4 p.m. Tarble Arts Center (a drop-in event)
    Protest Banner-Making Workshop with guest artist Aram Han Sifuentes
    Tarble Classroom & Brainard Gallery; Registration deadline: October 28
    Register at (217) 581-ARTS (2787) or There is no fee.
    This artist-led workshop will introduce participants to the larger ongoing project and art practice of the project founding member, Aram Han Sifuentes, as well as foster a learning space for people to gain skills to learn to make their own banners. This workshop will promote a communal space that supports and respects individual makers and voices. Please RSVP prior to the event, to help with planning and workshop set up.

November 4

  • 6:30 p.m. in 7th Street Underground (basement of the MLK, Jr. University Union)
    Student Creative Writing Showcase. Students will read poetry or works of fiction they have authored that address issues of race and racism.

November 6

  • 4 to 7 p.m. Gallery 1910 in Doudna Fine Arts Center Room 1910

Student Art Exhibit on themes of race, racism, and social justice.

November 12

  • 5 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall
    Phi Beta Kappa Fall Lecture
    Black | Power: Race and Privilege in Early Modern France
    Presented by historian Dr. Christy Pichichero of George Mason University
    Pichichero will put into dialogue the concepts of “black,” “power,” and “privilege,” interrogating their intersections through the rich history of such storied individuals as musical virtuoso and military leader the Chevalier de Saint-George—friend of Marie Antoinette, Mozart, and the future King George IV of England and later commander of the first black regiment in the French Revolutionary army. Through Saint-George and others, Pichichero sheds light onto the structures of racial politics at the dawn of their inception in France. Pichichero is an Associate Professor of Modern and Classical Languages at George Mason University, a literary scholar, and a cultural historian of early modern France and the French Empire. With more than twenty years of experience in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work, Pichichero has held multiple leadership positions at Stanford, George Mason, and in the profession. This event is sponsored by EIU’s Center for the Humanities, the English Department, and the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of East Central Illinois.

December 4

  • 6:30 pm Tarble Arts Center

“Fred Hampton, the Black Panthers, and the Rainbow Coalition”

December 4, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the brutal assassination of Fred Hampton, the leader of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Hampton created the original “Rainbow Coalition” (a concept later adopted by Jesse Jackson) which brought together Black, Latinx, White, and Native American groups in solidarity against oppression. This panel will focus on Fred Hampton and his legacy.

For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.



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Contact Information

Media Relations
Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

2142 Old Main
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-8444

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