Racism and Minnesota's Progressive Illusion

Event details

This program aired on Wed., May 19, 2021
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Join us for a conversation around the new book, Sparked: George Floyd, Racism, and the Progressive Illusion (MNHS Press), a collection of essays that reflect on racial dynamics in the Twin Cities and the intersection of the wonderful and wretched sides of that existence. Two of the book’s editors will be joined by two other contributors to discuss the themes explored in Sparked and the issues confronting Minnesota today.


Walter R. Jacobs, dean, San José State University

Walter R. Jacobs is a sociologist and the dean of the College of Social Sciences at San José State University. He is the author of the ethnography Speaking the Lower Frequencies: Students and Media Literacy and the memoir Ghostbox, and is co editor of If Classrooms Matter: Progressive Visions of Educational Environments.


Dr. Yohuru Williams, professor, University of St. Thomas

Dr. Yohuru Williams is the Distinguished University Chair and Professor of History and the founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dr. Williams has appeared on a number of local and national radio and tv programs on ABC, CNN, CSPAN, and NPR and is the author of, most recently, Rethinking the Black Freedom Movement. He also hosts the History Channel’s Web show Sound Smart.

Wendy Thompson Taiwo, assistant professor, San José State University

Wendy Thompson Taiwo is an assistant professor of African American studies at San José State University. Her research and teaching interests include Black migration to the Bay Area, Black women and mothering, race and the built environment, and Black visual expressions of social status and class.

Terrion L. Williamson, professor, University of Minnesota

Terrion L. Williamson is an associate professor of African American and African studies and American studies at the University of Minnesota, where she also serves as the director of the Black Midwest Initiative. She is the author of Scandalize My Name: Black Feminist Practice and the Making of Black Social Life and the editor of Black in the Middle: An Anthology of the Black Midwest.