Join historian Annette Gordon-Reed (author of On Juneteenth and the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hemingses of Monticello) as she leads a panel discussion about the importance of oral histories in understanding how individuals and communities experienced the forces of history. Andrew Davenport, Public Historian & Manager of the Getting Word African American Oral History Project, will discuss Getting Word's near 28-year history and how descendants are “getting word” to us today about their lives, their families, and their dreams. Justin Reid is the director of Community Initiatives at Virginia Humanities and co-founder of The Lemon Project, which is aimed to address the history of slavery at the College of William & Mary. Alan Rice is Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Central Lancashire and co-director of the Institute for Black Atlantic Research (IBAR) and director of the UCLan Lancashire Research Centre in Migration, Diaspora and Exile (MIDEX). Together they will discuss the importance of learning from the past to grapple with issues that face us today.


Prof. Annette Gordon-Reed (Moderator)

Annette Gordon-Reed is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard. Gordon-Reed won sixteen book prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 and the National Book Award in 2008, for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton, 2008). In addition to articles and reviews, her other works include Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (UVA Press, 1997), Vernon Can Read! A Memoir, a collaboration with Vernon Jordan (PublicAffairs, 2001), Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History (Oxford University Press, 2002), a volume of essays that she edited, Andrew Johnson (Times Books/Henry Holt, 2010) and, with Peter S. Onuf, Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright Publishing, 2016). Her most recent book is On Juneteenth (Liveright Publishing, 2021). Gordon-Reed was the Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at the University of Oxford (Queens College) 2014-2015. Between 2010 and 2015, she was the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.  She was the 2018-2019 President of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. She is the current President of the Ames Foundation.  A selected list of her honors includes a fellowship from the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, a Guggenheim Fellowship in the humanities, a MacArthur Fellowship, the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Award, the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, the George Washington Book Prize, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Gordon-Reed served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College from 2010 to 2018.  She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011 and was a member of the Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2019, she was elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society.

Andrew Davenport

Andrew M. Davenport is the Public Historian at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. and Manager of Monticello's Getting Word African American Oral History Project, which records and archives the family histories of descendants of people enslaved by Thomas Jefferson. He is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History at Georgetown University, and since 2019 has been a researcher and oral historian at the Georgetown Slavery Archive. Davenport has published in Quarterly, Los Angeles Review of Books, Smithsonian Magazine, and his first two academic articles are forthcoming in edited collections. He has taught middle school history at Brooklyn Jesuit Prep, high school history at Fairfield College Preparatory School, and African American Art History at Fairfield University. He earned a B.A. in English from Kenyon College, an M.A. in American Studies from Fairfield University, and an M.A. in U.S. History from Georgetown University.

Justin G. Reid

Justin G. Reid is a public historian and cross-sector leader in cultural heritage advocacy, stewardship and philanthropy. As state director of community initiatives at Virginia Humanities, he supports cultural sustainability partnerships and manages the General Assembly’s African American Cultural Resources Task Force. He previously worked for the Moton Museum & National Historic Landmark in his hometown, Farmville, VA, and oversaw the 2013 opening of Moton’s national award-winning, $6M permanent exhibition on Civil Rights Era school desegregation and student activism. 


Justin’s passions include decolonial place-based learning, digital and public humanities, and culture-sustaining economic development, especially in the rural U.S. Upper South. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and William & Mary, where he co-founded the W&M Lemon Project on race, public history and memory. He currently serves as a Governor-appointed board member of the Virginia Tourism Corporation (Virginia is for Lovers®). 

Prof. Alan Rice

Alan Rice is Professor in English and American Studies at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, co-director of the Institute for Black Atlantic Research (IBAR) and director of the UCLan Lancashire Research Centre in Migration, Diaspora and Exile (MIDEX). He has worked on the interdisciplinary study of the Black Atlantic publishing Radical Narratives of the Black Atlantic (2003) & Creating Memorials, Building Identities: The Politics of Memory in the Black Atlantic (2010). Over the years he has secured grants from the AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme Foundation, Stuart Hall Foundation and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship EU programme. He was a founder member of the Slave Trade Arts Memorial Project in Lancaster which was responsible for unveiling a memorial commemorating victims of the slave trade in 2005, co-curated Trade and Empire: Remembering Slavery at the Whitworth Gallery Manchester in 2007 and has been consultant and talking head on a variety of documentaries with the BBC and other broadcasters. He has given keynote presentations in Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, the United States, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and France His articles have appeared in a wide range of journals including, Slavery and Abolition, Atlantic Studies, Patterns of Prejudice, Journal of American Studies Zeitschrift fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik and Research in African Literatures. He has organised multiple conferences and symposium on many aspects of the Black Atlantic here and abroad. His latest co-written work, Inside the Invisible: Memorialising Slavery and Freedom in the Life and Works of Lubaina Himid (2019) is the first academic monograph on the 2017 Turner Prize Winner. In 2020-21 he is curating the exhibition Lubaina Himid: Memorial to Zong for the Lancaster Maritime Museum and working on projects with Preston Black History Group, Fashion Revolution Week, Lancaster Jazz Festival and as a founder member of the Lancaster Black History Group. He has been delivering Slave Trade trails in his home city of Lancaster since 2000 and is at present part of a Slave Families community history project and a memorial project at the Priory church. He is at present working with film makers and the local council to realise a project to tell the story of the Battle of Bamber Bridge (1943) where African American GI’s led a rebellion against the American army’s Jim Crow practices and racism on the streets of a Lancashire town supported by many of the residents. His 2018 article on the mutiny in The Conversation attracted over 250,000 views over the summer of 2020. (Photo credit: Jonathan Bean.)