Dr. Bernard Powers is the founding director of the College of Charleston’s Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston and a professor emeritus of history at the university. He’s an expert on African American history and culture and the role of slavery in American history.
Charleston — the city where the civil war started and where 40% of all enslaved Africans brought to the United States entered the country — has long been a center of African American history and culture. And like many American cities, it also has public Confederate monuments and statues of historical figures who supported slavery and advocated white supremacy.
As of last week, the city has one less monument. The statue of vice president and slavery advocate John C. Calhoun in Marion Square — located just a block from Mother Emanuel AME, the site of the 2015 terrorist attack by white supremacist Dylan Roof — was removed on June 24 after a unanimous city council vote.
Bakari Kitwana is the Editorial Director of Rap Sessions: Community Dialogues on Hip-Hop, which conducts townhall meetings across the US on difficult dialogues facing the hip-hop generation, and the Senior Media Fellow at the Harvard Law based Think Tank, The Jamestown Project. Kitwana wrote the bestselling book The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture, which is used as a coursebook in over 100 colleges and universities.
Kitwana was former executive editor of The Source: The magazine of hip-hop music, culture and politics and editorial director of Third World Press. He also taught political science at University of Chicago and was a visiting scholar at Columbia College. Kitwana is the author of the forthcoming book Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era set to publish later this fall.
Editorial Director of Rap Sessions: Community Dialogues on Hip-Hop
Senior Media Fellow at the The Jamestown Project
Areas of Expertise: Hip-hop activism, youth culture and young voter political participation
Chair of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Elsa Barkley Brown Collegiate Professor and Professor of History, American Culture, Native American Studies and Women’s Studies at University of Michigan
Areas ofExpertise: History, American History, Native American Issues, African American Studies, Interrelationship Between Native Americans and African Americans, Women’s Issues
A musician and producer himself, King has written about music and culture for publications like Blender, The LA Times, Slate, Vibe, The Village Voice and The Root. He has been a talking head on various documentaries and has appeared as a guest on NPR’s Tell Me More and All Things Considered.
Culture Critic, Associate Professor of Recorded Music at NYU, Host/Curator of NPR’s “I’ll Take You There”
Area of Expertise: Music (R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop, Rock, Jazz), Record Producing, African American Culture, Asian American Culture
Jelani Cobb is the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University. He was previously a history professor and director of the Institute of African American Studies at the University of Connecticut. He specializes in post-Civil War African American history, 20th century and modern American politics and the history of the Cold War. Cobb served as a delegate to the 2008 Democratic Convention and was selected as part of the Root 100 in 2013 — a listing of influential African American thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs and leaders.
He is a recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations. Cobb is the author of “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama & the Paradox of Progress” and “To The Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic,” which was a finalist for the National Award for Arts Writing. His collection “The Devil & Dave Chappelle and Other Essays” was published in 2007. Cobb’s forthcoming book is titled “Antidote to Revolution: African American Anticommunism and the Struggle for Civil Rights, 1931-1957.”
Cobb has contributed to a number of anthologies including In Defense of Mumia, Testimony, Mending the World and Beats, Rhymes and Life. He is a frequent contributor to NewYorker.com and his work has appeared in The New Republic, the Washington Post, the New York Times and Vibe magazine. He has also been a featured commentator on MSNBC, National Public Radio, CNN, Al-Jazeera, CBS News and a number of other national broadcast outlets.
Professor of Journalism, Columbia University
Areas of Expertise: African American Culture & History, Cold War History, 20th-Century American Politics, Contemporary Politics