Bernard Powers

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.

In a recent op-ed, Powers advocates for a new monument honoring Civil War-era African Americans — such as Charleston native Robert Smalls — as a replacement for the White Point Gardens Confederate memorial.

Over his 40-year academic career, Powers has published numerous books and articles including 1994’s Black Charlestonians:  A Social History 1822-1885, which examines the socioeconomic history of the city’s vibrant free Black population and the changes caused by emancipation after the Civil War. Most recently, he co-authored the 2016 book We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel.

Powers has also appeared in several documentaries, including the PBS series African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross and 2019’s Emanuel: the Untold Story of the Victims and Survivors of the Charleston Church Shooting. His current research focuses on African Methodism in South Carolina.

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

Expertise: African American history and culture, the role of slavery in American history

Contact information:

Email (preferred): powersb@cofc.edu

Phone: 843-813-4871

Listen to Bernard Powers on South Carolina Public Radio:

Last updated June 29, 2020

Dennis Smith

Dennis Smith is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he primarily teaches Native American History. His research focuses on the cultures of Assiniboine and Sioux Plains Tribes as well as the salmon traditions of Pacific Northwest Native American and British Columbia First Nations tribes. His most extensive research has been on the oral traditions of the Dakota and Assiniboine tribes. He is of Assiniboine descent.

Smith is currently in the process of publishing a book consisting of a series of historical essays with a focus on the cultures of Dakota and Assiniboine tribal leaders, to be published in May 2018. The essays are intended to place their experiences in a modern context, specifically as it relates to current developments at Standing Rock. His goal, he says, is to advance the knowledge and teaching of Native American history in both society and Higher Education.

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Associate Professor of History, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Location: Omaha, Nebraska

Areas of Expertise: Native American History, American History, Native American Oral Traditions, Standing Rock, Assiniboine Tribe, Dakota Tribe,  Higher Education

Contact Information:

E-mail: dennissmith@unomaha.edu
Phone: (712) 204-1822

Leah Wright Rigueur

Leah Wright Rigueur is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is an expert on race and politics, modern African American history, U.S. political and social history, and riots, backlash and campus unrest. Rigueur has explored the dynamics of black Republican activists, officials and politicians as it relates to civil rights and conservatism in her latest book  The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power.  She has been featured on various news outlets including NPR’s All Things Considered.

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Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government 

 Areas of expertise: Race and Politics, Modern African American History, U.S. Political and Social History, and Riots, Backlash and Campus Unrest

Location: Cambridge, MA

Contact Information:

Email:  Leah_WrightRigueur@hks.harvard.edulwrightphd@gmail.com

Phone: 617-495-1462

Twitter: @LeahRigueur 

Heard on NPR’s All Things ConsideredAt Critical Juncture, GOP Honors Largest Class Of Black Lawmakers

Tiya Miles

Tiya Miles is chair of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, where she is professor of history, American culture, Native American studies and women’s studies. Her work looking at the interrelationships between African and Cherokee people in colonial America earned her a 2011 MacArthur Foundation fellowship.

Miles has written two prize-winning books, Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom” and “The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story,” as well as numerous articles on women’s history and the black and Native interrelated experience. She has been a frequent guest on NPR’s Tell Me More.

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 of Expertise: History, American History, Native American Issues, African American Studies, Interrelationship Between Native Americans and African Americans, Women’s Issues

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Contact Info:

Email: tiya@umich.edu

Office: (734) 764-5513

Heard on NPR: For a full list, click here.

Tell Me More: Who Gets To Decide Who Is Native American?

Mae Ngai

Mae Ngai (nye) is a professor of history and Asian American studies at Columbia University. According to her bio, she was previously “a labor-union organizer and educator in New York City, working for District 65-UAW and the Consortium for Worker Education.” She has written about immigration for organizations such as The New York Times, The Nation, and the Boston Review.

Ngai is the author of two books, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (2004) and The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (2010).  She is also working on a third book, Yellow and Gold: The Chinese Mining Diaspora, 1848-1908.

 

Professor of History and Asian American Studies at Columbia University

Areas of Expertise: Immigration History and Policy, Asian American Studies, U.S. Legal and Political History, Citizenship, Nationalism

Location: New York City


Contact Info:

Phone: (646) 438-1701

Email: mn53@columbia.edu

You can listen to Ngai speak about border security on CCTV: