Panelists for the discussion on the historical backdrop of Things
of Dry Hours
Cooper Jackson founded and led the Southern Negro Youth Congress
(SNYC) in Birmingham, Alabama, with her late husband, James Jackson.
From 1937 to 1948, they led this communist popular front organization
to national prominence, with Ms. Cooper Jackson serving as Executive
Secretary. She joined the Communist Party in 1939, the same year she
met her husband (They married in 1941.).
McWhorter won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction
for her book Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: the Climactic Battle
of the Civil Rights Revolution. Carry Me Home is a comprehensive
account covering more than half a century of both the segregationist
and integrationist sides of Birmingham’s struggle. It also won
the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Southern Book Award for Non-fiction,
the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award, the Clarence Cason Award, the Horace
Mann Bond Book Award from Harvard University’s Du Bois Institute,
and the Union Ambassador Award. Carry Me Home was featured
on best book of 2001 lists by Time Magazine, Washington Monthly,
The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago
Tribune, Newsday, Publishers’ Weekly, and the St. Louis
Post-Dispatch, among others.
Turner Ward co-founded the Negro Ensemble Company (NEC) in
1966 and served as its longtime artistic director. On August 14, 1966,
he published the influential article “American Theatre: For Whites
Only?” in The New York Times. The article served as the
blueprint for the founding of the NEC.
Samuel Roberts (MA, PhD) is Associate Professor of History (Columbia University) and Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences (the Mailman School of Public Health). He writes, teaches, and lectures widely on historical perspectives in African-American health and medical history, urban history, and the history of social movements. His recently-published book, Infectious Fear: Politics and the Health Effects of Segregation in the Jim Crow Urban South (University of North Carolina Press, 2009), is Roberts’s examination of the political and economic context of one of the worst health crises in African American history, infectious tuberculosis between the late nineteenth century and the mid-twentieth century, arguing that among the wages of inequality in the United States must be counted the poor health fortunes of the nation’s disenfranchised.
Dr. Roberts is currently researching a book project, titled, Crisis and Controversy: Ethnic Politics, Addiction Rehabilitation, and Public Health during New York City’s Heroin Addiction Crisis, a history of race and the politics of addiction treatment and research in New York City between 1950 and the mid 1980s, for which in 2009 he was awarded a seed grant by the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. Another ongoing project researches the development of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century patterns of labor and West Indian migration in the Republic of Panamá, focusing specifically on the context of economies of health and illness and cooperative health efforts between the government of the United States and of Panamá.
At Columbia University he has faculty affiliations with the Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS), and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy’s (ISERP) Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program (H&SS), where he is Coordinator of the Working Group in African-American History and the Health and Social Sciences (AAHHSS). He is also the Director of the Harlem Health History Project (HHHP), a teaching and research program which focuses on the history of health policy, politics, and social and professional movements in Harlem, New York City.
Dr. Roberts has held several fellowships, including the Thurgood Marshall Dissertation Fellowship (Dartmouth College, 2000-2001); the Schomburg Center for Black History and Culture (New York Public Library) Scholar in Residence Fellowship (2001-2002); a fellowship at the Dorothy and Lewis Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars (New York Public Library); and a Career Development Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Roberts received his AB in History at the University of Virginia, his MA in History at Princeton University, and his Ph.D. in History at Princeton University. Internationally, he has delivered lectures and presentations at meetings in Italy, Germany, Scotland, and England.
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