On Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m., Daina Ramey Berry will deliver this year’s Gilder-Jordan Lecture in Southern Studies. The lecture is free and open to the public and will take place in Nutt Auditorium on the University of Mississippi campus.
Her lecture is Teaching the Truth: Race and Slavery in the Modern Classroom. Slavery in the United States has often been described as a stain on our history and as a result, is absent in some preK-12 classrooms. Yet slavery was a major part of American history and we are still dealing with its legacy. Recent proposed legislation aimed to shape the language, topics, and learning outcomes can suppress student knowledge about an important part of our national story. This presentation draws upon case- studies from contemporary educators and university faculty on what it means to teach the truth about slavery and the value of learning about race and slavery in the modern classroom.
Daina Ramey Berry (pronounced DIE-NAH like Dinah Washington) is the Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before joining U. C S. B. she was the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at the University of Texas at Austin. She also served as the associate dean of the Graduate School.
In addition to her work at the university as an administrator and internationally recognized scholar of slavery, Professor Berry is one of the most sought-after consultants for public-facing projects offered by museums, historical sites, K-12 educational initiatives, syndicated radio programs, online podcasts, and public television.
Berry completed her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate in African American Studies and U. S. History at the University of California Los Angeles. She is “a scholar of the enslaved” and a specialist on gender and slavery as well as Black women’s history in the United States. Berry is the award-winning author and editor of six books and several scholarly articles. One of her recent books, The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to the Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Beacon Press, 2017) received three book awards including the Phyllis Wheatley Award for Scholarly Research from the Sons and Daughters of the U. S. Middle Passage; the 2018 Best Book Prize from the Society for the History of the Early American Republic (SHEAR); and the 2018 Hamilton Book Prize from the University Co-op for the best book among UT Austin faculty. Berry’s book was also a finalist for the 2018 Frederick Douglass Book Prize awarded by Yale University and the Gilder Lehrman Institute in New York.
She has appeared on several syndicated radio and television networks including: PBS NewsHour, NBC, TLC, MSNBC, CNN, C-SPAN, National Geographic Explorer, and NPR. In 2016, she served as a historical consultant and technical advisor for the remake of ROOTS by Alex Haley (HISTORY/ A+E) where she worked with the writers on the script and advised on set by supporting the directors and actors during filming. She currently serves as a consultant for museums and historical societies throughout the United States including the restoration and interpretation at historic sites such as the Owens-Thomas House in Savannah, Georgia, Phillipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and the Neill-Cochran House in Austin, Texas. In 2018 Berry produced several online essays during Black History Month for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in collaboration with Biography.com and History.com, and edited the text for the award-winning “People Not Property” website on slavery in the North. She is also the co-producer with Adriane Hopper Williams (EnLight Productions) for a multi-media series on women’s contributions to United States History called Making History Hers.
Berry has received prestigious fellowships for her research from the National Endowment for the Humanities; the American Council of Learned Societies; the American Association of University Women and the Ford Foundation. She is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, U. S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, and Huffington Post. She has also received grants from the Mellon Foundation, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, as well as the Spencer Foundation and Humanities Texas to work with K-12 educators on teaching the history of slavery to American youth via the Texas Domestic Slave Trade Project.
Professor Berry is the associate editor for The Journal of African American History and one of the lead authors of McGraw Hill’s revised High School and Middle School U.S. History textbooks. In 2020 she published A Black Women’s History of the United States (Beacon Press) with Professor Kali Nicole Gross of Emory University, which received several awards and widespread recognition including being selected as a finalist for a 2021 NAACP Image Award in Literary Non-Fiction. The Young Readers version will be published in 2023. She is currently finishing a book on The Myths of Slavery for Beacon Press and a biography of Anna Murray Douglass for Yale University Press. She is a Fellow of the Society for American Historians and the American Antiquarian Society.
The Gilder-Jordan Lecture Series is organized by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the UM Department of History, African American Studies Program, and the Center for Civil War Research. The Gilder-Jordan Speaker Series is made possible through the generosity of the Gilder Foundation, Inc. The series honors the late Richard Gilder of New York and his family, as well as University of Mississippi alumni Dan and Lou Jordan of Virginia.