19th Annual History Symposium

The Past as the Beacon: The History of Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice

CEO Welcome

To Members of the NCC Community:

In 2004, Dr. Robert Howard, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Emeritus, founded the Norwalk Community College’s History Symposium, and the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences has sponsored the event every year since then. It is a privilege for me to welcome you to the 19th Annual Symposium. In recognition of the College’s current priorities and commitments, this year’s theme will be “The Past as a Beacon: The History of Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice”.

To make this co-curricular event accessible to a large audience, our 2022 Symposium will again be a “virtual” event, with PowerPoint presentations displayed at this website. The College thanks the creators of these PowerPoints: Faculty members Dr. Andres Azuma-Cazorla; Steven Berizzi; Steven Glazer; Dr. Hannah Moeckel-Rieke; and Gregory Riley; and Pracilya Thomas, a member of our advising team. Their varied presentations, spanning the period from the 17th century to the present, will invite the most searching questions, which is essential to effective teaching and learning.

In 1869, Frederick Douglass, who had escaped slavery to become a great abolitionist and then the foremost civil rights leader during Reconstruction, gave a speech titled “The Composite Nation”. It was an eloquent plea for diversity that urged tolerance for all Americans. Knowing about the history of diversity, inclusion, and social justice is intended to help our students, who are preparing to be tomorrow’s leaders, make progress toward Mr. Douglass’s inspiring vision.

The History Symposium is an important annual event, and it always produces many teachable moments. Our students must know the lessons of the past to transform the future.

Very truly yours,CEO Cheryl DeVonish, J.D.
Cheryl C. DeVonish, J.D.

Chief Executive Officer

THE PAST AS A BEACON:
THE HISTORY of DIVERSITY, INCLUSION and SOCIAL JUSTICE

SPONSORED by the DEPARTMENT of SOCIAL & BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES

Andres Aluma-Cazorla, Ph.D.

  • Birds of Passage (2019): A Feminine Account of the Origins of Colombia’s Marijuana Trade

Steven S. Berizzi

  • The Importance of Frederick Douglass: A 19th-Century Life of Ideas and Idealism
  • DuBois Discredits Dunning: Re-Writing Reconstruction History
  • Bayard Rustin’s Activism from Civil Rights to Gay Rights
  • Reflections on Corey Robin’s The Enigma of Clarence Thomas

Steven Glazer

  • The Integration of Former Slaves into the American Labor Market after the Civil War and     Their Northward Migration during World War I

Gregory Riley

  • The Violent Death of Transgender Women of Color

Pracilya Titus and the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion

  • Rolling Back Women’s Rights: Societal Implications of Overturning Roe v Wade

Brief & Highly Selective Chronology, 1776-Present

1776 The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, in which Thomas Jefferson had written, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal….”
1787 Delegates at the federal convention in Philadelphia met to draft the Constitution, which accepted the existence of slavery in those states that permitted it.  The Constitution contained no express guarantee of equality
1838 Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery by riding on a train from Baltimore to Philadelphia. He went on to become the foremost Black abolitionist and the nation’s first civil rights leader
1860-1865 Eleven Southern states seceded from the Union, leading to the Civil War.  In four years, over 700,000 Americans were killed or died.  In the end, four million slaves gained freedom
1863 On January 1, President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect.  In November, President Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address, in which he called for a “new birth of freedom.”  Lincoln was elected to a second term in 1864 and was assassinated in 1865
1865 Congress passed and the states ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery
1868 The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing the rights of citizenship to all persons born in the United States and the “equal protection of the laws”
1870 The Fifteenth Amendment, which guarantees the right to vote without regard to race, color, or previous conditions of servitude, was ratified
1877 After a close, controversial election in 1876, Republican Rutherford Hayes was elected President.  “Home rule” by conservative white men returned to the South, ending Reconstruction
1883 In the Civil Rights Cases, the Supreme Court held that Congress could not prohibit private acts of racial discrimination, invalidating key sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1875
1895 Booker T. Washington proposed the “Atlanta Compromise”, urging Black Americans to focus on economic opportunity and avoid agitation of questions of social inequality
1896 In Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court held that racial segregation in public transportation was constitutional if separate service was equal, and the principle soon was applied to public education and other aspects of life
1905 W.E.B. DuBois, the first Black American to receive the Ph.D. degree from Harvard University, called on the Black community to confront segregation by demanding political and social rights
1920s The Harlem Renaissance spotlighted the contributions of Black American writers, musicians, and artists to American culture
1948 President Harry Truman issued an executive order to end racial segregation in the armed services
1954 In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court held that segregation in public education is unconstitutional, declaring that the “separate but equal” doctrine had no place in public education.  In 1955, in Brown v. Board of Education II, the Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of public schools “with all deliberate speed”
1955 The Montgomery bus boycott attracted national attention to the emerging civil rights movement and brought its leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to national attention
1957 Congress passed and President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first significant measure to address and protect Black civil rights since 1875

The Little Rock Nine integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, leading to angry, violent protests.  President Dwight Eisenhower reluctantly sent federal troops to protect the Nine. In 1958, Governor Orval Faubus ordered Little Rock’s schools closed to prevent integration.  In 1959, following a Supreme Court ruling, the Little Rock schools were reopened and integrated

1961-1969 President John Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson embraced “affirmative action” as a necessary remedy for past discrimination, especially in federal hiring and contracting
1962 James Meredith, a Black veteran, attempted to enroll at the University of Mississippi, and Governor Ross Barnett personally blocked Meredith, in defiance of a federal court order.  When mobs of White people rioted, President Kennedy mobilized the Mississippi National Guard to protect Meredith, and Kennedy later sent 5,000 federal troops to Mississippi to restore order
1963 In June, after Governor George Wallace tried to prevent Black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama, President Kennedy sent Justice Department officials and federal troops to confront Wallace, and he backed down.  In August, Bayard Rustin was the principal organizer for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which an estimated 250,000 people heard Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech
1964 Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the most far-reaching piece of federal civil rights legislation since the end of Reconstruction
1965 Black nationalist leader Malcolm X was assassinated in New York City. Congress passed and President Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965
1967 Thurgood Marshall, who had successfully argued Brown v. Board of Education, was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Johnson and confirmed by the Senate
1968 Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee
1978 In University of California Regents v. Bakke, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of affirmative action in public college and university admissions but declared that the rigid use of racial quotas violated the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause
1991 Justice Marshall retired, and President George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to succeed Marshall.  After bitter controversy, the Senate confirmed Thomas’s nomination
2003 In Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment equal  protection clause permitted public colleges and universities to make narrowly-tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in diversity in student populations
2007 In Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education and Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, the Supreme Court held that public school systems may not seek to achieve or maintain integration through measures that take explicit account of a student’s race
2008 Barack Obama was elected the first Black President of the United States
2013 In Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, the Supreme Court held that a key section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional because it violated powers reserved to the states
2018 Clarence Thomas, a Black conservative, became the most senior justice on the Supreme Court upon the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy
2022 After her nomination by President Joseph Biden and confirmation by the Senate, Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court

Birds of Passage (2019): A Feminine Account of the Origins of Colombia’s Marijuana Trade

Tip: Use the gear icon to adjust playback speed. Or use the spacebar to pause/resume the video at any point!

The Importance of Frederick Douglass: A 19th-Century Life of Ideas and Idealism

Tip: Use the gear icon to adjust playback speed. Or use the spacebar to pause/resume the video at any point!

DuBois Discredits Dunning: Re-Writing Reconstruction History

Tip: Use the gear icon to adjust playback speed. Or use the spacebar to pause/resume the video at any point!

Bayard Rustin’s Activism from Civil Rights to Gay Rights

Tip: Use the gear icon to adjust playback speed. Or use the spacebar to pause/resume the video at any point!

Reflections on Corey Robin’s The Enigma of Clarence Thomas

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The Integration of Former Slaves into the American Labor Market after the Civil War and Their Northward Migration during World War I

Tip: Use the gear icon to adjust playback speed. Or use the spacebar to pause/resume the video at any point!

Rolling Back Women’s Rights: Societal Implications of Overturning Roe v Wade

Tip: Use the gear icon to adjust playback speed. Or use the spacebar to pause/resume the video at any point!

Archives

Interested in previous History Symposiums? Check our archived copies of previous years’ events.