April 23, 2020
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Release: Jan. 8, 2019
GAMBIER, Ohio — Kenyon College’s annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy on Monday, Jan. 21, will feature a keynote address by Leslie M. Harris, professor of history at Northwestern University. Events begin at 3 p.m. in Rosse Hall, 105 College Drive, and are free and open to the public.
Harris is a prominent scholar in the field of African American history, with research interests including pre-Civil War African American labor and social history, slavery in the U.S., and African American women’s, gender and sexuality history. Prior to joining Northwestern in 2016, Harris was a faculty member at Emory University, where she co-founded and co-directed the Transforming Community Project, an initiative that used history and dialogue to address diversity challenges in higher education. Her address at Kenyon is titled “Community is a Verb: Access to Equity in Higher Education.”
“Dr. Harris’ interest in community building is absolutely appropriate for any day of dialogue honoring the legacy of Dr. King,” said Professor of English Ted Mason, associate provost for diversity, equity and inclusion and special advisor to the president. “Her thoughts will be especially apt for Kenyon, as we have been thinking about the ways in which a stronger community might be developed through our own collective conversations and initiatives.”
Harris’ book “Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies” will be published in February. Other books Harris has authored or co-edited include “In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626–1863,” “Slavery in New York,” “Slavery and Freedom in Savannah” and “Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas.” She earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Stanford University.
In addition to Harris’ keynote address, the “Day of Dialogue” program also includes remarks by Kenyon President Sean Decatur, a performance by Kenyon’s Chamber Singers, and a panel of Kenyon community members who will discuss topics raised in Harris’ address.
Prior to the afternoon program, Knox County community leaders will gather for the 16th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast, held in partnership with Mount Vernon Nazarene University, at 9 a.m. in Peirce Hall, 201 College-Park St. Harris will serve as keynote speaker, focusing on the theme “Sisters in the Struggle: Pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement.” The breakfast is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the MLK Legacy Committee, Kenyon and MVNU. To RSVP, call Hallie Logan at 740-427-5223 or Trinia Huddleston at 740-397-9000, ext. 4600, by Jan. 14.