A Princeton scholar will speak at the Metcalfe Chair conference, April 19

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Dr. Imani Perry, Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and Ralph H. Metcalfe, Sr. Professor, will deliver her lecture, “South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation,” Thursday, April 19 at 5 p.m. at the Lubar Center at Eckstein Hall.

In his talk, Perry will discuss his latest bestseller of the same name, which will be followed by a lively panel discussion. In “South to America,” Perry weaves together stories of immigrant communities, contemporary artists, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes, and his own ancestors and lived experiences. With uncommon insight and breathtaking clarity, the book offers an assertion that if we are to build a more humane future for the United States, we must center our concerns below the Mason-Dixon line.

The event is open to the public and registration is available online.

One of two Metcalfe Chairs for 2021-22, Perry is a scholar of law, literary and cultural studies, and a creative non-fiction writer who has published six books. Her writing and research focus primarily on the history of black thought, art, and imagination created in response to and resistance to the social, political, and legal realities of domination in the West. She seeks to understand the processes of withdrawal after moments of social progress, and how dreams of freedom are nevertheless maintained.

Perry’s 2018 release, “Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry,” received the Pen Bograd-Weld Award for Biography, the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award for Outstanding Work in Literature, the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ nonfiction and the Shilts-Grahn Award for Nonfiction from the Publishing Triangle. It was also named Outstanding Book of 2018 by The New York Timesand an honor book by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Perry’s books have also been recognized with the American Studies Association’s John Hope Franklin Book Award for Best Book in American Studies, the Hurston Wright Award for Nonfiction, and they were finalists for an NAACP Image Award in Nonfiction and the Chautauqua Prize. She got her doctorate. in American Studies from Harvard University, a JD from Harvard Law School, an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center, and a BA from Yale College in Literature and American Studies.

The Metcalfe Chair is a nonresidential Visiting Scholar of African American, Latino, or Native American descent. In 1981, Marquette created this program to honor the legacy of Ralph H. Metcalfe, Sr., a graduate of the College of Liberal Arts in 1936. After a distinguished Olympic career, which included gold and silver medals at the 1932 and 1936 Olympics, Metcalfe served in the United States Army during World War II. Back in his native Chicago, he held a series of political positions before being elected to the United States House of Representatives. He died on October 10, 1978; however, his legacy lives on at Marquette through this program.

Angela C. Hale