Boston Book Festival 2021 Boston Book Festival 2021

Building Up Their Own: The Legacy, Power, and Potential of Black Organizing and Institution Building in America

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Eddie R. Cole
The Campus Color Line, Saturday, October 23 | virtual

Eddie R. Cole is associate professor of higher education and organizational change at UCLA. His research focuses on college presidents’ historic role in shaping racial policies and practices both inside and outside of the educational sphere. His book The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom—called “groundbreaking”, “essential”, and “required reading” by reviewers—was described by New York Times–bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi as “a stunning and ambitious origins story… embedded with breath-taking narratives recovered from meticulous research.”

Martha S. Jones
Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All, Saturday, October 23 | virtual

Martha S. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor, Professor of History, and a Professor at the SNF Agora Institute at The Johns Hopkins University. She is a legal and cultural historian whose work examines how black Americans have shaped the story of American democracy.

Kate Masur
Until Justice Be Done, Saturday, October 23 | virtual

Kate Masur specializes in the history of race, politics, and law in the nineteenth-century United States. She is the author most recently of Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction. Masur is a professor of history at Northwestern University.

Jelani M. Favors
Shelter in a Time of Storm, Saturday, October 23 | virtual

Jelani M. Favors is the Henry E. Frye Distinguished Professor of History at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He has been awarded major fellowships in support of his research that includes an appointment as a Humanities Writ Large Fellow at Duke University in 2013, and he was an inaugural recipient of the Mellon HBCU Fellowship at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke in 2009. In 2019, he released his first book, entitled Shelter in a Time of Storm: How Black Colleges Fostered Generations of Leadership and Activism. The book was the recipient of the 2020 Stone Book Award presented annually by the Museum of African American History in Boston, the 2020 Lillian Smith Book Award given yearly by the Southern Regional Council and the University of Georgia Libraries, and it was one of five finalists for the 2020 Pauli Murray Book Prize presented by the African American Intellectual History Society. His research and commentary have appeared in several publications and media outlets, including CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, the Washington Post, MarketWatch, the Atlantic, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Point, and the Conversation. He earned his PhD in history and his MAin African American studies from The Ohio State University. He is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with honors. He is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.


The history of the Black liberation movement has been rooted in the organizing and mobilizing capabilities of Black institutions. This session will examine the legacy, power, and potential of Black institutions and how they have empowered communities, launched social movements, and produced activists who have served on the frontlines of America’s ongoing struggle for social, political, and economic justice. The panel will highlight the work of three scholars who have increased our understanding of the significant local and national impact that institutions have played in advancing the freedom dreams of Black folks in America and how this spirit of agency and “building up our own” has evolved into the present day. Panelists include Martha S. Jones (Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All), Kate Masur (Until Justice Be Done: America's First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction), and Eddie R. Cole (The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom). The moderator for this session, developed in partnership with Boston’s Museum of African American History and sponsored by the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation, is Jelani M. Favors, author of Shelter in a Time of Storm: How Black Colleges Fostered Generations of Leadership and Activism, winner of the 2020 MAAH Stone Book Award.