- About NCAS & UCN
- Information For...
- Events & News
- Support NCAS & UCN
The annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture (MTW) series was co-founded in 1981 by Dr. Price and the late Giles R. Wright, who served many years as the inaugural director of the Afro-American History Program at the New Jersey Historical Commission. Mounted in observance of Black History Month in New Jersey, the MTW Series is one of the nation’s most remarkable and longest running scholarly conference series devoted to the historical literacy of a community. Diverse, civically engaging, and a contribution to life-long learning, the MTW Series has brought to Newark some of the nation’s most significant scholars. They include former Surgeon General of the United States under President Clinton, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Pulitzer Prize winning historian and legal scholar Professor Annette Gordon Reed, Deborah Willis, Sterling Stuckey, Eric Foner, Lonnie Bunch, David Blight, and Nell Painter, among many others. The 30th anniversary conference in 2010, Laboring in the Vineyard: Citizenship and Scholarship, a two-day program, drew over a thousand citizens to the Paul Robeson Campus Center on the Newark Campus.
Next year will mark the thirty-third anniversary of the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series. The all-day conference on Saturday, February 16, 2013, is entitled Emancipation and the Work of Freedom and will explore the ways in which Emancipation immediately impacted enslaved African Americans and, crucially, how the enslaved worked to free themselves. The proceedings will also investigate freedom’s wide-ranging impact on the nation at the time of Emancipation, as well as its legacy through the present day.
Recent MTW themes include:
In 2012, Taking Good Care: A History of Health and Wellness in the Black Community, was mounted in collaboration with The Newark Museum’s exhibition, Generation Fit: Steps to a Healthier Lifestyle. The conference explored the centrality of health in the history of black Americans and the intersection of health and race in American life. Dr. Jocelyn Elders, former Surgeon General of the United States under President Clinton, delivered the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture.
In 2011, Beauty and the Black Body: History, Aesthetics, and Politics, examined how African Americans have challenged and reshaped notions of beauty, especially in the realms of art, popular culture, and photography. The conference and reception at the Newark Museum was open to the public without charge. Deborah Willis, professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University, gave the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture, in conjunction with her current exhibition, Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, which at the time was on display at The Newark Museum. Conference attendees were invited to visit The Newark Museum to view the “Posing Beauty “exhibition at a special free reception immediately following the MTW conference
In 2009, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: Lincoln, the NAACP, and the World They Created, acknowledged the significance of the bicentennial anniversary of President Lincoln’s birth and the centennial anniversary of the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The keynote lectures were given by Professor Deborah Gray White, Rutgers Board of Governors Professor of History, and Bob Herbert, The New York Times columnist and author.
In 2007, Time Longer Than Rope: Historical Memory and the Black Atlantic, examined the role “historical memory” plays in African and African American societies and the influence of memory on identity in the African Diaspora. The Wright Lecture was given by Professor David Blight, the nation’s foremost historian on memory.