Charlotte’s Johnson C. Smith University Selected As Affiliate of American Slavery Network


Johnson C. Smith University is one of a dozen colleges and universities named by the Council of Independent Colleges to serve as an Institutional Affiliate for the multiyear project, “Legacies of American Slavery: Reckoning with the Past.” This initiative is designed to help CIC member institutions, their students, and their communities explore the continuing impact of slavery on American life and culture. The project will support campus-based research, teaching, and learning as well as community-based programs about the multiple legacies of slavery.

“I am very proud of the work that Dr. Keri Petersen, assistant professor of History has done to spearhead this project for Johnson C. Smith University,” said Dr. Matthew DeForrest, interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “Originally, there was not an Institutional Affiliate category planned for this grant. Keri and others made such compelling presentations that the organizers created a space for more participants. Keri deserves all the credit for this and I am looking forward to seeing what she and other JCSU faculty can accomplish within this framework.”

In addition, CIC announced the selection of seven colleges and universities to serve as Regional Collaboration Partners. The Partners will serve as the primary hubs of a national network that will expand to embrace many additional CIC member colleges and universities and community organizations across the United States. Each Partner will focus on a specific theme that has both local and national significance, organizing regional activities while contributing to a national conversation about race, equity, freedom, political power, and cultural resilience.

Richard Ekman, president of CIC, said it was very difficult to choose just seven Regional Collaboration Partners from a pool of strong institutional applicants. “The selection process highlighted the depth and breadth of scholarship, teaching, and public engagement that many CIC members have already devoted to exploring the pervasive legacies of slavery,” says Ekman. “This augurs well for the success of the national initiative.”

The Partners and Affiliates selected to represent a diversity of institutional types and sizes, including two women’s colleges and five HBCUs. Several of the institutions located in Confederate states have historical links to slavery as former sites of plantations; others were founded or influenced by abolitionists.

Programmatic activities will begin this spring and build toward a series of regional conferences hosted by the Regional Collaboration Partners during the 2021–2022 academic year.