The University of North Texas at Dallas welcomes distinguished African-American scholar and Texas A&M history professor, Dr. George C. Wright, as special guest speaker to commemorate Black History Month.
Dr. Wright’s compelling presentation will focus on “Black Migrations,” chronicling African-American migration patterns beginning with the largest forced migration in human times that delivered Africans to the United States as slaves; to post-Civil War internal migration from southern farming communities to form distinctly African-American communities; to the Great Migration of the 20th Century from the south to the urban Northeast, Midwest and West because of economic inequalities, racial violence and harsh segregationist laws. Dr. Wright will examine how these movements have shaped African-American life and culture, progress made, and improvements that still must come. In addition, he will lecture on lynchings and racial violence, an issue that gained nationwide attention last year with the opening of The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, Ala., a first-of-its-kind museum that confronts this nation’s brutal history of mob lynchings.
UNT Dallas students, faculty, staff and members of the southern Dallas community are invited to attend this free engagement on the UNT Dallas campus. Proceedings begin at noon on Thursday, Feb. 7, in Founders Hall, Room 101. To attend, please RSVP here.
“For African-Americans, there has been significant changes in all aspects of their lives over the last 50-75 years,” Dr. Wright says. “Lynchings, where people were killed by mobs without having the opportunity to provide any legal defense for themselves, have ended; but tragically, in far too many instances — one instance would be one too many — exist where people of all races have been sentenced to death in trials that were far from fair. We as a society must continue to address this issue.
“It is my hope that my presentation for Black History Month will be enlightening and will lead to dialogue about these issues — to discuss where and why things have improved and to discuss how to make even greater improvements in some areas of society.”
The former President of Prairie View A&M from 2003-2017 and former Provost at the University of Texas at Arlington from 1995-2003, Dr. Wright is the author of three books written from his unique perspective as a native Kentuckian: “A History of Blacks in Kentucky: In Pursuit of Equality, 1890-1980, Volume II; Racial Violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940: Lynchings, Mob Rule and "Legal Lynchings," and Life Behind a Veil: Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1865-1930.
Dr. Wright will then move on to the UNT Dallas College of Law where he will discuss the topic of racial violence at 3 p.m.
"Racial violence is a phenomenon that happened, and what does it say about our country that only in the last month have we passed an anti-lynching law after 100 years of failed attempts?” Dr. Wright says. “Murdering someone without the benefit of a trial – how did this happen?”
A recipient of numerous fellowships, grants and awards, Dr. Wright previously served at Duke University as vice provost for university programs and director of the Afro-American studies program. From 1980-1993, he held multiple faculty positions, including vice provost for undergraduate education, and was the holder of the Mastin Gentry White Professorship of Southern History at the University of Texas.
His experience in higher education began as an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, where he received his bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in history. He received his doctorate in history from Duke.