Past Events

July 4th Parade 2022

On July 4, 2022, the Roberson Project participated in the July 4th Celebration. This was part of our five-year anniversary celebration. Our interns walked our community members through current projects and participated in the parade. 

Unveiling of Black Heritage Trail

On Sunday, July 3, 2022, the Roberson Project unveiled 5 historical markers that tell of the important places in the St. Mark’s neighborhood.  This was accomplished through collaboration with community members, staff of the Roberson Project and undergraduate students working for the Bonner Legacy Program, and many employees of the University of the South, who generously gave their time and energy to make this project a reality. Please review our heritage trail website for more information.  

Sewanee Symphony Orchestra Presents Music of Black America

On March 5, 2022, the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra and the University Choir as presented masterpieces from Black composers of 20th-century America, including works by Scott Joplin, H.T. Burleigh, William Grant Still, and the long-neglected "Credo" by Margaret Bonds, written on text by W.E.B. Du Bois. This was done in collaboration with the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation.

History of the Order of the Gown

Thursday, January 20th at 7 pm, the Order of the Gown, in collaboration with the Roberson Project, held an event to discuss the history of the Order. This event will take place in the Mary Sue Cushman room. Rev. Dr. Benjamin King and Dr. Kendy Altizer discussed with attendees the origin of the Order of the Gown tradition and the legacy of its founder, Chaplain William Porcher Dubose. As we are approaching the 150th anniversary of the Order of the Gown, it has become increasingly more purposeful for us to clearly understand where we came from, what we stand for now, and where we wish to go from here. 

Perspectives on Reparations for Slavery Reading Group: From Here to Equality

The debate over granting reparations to the descendants of the enslaved has intensified over the last decade, with universities and seminaries now instituting programs that directly benefit persons with ancestral ties to the enslaved. Throughout the Semester of Fall 2021, Dr. Andrew Maginn led University students, staff, and faculty members in a “Reading Group” that discussed the debate over reparations, entitled, Perspectives on Reparations for Slavery. 

Dr. William Darity Jr. and Ms. Kirsten Mullen: Town Hall

Two of the foremost authorities today in the movement to pay reparations to the descendants of enslaved persons in the United States, Dr. William Darity Jr., and Ms. Kirsten Mullen, came and had a Town Hall discussion with the Sewanee Community. The event took place at Convocation Hall on November 19th at 2 pm. This appearance is sponsored by the University of the South’s Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation in partnership with other campus groups to encourage and support meaningful dialogue about the most important issues and questions surrounding the university’s commitment to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus community.

A Presentation on Race and Wealth Inequality

Two of the foremost authorities today in the movement to pay reparations to the descendants of enslaved persons in the United States, Dr. William Darity Jr. and Ms. Kirsten Mullen,  presented their work and research to the Sewanee Community in a talk entitled “A Presentation on Race and Wealth Inequality.” This took place in Guerry Auditorium on November 18th at 7 pm. This appearance was sponsored by the University of the South’s Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation in partnership with other campus groups to encourage and support meaningful dialogue about the most important issues and questions surrounding the university’s commitment to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus community.

Reparations for African Americans: Viewpoints from Philosophy, Economics, and History

On Tuesday, November 9, 2021,  the Roberson Project hosted a panel where experts in Philosophy, History, and Economics amongst Sewanee faculty discussed Black reparations within their discipline and what reparations can look like at the university level. The panel consisted of Dr. Mark Hopwood (Philosophy), Dr. Matthew Mitchell (History) and Dr. Katherine Theyson (Economics). Dr. Woody Register, director of the Roberson Project moderated. 

Seminaries, Universities, and Reparations for African Americans

On Thursday, October 28th, from 3:15 to 4:30 pm in Hargrove Auditorium Ebonee Davis of Virginia Theological Seminary and Miles Aceves-Lewis of Georgetown University discussed reparations programs at their respective institutions. They explained where those programs are now, assess their program's impact, and share their thoughts on the importance of student activism. The panel was moderated by the Rev. Dr. Benjamin King, Professor of Christian History at the School of Theology and Working Group Member of the Roberson Project.

A Way Forward: Two men, divided by race, but joined by an American story of slavery, memory, and healing

On October 13, 2021, the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, & Reconciliation along with the Sewanee Department of Athletics hosted a viewing of a documentary trailer and a Q&A with its subjects, Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick and H. D. Kirkpatrick. Their story assisted students, staff, and faculty in their understanding of the legacies of slavery and racial injustice in American life.


Additional information about the Kirkpatricks can be found on the web: A very concise amount with details is available here and their oral histories can be found here


Sing the Truth

On September 28, 2021, the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation and Sewanee Spoken Word hosted an open mic night to challenge racism through music, poetry, and stories. It was Emceed by Sewanee Sophomore Michaela James-Thrower. 

Order of the Gown Front Porch Talk-Changing Building Names

On September 22, 2021, students, staff, and faculty had a front porch dialogue to talk about the many buildings and places on our campus that are named for Confederates, Slaveowners, or Defenders of the ”Lost Cause.” They discussed the questions: what should we do about these memorials to men who fought to preserve a civilization of bondage? Or memorials to those who were outspoken in their belief in White Supremacy? 

Talk with Dr. Michelle Caswell entitled "Urgent Archives: Enacting Liberatory Memory Work"

On September 15, 2021,  Dr. Michelle Caswell, Professor of Archival Studies in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), one of the most compelling voices in archival theory, shared a disruptive critique of dominant Western narratives about the aims and purposes of historical archives. Dr. Caswell contended that traditional archival practices are designed to be oppressive. She advocated for alternative methods and practices that members of minority communities can be used to create independent archives that build ties within communities and disrupt cycles of oppression. Archives cannot be neutral, Dr. Caswell argued. Instead of trying to make them so, Dr. Caswell urged us to  focus on making archives catalysts of liberation. 


This talk launched the new Participatory History and Archiving Project, with the Roberson Project, Centre College, Fisk University, Rollins College, University of Richmond, and Washington & Lee University. The project is funded by a diversity and inclusion grant from the Associated Colleges of the South and a Legacies of American Slavery grant from the Council of Independent Colleges. 

St. Mark's Community History Reunion

The Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation invited community members to the third St. Mark's Community history reunion, devoted to celebrating and preserving the history of African Americans in Sewanee. It took place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 4, 2021. 


Monday, March 9, 2020 at 4:30 University Art Gallery. This is the first in a series of dialogues about Sewanee residence halls named for Confederate figures. Come to learn about Stephen Elliott and dialogue about what it means to live or work in these spaces! Co-sponsored by the Roberson Project, Residential Life, & Dialogue Across Difference


A Lecture by Kirt von Daacke, Professor of History, The University of Virginia Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. The Founders Ballroom, The Sewanee Inn. Sponsored by Southern Studies, The Roberson Project on Slavery, Race and Reconciliation, and the University Lectures Committee

Just Mercy Screening and Panel

Film Screening, February 26 at 5PM in Guerry Auditorium Panel Discussion on Mass Incarceration, February 27 at 6PM in Guerry Auditorium Co-Sponsored by the Sewanee NAACP, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office of Civic Engagement, and 213-A Leaders Program

Jesus and Slavery Dialogue

Continuing the conversation from Dr. Glancy's lecture. Monday, February 17 at 4:30 in the EQB House.

Where do we go from here?

November 11 4:30-6PM Convocation Hall A conversation about reparations and Sewanee


Held on November 5-7 in Sewanee, Tennessee

Richard Cellini Lecture

"Slavery & the Old School Tie: Shouldering Responsibility for Alma Mater’s Role in the Slave Trade" was held on September 23, 2019 in Convocation Hall. Watch a recording of this lecture on our YouTube channel!

  • Lecture by Diane Nash, co-founder of SNCC and Alabama Voting Rights Project, entitled“The Movement of the ‘60s: A Legacy for Today” 
  • Lecture by Amy Louise Wood, Professor at Illinois State, entitled "The Legacy of Lynching in American Life" a collaboration with UT-Chattanooga which included a screening of Who Was Ed Johnson?
  • Lecture by Craig Steven Wilder, Professor at MIT and author of Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities 
  • Gessell Fellows Presentation Monuments to Sin: Theology, Commemoration, and Episcopal Parishes 
  • Lecture by Josh Rothman, Professor at the University of Alabama entitled  “'He has been for many years engaged in the traffic in human flesh': John Armfield and America's Domestic Slave Trade” 
  • Lecture by Catherine Meeks, Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing entitled "Racial Healing and Reconciliation: The inner and outer Journey" 
  • Panel discussion entitled “Visions of Unity: Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Legacy of Bishop Carpenter” with Dean J. Neil Alexander of the School of Theology and the Rev. Brandt Montgomery, Church of the Ascension in Lafayette, LA

View select recordings of lectures and events on YouTube