Obama mentor headlines ‘Rethinking Race’ series Feb. 1


Charles Ogletree

Charles Ogletree will draw upon his experience as a Harvard law professor and mentor to President Barack Obama, as well as his involvement as a prominent lawyer and seeker of racial justice, as he headlines The University of Akron's "Rethinking Race: Black, White and Beyond" series.

His talk, titled "From Dr. King’s Dream to President Obama's Mission: Race Matters," will be held Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. This event is free. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The president and First Lady Michelle Obama both were students of Ogletree, the Jesee Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard. Ogletree is the founder and executive director of the school's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, a legal think-tank that addresses the complex factors that contribute to the nation's lingering racial inequality. The institute primarily focuses on three areas: closing the racial achievement gap; reforming criminal justice policies; and improving prospects for people of color and foreign-born residents so they may enjoy the full benefits of citizenship in this country. Additional areas of interest include racial disparities in access to quality health care, voting rights, immigration reform and housing discrimination.

Gregory H. Robinson

Ogletree's commentaries on a broad range of timely and important issues have appeared on the editorial pages of the New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe. He also has made appearances on ABC's "Nightline" and NBC's "Meet the Press."

UA's Office of Multicultural Development, Office of Inclusion and Equity, School of Law and Center for Conflict Management are sponsors of Ogletree's talk.

Other 'Rethinking Race' speakers include:

Dr. Gregory H. Robinson will speak about "Chemistry, Race, Football and O. Henry" on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 4 p.m. in the Student Union Theatre. Robinson, the Franklin Professor of Chemistry at The University of Georgia, will talk about moving beyond segregated schools and other obstacles to become an award-winning chemist. The Institute for Teaching and Learning is sponsoring his talk.

Keith Beauchamp will show his documentary, "The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till," on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Theatre. As a result of Beauchamp's documentary, the U.S. Department of Justice recently reopened the unsolved murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy murdered in Mississippi in 1955.

Keith Beauchamp

After the film, Beauchamp will participate in a discussion with the audience. The Institute for Teaching and Learning and the Office of Multicultural Development are sponsors of the event.

W. Kamu Bell will speak about "Ending Racism in About an Hour" on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at Thomas Hall. The Residence Hall Council and Residence Hall Programming Board are sponsors of the talk.

About 'Rethinking Race: Black, White and Beyond'

The "Rethinking Race: Black, White and Beyond" series' roots trace back to 1997, when President Bill Clinton chose UA as the location for his first Town Hall Meeting on Race.

W. Kamu Bell

This is the fourth year that students, faculty and staff have planned the "Rethinking Race: Black, White and Beyond" series to commemorate the president's visit and cultivate an understanding of race relations. The series includes keynote speakers, story circles, Face2Face conversations and more.

"The Rethinking Race series was designed to develop and nurture respect and appreciation for diversity," says Fedearia Nicholson, director of UA's Office of Multicultural Development. "Our speakers and events will help the community identify and analyze contemporary issues, as well as help attendees critically analyze their own cultures.”

All events are free, unless otherwise noted. For information about additional events, including a detailed Face2Face schedule, visit Rethinking Race or call 330-972-6446.

Media contact: Sarah Lane, 330-972-7429 or slane@uakron.edu