Rethinking Race Logo


Sparking Courageous Conversations at The University of Akron

Presented by The University of Akron's Office of Inclusion and Equity.

Full Event Calendar

In 1997, U.S. President William J. Clinton chose The University of Akron as the location for his first Town Hall Meeting on Race. In honor of this historic moment, University of Akron students,  faculty, and staff have come together annually to plan a series of events known as Rethinking Race. The Rethinking Race forum offers a series of films, performances, conversations, and keynote speakers to engage our community with important topics related to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Effective Fall 2023, the Rethinking Race annual forum will become part of The University of Akron's Diversity Week, held November 6 - 10. The Fall 2023 theme will be Colorism and its impact on the human experience in the 21st century.


Isabel Wilkerson

Pulitzer Prize winner and National Humanities Medal recipient Isabel Wilkerson

As part of the week’s programming, the 2023 John S. Knight Lectureship will feature keynote speaker Isabel Wilkerson, author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, held at the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at 7:00 pm. Mark your calendars!

Pulitzer Prize winner and National Humanities Medal recipient Isabel Wilkerson is the author of The New York Times bestsellers and critically acclaimed Caste and National Book Critics Circle Award winner The Warmth of Other Suns. A gifted storyteller, Wilkerson captivates audiences with the universal human story of migration and reinvention, as well as the enduring search for the American dream.

Free tickets will be available for pick-up at the EJ Thomas Hall ticket office Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. beginning October 9th. Free tickets will also be available at the door on the night of the event. Please note that backpacks and large bags will not be permitted at the event.

The John S. Knight Lectureship at The University of Akron brings distinguished writers, politicians, and other figures of national or international importance to Akron, Ohio, the hometown of John S. and James L. Knight. The lectureship was established in 1991 by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to honor John S. Knight, 1894-1981, an Akron newspaperman and publishing genius of the 20th century who built the small, Depression-era Akron Beacon Journal into the publishing empire knows as Knight Ridder Inc.

Established in 1950, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities, and foster the arts. Sustaining informed and engaged communities in a democracy is at the heart of its philanthropic strategy for transformational impact through lasting systemic change.

Fall 2023 Event Calendar

Thank You to Our 2023 Sponsors

County of Cummit Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board
Akron Children's Hospital
Akron Community Foundation
Alpha Phi Alpha Foundation
City of Akron
Cleveland Clinic Akron General
Community Action Akron Summit
FedEx Custom Critical
First Energy Foundation
Ilene Shapiro: County Executive
Mercury Plastics
Akron Area YMCA
The University of Akron Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences
University of Akron College of Business
University of Akron College of Health and Human Services
University of Akron Office of Inclusion and Equity
University of Akron Office of Multicultural Development
University of Akron Undergraduate Student Government
Philip 72 and Paulette Thompson
Dr. Sheldon Wrice



Matthew Cherry, University of Akron alumnus and Academy Award winning filmmaker


Michelle Alexander, New York Times Best-Selling Author of The New Jim Crow

Past Events: 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2022 | Spring 2023