This spring the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice at Harvard Kennedy School will host a major two-day event celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of 20th century civil rights pioneer and journalist William Monroe Trotter. “Reimagining Our Radical Roots: A Global Classroom of Citizen Activism” will take place April 7-8 and will be available in both online and in-person formats. Visit the Trotter Collaborative website to learn more and register.
Cornell William Brooks, Hauser Professor of the Practice of Nonprofit Organizations and Director of the Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice, conceived of the convening to introduce attendees to Trotter’s legacy and provide an opportunity for academics, activists and artists to consider how Trotter’s radical activism can address issues of voting rights, environmental justice and reparations for Black Americans that challenge the most vulnerable in our democracy.
“William Monroe Trotter is a paragon of social justice activism who figures prominently in the present moment. With this historic convening, we are harkening back to the past, speaking to the present, and looking to the future,” says Brooks. “Young practitioners of democracy, activists, artists and advocates in current social justice struggles all across the country in this moment of generationally unprecedented activism, can look to him as the patron saint of activism in Boston. We endeavor to keep Trotter’s legacy alive and thriving this year as we celebrate his 150th birthday.”
The conference aims to create this experience by providing opportunities to hear from distinguished professors and practitioners as well as time to meet attendees from across the country to reflect on the presentations. Panels will cover three broad topics—voting rights in the midst of immoral voter suppression, the global existential crisis of environmental degradation, and reparations for centuries of enslavement and legal punishment. Distinguished speakers include Prof. Brooks; bestselling author and Emory University professor Carol Anderson; historian and Carr Center for Human Rights fellow Keisha N. Blain; award-winning organizer and Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter LaTosha Brown; and the 10th President of Bennington College and CEO of the Henry Luce Foundation Mariko Silver. The conference panels will be followed by a series of advocacy workshops focused on nonviolent direct action, using media for movements, fundraising for social justice campaigns, and how to draft legislation.
The conference title was inspired by Dr. Kerri Greenidge’s award winning book Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter, the most definitive biography of Trotter.
“Reimagining Our Radical Roots: A Global Classroom of Citizen Activism” is sponsored by The William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice at Harvard Kennedy School, with additional support from The Center for Public Leadership and the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
About The William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice
The William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice at Harvard Kennedy School brings together academics, activists, advocates, and artists across the country to foster excellent advocacy and citizen activism at the grassroots level. The Trotter Collaborative teaches a range of skills and best practices such as public leadership, the skills of advocacy, moral framing, and public policy analysis, thereby empowering leaders to excel in creating justice in real time.