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The River Campus Libraries, Frederick Douglass Institute, and Department of Black Studies invite you to attend a Neilly Author Series talk from William Sturkey, an associate professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, on his book Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White.

The talk will outline the past challenges and vibrant future of writing African American history. In retelling how he researched and wrote his book, Sturkey will show how digital technologies have created an exciting new era of storytelling that provides unprecedented opportunities to tell the stories of marginalized Americans.

William Sturkey is a historian of the post-1865 United States, specializing in the history of race in the American South and focusing his research on the experiences of working-class racial minorities. He teaches courses on modern American history, southern history, the Civil Rights Movement, and the history of America in the 1960s.

Sturkey has been widely recognized for his scholarship, teaching, and service. He has won a number of major university awards including the Faculty Diversity Award, the Hettleman Prize for outstanding early career achievement, the Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award for outstanding engagement and service to the state of North Carolina. 

Hattiesburg is Sturkey’s second book. His first book, To Write in the Light of Freedom, is a co-edited collection of newspapers, essays, and poems produced by African American Freedom School students during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. He is currently working on a biography of the legendary Vietnam War hero Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez.

The 2023–24 season of the Neilly Author Series is dedicated to the creation of the Department of Black Studies. In celebration of the department's inaugural year, the books highlighted in this season's Neilly talks will feature Black authors and a variety of perspectives on racism, freedom, and the Black experience. 

Additionally, Hattiesburg is being read as part of the University of Rochester Virtual Book Club. The reading period is January 5 through March 9, but you are invited to join at any time.

Event Details

  • Sara Varhus
  • Jenna De Ochoa
  • moses matias
  • Liwei Ma

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A Zoom link will be sent prior to the event to those who register to attend virtually. 

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