Home News Cornell Professor To Discuss Early African American Writing in Webinar

Cornell Professor To Discuss Early African American Writing in Webinar

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Prof. Derrick Spires, literatures in english, will give a webcast on Wednesday about the past and present of Black culture in written work in the United States, including discussion of African American intellectual history and activism in New York State. Spires will use materials from the Cornell Rare and Manuscript Collections as part of his lecture.

Spires, who is an affiliate faculty member in Media Studies, Visual Studies and American Studies, is an author and literary historian. He researches early American and African American print culture, which includes the study of a range of documents including poems, pamphlets and letters. Spires’s past work has also analyzed African American intellectual history and the meaning of U.S. citizenship for Black people before the 14th amendment was passed.

“If you start thinking about citizenship as what people do, rather than [who they are], you start seeing citizenship happening all over the place,” Spires said in 2020. “People who see someone in need, and they go to meet that need, that is someone behaving as a citizen.”





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