Dr. Lillie Johnson Edwards, former founding Director of Pan-African Studies and as Director of American Studies at Drew University presents a talk based on the late Gabrielle Simon Edgcomb’s book, From Swastika to Jim Crow (1993), and the documentary film of the same title, directed by Lori Cheatle and Martin Toub (2000).
Her presentation will tell the story of the Jewish refugee scholars who fled Nazi Germany and found positions at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the American South. The story connects racial segregation, violence, and anti-Semitism in the U.S. and Europe to African American agency, ambition, and leadership at HBCUs.
Dr. Edwards served as the founding Director of Pan-African Studies and as Director of American Studies at Drew University in Madison, NJ before retiring in 2016. While at Drew, she received awards for university faculty service and for excellent and distinguished teaching in the College of Liberal Arts and the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. Prior to working at Drew, she taught at DePaul University (Chicago, IL), UNC-Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), and Earlham College (Richmond, IN).As a public intellectual committed to bringing African American studies to adult audiences, Dr. Edwards lectures and consults with corporations, libraries and archives, historical societies and museums, faith-based communities, and school districts.