Exploring Race and Democracy from Thomas Jefferson to Today

VES students and faculty attended The Salon Series: A Conversation on Race & Democracy, sponsored by Thomas Jeffereson’s Poplar Forest and hosted at the Academy Center of the Arts Historic Theatre in Lynchburg. Mr. Trae Watkins, Assistant Dean of Students and Coordinator of Equity and Inclusion, along with Ms. Michelle Staggers, History & Art Teacher, took interested students to hear a conversation among five distinguished scholars, authors and professors as they answered this question: Nearly 200 years after Jefferson’s death, how has the legacy of racial slavery shaped American democracy today? Other faculty joining this troupe were Dean of Faculty Jen Anderson, Learning Resources teacher Jane Lowe and HR Manager Loretta Marshall.

The panel participants included Dr. Ibram Kendi (American University), Dr. Davis Blight (Yale University), Dr. Martha Jones (Johns Hopkins University), and Dr. Peter Onuf (University of Virginia), moderated by Dr. Edward Ayers, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus at the University of Richmond. 

Students saw first-hand the importance of moderated conversation and the tools and techniques of discussing and debating complex, in-depth topics—skills they can bring with them into the VES community.
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