One of the most profoundly human experiences that most of us share, at some point in our lives, is the feeling that we are living through a monumental shift; the feeling that something socially, culturally, or politically is changing, and we are participating in — and making — history.
In his latest work, distinguished professor and historian Dr. Peniel E. Joseph asserts that the modern-day struggle to attain equality for Black Americans is as momentous as those of the post-Civil War and Civil Rights eras. His book, The Third Reconstruction: America’s Struggle for Racial Justice in the Twenty-First Century, explores the crucible of civil and political unrest that emerged amid the tumult of 2008-2020, framing them within socio-historical contexts.
As the current crusade for justice continues to unfold, Dr. Joseph invites readers to learn the lessons – and limitations – of the undertakings that preceded it. He shares his insight that the zeitgeist of such periods as the 1860s and 1960s helped give rise not only to the existence of The Third Reconstruction, but also its place and shape as they exist today in the national landscape. Joseph draws multiple parallels between past and present, spanning over a century and reaching critical turning points with the election of former President Barack Obama, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the attack on the Capitol.
The text, though critical, is nonetheless hopeful: Although the first and second Reconstructions fell short, this Third Reconstruction conceived by Dr. Joseph believes in an opportunity to achieve full citizenship and dignity for African-Americans.
Dr. Peniel E. Joseph is the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, and Associate Dean for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of award-winning books on African American history, including The Sword and the Shield and Stokely: A Life. He lives in Austin, Texas.
Naomi Ishisaka is the Assistant Managing Editor for Diversity and Inclusion and the Social Justice Columnist for The Seattle Times. She is an award-winning journalist and photographer who focuses on racial equity and social justice. Her writing and photography have appeared in The Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, City Arts, ColorsNW Magazine, Seattle Globalist, South Seattle Emerald and other publications. Ishisaka is a frequent speaker at media workshops and community events, and is on the board of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Seattle chapter.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle and the Northwest African American Museum.