The College of Social Sciences speaker series presents “Conversation & Conflict: Slavery, Memory & Monuments in America” with Dr. Ethan Kytle and Dr. Blain Roberts. Both Fresno State professors will be speaking on Wednesday, September 19 at 6 p.m. in the Alice Peters Auditorium in the University Business Center at Fresno State.
Throughout the summer both Kytle and Roberts have been on an extensive book tour to not only promote their well-reviewed book, Denmark Vessy’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy, but share their thoughts on recent events happening throughout America about how we perceive slavery. Their new book has been reviewed by the Chicago Tribune and New York Times and was also added to the New York Times summer recommendations list.
The title refers to Charleston’s most famous black revolutionary, Denmark Vesey, who in 1822, after being prevented from legally freeing his wife and children, plotted a massive slave uprising for which he and more than thirty co-conspirators were hastily tried and executed.
Drs. Kytle and Roberts spent their summer traveling through thirteen towns in six southern states to visit museums, plantations, and battlefields that were still displaying monuments and statues for the confederacy. A photo essay of their trip was published in the Journal of the Civil War Era’s blog “Muster” where you can see some of the memorials vandalized or empty.
Their accomplishments do not stop there. Drs. Kytle and Roberts also published multiple opinion pieces in The Atlantic and New York Times discussing the current racial issues in America. A recent article that they co-wrote was featured in the New York Times. It focused on the University of North Carolina and the debate surrounding Silent Sam, the confederate monument on campus. Both Dr. Kytle and Dr. Roberts received graduate degrees from UNC.
Earlier in the summer Dr. Kytle and Dr. Roberts published a joint essay on the Fourth of July in the nationally known and respected magazine, The Atlantic. They discussed when the national holiday was a black holiday. Their essay was shared more than 5,000 times across multiple social media platforms and was read by tens of thousands of readers from across the globe.
“We are proud that our research has been featured in outlets such as the New York Times and The Atlantic. It is, of course, personally and professionally gratifying to have one’s work appear in leading newspapers and magazines. But it also reflects our commitment to trying to break down walls between academia and the general public,” said Dr. Kytle and Dr. Roberts.
Both are proud to be a part of the Fresno State campus where the College of Social Sciences celebrates its faculty’s community engagement, and both would argue that the engagement through their work can extend far beyond the confines Central Valley. Their international and national reach has brought attention to the great faculty and accomplishments that are coming out of the College of Social Sciences and Fresno State.