Charles L. Chavis, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution and History and Director of the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race, at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University. Before joining the S-CAR, he served as the Museum Coordinator for the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Chavis is a historian and museum educator whose work focuses on the history of racial violence and civil rights activism and Black and Jewish relations in the American South, and the ways in which the historical understandings of racial violence and civil rights activism can inform current and future approaches to peacebuilding and conflict resolution throughout the world. His areas of specialization includes Civil Rights oral history, historical consciousness, and racial violence and reconciliation.
He has received over twenty-five grants, awards and fellowships from organizations including, the Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education, Knapp Family Foundation, American Jewish Archives, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and the American Historical Association.His current project, (In) Visible Stories: Salvaging Untold Histories of Marginalized Communities, is an intergenerational oral history curriculum project focusing on the personal meaning that is found within marginalized communities. The first phase of this project focuses on Baltimore, Maryland focusing on the intersections of history, memory, and identity in the life of Baltimore youth. The collaborators see the collective memory of racial violence, politics and civil rights, as being central to combating racism and inequality within the United States education system.
Charles Chavis has published more than twenty-five refereed articles, reference articles, essays, reviews, op-editorials, chapters and government reports and is author of the upcoming book, ‘Maryland, My Maryland’: The Lynching of Matthew Williams and the Politics of Racism in the Free State (John Hopkins University, 2021) and editor of For the Sake of Peace: Africana Perspectives on Racism, Justice, and Peace in America (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).
Ajanet Rountree is a doctoral scholar at George Mason University’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. She graduated with honors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Masters’s in the Anthropology of Peace and Human Rights. Much of her work seeks to uncover the hidden narratives of women, specifically Black women, within the fields of anthropology, human rights, justice, and peace with an understanding of their interconnections to globalization, social movements, and social change.
- Charles L. Chavis, Jr.Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution and History and Director of the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race, at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University
- Ajanet RountreeDoctoral scholar at George Mason University’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution
- Peniel JosephFounding Director of the LBJ School’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the University of Texas at Austin
[0:00:07 Peniel] Welcome to race and democracy. Ah, podcast on the intersection between democracy, public policy, social justice and citizenship. Uh huh. On today’s program, we’re pleased to Welcome Dr Charles L. Chavis, who is assistant professor of conflict analysis and resolution in history and director of the John Mitchell Junior Program for History, Justice and Race at the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University and Ajanet S. Rountree who’s a PhD student at George Mason University. She graduated with honors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a cultural anthropologist. Much of her work seeks to elucidate the hidden narratives of women, specifically black women within the context of human rights and peace, with an understanding of their interconnections to globalization, justice, social movements and social change. And they’re both part of this wonderful new project, This anthology for the Sake of Peace Africana. Perspectives on Racism, Justice and Peace in America, which is edited by Charles L. Chavis Jr and six day Viniar. Name Araba. I didn’t pronounce that Well, say Charles, how do you pronounce that?
[0:01:26 Charles] Yes, you did a great job. You did a great job.
[0:01:27 Peniel] Well, welcome to race and democracy to you both. And I want Charles. Since you’re the coeditor, tell us about this anthology. What inspired you to edit for the sake of peace?
[0:01:41 Charles] Wow. So, first and foremost, I want to thank you, Dr Joseph, for your amazing work and for this opportunity. And I also want to give a special shout out to my future boss, Hodgins Roundtree, the honor of working alongside and with, um but yes. So for the sake of peace, it was a idea that came together around 2000 and 19, the summer of 2019, there was a summit that right outside of D. C. Um, at the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School, we have a retreat center there. And there was a peace building summit of with activist social Justice leaders and peace builders from across the world. And, you know, we came together, and I connected with brother Vinny, who is my co editor in this in the midst of the Trump administration, we were contemplating and wrestling, You know, what does piece look like in the United States? And what does justice look like? And we recognize that at that moment and during the you know, this phase of the black freedom struggle, that the time for a piece that’s not centered injustice has passed, right? And so this is kind of where we begin to look and to consider the cannon, if you will, within the larger scholarship of peace and conflict resolution. And what you notice is that in many ways it is a whitewash cannon. What’s unfortunate about specific history of the field is that you have black voices that have always informed the movement for peace building. In fact, you know, arguably the founder of the feast building studies was Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, right? But why is he not known in the field as a scholar in the ways in which individuals such as your angle, tongue and others are known? And so this work sought to salvage the intellectual experience and knowledge of black activists, scholars and future peace builders around You know what peace adjusted centerpiece looks like in the United States? And so that was the main goal. And we really want to invert the traditional paradigm associated with peace studies that where we have, you know, Eurocentric or white male perspectives offered in regards to approaching peace in countries where oppressed people and people of color um, inhabit eight. So that’s kind of like the framework and foundation behind the book and the idea,
[0:04:04 Peniel] and the book is divided into three parts. Part one is racism. A Systemic Thing, Part two, Knowing the past narrative change in the historical perspective and Part three Africana, cultural and religious Perspectives on Peace and Ajanet this questions for you Tell us about your piece your in part to From Birmingham to Monrovia, Black women and the weight slash weight of Freedom 1960 to 2005. You talk about Monrovia and sort of these black women who were precursors both in the past and in the 21st century, but also black women who were organizer’s during the Birmingham freedom struggle and sort of write them back into that narrative in ways that they’ve been erased.
[0:04:50 Ajanet] Sure, so my chapter is part of a longer a longer work that is actually my master’s thesis, and my goal was to introduce a comparative study. And while it’s not perfect, the most important part was exactly what you said to write black women back into our understanding of the freedom struggle. Full stop. And it was very important for me to focus on Birmingham because that’s where I lived. But also because of Dr King’s letter from a Birmingham jail and the Magnificent Seven and Fred Shuttlesworth and the role of men specifically in Birmingham and their presence in the civil rights movement and how Birmingham was thrust into the national spotlight because of the arrival, so to speak, in quote unquote of Dr King and SCLC. But for me, I was curious and began to question whether that was actually how it all went down. And my research shows that that is actually not how it went down. The women, black mothers, black teachers, black homemakers were actually the leaders of the movement and because we’re talking about segregated Birmingham, were also talking about respectability, politics and the culture of dissembling. We’re talking about all these things that position black women continually at the bottom of the social hierarchy, racial hierarchy as well. It was important for me to bring those women to the top and say that in and of themselves, how they live their lives as Children and their decisions that they made as adults actually positioned them, and we would call them leaders if they were male. So why are we not calling them leaders Because they’re women? And then adding the Monrovia piece was important to me because in Liberia, to women to Liberian women have won the Nobel Peace Prize because of their work. That is Leymah Bowie and former president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. But their names are not recognized at all. And so when we’re talking about peace and the movement of peace and what that looks like in a conflict zone or a post conflict zone, women are, as Lima Bowie says, often the victims or the people that we tell stories about and Onley want to talk to them because they’ve been survivors of war, not leaders of movements. And so it was imperative that I that I looked at what those women did amid a war that caused the men to go out and the boys to go out and fight, and the women literally were staying behind and saving the country from devastation. So these two parallel instances of women leading movements that needed to be shared and added to the overall understanding of what peace and peace building and peacekeeping looks like.
[0:08:18 Peniel] Oh, that’s terrific. And I’m gonna follow up on that before going back. Thio Charles When you think about the work of people like Danielle McGuire and the Dark End the Street, obviously you cite Belinda Robinette. How long, How long but the work of black feminist theorists but also scholars of black women’s history within the civil rights movement. My colleague Ashley Farmer on black power Robin Spencer, Jean Theo Harris on Rosa Parks. Since there is now much more of an acknowledgement of black wounds roles in shaping the black liberation struggle in the black freedom struggle on you site. Anna Julia Cooper and I’m thinking and you site the great quote that Paula Giddings used for 1984. Masterpiece Winner, Where I Enter and Paula has the great biography of Ida B. Wells. Eso does me obey what happens when we write black women into peace studies, and we look at their political thought and practice as generative in the context of Birmingham in Monrovia. But just globally, what’s the impact?
[0:09:28 Ajanet] Well, the impact is that you get a a completely different perspective right, you get a perspective of a person or a group of people who has married church. Terrible had live at the intersection of a double oppression, right? But not just a double oppression. Because if we think about how many women have disabilities or or how, Maney women have a you know, our sexuality or our socioeconomic standing. So we have. We have this putting black women into peace studies and allowing our knowledge production to be a part of that conversation allows for a more holistic approach toe understanding, peace and understanding, the making, the building and the keeping part of peace as it moves towards justice. Because black women, as you know, are on the cutting edge, even though statistically and societally we are often left behind or viewed as outsiders or extra or whatever. But even if we look at how Stacy Abrahams, the single work that she did in Georgia, I mean that wouldn’t have happened, and we cannot look at the 2020 election without understanding the importance of black women full stop and as we move forward, black women. Being a part of that conversation is imperative to how we begin to change the tide turned the tide and move this country and move disciplines and fields towards a justice approach because we come with a binary that other other groups don’t have.
[0:11:28 Peniel] Thank you, Charles. And the introduction. You talk about this post truth society and you say one of the things that this book is trying to do is to invert the theoretical framing prevalent in most peace and conflict scholarship. Now, we both teach at public policy schools. I teach at the LBJ School Ah, public affairs. And certainly I don’t think that there yes, necessarily centering people like Dr King and all these black folks in terms of peace and conflict studies. So So what happens? Paradigmatic Lee when we frame and we you start the book with a quote from Nelson Mandela when we put well, whether it’s Nelson or Winnie Mandela. When we put these black leaders and these black thought leaders but also grassroots activists central to peace and conflict studies, what’s the new narratives that emerged? Because you you hint it that in the intro and certainly the 12 chapters that follow each in their own ways, including a Chinese chapter, try to elucidate and amplify on that theme.
[0:12:32 Charles] I think you know one of the main things that you know, I discovered a ZA historian. I’m actually the first historian to be hired at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Studies in its 40 year history. And so something that you know is so important to me is the work of narrative change, right? And in that what I was able to identify and notice from the onset when I began to survey the field, I’ve noticed various similarities in the origins of the field and very similarities to the leaders, whether it’s the rhetoric, speeches, musings of civil rights leaders, including King and others. And I noticed similarities between those musings and that of white scholars who really shaped and laid the foundation for the field to this day and and it took place right around the 19 sixties and actually King’s letter from a Birmingham jail. Ah, lot of people don’t realize, but his definitions of negative and positive piece were surprisingly very similar to the definitions proposed by Johann Goal Tongue Um, in a few days or months later, following the letter from the Birmingham Jail in which, and where gall tongue in the Journal for Peace Studies, Um talks about the black freedom struggle in relationship to larger freedoms, struggles and how there are these there, these negative forms and positive forms of peace. Which to me, you know, I see that as being violence, narrative violence, right from the beginning as it relates to the overall field. And in many ways these works shed light onto the ways in which black scholars, activists and intellectuals have always been a part of the movement for Peace building. However, they have not have been apart and accepted in the larger cannon, but their influences permeate throughout the canon, whether they are acknowledged or not. In many ways, this work sought to acknowledge those voices. Um, acknowledge the various ways in which, um, you know, our struggles were used in many ways, this case studies by white scholars, right? Um, who failed, um, to even give credit to leaders such a doctor King? Not not to mention earlier leaders, including Ida B. Wells, Anna Julia Cooper, um, Jane Adams as well, who was one of the individuals again early individuals who developed the concept of positive piece right? She is nowhere to be found in this work in the larger cannon. Neither is King as a scholar, um, or any of the activists who are informing the overall field. And that’s what I find to be really, you know, found to be really disturbing in terms off my assessment and research. But like I said, each of these works provide access to and promote narrative change, which, you know, when we think about systemic racism, the overall theme in the first section of chapters. I want us to look at this systemic racism and the way it manifest in terms of intellectualism and the ways in which we conceptualize our disciplines. You know, it’s one thing to talk about the structural inequalities, but what does this look like in terms of, um, the narrative violence that emerges within a field that has oppressed, marginalized voices that in many ways have kept the movement afloat? Um, in many ways, just as Ajanet mentioned, black women have kept our democracy alive. I see black people and people of color and marginalized voices as keeping the field of peace and conflict studies alive without getting any recognition for doing so.
[0:16:18 Ajanet] Right,
[0:16:18 Peniel] Okay. And Let’s talk about Gail Christopher’s truth, racial healing and transformation framework and really building on that. How can that notion of racial healing, especially in this year of 2020 be utilized both in terms of public policy but also cultural transformation? Um, and that question is really to both of you.
[0:16:42 Charles] I could go first. I’m so glad you brought that up, Doc, because we recently have established the US trh movement on. We’ve been working closely with Senator Booker and Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s offices around attempting to I’m get the nation’s first, um, truth Commission established on Did That was recently, um, Cory Booker recently put out a press release announcing a Senate joint Senate resolution between him and Congresswoman Lee, and so I’m honored to be a part of that process. But I’m also prior to the work that I’m doing with Dr Christopher and others as a part of the movement. I was intrigued and by her work, and but I was not shocked to see that it was not no, just or recognized in the larger in the field. Right. Um, that was something that was really astonishing to me when I looked at her approaches to narrative change and the framework in which she developed while she was the vice president of Kellogg Foundation. Um, you know, I was extremely shocked to see that this was not engaged within the overall field of peace building conflict resolution studies or works around a scholarship around narrative change on DSO. You know, I think her framework is essential because she looks at what we’ve learned from the international perspective on DSHEA. She The end game really is about transformation, which is much different than reconciliation, which, UM, she argues and other scholars argue. And many people practitioners that I worked with argue that that that type of reconciliation is not something that can be realized in the United States, because the playing field was never level in the beginning. And so her approach is more of a social transformation or justice centered approach. And, um, the healing comes along with that. But before the healing takes place, you have to have truth. And that’s why we narrative change is the center Onda first thing that we have to center on because we know from history Onda living that, you know, white supremacy thrives off of the suppression of narrative, right? And if that is the case, then the truth has to be told whether it’s in our courtrooms, whether it’s, um, you know, in the classrooms, right? The truth has to be told and from in many ways, it hasn’t right. And so that’s why your work is important. Azaz. Ah, groundbreaking historian. But all the works of you know, black scholars and marginalized scholars is important because truth has to be centered in this moment. Um, and we need more buy in from our white brothers and sisters. But at the end of the day, we can’t wait for them to, you know, believe us, right? We have to really look towards, um, take those along with us who want who want to go and those who don’t. You know, we got to keep it moving because at the end of the day, we’re no longer negotiating and having about our human rights. You know, we’re if justice is now on the table, there’s really no point of a conversation. I think the utility of Dr Christopher’s framework, um, it allows people to come on board that wouldn’t traditionally come on board. But justice is still centered, and it’s a part of the transformational aspect that comes along the way. Right, um, while we work through this racial healing. But it’s important to understand also that this racial healing, um, does not come at the expense of re traumatizing marginalized communities. Right? Um, who oftentimes are forced to come to the table and be a part of pseudo restorative justice processes in which they again have to go to their white brothers and sisters or to confess and talk about their troops, their lived experiences with trauma, rape, um, land dispossession, etcetera, generational trauma, historical trauma Onley in the hopes that their white brothers and sisters would believe them This time. The days for that are over. Um, And if we’re going to be telling our truth, then we need to be having into power brokers at the table prepared to provide justice, um, and to level the playing field, bring us the justice we deserve
[0:20:56 Peniel] And Ajanet really the same question. But when it comes to the black women that you’ve been studying in your graduate work and your thesis, and when you think about Birmingham in Monrovia and you mentioned Stacey Abrams what would the role ideally? Because in certain ways, black women are doing this already. And black feminism and intersectional justice has already been doing it through BLM. But what would the ideal role of black women be both as grassroots activists, organizers, but the everyday black women that Patricia Collins talks about as well? What would the role of black women be in this idea of racial healing and not having, um, like Charles has been talking about reconciliation on the cheap and one of the essays, and here talks about that too. What would the ideal role of black women be in that context? And is that happening at the local national global level in certain areas already?
[0:21:55 Ajanet] Wow. Um, that is that is a difficult question, right? I think I think first, in order for us to arrive at truth, black black people can’t be the only Onley ones telling their truth, right? We have to. White people have to be able to recognize what their whiteness has gotten them Onda. That is also a part of what we need. Thio. What we as society as well as a globe need to begin to work on what is whiteness. What are the privileges that come with being white? And how do you recognize yourself as being white as a race, right? As as a as a part of the racial hierarchy that you created that your ancestors created right? And I think that is, that’s usually important because, um, as as we know from Macy’s, they’re like we can’t we can’t begin to have conversations about deconstructing colonization and imperialism and whiteness and less white people understand the historical trauma that their whiteness has on them as well. Right? Um so that would be first point. I think the second point is to the question about where black women would fit in this conversation, I think black women. It is on white people and black men to recognize black women as producers of knowledge and give us room to stand in the space. Black women are pushing doors open on Lee to be confronted by white and black men who say you don’t belong here or are intimidated by our knowledge or are concerned that they might be overlooked or they didn’t come up with the idea or whatever. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and so there has to be space for black men to allow black women to step into their role as leader, not just as a supporting act, Um, and that’s stepping into that position as a leader is not an infringement on your right to be a man, right? Or the space in which you have been garnered to be a man for a particular particular space. I think that’s also part of part of that conversation that needs to happen. But I think the third part of it is from my perspective, as a as a human rights scholar, we can’t have racial healing, and we can’t have our path towards justice until we until society begins to humanize the marginalized. And I say that because on the surface it’s easy to say Oh, that’s a black person But if I’m treated or I’m perceived as an animal, that’s how I That’s how I die in the street right? I’m not perceived as a human being. So until I, until black and brown and marginalized voices are humanized by those in power white people, then the conversations about racial healing and truth and justice and how we arrive at peace are gonna are going to continue to be secular and we need to We need to begin Thio. Understand? What? What is it like? What does it look like for me to give you to see you as a human being? Ah, human being that is deserving of the right to be human, right? And then everything that comes, um, that’s listed in the Declaration of Human Rights.
[0:25:53 Peniel] Now this is Tau Charles and toe originate to both of you again. Um, when you think about an anthology like this, the subtitle is Africana. Perspectives on Racism, Justice and Peace in America. Um, the work I do is on both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Among many others. And they were global human rights activists. Um, King obviously was one of the world’s foremost peace activists, but the black liberation of the black freedom struggle. That tradition has really been written out of peace and conflict studies. And that’s one of the reasons why this this book is an existence. Um, what can we do to transform that? And how can we bring the theory that at least black peace and conflict studies and black internationalism and black human rights work that analysis into contemporary analysis of not just global peace movements but domestic peace movement. Because I’m thinking about this election, we’re thinking about the recruitment of white supremacy domestically in United States, but also in the context of Brexit and the increase in anti black racism, white supremacy, assaults against women, anti Semitism globally but also domestically. What what can be done and how can, um, black scholars like yourselves who are intervening in this paradigm, How can you utilize your work to talk about global human rights? But to talk about it reaching that universal through that particular lens and experience of black people?
[0:27:31 Charles] Yeah, I can speak for you know what I’ve been doing since I’ve been at the Carter School? You know, it’s a constant centering, and it’s almost as if you know, even though we see the the ways in which the black black scholars and intellectuals are in peace, builders are overlooked. You know, it’s almost as if you know, we ignore it and push through as if everyone knew about it, right? And so for me, like even in my work, like in my classes, about whether it’s undergrad or grad classes I would be assigning either you know, a book like your sword and shield or Cornel West. I’m not Cornel West, but James Cones, Um Malcolm and Martin America. Right? These are the type of work that I’m putting in my on my syllabus and I’m forcing students who would otherwise have never seen such works on such voices. Um, Thio engage them, right? And then I guess the way it grows is you have colleagues who who learned about your teaching and ask about it, and it kind of grows from there. But that’s something that I’m doing from a practical standpoint, in terms off my teaching and pedagogy, I’m purposefully, you know, staying true to myself as a historian and focusing on the lived experiences and the narratives of individuals. Um ah, poor part of the black freedom struggle. And I see them, Of course, most of them, of course, as we know did not see themselves as peace builders. But they were indeed peace builders nonetheless, and we can’t wait for individuals to categorize them as such or to be honored and dignified in terms of the academy to put them on our Cilla by right Um And so the work that I’m doing is, as I mentioned with students, a specific at the undergraduate level is really about putting putting before them. You know, Ida B. Wells, Red Record and looking at the ways in which she emerged as an international anti lynching advocate and what it meant for her as a black woman to speak about anti Lynch about against lynching, um, in Great Britain and in the United States, right and and and how the ways in which her status as a black woman allowed her to receive MAWR honor abroad than it did, um, you know, at home, right? And so I think exposing that exposing students to those lived experiences in those narratives is essential, and that’s really the beginning. But I think it’s also important that our colleagues, um, understand the intellectual violence within the field and understand the ways in which systemic racism is represented within the various fields that we study. And we have to do a better job of promoting, um or, you know, anti racist approached and de colonizing, um, the fields as we know it, the genres as we know it, we have to be more purposeful in that. And I think that happens through promoting the marginalized narratives and lived experiences of thought leaders, peace builders and activists.
[0:30:33 Ajanet] Yeah, I You raise a good point about, um how individuals who are doing the work don’t necessarily classify themselves as peace builders off. They’re just they’re just fighting for justice. They’re fighting for their story to be heard or told properly. Andi, I think I think that’s the importance of education. Right? And I personally feel as a new individual who is, you know, one of a few black faces in a white space. Um uh, staring down the academy, going im important. And you have lived a life of racial inequality in your education in your method of teaching. And that is unacceptable for me. Um, in 2020 and I need you to do better. And so what? What does that doing better look like that looks like you acknowledging the fact that you need to do better. You need to be better. And you need to look at your your library, your personal library, and acknowledge where the gaps are. Um, and I think that is a hard That’s a hard place for many scholars to be, particularly in a field where, um, as Dr Chavez has said, the field has been so white and they are leaning so heavily on white scholarship. And for a ah person who has been a research subject for so long to combat and say, This is not This is not right and you’re not doing the best that you can do. And I have a voice and I am creative. And people who look like me are knowledge producers and have been doing this work actually longer than you think. And we need to be included in this in this this conversation included on Scylla by and you need to redo Canon Um, maybe we should just throw out the cannon and put everybody in it, I don’t know, but I think that’s part of where the conversation is going right and where where I personally feel that is my responsibility as a scholar to force the field, to look at themselves right to force the fields, to have a look at where the the intellectual violence and the narrative violence is occurring in private. Um, that is contradictory to what we’re saying in public and enforcing them. Basically, Thio have to have integrity, right? To be to be honorable and to rise to the standard by which they have set themselves the pedestal on which we’ve set ourselves as scholars actually to actually seek out the knowledge that we don’t have about certain things and that that plays into our understanding of of human rights. Right? If if we’re fighting for human rights but our exclusive in our friendships or exclusive in our relationships or exclusive in the books that we have on our shelves are we actually how can we then say that we’re inclusive in our pursuit for justice are inclusive for in our pursuit for anything else? Because we Onley limited ourselves in our private lives to be exclusive. Therefore, that doesn’t match our public life. So, um yeah, I think we have thio. We have to ensure that there is There’s ah balance in both our private in our public life so that the pursuits that we have public policy, um, changing cannon education matches up with what we’re doing in private.
[0:34:21 Peniel] All right? And my last question to both of you is How are you feeling in the aftermath? of this election and what we’re facing with this Koven 19 pandemic The racial disparities. What’s happening all across the world? Really, with economic inequality, racial division, the political polarization in United States, but at the same time, because of George Floyd and the protests and black lives matter. 2.0, 15 to 26 million people out in the streets. Ah, wanting anti racism, wanting social justice, wanting to create a new world and really seeing those sympathy demonstrations globally as well. Um, So how are you? How are you both feeling? And Charles will start with you on. Then again, you could just You can complete us.
[0:35:12 Charles] Thank you, Doc. I’m so glad you asked that time. The question. I’m doing a lot better after the week long election to be to be. You know, I think for me I always knew that if the we were able to win the youth, um, and the end of the interracial coalition that emerged following the death of George Floyd, a swell as you know, Briana Taylor that I knew that we would be in good shape and to toe win the election. But there was always a fear of fear, right? Because the the youth, as I’ve always said before this generation that, you know, as you mentioned, black lives matter to point out there. They’re not playing around right. And they’re seeking justice on nothing. Nothing short of that. Because, as I’ve said before, you know, we at this nation, we’ve just reached a point in which, you know, marginalized people are tired. Black people are tired, and we’ve been tired before, but it is a you know, I think we’re at a unique moment in which we’re witnessing what could be the largest civil rights movement of the 21st century. That is, um, taking shape. Um, you know, I’m just so thankful for the black women Specifically, um, who again, in many ways, saved our democracy the night of the election, as they were tabulating votes I had I was hoping, you know, that we were going to get Georgia, which we eventually did. And I began to stalk um, a small town reporter in Clayton County who was covering the ballot counting there in Clayton. And she sent a photograph of four black women who were packing up their pocketbooks, and they were hitting out for the night. Right? Um and that image reminded me of women such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, um, Dorothy Height, Dr Dorothy, Height and others. And the ways in which they were black women again, um, saved our democracy. Um, And you know, so that Z those are just my reflections.
[0:37:28 Ajanet] Yeah, I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I’m over the moon. Thio have a black woman who is of South Asian descent as our incoming vice president. What? That what all that means? I don’t know, but I’m pumped. I’m so excited about about Kamala Harris and her position and what that means for the future of of representation in politics. Um, and even what we’re doing with, um, representative Barbara Lee and that movement, Um yet there’s still so much to be done, and I guess that’s where my nervousness comes in. Or or my uncertainty, perhaps, is more than better Word I There’s a lot to be done, and there’s ah, lot of pushback, um and and we have to get those people who are pushing back. Maybe we don’t have to turn them completely around, but we need them to begin to see themselves as as part of the larger struggle, right? I think that’s the beauty of what Dr King was beginning with the poor people’s campaign and what William Reverend William Barber is continuing to do. But we have to begin to get those people who are holy angry. The 74 million people, maybe, maybe not all 74 million. But maybe, let’s just take, you know, ah, half of that, and begin to help them understand that justice includes them. And the fight for democracy is not, is not, is not against them Just because we we label ourselves liberal or Democrat does not me, that I’m against you and you having having a great life and having health care and having access to clean water. And and I think this is where this is the moment where we are. And I think co vid Cove it has been, has been hugely, obviously hugely detrimental to the black community. But it isn’t. It isn’t solely a respecter of persons. Right it we’re talking what 250 plus 1000 Americans who have died. They’ve not all been black and they’ve not all been brown. And so if we can. If we can begin to do helped change the paradigm of of people thinking about justice and what that looks like for them, I think we are. We can We can make this this 2020 that has been such a a disaster, uh, a stepping stone to something even better in the future.
[0:40:35 Peniel] All right, let’s end it. There were gonna end it on hope. Uh, we’ve been talking with Charles Chavis Jr and Ajanet Rountree about their new anthology For the Sake of Peace. Afrikaner Perspectives on Racism, Justice and Peace in America. Dr. Chavis is an assistant professor of conflict analysis at George Mason University and Ajanet Rountree is a cultural anthropologist who is finishing up her PhD at George Mason University And who’s the author of In Important Chapter in this anthology From Birmingham to Monrovia. Black Women and the weight of Freedom 1960 to 2005. So Charles Andreani. Thank you so much for joining us here. I’ve raised in democracy. I really enjoyed it.
[0:41:27 Charles] Thank you so much. Don’t
[0:41:29 Ajanet] Thanks for having us. Thank you.
[0:41:31 Peniel] Thanks for listening to this episode and you can check out related content on Twitter at Peniel Joseph. That’s P-e-n-i-e-l J-o-s-e-p-h and our Web site, CSRD.LBJ.utexas.edu and the Center for Study of Race and Democracy is on Facebook as well. This podcast was recorded at the Liberal Arts Development Studio at the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Thank you.