University of Southern Indiana

Previous Speakers

Mandela Social Justice Day April 2021 - A Virtual Event

Rapper and Activist Roy Kinsey

Roy KinseyChicago born and raised, Roy Kinsey is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to tradition in his respective industries. where being a black, queer-identified, rapper, and librarian may be an intimidating choice for some, Roy Kinsey’s non-conformist ideology has informed his 6th album, and self proclaimed, “best work yet,” KINSEY: A Memoir. KINSEY: A Memoir, arguably more poignant than Blackie: A Story by Roy Kinsey, captures a dark, sinister, yet sincere, and potent musical performance by Kinsey. Kinsey’s observations are strong on ‘Memoir,’; shaped by early traumas that threatened to debilitate his belief in himself as well as the abilities of his family. It is the manifestation of a queer man, in a black body, coming of age in Chicago. Roy Kinsey is a librarian in the Teen Services/Youmedia department for Chicago Public Libraries. Learn more about Roy on his website.

Speaker Manisha Sinha 

Dr. Manisha SinhaManisha Sinha is the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut and a leading authority on the history of slavery and abolition and the Civil War and Reconstruction. She was born in India and received her Ph.D from Columbia University where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft prize. She is the author of The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina, which was named one of the ten best books on slavery in Politico in 2015 and recently featured in The New York Times’ 1619 Project. Her multiple award winning second monograph The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition was long listed for the National Book Award for Non Fiction. It was named the book of the week by Times Higher Education to coincide with its UK publication and one of three great History books of 2016 in Bloomberg News. Website.

Mandela Social Justice Day 2020

Angela Davis"Democracy and Civil Engagement"
Keynote speaker: Dr. Angela Davis
February 5, 2020 in Carter Hall

Iconic activist, author, and professor Angela Davis has made it her mission to share her life story and challenge her audiences to join the struggle for racial, economic, and gender justice.

Angela’s outspoken ways made her a focal point of criticism. Her radical ties led then-California Governor Ronald Reagan in 1969 to try to bar her from teaching at any California university. The attempt failed; she is now professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in its History of Consciousness Department.

Angela has campaigned for social justice – particularly with what she calls the “prison industrial complex” that has grown since the 80s with the emergence of the private-prison industry. She is one of the founders of Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization fighting for changes in the prison system. Her books include Are Prisons Obsolete and Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire.

Angela writes and frequently speaks as part of her mission to build engaged communities that seek to reform the U.S. prison system. She urges her audience to “hone their critical skills, develop them and implement them" while fighting for racial, economic and gender justice.

Sponsored by the USI's College of Liberal Arts, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Housing and Residence Life, Pott College of Science, Engineering and Education, Gender Studies, Multicultural Center, Center for Social Justice, USI Foundation, Office of the Provost

Mandela Social Justice Day 2019

Keeanga TaylorKeynote Speaker: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
USI Performance Center
February 26, 2019

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author and assistant professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, is a widely sought after public speaker and writer. In 2016, she was named one of the 100 most influential African Americans in the United States by The Root. She has been appointed as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians for 2018-19, and the Charles H. McIlwain University Preceptor at Princeton University for 2018-21. Her writing has been published in the New York Times; the Los Angeles Times; Boston Review; Paris Review; Guardian; The Nation; Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society; Jacobin and beyond.

Mandela Social Justice Day 2018

Tia OsoKeynote Speaker: Tia Oso
Carter Hall
February 21, 2018

Tia Oso is a speaker, writer, and Community Engagement professional specializing in Social Change initiatives. A dynamic social justice leader, Ms. Oso has organized campaigns such as "Not in Our State" and "PHX For Trayvon" mobilizing thousands of advocates for various issues in the public interest. This "desert diva" was born and raised in Mesa, AZ and now resides in Los Angeles, CA. Ms. Oso is sought after thought leader on issues of social justice. 

In her role as National Organizer at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, the nation's only Black-led immigrant rights organization, Tia leads African-American and Black immigrant communities in developing strategies for progressive wins in racial justice and migrant rights. 


Mandela Social Justice Day 2016/17

Cornel WestKeynote Speaker: Dr. Cornel West
Carter Hall
October 12, 2016

Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is a Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. He has written over 20 books and has edited 13. Though he is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, his most recent releases, Black Prophetic Fire and Radical King, were received with critical acclaim.


Evansville African American Museum Traveling Exhibits on Race and Civil Rights
2 p.m. - 8 p.m. October 12 in the Carter Hall Atrium.

Cracking the Code: The System of Racial Inequality

A Film and Discussion
11 a.m. - 1 p.m. October 12 in UC 2217-2218

Keynote Speaker: Tim Wise
February 11, 2016

Tim Wise is among the nation’s most prominent anti-racist essayists and educators. He has spent the past 25 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1000 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally in Canada and Bermuda, and has trained corporate, government, law enforcement and medical industry professionals on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Alex Lichtenstein
December 4, 2014

Dr. Lichtenstein's work centers on the intersection of labor history and the struggle for racial justice in societies shaped by white supremacy, particularly the U.S. South (1865-1954) and 20th-century South Africa. His first book, Twice the Work of Free Labor examines the role of convict leasing and chain gangs in the remaking of the American South in the half century after the Civil War. Subsequently, he has written extensively about race relations in the labor movement, interracial agrarian radicalism, early civil rights struggles, and the impact of anticommunism on the labor and civil rights movements, in both the US and South Africa. His most recent book, Margaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of Apartheid, is based on a photography exhibit he curated at IU and in South Africa. 


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