Everyone is welcome!
CSC Cultural Studies Colloquium
George Mason University | Spring 2018
"Truth and Black Politics after Dred Scott."
Assistant Professor of History
University of Maryland - College Park
Thursday, February 22, 2018
4:30 to 6:30pm
Johnson Center, Meeting Room D
In May 1857, Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled that black people were not and could never be American citizens, a claim that free African Americans denounced as “a foul and infamous lie.” Free black people had, for decades, worked to claim and construct citizen status. That was possible because citizenship was not clearly defined in law, and so black people could make potent arguments about the nature of a powerful legal status. But Dred Scott conveyed a problem of citizenship’s vagueness – Roger Taney and others of his ilk could define the status in a way that promoted their white supremacist vision of the nation. What were the possibilities of American citizenship as a political tool and as a legal status? And, though black activists called Dred Scott a lie, what truths might it have conveyed about the history and future of the United States?