"Commemoration Reconsidered" - Day 1 / Panel 1 - "Leveraging the Past: The Ethics of Commemoration"

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What lessons can be drawn from past commemorative efforts? The first panel of the Virtual Summit will use varied examples to consider questions and topics such as the “rules” of commemoration, how commemoration has changed over time, missed opportunities in the past, and the presences and absences among the voices that have shaped commemoration.

Richard Benjamin

Visiting Professor of Slavery and Public Engagement, University of Liverpool

Dr. Richard Benjamin is Visiting Professor of Slavery and Public Engagement in the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures at the University of Liverpool. He is on secondment from his role as Head of the International Slavery Museum at National Museums Liverpool and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery. 

Richard gained his first degree in Community and Race Relations at Edge Hill College and completed an MA and Ph.D. in Archaeology at the University of Liverpool. In 2002 he was a Visiting Research Scholar at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute of African and African American Research, Harvard University.      

He is a Trustee of the Anthony Walker Foundation, a member of Everton Football Club External Equality Advisory Group, and a Board member of the European Museum Forum and MONITOR: Global Intelligence on Racism magazine. He is Co-editor of the Routledge Book Series on Restorative Justice in Heritage Studies & Archaeology.

His current research on Black museology focuses on diverse museum practices, Black cultural spaces, and the associated artistic, cultural, and social movements. He hosts the Kinways Black Museology podcast.

Hannibal B. Johnson, Esq.

Author, Attorney & Consultant

Hannibal B. Johnson, a Harvard Law School graduate, is an author, attorney, and consultant specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, human relations, leadership, and non-profit leadership and management. He has taught at The University of Tulsa College of Law, Oklahoma State University, and The University of Oklahoma. Johnson serves on the federal 400 Years of African-American History Commission. He chaired the Education Committee for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission and served as local curator of its world-class history center, Greenwood Rising. His books, including Black Wall Street 100: An American City Grapples With Its Historical Racial Trauma, chronicle the African American experience in Oklahoma and its indelible impact on American history. Johnson’s play, Big Mama Speaks—A Tulsa Race Riot Survivor’s Story, was selected for the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival and has been staged in Caux, Switzerland. He has received numerous honors and awards for his work and community service, including a lifetime achievement award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book and induction into the Tulsa Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

Anna Laymon

Executive Director, Women's Suffrage National Monument Foundation

Anna Laymon is a nationally recognized leader in cultural institutions known for her dynamic, innovative, and collaborative approach to building organizations, managing teams, and sharing America's stories. Anna is the Executive Director of the Women's Suffrage National Monument Foundation, the organization designated by Congress to build a monument in Washington, D.C. that shares the history of the early movement for women’s equality. Prior to joining the Women’s Suffrage National Monument Foundation, Anna served as Vice President of Programs and Planning for the America250 Foundation, Executive Director of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, and the Director of Partnerships and Public Programs for the National Woman’s Party.

M.J. Rymsza-Pawlowska (Moderator)

Associate Professor, Department of History, American University

M. J. Rymsza-Pawlowska is the author of History Comes Alive: Public History and Popular Culture in the 1970s and is currently working on a new book, tentatively entitled Going to Washington, about four different kinds of “visitors” to Washington, D.C.: appointees, tourists, activists, and militia. M.J.’s public facing work includes serving on the editorial board of Washington History Magazine, as well as advisory boards for the DC History Center, the Humanities Truck, and the Board of Directors of Humanities DC.

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