In order to support the growth of new research and scholarship on civil rights and freedom struggles, the Johnson Institute sponsors working groups that are multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary.

Conceived of as an effort to shape the debates and future scholarship in a particular field or discipline on civil rights, the topic and scope of a working group are determined by the director of the Johnson Institute. Also conceived of as an effort to gather and channel the many strengths of a research university with substantial collections in civil rights, the working groups are a means of supporting the intellectual labor of Emory faculty, and scholars beyond Emory whose teaching and research focus upon the civil rights movement and its points of intersection with other social movements. Spanning up to two years, the working groups are opportunities for activists and scholars to collaborate on a scholarly project within a structured framework. Working groups also are the foundation for scholarly publications, symposia, conferences, and special initiatives that foster the growth of new leadership in the academy and in grassroots organizations.

With a generous grant from the Arcus Foundation’s Racial Justice, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Program, the Johnson Institute will host its first working group on the civil rights movement and its points of convergence and divergence with the Black Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgendered Movement (BLGBT). The working group will be the first of its kind in the nation, and will be composed of scholars and activists with expertise in these two social movements. The Johnson Institute’s inaugural working group is composed of the following scholars, writers, and grassroots leaders:

Devon W. Carbado
Professor of Law
University of California, Los Angeles

Cheryl Clarke
Dean of Students, Livingston Campus
Member of the Graduate Faculty/Department of Women’s and Gender Studies
Rutgers University-New Brunswick Campus

Blanche Wiesen Cook
Distinguished Professor of History
John Jay College, City University of New York

Heath Fogg Davis
Associate Professor of Political Science
Temple University

Thomas Glave
Professor of English
Binghamton University, State University of New York

Jewelle Gomez
Director of Grants and Community Initiatives
Horizons Foundation

Beverly Guy-Sheftall
Founding Director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center
Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies
Spelman College

Dwight A. McBride
Dean of the Graduate School & Associate Provost
Daniel Hale Williams Professor of African American Studies, English & Performance Studies
Northwestern University

Robert Reid-Pharr
Distinguished Professor of English
City University of New York

Alvin Starks
Philanthropic Strategist and Consultant

Chaired by Rudolph P. Byrd, Founding Director of the Johnson Institute, the working group will have several concrete outcomes. Among the most important are: a) new research and scholarship on the civil rights and Black LGBT movements; b) a series of public dialogues whose purpose is to educate the public and raise national awareness of the relationship between rights, race and sexuality; c) a national symposium hosted by the Johnson Institute that will take place Fall 2012 in which the research and other outcomes of the working group will be shared with scholars, activists, and the public; d) a variety of publications that will serve as a resource for scholars and activists, thereby advancing the mission of the Arcus Foundation and the Johnson Institute; f) the formalization of the Black LGBT network composed of scholars and activists, thus combining theory and practice and strengthening the relationship between the academy and grassroots organizations; g) and fostering the growth of a new generation of leaders and their allies in the Black LGBT movement. Meeting at Emory University, the working group will span the period Fall 2010 to Fall 2012. For more information about this working group supported by the Arcus Foundation contact the Johnson Institute at

  Top Photo: JWJ, Amenia Conference, Amenia, NY 1916  
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