Chautauqua Topic: "Rethinking Racism in the 21st Century"

photo of speaker

The next Chautauqua lecture at Eastern Kentucky University is entitled “Rethinking Race and Racism in the 21st Century: Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin and the Link Between.”

Educator and author Angela Onwuachi-Willig will explore the topic on Thursday, Feb. 26, in a 7:30 p.m. lecture in Ferrell Auditorium of the Combs Building. The event, free and open to the public, also serves as the University’s keynote address for African American History Month.

As Onwuachi-Willig examines and compares the deaths of Till and Martin, she said she plans to “explore and analyze one important, but underexplored, similarity between the two cases: their shared basis in the protection of whiteness.”

Onwuachi-Willig is the Charles and Marion Kierscht Professor of Law at the University of Iowa, having served previously as a visiting professor of law at Yale Law School and the University of Michigan Law School. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Grinnell College with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies, and received her law degree. from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was a Clarence Darrow Scholar and a note editor on the Michigan Law Review and an associate editor of the founding issue of the Michigan Journal of Race and Law. She is the author of “According to Our Hearts: Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family,” published by Yale University Press. Her articles have appeared in or are forthcoming in many prestigious law journals, including the Yale Law Journal, California Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, ‚Äčand numerous others. 

She has received many accolades for her work. In January 2015, Onwuachi-Willig received the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Minority Groups Section’s highest honor for tenured faculty, the Clyde Ferguson Award, a national distinction given to an outstanding law teacher who has achieved excellence in the areas of public service, teaching and scholarship and who has supported, encouraged and mentored fellow colleagues, students, and aspiring legal educators. ‚ÄčA Fellow of both the American Bar Foundation and the Iowa Bar Foundation, she was selected in 2013 as one of the “50 Law Professors Under 50” in the inaugural list in Lawyers of Color.

The lecture is sponsored by the EKU Cultural Center and the EKU Honors Program.

For more information or a complete schedule of Chautauqua events, visit to contact Chautauqua Lecture Series Coordinator Dr. Erik Liddell at

Published on February 13, 2015

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