From Civil War to Black Lives Matter is presented as part of the Common Grounds series, co-hosted by Roxbury Coalition for Social Change and the Roxbury Public Library. This series explores and facilitates civil conversations on race, political beliefs, gender, creed, and more, celebrating diversity in Roxbury. Virtual events are open to all. Past and Upcoming events include Skills for Bridging the Political Divide Workshop led by Braver Angels on September 29; How She Leads Panel on October 21, On Race and Racism: A Roxbury Conversation on December 2 and upcoming presentations include LGBTQ+ 101, A Conversation about Allyship, and A Viewing of the film Brian Banks and subsequent discussion.
The Black Lives Matter Movement of the 21st century inherited a 400-year legacy of social justice activism. This presentation and discussion will explore the ways Black people and their allies have organized and fought for freedom, racial equality, and social justice from the periods of enslavement and Reconstruction to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements.
The lecture will be presented by Dr. Lillie Johnson Edwards, Ph.D., and the post-lecture discussion will be moderated by Ollie Starnes, who graduated from Roxbury High School in 2006.
Dr. Lillie Johnson Edwards is Professor Emerita of History and African American studies at Drew University in Madison, NJ where she served for twenty-three years, including as the founding Director of Pan-African Studies and Director of American Studies. She received two university faculty service awards and two teaching awards. Dr. Edwards is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Oberlin College where she received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002. She currently serves on Oberlin’s Board of Trustees where she is chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and former chair of Oberlin’s 2016-2017 Presidential Search Committee. She received her doctorate from the University of Chicago, and has published several articles on African American women and African American religion in encyclopedia and anthologies. Her biography of Denmark Vesey for middle school students won the New York Public Library “Book for the Teen Age.” As a public intellectual committed to bringing African American studies to adult audiences and K-12 classrooms, Dr. Edwards lectures and consults with libraries and archives, historical societies and museums, faith-based communities, and school districts. She served from 2002-2020 as a gubernatorial appointee and charter member of the New Jersey Amistad Commission, co-chair of its Curriculum Committee, chair of the Executive Committee, and co-author of the New Jersey Amistad Bill signed by Governor Phil Murphy in 2021.
Dr. Edwards is a life member of the NAACP, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and the Association of Black Women Historians. She currently serves as the chair of the church council of The Mark Montclair, a United Methodist congregation in Montclair, NJ. Dr. Edwards is proud of her family roots in Columbus, GA. She and her husband, Paul B. Edwards, have two adult children and currently reside in Montclair, NJ and Pensacola Beach, FL.
Ollie Starnes, Moderator, was born in 1988 at Morristown Memorial Hospital. His family moved repeatedly across the county from Morristown, to Randolph, and Budd Lake before settling on Woods Edge Drive in Succasunna. Ollie attended Jefferson Elementary, Lincoln-Roosevelt, then Eisenhower Middle School before his family moved to Ledgewood, where Ollie’s primary education culminated as a member of the 2006 Roxbury High School graduating class. Ollie chose to pursue higher education at Trinity College in Hartford, CT and returned home with degrees in Political Science (B.A.) and Public Policy (MPP). Since 2014, Ollie has been actively involved with grass-roots community organizing throughout Morris County. In 2015, he served as Campaign Manager for Dan Kline (RHS ’06) who became Roxbury’s youngest-ever Councilman and the first Democrat on Township Council since 2003. In 2020, Ollie was appointed to the Morris County Human Relations Commission, the Morris County NAACP Executive Committee, and currently serves as Executive Director at the Sankofa Heritage Collective of Morris County.
Register online or by calling the Library at 973 584-2400.