The sixth annual Lemon Project Spring Symposium, “Jim Crow and Civil Rights in the Age of President Obama” will take place on the evening of Friday, March 18th and during the day on Saturday, March 19th 2016 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Research presentations will be given on March 19th. “The Lemon Project is a multifaceted and dynamic attempt to rectify wrongs perpetrated against African Americans by the College through action or inaction.” This symposium is an opportunity for scholars and non-scholars to come together to share research and discuss ideas related to the afterlives of racial slavery. For more about the Lemon Project go to: www.wm.edu/lemonproject.
When President Obama entered the White House in 2008, many people believed that his election heralded a “post- racial” society. However, at the close of his second term, present realities of the U.S. such as #BlackLivesMatter, mass incarceration, the whittling away of voting rights and affirmative action, and campus unrest seem to contradict this notion. Is 21st century American “colorblindness” the desired outcome of past Civil Rights efforts, or does it work to obscure and enable the erasure of the ongoing problems preventing full Black participation in American democracy? We seek paper proposals that grapple with these pressing issues and illuminate contemporary manifestations of social and legal segregation and the unabated struggle for social justice. Papers may reflect a range of time periods, methodologies, and places and spaces including, but not limited to those connected with the state of Virginia and the College of William and Mary.