Every year, Beinecke Library, in collaboration with the Department of African American Studies, invites a distinguished scholar in African American Studies to give the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Lecture on a topic of their choosing. Typically, the lecture is held in the fall of each academic year. Past lecturers are listed below.
2012 Arnold Rampersad, “Reflections on Nationalism and Literature”
2013 Thadious Davis, “Chaining: Paradigmatic Space in African American Literature”
2014 Cheryl Wall, “Ralph Ellison and the Mystery of American Identity”
2015 Farah Jasmine Griffin, “In This Place: Space, Meaning and Possibility in the Writings of Toni Morrison”
2016 Robin D. G. Kelley, “Finding the Black Radical Tradition: The Education of Cedric J. Robinson”
2017 Brent Hayes Edwards, “Black Radicalism and the Archive”
2018 Jennifer DeVere Brody, On Edmonia Lewis
2019 Robert Reid-Pharr, “Archives and Icons: James Baldwin and the Practice of Celebrity”
2021 (spring) Richard J. Powell, “Hurston’s Law, or, A Philosophy of Décor”
Above: Claude McKay delivering a lecture in the Throne Room at the Kremlin, Moscow, ca. 1923.