Is America postracial?

Contributors to The Speech: Race and Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” will gather on Sept. 16 for a panel discussion on the topic “Is America Postracial?”

The event at 8 p.m. in 103 Wilson Hall (111 21st Avenue South) is free and open to the public.

The forum will use President Obama’s March 18, 2008, speech on race as a starting point to discuss the meaning of race in the age of Obama. The “A More Perfect Union” speech is credited with saving Obama’s presidential campaign at a critical point, during media furor about the then-senator’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright, pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. The forum will be moderated by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, editor of The Speech and director of the African American and Diaspora Studies program at Vanderbilt. Participants, all of whom contributed to The Speech, include:

Obery Hendricks, visiting professor of Religion and African American Studies, Columbia University.
Derrick Z. Jackson, columnist for the Boston Globe
Adam Mansbach, a novelist whose most recent book is The End of the Jews, and the 2009-2010 New Voices Professor of Fiction at Rutgers University.
Alice Randall, a novelist whose most recent book is Rebel Yell, and writer-in-residence at Vanderbilt.
Gilman W. Whiting, assistant professor of African American and Diaspora Studies program at Vanderbilt.
The forum will be recorded for use as a video podcast and will be posted at VUCast, the website of Vanderbilt News Service, at

Media Contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS