Upcoming Black History Month events will center on racial bias and injustice in America’s penal system

The historical causes and current day implications of America’s incarceration system will be critically examined at three upcoming Black History Month events on Vanderbilt’s campus.

On Feb. 18 at 5:30 p.m., the documentary Rikers: An American Jail will be shown at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center auditorium. The award-winning documentary captures the personal narratives of those who have endured incarceration at Rikers Island. Co-sponsored by the Provost’s Office for Inclusive Excellence, the program includes a viewing of the film and subsequent discussion with Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Black Cultural Center Rosevelt Noble.

Anthony Ray Hinton
Anthony Ray Hinton

On Feb. 19, Anthony Ray Hinton, author of The Sun Does Shine, which was selected for Oprah’s Book Club, will share his experience as an innocent man on death row for 30 years. The moderated discussion begins at 7 p.m. and will be held in Benton Chapel. To register for this event and for a full listing of sponsors, visit the Eventbrite page.

Race, crime and justice processing will be the topic of discussion at a Feb. 20 program led by Noble, a scholar of the American criminal justice system. During the presentation, he will detail the procedural dynamics and discretionary powers that operate at various levels of the American criminal justice system that result in racial disparities in incarceration for African Americans. The program begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center auditorium.

For a full listing of Black History Month events and additional information, visit the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center website.