Faculty, students discuss lynching legacy

In the wake of recent national and local demonstrations of racial intimidation and terrorism, the ACT Human Rights Film Festival along with the departments of Communication Studies, Ethnic Studies and History, and the Black/African American Cultural Center are hosting a free campus-wide event, “Symbols and History of Lynching in America.” Sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, the program occurs on Wednesday, September 27, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre, and occurs midway through the Colorado State University Diversity Symposium.  

The evening program combines presentations on the symbols and history of lynching, student discussion on bias-motivated incidents on campus, and a screening of and Q&A session on AN OUTRAGE, a 33-minute documentary film. Filmed on-location at lynching sites in six states, AN OUTRAGE incorporates the memories and perspectives of descendants, activists, and scholars of lynching.  

“In the United States, the noose is a material manifestation of the terrorism of post-Civil war America,” says Greg Dickinson, chair of the department of communication studies and producer of the ACT Human Rights Film Festival. “This event draws together experts in history, ethnic studies and communication to remind us of the real and present terror of lynching in America.”   

Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Ben Withers will deliver opening remarks. Prior to the screening of AN OUTRAGE, short context-setting presentations will be given by professor of Ethnic Studies Joon Kim, professor of Communication Studies Scott Diffrient, and professor of History Ann Little and assistant professor of History Jessica Jackson. Students and staff from the Black/African American Cultural Center will then gather on stage for a “fishbowl” conversation about the recent Newsom Hall fake noose incident. The film screening will be followed by a Q&A session with a faculty and student panel. Light refreshments will be served in the LSC Theatre lobby. 

In an email responding to the need for the event, Director of the Black/African American Cultural Center Bridgette Johnson wrote, “Racism still exists. We must recognize this despite how uncomfortable it may be for some, and it must be dismantled by those in positions of Privilege and Power.” 

Due to the potentially triggering subject matter of the event, CSU Counseling Services will be available during the reception for any students and faculty seeking support.