Karla Slocum presents Black Towns, Black Futures, an exploration of rural Black America
in conversation with William A. ("Sandy") Darity
Monday 2/17, 7 pm
Some know Oklahoma's Black towns as historic communities that thrived during the Jim Crow era—this is only part of the story. In this book, Karla Slocum shows that the appeal of these towns is more than their past. Drawing on interviews and observations of town life spanning several years, Slocum reveals that people from diverse backgrounds are still attracted to the communities because of the towns' remarkable history as well as their racial identity and rurality. But that attraction cuts both ways. Tourists visit to see living examples of Black success in America, while informal predatory lenders flock to exploit the rural Black economies. In Black towns, there are developers, return migrants, rodeo spectators, and gentrifiers, too. Giving us a complex window into Black town and rural life, Slocum ultimately makes the case that these communities are places for affirming, building, and dreaming of Black community success even as they contend with the sometimes marginality of Black and rural America.
Karla Slocum is the Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Chair in Public Policy and professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also director of the Institute of African American Research.
William A. (“Sandy”) Darity Jr. is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics and the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. He has served as chair of the Department of African and African American Studies and was the founding director of the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality at Duke. Previously he served as director of the Institute of African American Research, director of the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program, director of the Undergraduate Honors Program in economics, and director of Graduate Studies at the University of North Carolina.
Darity’s research focuses on inequality by race, class and ethnicity, stratification economics, schooling and the racial achievement gap, North-South theories of trade and development, skin shade and labor market outcomes, the economics of reparations, the Atlantic slave trade and the Industrial Revolution, the history of economics, and the social psychological effects of exposure to unemployment.