Happy Hour with Blair L.M. Kelley
Virtual Happy Hour
With Blair L.M. Kelley
Join us on Friday, September 18, for Vert & Vogue's first virtual Happy Hour with special guest Blair L.M. Kelley. Hosted by Laurent Dubois. Kelley is active in and out of academia as a professor and award-winning writer and is known as a top-tweeting historian (@profblmkelley). Mix up your favorite beverage and join us as Kelley talks about her new book, social media, and the history of NC she wishes we all knew.
Free and open to the public. Zoom registration required. Your customized Zoom link will be emailed to you on Friday, September 18, 2020. This event is sponsored by Vert & Vogue in collaboration with the Forum for Scholars and Publics.
From the V&V Journal
Photo Credit: LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant
Q&A with Blair L.M. Kelley
September 4, 2020 | Vertandvogue.com
Tell us a little bit about where you’re from.
I’m from South Jersey, right outside of Philadelphia but I’ve been in Durham all my adult life. My family migrated from the South to Philadelphia from Georgia and South Carolina on my mother’s side of the family, and the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia on my father’s side. I’ve been exploring those ancestral journeys in my current book, so it has been a real gift to learn much more about them through documents and to spend time writing and theorizing about that journey.
Was there a moment that you realized you wanted to be a historian? Was it more of a gradual journey?
I have older parents, so both my father and mother told me lots of stories about their experiences growing up. Living through the end of WWII as small children, being teens in the fifties, being part of the first generations to desegregate. So I’ve always had a keen sense of the past from what they shared with me. My maternal grandparents did the same, so the kind of history I strive to write is grounded in the stories they told me growing up, from the perspective of everyday people.
The History News Network highlighted you as one of the top tweeting historians and you’re known as one of the first generation Twitter historians (@profblmkelley). What do you see as the responsibility of historians on social media platforms and how do you hope that a platform like Twitter can broaden the scope of learning?
I have always enjoyed Twitter as a community, as a space for interaction with folks I might not have a chance to know in real life. Twitter taught me that lots of people who are not historians enjoy history, and care about learning about the past in order to better understand our context. As a historian of social movements, I also appreciate the opportunity to watch today’s movement unfold in real time. It's been powerful to bring to bear what I have learned about the past to inform an unfolding present moment.
North Carolina State University
Blair L.M. Kelley is Associate Professor of History and Assistant Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies and International Programs in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at North Carolina State University. She is the author of the award-winning book, Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era…...Read More
Laurent Dubois is Professor of Romance Studies and History and the founder and Faculty Director of the Forum for Scholars & Publics at Duke University. From 2010 to 2013, he was the co-director of the Haiti Laboratory of the Franklin Humanities Institute. He is the author of six books, including…...Read More