UK Happenings

Gaines Center Webinar to Address Racial Violence in Kentucky

photo of eventbrite banner for "Racial Violence in Kentucky" webinar
Interim Vice President of Institutional Diversity George Wright will lead the webinar "Racial Violence in Kentucky: A Historical Perspective" 6 p.m., Sept. 7, on Zoom.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 1, 2020) The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities will begin the Fall 2020 semester with a virtual event exploring racial violence in Kentucky from a historical perspective. This is the first of a series of programs related to the center’s focus on citizenship for the academic year. Historian and UK’s interim Vice President for Institutional Diversity George Wright will lead the free public discussion scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7, on Zoom.

Wright, former president of Prairie View A&M University in Texas, is a Lexington native who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UK in history and his doctoral degree in history from Duke University. In 2004, Wright was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from UK and was later inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2005.

Through his courses, published work and charitable contributions to the community, Wright has provided the public with a better understanding of slavery and the impacts of the institution as a whole in the United States and around the world. In 2019, he returned to Lexington to serve as a visiting professor at UK, teaching a seminar on slavery in the Americas and the worldwide quest for equality.

“This event shares Dr. Wright’s expertise in racial violence of all kinds — lynchings, mob violence and ‘legal lynchings’ — in Kentucky as way to provide historical context to the current moment of reckoning in which the university, the Commonwealth, and the nation finds itself,” according to Gaines Center Director Melynda Price

This summer, Wright stepped in to lead UK’s Office for Institutional Diversity. In this position, he is serving as chair of a comprehensive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan, a road map to take action in racial reconciliation and justice on campus.  

The Gaines Center webinar, “Racial Violence in Kentucky: A Historical Perspective,” will take place virtually on Zoom. The online event is free and registration in encouraged. You may register here. This webinar is presented in collaboration with the Cooperative for the Humanities and Social Sciences and African American and Africana Studies in the UK College of Arts and Sciences.

Founded in 1984 by a generous gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on UK's campus. Part of the Division of Student and Academic Life, the center is devoted to cultivating an appreciation of the humanities in its students and faculty. The Gaines Center embraces varied paths of knowledge and particularly strives to integrate creative work with traditional academic learning.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.