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.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.