After a successful tenure as Brooklyn College’s Hess Scholar-in-Residence (HSR) for 2023, celebrated writer and activist Barbara Smith will help welcome 2024’s HSR Paul Ortiz to discuss the importance of the humanities. The event will be held on Thursday, November 30, at 2:30 p.m. in the Woody Tanger Auditorium. It will also be live streamed.

Hess Scholar-in-Residence Barbara Smith

Author and Activist Barbara Smith Served as Brooklyn College’s 2022–23 Hess Scholar-in-Residence

Ortiz is a professor of history at the University of Florida (UF) and will serve as Brooklyn College’s Robert L. Hess Scholar in Residence for 2024. He was president of the faculty union at UF and has been critical of political attacks on the humanities and higher education.

Ortiz serves as the director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at UF. He is the author of several books, including An African American and Latinx History of the United States (2018) and Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 (2005). He is co-editor of People Power: History, Organizing, and Larry Goodwyn’s Democratic Vision in the Twenty-First Century (2021) and Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South (2014). Ortiz also has published essays in The American Historical Review, Latino Studies, Cultural Dynamics, The Oral History Review, Kalfou, Florida Historical Quarterly, and many other journals.

In 2013, Ortiz received the César E. Chávez Action and Commitment Award, from the Florida Education Association, AFL-CIO. He is past president of the United Faculty of Florida-UF (FEA-AFL-CIO), the union that represents tenured and nontenure track faculty at UF.

As part of this event, the Brooklyn College community is invited to enjoy free electronic access to a selection of writings by Smith and Ortiz.

This event is sponsored by the Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities; the Maria E. Sánchez Center for Latino Studies; the Black, Race, and Ethnic Studies Initiative (BRESI); and the Robert L. Hess Memorial Fund, in cooperation with the Office of the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences; the Office of the Dean of Visual, Media, and Performing Arts; the departments of Africana Studies; Classics; Communication Arts, Sciences, and Disorders; English; History; Judaic Studies; Modern Languages and Literatures; Philosophy; Political Science; Puerto Rican and Latino Studies; and Sociology; the programs in Caribbean Studies, Urban Sustainability, Studies in Religion, and Women’s and Gender Studies; the Center for the Study of Brooklyn; the Immigrant Student Success Office; the Brooklyn College Chapter of the Professional Staff Congress; the Frederic Ewen Lecture on Civil Liberties and Academic Freedom; and the Freedom to Teach, Freedom to Read, Freedom to Learn Lecture Series at Brooklyn College.

About the Robert L. Hess Memorial Lecture

In cooperation with the Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities, the Robert L. Hess Memorial Lecture is supported by the Robert L. Hess Fund. It is named for and honors the eighth president of Brooklyn College.