Keynote Speaker: Earl Lewis




Earl Lewis is a noted social historian, award-winning author, educational leader, and founding director of the University of Michigan Center for Social Solutions. He is the Thomas C. Holt distinguished University Professor of History, Afroamerican and African Studies, and public policy. He has authored or edited nine books, scores of essays, articles and comments, and served as general editor of the eleven-volume Young Oxford History of African Americans. He is currently partnering with Nancy Cantor to edit the Our Compelling Interests book series, which investigates how diversity pairs with democracy to enhance the likelihood of shared prosperity. He was an Obama administration appointee to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, served as president of the Organization of American Historians, and is the recipient of eleven honorary degrees.

Teaching Workshop Leader: Kevin Gannon




Kevin Gannon is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence and Professor of History at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He is the author of Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto, published in April 2020 as part of the Teaching and Learning in Higher Education series from West Virginia University Press. He is a regular contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education, and his writing on history and higher education has also appeared in outlets such as Vox, CNN, and The Washington Post. In 2016, he appeared in the Oscar-nominated documentary 13th, directed by Ava DuVernay. You can find Gannon online at his blog and on Twitter: @TheTattooedProf.

Excursion Leader: Camille Westmont



Camille Westmont is an archaeologist, historic preservationist, and Director of the Tennessee Convict Stockade Project. Westmont previously served as the postdoctoral fellow in historical archaeology for the Center for Southern Studies at the University of the South. Since 2020, she has been directing excavations at the Lone Rock Stockade, the largest convict labor stockade in Tennessee during the era of convict leasing and located in Grundy County, Tennessee. Westmont received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2019. She has previously worked for the U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, the National Park Service, and the Historic American Building Survey, and has conducted research in the U.S., Jamaica, the Virgin Islands, Mexico, Peru, Sweden, and Iceland.


Douglas A. Blackmon is a distinguished journalist and the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, which examines how the enslavement of African-Americans persisted deep into the 20th century, and producer of the acclaimed PBS documentary based on his book. Blackmon's current projects are a book with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, producing The Harvest, a documentary film examining consequences of the failure of public school integration, and directing the Narrating Justice Project at Georgia State University. Previously, he was a member of the faculty at the University of Virginia's Miller Center and hosted the nationally broadcast public television program American Forum. For many years, Blackmon was an award-winning correspondent and editor at The Wall Street Journal and worked on reporting teams that included a Pulitzer Prize winner (2002) and finalist (2011).

Bryan Giemza is Associate Professor of Humanities and Literature in the Honors College at Texas Tech University. For several year, Dr. Giemza directed the Southern Historical Collection, the world's largest archive pertaining to the history and culture of the American South. He is currently working with public media to produce a documentary about the lost apples of Texas, and is developing a book on science and mathematics in the work of Cormac McCarthy for Bloomsbury Press. Giemza is an author or editor to six books, ten book chapters, and more than thirty published articles and reviews.

Juyoun Jang is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of the South and specializes in African American literature, Black Feminism, and critical prison studies, and the Global South. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Mississippi and her M.A. in American Culture and B.A. in Korean literature and Philosophy from Sogang University. Jang is interested in prison education and abolitionist pedagogies and previously taught African-American and Southern literature at the Mississippi State Penitentiary. She is currently co-editing The Global South special issue on “Incarceration and Resistance” (forthcoming Fall 2023) and translating Kiese Laymon’s Heavy: An American Memoir into Korean (forthcoming 2022).

Kevin Kehrberg is a musicologist and professional bassist who studies histories of sacred musical expression in the U.S. He is a current volume editor for Sounding Spirit, a publishing initiative that marries influential religious songbooks of the past with digital innovation. His articles have appeared in AmeriGrove, 2d. ed. (Oxford, 2013), Music in American Life (Greenwood, 2013), The Changing World Religion Map (Springer, 2015) and The Bitter Southerner (2020). Kehrberg received his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 2010, and he received a Postdoctoral Faculty Fellowship from the Appalachian College Association in 2016. In 2021, his collaborative recording for Bluegrass at the Crossroads won IBMA’s Instrumental Recording of the Year. He currently serves as chair of the Department of Music at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC, where he teaches various courses in music and culture and performs regularly throughout the region.

Jeffrey A. Keith earned a doctorate in history from the University of Kentucky and now teaches courses on U.S. foreign relations, Appalachian studies, environmental history, and globalization as a professor of global studies at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina. He has also served on the graduate faculty for Warren Wilson College’s MA program in critical craft studies. Keith writes essays about rural life, cultural history, and diplomacy, and he has toured throughout the U.S. and abroad playing old-time and bluegrass music.


Jha D Amazi is a Principal at MASS Design Group and the Director of the Public Memory and Memorials Lab. The PMML is an initiative that advances research, training, and built work around a central thesis: spatializing memory can heal us and inspire collective action for generations to come. Projects in the Lab’s portfolio include the Sugar Land 95 Cemetery Revitalization Project, Harris County Remembrance Project and several initiatives with the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (National Trust for Historic Preservation). At MASS, Amazi contributed to the Gun Violence Memorial Project, Franklin Park Action Plan, and the Louise B. Miller Memorial and Freedom Garden at Gallaudet University. Previously, she worked as a Designer at Sasaki Associates. Amazi received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Northeastern University and her Master of Architecture I from the University of Pennsylvania.

William L. Andrews is the E. Maynard Adams Professor of English Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has authored or edited more than 40 books on African American literature and culture and has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Andrews is series editor of North American Slave Narratives, Beginnings to 1920, a complete digitized library of autobiographies and biographies of North American slaves and ex-slaves, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ameritech and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tammy Ingram is a historian who publishes on southern politics, crime, and punishment, and is currently an associate professor in History and an affiliate in Urban Studies, Women & Gender Studies, and Crime, Law, & Society at the College of Charleston. Ingram's first book, Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the American South, received awards from the Georgia Historical Society, the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council, and the Business History Conference. Her latest book project is The Wickedest City in America, which has been optioned for television.

Andrew Krinks is an educator, writer, scholar, and movement builder working at the intersections of religion, race, mass criminalization, and abolition in Nashville, Tennessee. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow with Vanderbilt University's Initiative for Race, Research, and Justice where he conducts research on racial justice as it relates to education, carceral institutions, and public health. Krinks teaaches college and seminary courses on religion and social justice, and conducts research on the impacts of prisons and policing. His book White Property, Black Trespass: The Religion of Mass Criminialization is forthcoming with the New York University Press - Religion and Social Transformation series (2023).

Talitha L. LeFlouria is Associate Professor of History and fellow of the Mastin Gentry White Professorship in Southern History at the University of Texas at Austin, and has received several prestigious fellowships including an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. She is the author of the award-winning Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), the first history of Black, working-class incarcerated women in the post-Civil War period. LeFlouria is currently writing Searching for Jane Crow: Black Women and Mass Incarceration in America from the Auction Block to the Cell Block (Beacon Press). LeFlouria also writes for publications, including The Atlantic, and her research has been in several documentaries including Slavery by Another Name and One Thousand Years of Slavery.

Matthew Mancini is Emeritus Professor of American Studies at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author of One Dies Get Another: Convict Leasing in the American South; Alexis de Tocqueville; and Alexis de Tocqueville and American Intellectuals: From His Times to Ours, which received a Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award. He co-edited Understanding Maritain, a key reference point for interpreting the great French Catholic philosopher. Mancini has published articles on subjects ranging from convict leasing to the laws of war, Tocqueville’s American reception, and Moby-Dick.

Allyn Maxfield-Steele is Co-Executive Director of the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee. He is a graduate of Wofford College and Vanderbilt Divinity School. His work includes international solidarity struggles, education, and organizing work in South Carolina, and a range of support for front-line struggles throughout the South and Appalachia. He is an ordained minister in the Christian Church, and has served congregations in Alaska and Tennessee.

Chassidy Olainu-Alade is the Coordinator for Community and Civic Engagement for Fort Bend Independent School District. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Secondary Education from Louisiana State University, as well as a M.Ed. in Secondary Social Studies from Texas Southern University. Olainu-Alade is an advocate for teaching and learning about the system of convict leasing and is the leader of the Sugar Land 95 Memorialization Project. She was named the 2022 National Social Studies Leader of the Year by the National Social Studies Supervisors Association and the 2021 Texas Social Studies Supervisor of the Year for her advocacy and work related to the Sugar Land 95.

Tiffany Williams Roberts is Director of the Public Policy Unit at the Southern Center for Human Rights. She has practiced criminal defense law since 2008, first as a public defender with the Atlanta Judicial Circuit Public Defender and later as a solo practitioner. A significant portion of Roberts' private practice was dedicated to the pro bono representation of activists and organizers. She has been recognized by several organizations for movement lawyering and activism. A community organizer, she co-founded the police accountability organization Building Locally to Organize for Community Safety (BLOCS) in 2008 to promote a holistic approach to public safety. She is also a founding member of the Atlanta chapter of the global Black Lives Matter network. Recent awards include being named in Atlanta Magazine’s 500 Most Powerful Leaders since it began and in 2020 received the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys’ Barbara C. Harris Award for Community Service. Roberts is the former Deputy Director of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism (NIFTEP) at Georgia State University College of Law, where she now serves as an Instructor. She also serves as Chair of the Social Justice Ministry at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Austin Sauerbrei is the Executive Director of Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment. Formerly known as Save Our Cumberland Mountains, SOCM is a 50-year-old, member-driven organization dedicated to empowering Tennesseans in their efforts to have a greater voice in determining their own future. Sauerbrei received his M.Ed. in Community Development and Action from Vanderbilt University. He is currently writing and illustrating a novel based on the events of the 1891-1892 miners' insurrections known as "the Coal Creek War", a story of Appalachian labor struggles, the reinstitution of slavery through the "Convict Lease", the subtle brutality of Southern bureaucrats desperate to hold on to the Lost Cause, and the unlikely alliance between white, poor Appalachian coal miners and the black prisoners who were used as strike-breakers. This graphic novel is to be published by Haymarket Books in 2023.

Lora Wildenthal is the John Anthony Weir Professor of History at Rice University, and received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Her current research is on the history of the meanings of wages, with a focus on the era of the Prussian reforms. Wildenthal is the author of German Women for Empire, 1884-1945 and The Language of Human Rights in West Germany. With Jean Quataert, she co-edited Routledge History of Human Rights, a volume of essays that explores the history of human rights with an unusual chronological and geographical reach.

Amy Louise Wood is a Professor of History at Illinois State University. She is the author of Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940 (University of North Carolina Press, 2009), which won the Lillian Smith Book Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in History. As co-editor of Crime and Punishment in the Jim Crow South (University of Illinois Press, 2019), she authored a chapter on the paradoxes of penal reform in South Carolina. Her current book project Sympathy for the Devil: The Criminal in the American Imagination, 1870-1930 is under contract with Oxford University Press.

Friday Evening Entertainment

The Cherry Creek Ramblers

Dave Henderson, Matthew Silvey, Jeffrey Swann, and Hannah Swann

The repertoire of the Cherry Creek Ramblers was originally published in the 1920s or early 1930s, or is in the public domain. In the songs with lyrics, most of the voices are not those of convicts shoveling rock or lining track but of railroad bums, moonshiners, back-door men, gamblers, and chicken thieves, all of whom are just one step ahead of chain gang labor. Rural white and Black musicians of the early 20th century made jokes out of all kinds of legal and moral transgressions, perhaps as a way of taking the edge off of the harsh realities of their world, and the band's set of instrumental music would have been familiar to most of the people who lived in this region a century ago. Impromptu buck dancing or clogging is encouraged if the spirit moves. All instruments played are either from the early 20th century or replicas similar in design and sound. The band makes no claims of authenticity or pedigree, and arrangements vary widely from source materials. In keeping with the spirit of the music, the band's goal is to amuse and divert.

Dave Henderson has repaired musical instruments and equipment, taught guitar lessons by day, and played music professionally in bands of many genres throughout the Upper Cumberland by night for decades now. He currently resides in Cookeville, but hails from Manchester, Tennessee. Matthew Silvey has worked as a case worker, lawyer, and most recently a lecturer in social work at Tennessee Tech University (when not playing, listening to, admiring, and collecting music in a wide variety of genres since the 1990's). He currently resides in Cookeville, Tennessee. Jeff Swann C'97 has taught high school history, worked in the furniture industry, and managed a farm over the past several years (when not learning, playing, and informally studying old Southern music). He currently resides in Sparta, Tennessee. Hannah Swann C'23 is working toward a double major at Sewanee in music and mathematics.