Each year the Albion College History Department invites a distinguished scholar in U.S. history to share their work with the faculty, students, and community at-large. This endowed lecture series was established to honor the late Professor Coy James, a much-revered member of the History faculty for many years. Some recent speakers have included:
Dr. Philip P. Mason, author and Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History at Wayne State University and the former Director of the Archives of Labor & Urban Affairs at the Walter P. Reuther Library, presented the Coy James Memorial History Lecture in November. Dr. Mason spoke on “Rum Running and the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition on the Michigan-Ontario Waterway.” The theme was selected as a Michigan complement to Ken Burns’ October series on prohibition.
In February for Black History Month, the Coy James Memorial Lecture, entitled “Albion and the American Dream,” was presented by Professor Wesley Dick. Professor Dick discussed perspectives on the history of the Albion community, including the role of “the Albion Malleable Iron Company” in creating Albion’s multi-ethnic and inter-racial population, during World War II, desegregation of the West Ward School, the presidential campaign vist of John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King., Jr.’s Albion speech, and Albion during the first Earth Day of 1970 when CBS news put Albion on its national network special.
Dr. Kristin Hoganson (University of Illinois) presented her study on "Buying Into Empire: Exploring Material and Food Consumption,1865-1920, and the Historical Context of Globalization." Dr. Hoganson specializes in the history of the United States in global context and the cultures of U.S. imperialism.
Kevin K. Gaines (University of Michigan) spoke on American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates in the Civil Rights Era. Gaines is director of the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies and professor of history at the University of Michigan. He is author of the award-winning Uplifting the Race: Black Leadership, Politics, and Culture during the Twentieth Century.
Thomas J. Sugrue (University of Pennsylvania) presented his research on "Jim Crow's Last Stand: Detroit and America's Unfinished Struggle for Racial Equality." Prof. Sugrue is the author of prize-winning The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton University Press).
Mae Ngai (University of Chicago) shared her work on "'An Ironic Testimony to the Value of American Democracy': Assimilationism and the World War II Internment of Japanese Americans." Prof. Ngai is the author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, 1924-1965 (Princeton University Press). Impossible Subjects has received multiple honors including the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from Organization of American Historians and the Littleton Griswold Prize from American Historical Association.
Nick Savatore (Cornell University) presented "Singing in a Strange Land: C.L. Franklin's Ministry from Mississippi to Detroit, 1915-1984, the focus of his most recent book.