Whitaker To Speak on African Americans in Arizona
In conjunction with the Copper Queen Library's "Black History Month"
programming, Arizona Humanities Scholar Dr. Matthew C. Whitaker, author of
Race Work: The Rise of Civil Rights in the Urban West (2005) and Assistant
Professor of United States History, African and American Studies, and Justice
and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University will lecture on "The African
American Experience in Arizona: 500 Years of History" on February 7 at 6:30pm
in the Library Meeting Room.
Whitaker is also CEO of the Whitaker Group, L.L.C., a diversity consulting firm,
and his commentaries on popular culture, race, class, gender, presidential
politics, and U.S./African relations, have appeared on NPR, PBS and other media
According to Whitaker, people of African descent have been present in Arizona
since 1528, when the first of many Spanish-speaking people of African descent
arrived. By 1880, English-speaking Black people had moved to the state as
servants, lumberjacks, free farmers, and entrepreneurs. Hundreds later
migrated to fill remote military outposts.
The history of African Americans in the West, however, is primarily an urban
story of struggle for racial equality, so Whitaker's talk will focus mainly on the
20th century, when World War II and the industries that arose to support it
offered Black people more job opportunities and a freer life style in the West
and Arizona. As a result, the Black population grew greatly, paving the way for
the state’s civil rights movement.
This program is free and open to the public. For further information, contact
the library at 432-4232.