Impact — Summer 2018

About the Authors

Cheryl Boots is a senior lecturer in humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies. She is an interdisciplinary scholar who draws upon literature, history, and music in her analysis of social change and racial justice. Her book, Singing for Equality: Hymns and the Indian Rights and Antislavery Movements, 1640-1855, traces the use of sacred music in colonial and antebellum efforts to include indigenous peoples and African Americans as Americans. A founding member of the Marblehead Racial Justice Team, she is also a singer-songwriter. This essay is part of her current book project, When the Spirit Says: Singing in the Southern Freedom Movement, 1955-1968.

Ashley Farmer is assistant professor of history and African American studies at Boston University. Her research interests include women’s history, gender history, radical politics, intellectual history, and black feminism. Her first book, Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era, analyzes African-American women’s intellectual production to uncover how they shaped gender constructs and political organizing in the black power movement. She is also the co-editor (with Keisha Blain and Chris Cameron) of New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition, a collection of innovative research in African American intellectual history. Professor Farmer’s scholarship has appeared in numerous scholarly venues including The Black Scholar, Women, Gender, and Families of Color, and the Journal of African American History. She has also contributed to popular outlets like The Independent and the History Channel, and is a regular blogger for the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS).

Walter Earl Fluker is the Martin Luther King, Jr. professor of ethical leadership, the editor of the Howard Thurman Papers Project and the director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Initiative for the Development of Ethical Leadership at Boston University School of Theology. Dr. Fluker is the author of Ethical Leadership: The Quest for Character, Civility and Community (Fortress Press, 2009). His most recent manuscript, The Ground Has Shifted: The Future of the Black Church in Post-Racial America, was published with New York University Press in 2016. Fluker is recipient of major awards and grants from the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, National Endowment of the Humanities, the National Archives (National Historical Publications and Research Commission), the Lilly Endowment, the Henry Luce Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Coca-Cola Foundation, J. P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, The Zeist Foundation and other charitable and philanthropic organizations. He is a 2016 recipient of a Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Researchers and from the Boston University Center for the Humanities.

Spencer Piston is assistant professor of political science at Boston University. His scholarship examines racial and economic inequality by analyzing the influence of attitudes about social groups on public opinion and political behavior. His book, Class Attitudes in America, was published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press. His articles have been published in leading political science journals, including The Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Behavior, Political Communication, and Political Psychology. Piston was named a Distinguished Junior Scholar by the Political Psychology Section of the American Political Science Association.

Joelle Renstrom is a lecturer in rhetoric at Boston University’s College of General Studies. Her collection of essays, Closing the Book: Travels in Life, Loss, and Literature, was published in 2015. She is a columnist for the Daily Beast and a staff writer for Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. Her essays—mostly about science and technology—have appeared in Slate, Aeon, The Guardian, and other publications.

Nina Silber is professor of history at Boston University, where she has taught in both the history department and the American and New England Studies Program. Her research and teaching focus on the US Civil War, US women’s history, and the history of the American South. Her books include The Romance of Reunion: Northerners and the South, 1865-1900 (1993); Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War (1992); Daughters of the Union: Northern Women Fight the Civil War (2005); and Gender and the Sectional Conflict (2009). She has been the recipient of numerous grants, including the Charles Warren Fellowship at Harvard University, a Fulbright Senior Lectureship at Charles University in Prague and at Sapienza University in Rome, and a Senior Research Fellowship through the Boston University Humanities Foundation. Aside from her teaching and research, Professor Silber has also worked on numerous public history projects, ranging from museum exhibitions at the Gettysburg National Military Park to film projects on the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.