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ASU hosts symposium in D.C. focusing on race, slavery and genealogy

U.S. Capitol

The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Arizona State University will launch a symposium in Washington D.C. dedicated to exploring connections between slavery, freedom and genealogical connections. A series of Washington Post stories centering around ties between U.S. elected officials and slavery inspired the event.

The symposium focuses on topics related to the “interconnected histories of race and place.”

Lois Brown is the director of ASU’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.

“I think the power of those articles and the database is that it has sparked a really wide ranging conversation about how we are all connected to the past, which is not that far off from us in this present day moment," she said.

She also says slavery has a layered history.

"It's one where so many things, places, people, moments and laws, practices and traditions are all interconnected. And so it's not as easy to say enslavement was something that belonged to the past," she said.

Several speakers will talk at the symposium, including educators. Brown says this symposium is the first in a series, with the next one planned for Phoenix next year.

Registration for the June 13 event in D.C. is online.

Ignacio Ventura is a reporter for KJZZ. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in news media and society.