Anthropologist to Discuss History of Plantation where Michelle Obama’s Ancestors were Enslaved

Free public lecture to be held Tuesday, Oct. 9, at The College of Wooster

October 4, 2012 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio – Antoinette Jackson, professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida, will present “Roots, Routes, and Representation: The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor and Michelle Obama’s Very American Story” on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at The College of Wooster. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 8 p.m. in Room 105 of Scovel Hall (944 College Mall).

Jackson will discuss her work on cultural heritage as it relates to the African American experience. Friendfield Plantation, known today as the place where First Lady Michelle Obama can trace her family roots to enslaved African ancestors, is located within Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor National Heritage Area. The National Heritage Areas Act of 2006 authorized the establishment of the Corridor, which stretches from North Carolina to northern Florida, and opened the door for a new interpretation of American history. It is public recognition of Mrs. Obama that connects this discussion about heritage interpretation at antebellum plantation sites to the present and crystallizes the significance of the story in the ongoing dialogue about history, heritage, memory, and place in America. Jackson’s talk will challenge scholars, educators, and others to critically assess connections between the past and the present in interpreting antebellum plantation spaces and the ways our work informs public knowledge.

Jackson’s lecture is sponsored by the Archaeology Student Colloquium, the Program in Archaeology, the Local Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Cultural Events Committee, the Africana Studies Department, and the local chapter of Lambda Alpha National Honorary Society in Anthropology. There will be an open reception with beverages and snacks after the presentation in the foyer outside the lecture room.

Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2474) or e-mail.