past event
Racial Equity

SOF Discussion Reception: Reframing History: Understanding Slavery and Its Legacy

Join us for a conversation with Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times Magazine reporter and creator of the landmark 1619 Project, and Terrence L. Johnson, Associate Professor of Religion and Politics in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, on the legacy of slavery, confronting the truth in the 21st century, and understanding the complete history of our nation.

This reception is part of our Society of Fellows Discussion Reception Series in DC, which is generously underwritten by Wilma and Stuart Bernstein and Carolyn and Bill Wolfe.

**If you are not a member of the Society of Fellows, and you would like to join, please contact the SOF Hotline at or at 970-544-7980.


Nikole Hannah-Jones is an award-winning investigative reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine and creator of the landmark 1619 Project. In 2017, she received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, known as the Genius Grant, for her work on educational inequality. She has also won a Peabody Award, a Polk, National Magazine Award, and the 2018 John Chancellor distinguished journalism award from Columbia University. In 2016, Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a training and mentorship organization geared towards increasing the numbers of investigative reporters of color.

Terrence L. Johnson is Associate Professor of Religion and Politics in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. He is an affiliate faculty member of the Department of African American Studies, a senior faculty fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and a member of the Center for Jewish
Civilization’s executive committee. Johnson’s research interests include African American political thought, ethics, American religions, and the role of religion in public life. He is the author of Tragic Soul-Life: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Moral Crisis Facing American Democracy (Oxford 2012) and serves as coeditor of the Religious Cultures of African and African Diaspora People book series, which is published by Duke University Press. His essays have appeared in a number of edited volumes and journals, including the Journal of Religious Ethics, Journal of Africana Religions, CrossCurrents and the Journal of the Society Christian Ethics. Johnson is completing a manuscript titled We Testify with Our Lives: Black Power and the Ethical Turn in Politics, which explores the decline of Afro-Christianity in the post-civil rights era and the increasing efforts among African American leftists to imagine ethics and human rights activism as necessary extensions of, and possibly challenges to, political liberalism, pragmatism and liberal public philosophies rooted in individualism, neutrality and exceptionalism. Johnson’s interdisciplinary research is historical, critical, and constructive, and creatively weaves together African American political thought, political liberalism, Black religion, and literature to explore the nature of justice, freedom, and moral discourse. He is the recipient of the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Career Enhancement Minority Junior Faculty Grant and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. A graduate of Morehouse College, Johnson received his M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Brown University.

Moderator Bio:

Eric L. Motley, Ph.D., is an executive vice president at the Aspen Institute, responsible for Institutional Advancement and governance.  He previously served as Vice President and Executive Director of National Programs and prior to that he served as Vice President and Managing Director of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program. In addition to managing the Henry Crown Fellowship Program, he served as the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute-Rockefeller Foundation’s Commission to Reform the Federal Appointments Process, an independent, nonpartisan effort to evaluate the Federal government’s vetting and clearance procedures. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, he served as the Director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Visitors within the bureau of Public Diplomacy. In 2003, he became Special Assistant to President George W. Bush for Presidential Personnel, where he managed the appointment process in the White House for over 1,200 presidentially-appointed advisory board and commission positions. He joined the White House staff as Deputy Associate Director, Office of Presidential Personnel in 2001.

Eric serves on the Board of Directors of Barry-Wehmiller Companies, The James Madison Council of the Library of Congress, the Library Cabinet for the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mt. Vernon, Chair of the Nominating Committee of the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize, The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s National Council, The John F. Kennedy Centennial Memorial Task Force, National Advisory Board of Honored, Young Concert Artists, Advisory Board of Planet Word Museum, Board of Overseers of Samford University and is a former member of the Chapter Board of the Washington National Cathedral. He is a member of the Cosmos Club of Washington, DC and the Grolier Club of New York City. Eric is a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary International Foundation and Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. He is an avid book collector of first editions and rare books with a concentration on the English writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson. In February 2017, he published a memoir, Madison Park, A Place of Hope, telling the story of where he grew up – a small community in Montgomery, Alabama that was founded in 1880 by a group of freed slaves.

Eric earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy from Samford University. As a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, he earned a Master of Letters in International Relations and a Ph.D. as the John Steven Watson Scholar.

Event information
Tue Dec 10, 2019
6:00pm - 7:30pm EDT
Private Residence
Washington, DC