THE MCRC Project at Our Next Six@Six Lecture: Nov. 29 at 6 p.m.


One of the most inspiring and insightful projects that I’ve seen in my decade at NKU is Dr. Joan Ferrante’s ongoing project looking at the creation of racial categories in America.  Dr. Ferrante has worked with a team of NKU student to explore this crucial topic. The arts are their lens. Film. Dance. Music. Sculpture. Prose and poetry. Theater.

Let me give you a sense of what they are doing: There is no generic marker for “race” – it is a creation of our culture and law, and very often a cruel creation. As the project synopsis explains: “In the land we have come to call the United States, the race concept and its categorical vision of humanity has a 400-year history that began with Jamestown. Since then everyone who lives, or has ever lived on this land has wrestled with that categorical vision and their place within it. Drawing on the transformative powers of the arts, the MCRC project explains how and why race and racial categories were constructed. The act of dividing people into a handful of officially recognized racial categories is not, and has never been, a matter of selecting a category from a check-box list.  A study of this history tells us that dividing peoples into racial categories has required family, ancestral, romantic, and other ties be severed.”

Four films are planned to showcase the students’ work. Two are complete. The first looked at a historic narrative about the “white slave,” a unique story that underscore the importance of skin tone in America before the Civil War and after. The second revisits the Margaret Garner story about a slave family that escaped bondage in Richwood, Ky., only to be captured after making it to free soil in Cincinnati. The story inspired Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved” and the movie that followed. The next two films are in the planning stages now. This talk will sample the first two and explain the project’s origins and progression.

Expect to be amazed by this project on at least two levels:

  • First, the insight and analysis the students bring to this topic will change how you understand and interpret American history. It’s a fresh, new and important look at a familiar story.

  • Second, the talent the students bring to this project is stunning. Their artistic interpretations quite simply have a lot of “wow!” factor

You just don’t see a project like this every day. You won’t want to miss it. To make this easier and more accessible, we are offering to waive the usual Six@Six ticket price ($6). Reserve your free ticket online.

This will be the second talk in this year’s Six@Six. One new feature is a greater emphasis on the collaboration of NKU faculty with NKU students on research and creative work. That will be center stage for Dr. Ferrante’s talk. She’ll be joined by some of her student collaborators.

When: Thursday, Nov. 29

Where: TheCarnegie at 1028, Scott Street, Covington;

Time: 6p-7:30p.

Refreshments: Provided / free

Parking: Free on-street parking and limited “lot” parking nearby.

Six@Six (six talks at 6 p.m. for $6 each)  is a “lecture series” but I honestly hesitate to call this one a lecture. Dr. Ferrante and her students won’t be talking “to” you or “at” you. They’ll be talking with you about this important topic.

Come. Bring friends. Spread the word.

Thank you,


Mark Neikirk, executive director

Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement

Northern Kentucky University Griffin Hall 529 Highland Heights, KY 41099 |

Office: 859.572.1449 Mobile: 859.801.3838