HSOC Speaker Series

 Searcy Hospital, Mt. Vernon, Alabama in Report of the Board of Trustees of the Alabama State Hospitals, 1954. Courtesy Reynolds Finley Historical Library, University of Alabama Birmingham

The Sound of Migration: Black Music and Western Movement

Monday, Feb. 12 | 4 – 5 p.m. | Crosland 7130 and Online

Tyina Steptoe, associate professor at the University of Arizona speaks on "The Sound of Migration: Black Music and Western Movement." This presentation uses music to show how Western migration affected Black culture, society, and economics in the middle of the twentieth century. Thousands of Black southerners migrated to western states during the Second Great Migration after World War II, and in the 1960s and 1970s, Black midwesterners flocked to California from places like Chicago and Detroit. Professor Steptoe shows how the establishment of Black communities and Black businesses in Western cities shaped early rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and soul music.

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CANCELLED: Jim Crow in the Asylum: Psychiatry and Civil Rights in the American South

Monday, March 11 | 4 – 5 p.m. | Crosland 7130 and Online

Kylie Smith is an associate professor, director of the Center for Healthcare History and Policy in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and associate faculty in the history department at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her Ph.D. in the history of psychiatry in Australia and is the author of the award-winning book Talking Therapy: Knowledge and Power in American Psychiatric Nursing published by Rutgers University Press in 2020. Her new book entitled Jim Crow in the Asylum: Psychiatry and Civil Rights in the American South will be published by UNC Press early in 2025 and is supported by the G13 Grant from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.


The Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s sought to end racial segregation in all U.S. public institutions, including hospitals. Psychiatric hospitals became political battlegrounds over segregation and patients' rights, setting the scene for disparities that continue today.

Jim Crow in the Asylum explores the process of desegregation and deinstitutionalization in state psychiatric hospitals in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. It draws on original records, court cases, and personal testimony to expose the racist ideas that underpinned the treatment of African Americans with mental illness and saw psychiatric hospitals used as dumping grounds for some of the South's most vulnerable people.

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Race, Technology, and the Origins of Modern Policing

Tuesday, April 16 | 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Crosland Tower, Wilby Classroom G120 and Online

Matthew Guariglia, affiliated scholar at the Hastings Center for Criminal Justice, will present on on "Race, Technology, and the Origins of Modern Policing." Guariglia will present from 11 a.m. to noon followed by a luncheon reception.

Based on his new book Police and the Empire City: Race and the Origins of Modern Policing in New York, this talk will trace the role that race, ethnicity, and colonialism had in shaping the modern police department in New York City, the rest of the United States, and the world. Perceived failures on the part of the police, politicians, reformers, and scientists to effectively subordinate a multi-racial city drove "innovations" like fingerprinting, mug shots, and other surveillance technologies which form the basis for the modern information-hoarding style of policing.

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For more information, please contact Eve Pike (epike3@gatech.edu) or Germán Vergara (vergara@gatech.edu).