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UT Humanities Center Conversations & Cocktails: Breaking Boundaries 2021 Series – Brandon Winford

A Dangerous Age: John Hervey Wheeler and the Search for Freedom of Movement

Did you know that one of the most powerful Black figures of the Civil Rights era was a banker? At this lecture, Professor Brandon Winford will share his research about the activism of banker-lawyer John Hervey Wheeler (1908–1978), president of Mechanics and Farmers Bank (M&F Bank), located on Durham's "Black Wall Street." Wheeler became North Carolina’s most influential Black power broker and among the top civil rights figures in the South. Professor Winford shows that while direct action represented a shift away from strict reliance on legal tactics, Wheeler recognized that ongoing civil disobedience meant that he was in a much better position than ever before to fulfill the ideals of New South prosperity through increased involvement in reform and policymaking at the local, state, and national levels.

Brandon K. Winford is an associate professor of history at UT and is a historian of late 19th- and 20th-century US and African American history. He is the author of John Hervey Wheeler, Black Banking, and the Economic Struggle for Civil Rights (2020). He is the co-winner of the 2020 Lillian Smith Book Award and was the recipient of the 2019 Junior Diversity Leadership Award from the UT College of Arts and Sciences and the 2020 Hardy Liston, Jr. Symbol of Hope Award from the UT Commission for Blacks. Professor Winford is the cofounder of the Fleming-Morrow Endowment in African American History, named in honor of two pioneer Black professors in the UT College of Arts and Sciences. He is currently working on a book about the history of Black banking in the American South since 1865.

Free and open to the public.

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Thursday, April 22 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm

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Lectures & Presentations


Humanities & Social Sciences


Current Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, General Public


Classics, English, History, Humanities Center, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures (MFLL), Philosophy, Religious Studies


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