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Join Me (@jmjafrx) for the Thursday #UndergroundWGN Panel at #ASALH2017

#TeamTubman and #TeamErnestine mount up!!

Looking forward to participating on this roundtable at this year’s ASALH in Cincinnati!! The show may be canceled, but I’ll be #TeamTubman and #TeamErnestine forever. And I’m joining Regina N. Bradley, Deirdre Cooper Owens, Janell Hobson, and Amrita Chakrabarti Myers to discuss the show, the good, the bad, the provocative, and what it means to have histories of slavery on the small screen.

Details below. Be sure to book your flights for Wednesday so you can join us for this Thursday morning conversation.

And if you haven’t checked out Treva B. Lindsey’s interview with Aisha Hinds, the actress who played Harriet Tubman in the show, read it here.

“I Was a Stranger in a Strange Land:” A Roundtable Discussion on WGN’s Underground

Thu, Sep 28, 10:00 to 11:45am, Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, Mezzanine Level, Continental–AV Room

Session Submission Type: Roundtable


In 2016 WGN America released the show Underground, a series following a group of runaway slaves trying to escape from Macon, Georgia to freedom. The series is a stunning and complicated portrayal of slave life and its impact on daily life. This show is of particular interest because of its highlighting of black women’s voices and experiences as the foundation for understanding slavery as an institutional terror affecting not only blacks living in America but society as a whole. Underground is a refreshing and necessary intervention in revisiting slave narratives in this contemporary social landscape, where race, gender, and class are increasingly flagged as taboo, inappropriate, or unnecessary markers of American life.

This roundtable seeks to deepen the knowledge base Underground provides by teasing out the historical and cultural intersections of the show’s premise with the realities and experiences documented in our historical and cultural archives about slave women, emancipatory practices of the time period, and why it is necessary to utilize the show as a departure point for larger conversations about the significance of popular culture as a gateway to understanding and teaching marginalized black experiences in America.