Every Monday morning, when Robert Fullilove teaches incarcerated men and women through the Bard Prison Initiative, he catches a glimpse of the U.S. Constitution.
“Look at the moment the Constitution was framed,” Fullilove, Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Associate Dean of Community and Minority Affairs at the Columbia University Medical Center, told a TC audience in December. “It includes the principle of one man, one vote, but the folks who were held in bondage weren't going to be seen as voters. And some of the more extreme interpretations say this is where there was an attempt to prove that black people aren't human.”
Robert Fullilove, Professor Sociomedical Sciences and Associate Dean of Community and Minority Affairs at the Columbia University Medical Center
Speaking at the conference “Repercussions of 400 Years (1619 — 2019) of Oppression and Violence: a Contemporary Approach to Violence Prevention with Urban Youth,” Fullilove, who is also a TC adjunct faculty member, proceeded to trace the deep Constitutional roots of mass incarceration in modern-day America.
Barbara Wallace, Professor of Health Education and Director of CHEUSE
Look at the moment the Constitution was framed. It includes the principle of one man, one vote, but the folks who were held in bondage weren’t going to be seen as voters.
The event, hosted by TC’s Center for Health Equity & Urban Science Education (CHEUSE), was billed as an “acknowledgement event” of 1619 – the year Africans were first kidnapped and brought to the new world as slaves — and its 400-year aftermath. CHEUSE director Barbara Wallace, Professor of Health Education, who spoke about violence prevention with urban youth, argued that the “the core of U.S. cultural violence” is a historic process of transmission of practices that has continued to affect “different cultural group members across generations,” right up into the present moment.”
Arthur L. Whaley, former Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas
“I often joke that all an immigrant has to do is come to the U.S. and watch TV for one week, and they will know which people of color is okay to denigrate and unleash violence on,” Wallace said.
Watch video of Fullilove; Wallace; and keynote speaker Arthur Whaley, research consultant and former Professor of Psychology at the Texas Southern University.