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2023 Keynote Speakers

Dr. Gregory Fried

Professor of Philosophy, Boston College. 

Mr. Derek Burrows

Professional storyteller, musician, and educator

Keynote event co-sponsored by the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies

This event will consist in a screening of Mr. Burrows’ 2016 documentary film, Before the Trees Was Strange, which tells a complex story of how his family experienced race and racism in the Bahamas and the United States.  The screening will be followed by a talk-back session, in which audience members are invited to share experiences and discuss meanings with a panel, including Mr. Burrows and Dr. Fried.

Mirror of Race is an archive of early American photography with interpretation that “serve[s] as an opportunity to reflect on what race means in the United States today—and what it can, should, and should not mean in the future.”  Dr. Gregory Fried is Professor of Philosophy at Boston College.  His most recent book is Towards a Polemical Ethics: Between Heidegger and Plato (2021), and he is co-editor of the New Heidegger Research book series at Rowman & Littlefield International.  Mr. Derek Burrows is a professional storyteller, musician, and educator.  In addition to performing all around the world, he has led workshops on cross-cultural understanding and conflict resolution.

Before the Tree Was Strange