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In the Shadow of Destrehan: Legacies of Slavery
- Azby Brown (Safecast’s lead researcher and author of the Safecast Report)
- Catherine Pugh (Adjunct Professor at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University, Japan Campus)
This event addresses the ways in which the legacies of racial segregation and discrimination have influenced American society, spanning the era of slavery to the post-Civil-War Reconstruction and the imposition of the “Jim Crow” system of legal segregation. In recent years we have seen the byproducts of this system in the criminal justice system, the disenfranchisement of voting rights and the control and exclusion of minorities in public space. While immigration restrictions have been a priority of the Trump administration, the civil rights and life chances of minorities are more broadly embattled, and racial exclusion has remained in various forms and continues to divide American society. The current political moment has turned the spotlight on deeply rooted racial divisions, but there is nothing new in this except that the media has amplified pre-existing racial divides and brought attention to the plight of minorities in contemporary society.
This event examines the legacy of slavery in the U.S., focusing initially on the plantation system in southern Louisiana, with the Destrehan river plantation north of New Orleans serving as a case study for the system of slavery that predominated in this era. Azby Brown, a direct descendent of the Destrehan family, whose patriarch served as the first United States Senator from Louisiana in 1812, and at the direction of President Thomas Jefferson was influential in the transition of the Orleans Territory to statehood, will speak to the racial politics in the South and reflect on his family history and how resistance to racial justice continues to manifest itself today within white society and institutions.
Catherine Pugh will discuss the origin and evolution of Jim Crow laws in the United States (legalized segregation). After slavery was almost entirely banned in 1865 by the 13th Amendment, lawmakers – particularly those in the south – developed Jim Crow laws to enforce racial segregation and protect race hierarchies. Ms. Pugh will discuss their direct influence on not just modern laws, but also on current social and professional norms in the United States.
Safecast’s lead researcher and author of the Safecast Report
Azby Brown is a native of New Orleans, and has lived in Japan since 1985. He is a leading authority on Japanese architecture, design, and environmentalism, and the author of The Very Small Home (2005), Just Enough: Lessons in living green from traditional Japan (2010), and The Genius of Japanese Carpentry (2014). He joined the Faculty of Architecture at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology in 1995. In 2003 Azby founded the KIT Future Design Institute, focusing on cognitive and cultural issues surrounding the human hand and its use in the creative process.
Since the start of Fukushima Nuclear Powerplant disaster in March 2011, Azby has been closely involved with assisting affected communities and analyzing and reporting the issues they face. He is Safecast’s lead researcher, and is primary author of the Safecast Report.
Adjunct Professor at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University, Japan Campus
Catherine Pugh specializes in criminal defense law, with an emphasis on litigating civil rights and police misconduct matters. She was an Honors Hire for the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and conducted “pattern and practice” investigations in DOJ’s Special Litigation Section. She also served as a trial attorney for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. Ms. Pugh is a current Adjunct Professor at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University, Japan Campus, and teaches Evidence, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Legal Research and Writing. She also teaches “African-Americans: Equality and the Law” at Temple University, Japan Campus, which considers civil rights laws in education, policing, voting, housing and employment. Mr. Pugh was nominated for The American Society of Legal Writers Scribes Award for her comment What Do You Get When You Add Megan Williams to Matthew Sheppard and Victim Offender Mediation? A Hate Crime Law Prosecutors Will Actually Want to Use. She is admitted to the Maryland State Bar.