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Conviction, Perseverance, Hope — Reading Group on Black Intellectual Leaders

Wed 10.04.23 @ 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM CDT

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How to live the life of faith under excruciatingly unjust circumstances, while drawing on that faith to envision and work toward a better world, is a special gift of the Black church and the Black intellectual tradition.

— Angel Adams Parham, The Black Intellectual Tradition, 2022, p. 38


Black history is rich with leaders who demonstrated clarity of mind, heart, and strength; and their calls for justice still resonate through times fraught with resistance to change. These women and men modeled dignity as they advocated for their convictions, modeled gracious perseverance as they engaged adverse environments, and modeled determination to defy bitterness and champion hope.

The eloquent Olaudah Equiano, Phyllis Wheatly, Frederick Douglass, Anna Julia Cooper, and WEB DuBois are among those featured in The Black Intellectual Tradition: Reading Freedom in Classical Literature (Classical Academic Press, 2022), co-authored by Dr. Anika Prather and Dr. Angel Adams Parham. We will consider their winsome words and visions for progress and how they critiqued and engaged a world steeped in prejudice without “washing their hands” of that world.

Join us for a reading group that will mingle history, declamation, and faith. Together we will consider how we might also aspire to cultivate these three attributes—conviction, perseverance, and hope—in the spirit of these founding fathers and mothers.



Upper House

Dates and Structure

5 Wednesday meetings (9/20, 10/4, 10/18, 11/1, 11/29)

Note: Our first four discussions will be facilitated by Upper House’s Rebecca Cooks. The final discussion [virtual] will feature Dr. Angel Adams Parham, who co-authored the book inspiring this cohort.

Group Size

15 people


Attendees can purchase and read their own copy of The Black Intellectual Tradition: Reading Freedom in Classical Literature (Classical Academic Press, 2022) from their preferred book vendor; but it is not required for the cohort. Select readings will be provided for each discussion.


Rebecca Cooks is an instructor in the Upper House Fellows Program, Director of the Upper House Intern Program, and serves as our Hospitality and Student Enrichment Manager. She earned degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in International Studies—Global Security and French—as a Chancellor’s Scholar. Previous to working at Upper House, she held positions at High Point Church, including the administrative team, small group ministry, and wedding coordinating. She is passionate about helping people integrate faith into every aspect of who they are, and creating cultural bridges that foster individual growth and community connections.

Author / Leader of Final [Virtual] Gathering

Angel Adams Parham is Associate Professor of Sociology and senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture (IASC) at the University of Virginia. She is the author of American Routes: Racial Palimpsests and the Transformation of Race (Oxford University Press, 2017), co-winner of the Social Science History Association’s Allan Sharlin Memorial book award (2018) and co-winner of the American Sociological Association’s Barrington Moore award in comparative-historical sociology (2018). She is also co-author with Anika Prather of The Black Intellectual Tradition: Reading Freedom in Classical Literature (July 2022) from Classical Academic Press.



Wed 10.04.23
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM CDT
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Upper House
365 East Campus Mall, Suite 200
Madison, WI 53715 United States
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