Fridays@3 with Historian and Filmmaker Professor Gretchen Sullivan Sorin: “Driving While Black”

FEB 26, 2021 | 3:00 PM TO 4:30 PM




February 26, 2021: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM





The Office of Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation



Gretchen Sullivan Sorin is Director and Distinguished Professor of the Cooperstown Graduate Program at SUNY Oneonta and has more than thirty years of experience as a museum consultant working for more than 250 museums. Dr. Sorin has curated innumerable exhibits—including with the Smithsonian, the Jewish Museum and the New York State Historical Association—and lives in upstate New York. She writes and lectures frequently on African American history and museum practice. 
Dr. Sorin is the author of Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights. This acclaimed historian describes how the automobile fundamentally changed African American life. Through much of our country’s history, mobility has been limited for African Americans: first, by slavery; then, in the 20th Century, by the racism of some whites who denied their black countrymen the right to travel freely on trains and buses. Driving While Black reveals how the car—the ultimate symbol of independence and possibility—allowed black families to evade the many dangers presented by an entrenched racist society. but also exposed them to discrimination and deadly violence, and how that history resonates today. Interweaving stories of her own family history, Gretchen Sorin opens up an entirely new view onto one of the most important issues of our time.
Dr. Sorin will discuss her book and show clips of the 2020 documentary Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America. Based on Dr. Sorin’s research, it was directed by Emmy-winning Ric Burns and premiered in the Glimmerglass Filmdays Festival in November 2020.
This movie may be streamed for free through this link: It is also available on PBS On Demand on a Smart TV, Roku, Google Stick, etc.