Black Lives in the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Russia

A Conversation with Yelena Khanga

Moderator: Peter Rollberg, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research Initiatives and Professor of Slavic Languages, Film Studies and International Affairs, GW

Yelena Khanga is a Russian journalist, talk show host, and author of Soul to Soul: A Black Russian Jewish Woman’s Search for Her Roots. Born in Moscow, she is the daughter of Abdulla Khanga, who was the onetime vice president of Zanzibar, and Lily Golden, an African-Russian woman who was a historian and educator. Ms. Khanga’s American grandparents left the United States and immigrated to the Soviet Union in 1931 to escape the oppression of racism.

African-Americans in the Soviet Union and the Legacy of African-Russians Today

Chair: Marlene Laruelle, Director, Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies and Research Professor of International Affairs, GW

Joy G. Carew was the Resident Linguist and Professor of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville for 20 years, as well as the former Associate Director of the International Center. She is the author of Blacks, Reds and Russians: Sojourners in Search of the Soviet Promise. Her most recent publications are posthumous works with her late husband, the writer and Pan-Africanist, Jan Carew. They are an edited collection of poetry by Jan Carew, Return to Streets of Eternity and the co-written, Episodes in My Life: the Autobiography of Jan Carew.

Minkah Makalani is Associate Professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His work and teaching focus on intellectual history, black political thought, radical social movements, Caribbean independence, Black Power, race and racial identity, and hip-hop. He is author of In the Cause of Freedom: Radical Black Internationalism from Harlem to London, 1917-1939.

Meredith Roman is Associate Professor of History at SUNY Brockport. She is author of Opposing Jim Crow: African Americans and the Soviet Indictment of U.S. Racism, 1928-1937, which examines the history of studying and exploiting American race relations among officials in Moscow. Her work on Soviet anti-racism and the African American struggle for human rights has appeared in numerous edited collections and academic journals.

Erik McDuffie is an Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). His research and teaching interests include the African diaspora, the Midwest, black feminism, black queer theory, black radicalism, urban history, and black masculinity. He is the author of Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism.

Sean Guillory is the Digital Scholarship Curator and host of the SRB podcast, a weekly podcast on Eurasian politics, history and culture at the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.