Founding Director

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Dr. Neal A. Lester

Neal A. Lester, PhD, is Foundation Professor of English and Founding Director of the multiple award-winning Project Humanities initiative at Arizona State University. With expertise in African American literature and culture, Dr. Lester has authored or edited seven books and myriad essays and chapters on topics ranging from the race and gender politics of hair, Black masculinities, and African American folklore, to Toni Morrison’s children’s books. In addition to his publications on ntozake shange, Alice Walker, Sapphire, and Zora Neale Hurston, Dr. Lester has done pioneering work on the Nword, having created and taught the first college course on the Nword in the US.

His expertise on cultural appropriation, on everyday lessons in privilege and bias, and on humanities and entrepreneurship is nationally and internationally recognized. His expertise has led to interviews with CNN, USA Today, Good Morning America, The Special Report with Reva Martin, Newsweek, Your Teen (for Parents), Arizona Horizon, Raising Arizona Kids, Arizona Republic, Ahwatukee Foothills News, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He has lectured in Ghana, Pakistan, China, Mexico, Italy, and Korea.

An award-winning teacher and popular radio guest, moderator, and panelist, Dr. Lester is editor of a forthcoming collection on global social justice, to be published in 2024 by the Modern Language Association, and guest editor of the special issue of Humanities on the topic of “African American Children’s Literature.”

In January 2022, Dr. Lester received Arizona State University’s inaugural Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Servant-Leadership Faculty Award, an accolade that follows other such MLK recognitions from the City of Tempe (AZ), the City of Phoenix (AZ), the Town of Paradise Valley (AZ).

In April 2023, Dr. Lester became the 21st recipient of the Gary Krahenbuhl “Difference Maker” Award, presented by the ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, for his sustained and impactful work as a faculty member whose teaching, research, and service center social justice and its connection to humanity.

Longer Bio


Dr. Lester Introduces African American Literature I (Beginning to Harlem Renaissance) via Short Videos

Collections & Videos

Explore the collections and stories within Dr. Lester's office.

Research by Dr. Lester

As a scholar of African American literature and culture, Dr. Lester is often called upon by local, national and international media and communities to offer commentary on the state of US race relations, past and present. Such commentaries cover such topics as the race and gender politics of hair, the Nword, cultural appropriation, and privilege and bias. 

General categories of his research expertise are: Race Relations in America, Cultural Appropriation, the Nword, Politics of Hair, and Social Justice through Things and Stuff.

Race Relations in America


S.No. Video Title Link Date

"Reflections on the 'Intergenerational Divide," Men's Day Annual Observance,  St. James A.M.E Church

Click here

Jan 2024


Dr. Neal Lester reflects on being honored with the 2022 ASU MLK Faculty Servant-Leadership Award

Click here Jan 2023
3 Conversation about "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Life and Legacy: The Urgency of Now" Click here Jan 2023
4 A Conversation with Dr. Bernice A. King - Mindset Matters Click here Jan 2023
5 Day 1 of #TheKingCenter’s Beloved Community Global Summit #ShiftingPriorities #MLKDay2022 Click here Jan 2022
6 The Unspoken Impact of Police Brutality against BIWOC, TGNC & Latinx Communities Click here Feb 2021
7 Black Philanthropy Initiative - Eyes on Social Justice (Webinar) Click here Aug 2020
8 Racial Bias and Privilege- Arizona PBS Click here Aug 2020
9 Re-Imagining Liberation & Freedom Click here Jul 2020
10 "'We're Hurting': How Younger Generation & Older Generation Can Work Together for Change"[June 2020] Click here Jun 2020
11 The Alvin Galloway Show Click here Oct 2019
12 Toni Morrison Remembrance from the Alvin Galloway Show 19 August 2019 Click here Aug 2019
13 Commentary on Hate in America, Arizona Horizon Click here Aug 2019
14 African-American 101: ASU students and faculty dispel stereotypes: Arizona State University (ASU) Click here Feb 2017
15 Interview with Neal Lester : Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Click here Sep 2016
16 Dr. Neal Lester on Patriotism and Flag Click here Aug 2016
17 Are race relations at a boiling point - Interview with Dr. Neal A. Lester Click here Aug 2016
18 550 KFYI Chris Merrill Newstalk on Race and Violence Click here Jul 2016
19 Dr. Neal A. Lester featured in Mac & Gaydos Click here Jul 2016
20 Black Relations in America Click here Jul 2016
21 Growing up black in America Click here Jul 2016
22 Race issues in America Click here Jul 2016
23 How does the current news affect race relations? Click here Jul 2016
24 Obama Strikes "Negro" and "Oriental" from Federal Documents Click here May 2016
25 Black Male Literary Scholarship & African American Children’s Literature interview Click here May 2015
26 Dr. Neal A. Lester Provides Insight On The Baltimore Situation On 550 KFYI News Click here Apr 2015
27 Dr. Neal A. Lester provides insight on the Baltimore situation on 550 KFYI News Click here Apr 2015
28 Many Rivers to Cross in Phoenix - Interview of Dr. Lester Click here Jun 2014
29 Channel 12 News Tribute - Maya Angelou Click here May 2014
30 Radio Phoenix Interview Teaser with Dr. Neal Lester Click here Jun 2013
31 “Moisture in the Desert,” Neal Lester, 2001 Click here Jan 2011


Educators craft, promote Black studies as other states limit how it’s taught 01 Feb 23
MLK Day a busy time for Ahwatukee professor at ASU 12 Jan 23

Abolitionist Newspaper Revived as Fight Over CRT in Schools Intensifies

23 Feb 22
Dr. Neal Lester Interview on Critical Race Theory 22 Sep 21
ASU academics work to dispel critical race theory myths 02 Sep 21
ASU Project Humanities event dispels myths about critical race theory 26 Aug 21
Facebook post sparks discussion of racism here 24 May 21
ASU professor’s project upholds MLK’s legacy in political climate, society 18 Jan 21
Lessons from the Past: Reflections on the Life and Work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for our watershed moments 14 Jan 21
Systems of Privilege: A Conversation with Dr. Neal Lester 27 Jul 20
Digging up the roots of racism's serviceability 09 Jul 20
Polititeen: "Awareness to Action": Filling the Gaps in Our (Im) perfect Union ft. Dr. Neal Lester on Apple Podcasts 08 Jul 20
What should we do to fight racism? We are asking the wrong people 04 Jun 20
“No, I'm not okay" 03 Jun 20
America’s past and present: parallel plagues 14 Apr 20
What meeting Toni Morrison taught me 14 Aug 19
400 Years Forward Organizers Seek To Move The Conversation Beyond Enslavement 13 Aug 19
ASU scholars reflect on Toni Morrison's impact on literature 07 Aug 19
7 Metro Phoenix Creatives Share Reflections on Writer Toni Morrison 07 Aug 19
Gillibrand’s Racial Elephant in the Room 05 Aug 19
Schools keep teaching slavery and civil rights history in ways that traumatize black students 19 Apr 19
Schools Keep Defending Racially Insensitive Classroom Activities In A Worrisome Trend 18 Apr 19
BASIS teacher had class shame a black student for lesson on school segregation, mom says 15 Apr 19
Classrooms and race: “What about the children?” 16 Mar 19
'No Black bucks for Starbucks': Protesters at Phoenix Starbucks call company racist 21 Apr 18
‘Putting out a fire’: Racial-bias experts say Starbucks training is only a start | AZCentral 17 Apr 18
Black Male Literary Scholarship and African American Children’s Literature: An Interview with Dr. Neal A. Lester of Arizona State University 03 Apr 18
Arizona ranks fourth in the nation for racial integration, study finds. | KTAR News (Transcript) 10 Jan 18
Moore: Gender-equality movement could help spark new push in sports 06 Jan 18
ASU professors choose must-read books for college students 15 Nov 17
ASU Professor Discusses Criticism Over Slavery Computer Game 12 Oct 17
Parents Outraged After Phoenix Elementary School Students Instructed To Play Slavery Simulation Game 12 Oct 17
Slavery-simulation game causes outcry at Phoenix elementary school 11 Oct 17
Dr. Lester interviewed regarding "Children’s Literature and Race,” by Richard E. Ashby, Jr. | Your Voice Your Choice, MPI-TX 02 Mar 17
University of Georgia visiting scholar 18 Sep 17
Obama Strikes 'Negro' and 'Oriental' from Federal Documents - Iowa public radio 31 May 16
Confederate flag debate reaches Arizona 22 Jun 15
Neal A. Lester on Once Upon a Time in a Different World 01 Jun 2008

Cultural Appropriation


S.No. Video Title Link Date

Dr. Lester's Pre-Talk on Cultural Appropriation for Dr. Phil Show

Click Here Sept 2022

The Special Report with Areva Martin

Click Here Oct 2021

Cultural Appropriation and Halloween Costumes : The Special Report

Click Here Mar 2021

The Special Report: Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation

Click Here Mar 2021

Kendall Jenner faces backlash after launching her tequila brand l GMA

Click Here Feb 2021

From Surviving to Thriving: Season 2-Episode 1 - with Dr. Lester Neal

Click Here Nov 2020

Cultural Appropriation vs. Appreciation with Dr. Neal Lester, Real Life, Voices of Your Village

Click Here Oct 2020

Dr. Lester Speaks about Cultural Appropriation and Children’s Costumes (October 2019)

Click Here Oct 2019
9 CBC Radio: Vancouver Click Here Oct 2017


What Is Cultural Appropriation? Here's Why the Practice Is So Harmful—and How You Can Avoid Doing It 

20 Aug 21

Brenly’s durag comment draws cries of racist undertones, cultural insensitivity 

02 Jun 21

Gwen Stefani Pushes Back at Cultural Appropriation Critics, Newser 

29 May 21

Gwen Stefani shoots down Harajuku Girls cultural appropriation claims, says people can 'share', USA Today 

28 May 21

Justin Bieber’s Dreadlocks Spark Debate: What’s Cultural Appropriation versus Appreciation?, USA Today 

01 May 21

Who Owns Culture? There’s a Legal Side to the Issue of Cultural Appropriation 

04 Nov 20

A parents' guide to cultural appropriation: an expert breaks down kids' Halloween costumes, USA Today 

18 Oct 19

Opinion: Friends don't let friends wear culturally inappropriate costumes 

31 Nov 18

What makes a Halloween costume offensive? 

26 Oct 17

There Is a Fine Line between Cultural Appropriation and Cultural Appreciation, by Maria Idalis Harris, The State Press 

27 Apr 17

ASU English Professor Talks Cultural Appropriation and Ableist Language, The State Press 

01 Sep 16

ASU’s Project Humanities educates on cultural appropriation,” The State Press 

12 Sep 15

ASU’s Project Humanities hosts 2nd symposium on cultural appropriation, ASU News 

10 Aug 15

ASU’s Project Humanities explores cultural appropriation, ASU News 

30 Jan 15

Playing Black’ for Laughs, Learning for Justice

10 Jan 14



S.No. Video Title Link Date
1 Tucson teacher on administrative leave after using the N-word in class | Dr. Neal Lester weighs in Click Here

Dec 2021

2 What's In a Name: Interview of Dr. Neal Lester about the N-word and Cultural Appropriation

Click Here

Nov 2020

3 Legitimate Matters with William Parris, “The N-Word and Power of Words in Language” Click Here

Oct 2020

4 White and wondering why you cant use the N word? Click Here

Aug 2020

5 BBC Radio 5live Up All Night (President Obama and the N-Word) Click Here

Jul 2020

6 Dr. Neal Lester on the Power of Words and the Danger of Slurs Click Here

Jul 2020

7 Dealing with the N Word Click Here

Jul 2020

8 The "N" Word: Racism, what white people don't understand, and what black people need to change. Click Here

Mar 2020

9 "The N Word In Sports with Dr. Neal Lester" - The Sportscaster and Her Son Click Here

May 2019

10 Workshop with Neal A Lester, PhD Straight Talk About the NWord 44News Evansville, IN 44News Evan Click Here

Nov 2018

11 Today with Dr. Kaye - WEAA 88.9 FM (Baltimore) Click Here

Nov 2017

12 Lingo Episode 8 :The N Word Click Here

Jul 2016

13 Obama Strikes 'Negro' and 'Oriental' from Federal Documents Click Here

Jun 2016

14 The N word (May 2016) Click Here

May 2016

15 Dr. Neal Lester talks the N Word and race relations - Arizona PBS Horizonte (18 Feb 2016) Click Here

Feb 2016

16 KTAR (FM 92.3) - Desert Vista High School Click Here

Jan 2016

17 Is it 'just a word'? Questions, comments about the N-word controversy at Desert Vista Click Here

Jan 2016

18 ASU professor weighs in on DVHS controversy (26 January 2016) Click Here

Jan 2016

19 Dr. Neal Lester with Mac & Gaydos KTAR News 92.3 FM (25 January 2016) Click Here

Jan 2016

20 Dr. Lester on BBC Radio 5live Up All Night Click Here

Jun 2015

21 The Power of Words Click Here

Apr 2015

22 N-word: A Perspective with Neal Lester Click Here

Dec 2014

23 The N-Word (Radio Supa) - 07-12-2014 Click Here

Jul 2014

24 ASU professor holds "Straight Talk about the N-Word" discussion at valley church Click Here

May 2014

25 Professor puts the 'N-Word' under microscope Click Here

Mar 2014

26 The UnForgiven Word, Why Are We Continuing To Use it in Our Lyrics? Click Here

Aug 2013

27 YoAndrew News Talk Show Appearance with Dr. Neal A. Lester on July 9, 2013 Click Here

Jul 2013

28 Dr. Neal Lester on WVON Chicago AM1690 with host Cliff Kelly (Part 2) Click Here

Jun 2013

29 Dr. Neal Lester on WVON Chicago AM1690 with host Cliff Kelly (Part 1) Click Here

Jun 2013

30 "Straight Talk about the N Word:" Alabama State WVAS 90.7, Perspectives Featuring Dr. Neal Lester Click Here

Feb 2013

31 The N-word: An Anatomy of a Lesson, interview by Nick Taliaferro from Philadelphia's WURD, 9:00am Click Here

Jan 2013


Black man killed in Kansas City as assailant hurled n-word. That’s not a hate crime? | Opinion

02 Aug 23

Why shrugging off Joe Rogan's use of the n-word is so dangerous, CNN 

13 Feb 22

Classrooms grapple with racial slurs in classic American novels 

27 Jun 21   

Allen Johnson: White is Black, up is down and the n-word’s OK? 

11 Apr 21   

Students rally behind Black Tampa school cop fired for using racial slur 

23 Mar 21  

No Desis, you cannot say the N-word. 

14 Dec 20   

Academic freedom and the N-word, University Affairs 

21 Aug 20

Your big questions about race, answered 

14 Aug 20   

Ron Jans used the most loaded word in the English language 

17 Feb 20

What Do You Do When Your Young Child Uses the N-Word? 

10 Dec 19

Should Schools Have an N-Word Policy? Uproar Over Guard's Firing Forces Hard Questions 

31 Oct 19

Liberty schools officials must combat racism in the district | The Kansas City Star 

21 Jun 19

Recent Incidents Remind Us The N-Word Should Never Be Tolerated | Twin Cities 

09 Jun 19

Viral video of AU student using n-word prompts outrage from student body 

07 Apr 19

Ortiz: You have no business saying the N-word if you’re not Black 

25 Mar 19

History Behind N-Word Emphasizes Impact 

01 Feb 19

At the Intersection of Language and Culture: Rap and the N-Word | by Nathan Graber-Lipperman | UNPLUGG'D MAG | Medium 

23 Sep 18

Beyond Bob Lamey and John Schnatter: Why a racial slur with an ugly past continues to divide 

 18 Sep 18 

The G-L Review Ep. 15: Dr. Neal Lester On Rap, Culture, And The N-Word 

16 Dec 18

Workshop with Neal A Lester, PhD: Straight Talk About the NWord 

13 Sep 18

From Muhammad Ali to Charles Barkley, How the Use of ‘Ni**a’ in the Media Shows How Black America Lost Its Way 

06 Dec 17

Paula Deen, Trayvon Martin, the Shadow of Racism and the Power of “the N-word” 

06 Dec 17

'To Kill a Mockingbird' banned in Mississippi school: ASU reacts 

26 Oct 17

School assignment on the 'N-word' angers parents 

17 Oct 17

Controversy Stirs Over Jackson Students' Photo 

14 Oct 17

Considering the N-word: To reject or reclaim? 

28 Sep 17

How a childhood friendship intersected at Georgia - UGAGS Magazine 

12 Mar 17  

Neal Lester discusses social consequences of the N-word 

19 Sep 16

Neal Lester visits UGA to speak about representation of black males - The Red & Black 

18 Sep 16

Straight Talk about the N-Word & related events at UGA 

17 Sep 16

Discussions on the N-word: Neal Lester to speak 

14 Sep 16

Talk about the 'N-Word': UGA Student Organizes Concerts, Lectures, and Discussions on Race 

14 Sep 16

Yes, I Want To Talk About The N-Word 

16 Aug 16

'Compared to IRA massacres N-word row can seem trivial' 

07 May 16

N-word controversy at Phoenix high school altered their senior year, changed district's efforts to combat racism 

02 May 16

How does the article "The N-Word: Connected Through Historical Disconnect?" relate to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird in chapters 8-11? 

20 Apr 16

Straight Talk About the N-Word - Predictions, Prose, and Politics 

02 Apr 16

The N-Word Special Report: Chapter II 

30 Feb 16 

Lester: Yes indeed folks, in our own backyard... 

29 Jan 16

Is it 'just a word'? Questions, comments about the N-word controversy at Desert Vista, also in USA TODAY 

28 Jan 16

ASU professor weighs in on DVHS Controversy 

26 Jan 16  

WTHR BLOG:  Why is the "N-word" still offensive? 

25 Jan 16  

Has the N-word lost its meaning to kids? 

23 Jan 16  

BSA, students discuss the ‘N’ word 

18 Nov 15

The N-word in America: a term loaded like no other 

26 Jun 15

The "N-word" for "negro", the most taboo word in the United States 

25 Jun 15

The 'N-word' is 'the most powerful word in the English language' 

25 Jun 15

Obama’s use of N-word raises a question: Is it ever OK? 

23 Jun 15

How do African Americans in South Jersey feel about the n-word? 

22 Jun 15

Prediction, Prose and Politics: STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT THE N-WORD The Connotations of Thug, the N-Word, and Other Racial Slurs - Breaking Bias 

02 Apr 15

The Connotations of Thug, the N-Word, and Other Racial Slurs - Breaking Bias

29 Mar 15

What Am I Saying When I Say 'Nigger'? 

23 Mar 15

Straight Talk About the ‘N-Word’: Arizona State Professor Brings His Message to Nearby Oak Park Library 

01 Oct 14

Sticks and Stones: When kids use the N-word 

25 Jul 14

The N-Word: Connected Through Historical Disconnect? 

21 Apr 14

Professor puts the ‘N-Word’ under microscope 

13 Mar 14

The N-word Loses Another Follower 

13 Feb 14

ASU professor: N-word transcends history 

13 Feb 14

Straight Talk about the N-Word,” with Dr. Neal Lester 

09 Feb 14

What’s Up, My ’N’ positive discourse on a negative word 

07 Feb 14

Our conversation about a word that starts with ‘N’ 

29 Jan 14

Why Do Some People Use The N-Word? 

23 Jan 14

The N-word and the American psyche 

10 Sep 13

Lester: The infamous N-word continues to wreak havoc on American popular psyche 

10 Sep 13

Syracuse fires DPW worker for calling himself the N-word 

13 Aug 13

How Would You Kill The N-Word? : Code Switch: NPR 

13 Aug 13

Hair and the 'n-word': Connecting with Neal A. Lester 

16 Jul 12

N-word 101: College class studies story behind the slur 

30 Sep 11

Nigger - Analyzing Fences 

01 Aug 11

12 Most Controversial College Courses Ever Offered 

17 Mar 11

Coming to a college course this fall: “The N-Word" 

22 Jun 10

Sticks and stones may break my bones...: Airbrushing the Ugliest of Ugly in African American Children's Books

01 Sep 01

Politics of Hair


S.No. Video Title Link Date
1 Banning Chemical Hair Relaxers | Interview with Suryatapa | Wall Street Journal Click here

Dec 2023

2 ASU Professor: 'Our hair is part of who we are and how we are' Click here

Mar 2023

3 The Driving Force Behind Natural Hair Anti-Discrimination Laws Click here

Mar 2021

4 Dr. Neal Lester on the Race and Gender Politics of Hair with KJZZ Radio (January 2020) Click here

Jan 2020

5 Social & Political Culture of Black/Afrocentric Hair in Education Click here

Dec 2018

6 Neal Lester, Athens Oral History Project Click here

Sept 2016

7 ΦBK Video Series: Neal A. Lester on the race and gender politics of hair Click here

Jan 2013

8 NPR Hair Weave Heists No Laughing Matter, Expert Says" Jim Burress, Atlanta's NPR Station, WABE Click here

Jun 2012

9 Haireotypes Click here Mar 2009


Gov. signs executive order banning hair discrimination

- Additional Coverage: 

                  Governor Hobbs Signs Order Banning Hair Discrimination | 12News/ Arizona 17 Mar 2023
                  Governor Katie Hobbs Signs Executive Order Race-Based Prohibiting Hair DiscriminationAZGovernor.Gov 17 Mar 2023
                  Gov. Hobbs signs order banning discrimination based on hair textures, styles | AZFamily 17 Mar 2023
                  Arizona governor signs executive order banning hair discrimination | Fox10 Phoenix 17 Mar 2023
                  Arizona Governor Signs Order Barring Hair Discrimination | Tucson.Com 18 Mar 2023
                  Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs Signs Order Barring Hair Discrimination | Arizona Daily Star 18 Mar 2023
                  Hobbs Signs Order Banning Hair Discrimination in Arizona Agencies She ControlsThe Daily Independent  19 Mar 2023
                  Gov. Hobbs Signs Executive Order against Hair Discrimination towards Black Arizonans | 20 Mar 2023
                  Arizona Governor Signs Executive Order Banning Discrimination Based on Hair Style or TextureCronkite News/ PBS 20 Mar 2023
                  Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs Signs CROWN Act-inspired Executive Order Outlawing Discrimination Based on Hair | LocalToday 20 Mar 2023
                  Katie Hobbs Signs Executive Order Prohibiting Hair Discrimination The Lumberjack, Northern Arizona University 23 Mar 2023
                  Local Prof Hails Governor’s Hair Discrimination Ban | Ahwatukee Foothills News 25 Mar 2023
                  CROWN Act prevents discrimination based on natural hair or texture | Arizona PBS 30 Mar 2023


20 Mar 23

Personal, Political And Professional: Everyone Has A Hair Story 

06 Jan 20

Professor explores hair’s cultural implications for African-Americans 

08 Aug 15

‘Classic’ invisibility: Illusory ‘universals’ exclude, marginalize 

29 Jul 15

Thieves Steal $50K Worth Of Weave From Chicago Beauty Supply | MadameNoir 

26 Jun 14

Special Issue, “The Why and the Where of Hair,”  The Lion and the Unicorn, Volume 37, Number 2 

01 Apr 13

Digging at the roots while going for gold -- Gabby Douglas’ hair 

11 Aug 12

These are some hairy times, The Washington Post 

02 Jun 11

Race Lecture Connects Hair Portrayals to Self-Image, The State Press 

10 Oct 10

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair 

13 Nov 09

Nappy Edges and Goldy Locks: African Americans and Hair 

26 Jul 05

Nappy Edges and Goldy Locks: African-American Daughters and the Politics of Hair, The Lion and the Unicorn 

01 Apr 00

Roots That Go Beyond Big Hair and a Bad Hair Day: ‘Nappy Hair’ Pieces, Children’s Literature in Education

01 Sep 99

Social Justice through Things and Stuff


Social Justice Featured 2
Event Testimonials

Testimonials from Beyond Books: Social Justice through Things & Stuff- Carl Hayden Community High School

"Hi Dr. Neal Lester, I just wanted to start off this email by thanking you for coming to Carl Hayden Community High School and speaking to me...

"Hello Dr. Lester, . .[T]hanks for bringing the university to our students...

"Hi Neal, I am so glad you had a good experience with the students...

Testimonials from Beyond Books: Social Justice through Things & Stuff- Summer Institute for Culturally Responsive Education

"I would love to have the opportunity for our students to have a chance to explore Dr Lester's collection...

Testimonials from Diversity in the Workplace: Strategies and Strategizing- American Psychiatric Association

"I just wanted to reach out to say thank you for being our speaker yesterday...


S.No Video Title Link Date
1 Animated Black Americana Click here

Feb 2024

2 Diversity in the Workplace: Strategies and Strategizing Click here

Jul 2023

3 Beyond Books: Social Justice through Things & Stuff - Dr. Neal Lester's Research Collection Click here

Jun 2023

4 Black Family Geneology and History Society: Monthly Meeting May 2023 Click here

May 2023

5 Vital Voices Presentation at Carl Hayden Community High School Click here

Jan 2023

6 Virtual Office Tour Click here

Nov 2022

7 Vital Voices : Beyond Books - 2022 Click here

Oct 2022

8 Beyond Books: Social Justice through "Things" and "Stuff". Click here

Mar 2021

9 "DENTIST" Original Antique Mechanical Bank Click here Jan 2017



Dr. Neal Lester Vital Voices: Beyond Books 19 Jan 23
Interactive exhibit demonstrates the effect 'stuff' can have on racial representation (By ASU News) 22 Oct 21

Curating Identities in the “Other” Office: My “Colored Museum” (By Dr. Neal Lester)

23 Jan 21

Learning for Justice (Blog, Southern Poverty Law Center)


“Boys Know What Girls Want”: Messages in Popular Music

  • Do boys know what girls want? You might think so if you believe everything you hear in pop songs.

Cheerios Ad Touches Racial Nerve

  • A recent Cheerios commercial reminds us of the historical roots of race in the United States. Those roots still cause social and political upset.

Classic Invisibility

  • Just because a bookshelf is full of "classics" doesn't mean it holds universal life lessons.

For White Allies in Search of a Solution to American Racism / When Folks of Color Are Exhausted

  • Racism, white privilege and white supremacy are challenges that people of color neither created nor should be expected to resolve. This scholar encourages white allies to step up.

“No, I Am Not OK.” Thanks for Asking.

  • As protesters across the nation rise up against police violence and systemic racism in support of Black lives, there’s something white allies need to recognize.

No Joking Matter: Words and Disability

  • While we are increasingly aware of the need to address racist, sexist, homophobic, ageist and classist language, ableist language is too often disregarded.

“Playing Black” for Laughs

  • A viral video sensation raises important questions about media constructions of “whiteness” and “blackness.”

Proposed Bill: An Ethnic Studies Ban "on Steroids"

  • Exploring our differences does not divide us; it highlights our identities and reveals our shared humanity.

'Redskins,' Names and Being Named

  • Controversy over a team name opens a national dialogue about race, identity and what’s in a name.

Teach the Talk, Don’t Ban the Book

  • In the past few weeks, we’ve included more than 20 articles in the Intellectual Freedom News about the To Kill a Mockingbird challenge/withdrawal/return-with-permission slips case in Biloxi, Mississippi.  None of those articles have taken up what I think is the central issue in this case: teaching students to talk about controversial issues in and through literature.

The Disturbing “Monkey Business” of U.S. Black-White Race Relations

  • Representations of black people as animals is both a past and present manifestation of the United States’ complicated history with race.

'Tis the Season: Christianity and Jesus in Black and White

  • What message does a white Jesus send to Christians who are not white?

The Infamous N-word

  • No matter the spelling or context, the n-word remains intertwined with American racial tensions past and present.

The N-Word: Connected Through Historical Disconnect?

  • Dr. Neal Lester talks about meeting folks across the country who want thoughtful, informed and critical conversation about the troublesome n-word.

To Know Our American History Is to Know Ourselves

  • What does the rise in hate groups and hate crimes say about our American history and American democracy when all lives should matter?

“You Guys”?

  • In a world where words matter, why is there little to no real critical conversation about the mixed-gendered use of “you guys”?

Moderating Discussions


S.No. Video Title Link Date
1 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Economic Justice | 15 Jan, 2024 Click here

Jan 2024

2 Vital Voices: Banned Books - 2023 Click here

Jan 2023

3 Vital Voices | Banned Books - 2023 Click here

Jan 2023

4 Dr. Neal Lester in conversation with Elvis Mitchell Click here

Nov 2022

5 Dr. Neal Lester in conversation with Mr. SOUL! Director Click here

Nov 2022

6 Ambassador's Expo Click here

Jun 2022

7 Exploring the "Poverty Porn" Industry Click here

Mar 2022

8 Vital Voices: Joy as a Radical Act Click here

Jan 2022

9 Vital Voices: What Children's Stories Taught Me about Humanity Click here

Oct 2021

10 Dispelling the Myths: "Critical Race Theory" in K-12 Classrooms Click here

Aug 2021

11 Vital Voices: The King We Don't Know Click here

Jan 2021

12 Vital Voices: The Uses of Anger Click here

Sept 2020

13 The Uses of Anger: Recap Click here

Sept 2020

14 Podcast Club: Spare the Kids Click here

Jun 2020

15 Vital Voices: ntozake shange Recap Click here

Jan 2019

16 So Excited! An Evening with Ruth Pointer- Ruth pointer talk Click here Apr 2016


Arts and Humanities: Essentials, Not Extras: The State of Black Arizona, Volume IV 2015