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.


S.No.Video TitleLinkDate
1"Reflections on the 'Intergenerational Divide," Men's Day Annual Observance,  St. James A.M.E ChurchClick hereJan 2024
2Dr. Neal Lester reflects on being honored with the 2022 ASU MLK Faculty Servant-Leadership AwardClick hereJan 2023
3Conversation about "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Life and Legacy: The Urgency of Now"Click hereJan 2023
4A Conversation with Dr. Bernice A. King - Mindset MattersClick hereJan 2023
5Day 1 of #TheKingCenter’s Beloved Community Global Summit #ShiftingPriorities #MLKDay2022Click hereJan 2022
6The Unspoken Impact of Police Brutality against BIWOC, TGNC & Latinx CommunitiesClick hereFeb 2021
7Black Philanthropy Initiative - Eyes on Social Justice (Webinar)Click hereAug 2020
8Racial Bias and Privilege- Arizona PBSClick hereAug 2020
9Re-Imagining Liberation & FreedomClick hereJul 2020
10"'We're Hurting': How Younger Generation & Older Generation Can Work Together for Change"[June 2020]Click hereJun 2020
11The Alvin Galloway ShowClick hereOct 2019
12Toni Morrison Remembrance from the Alvin Galloway Show 19 August 2019Click hereAug 2019
13Commentary on Hate in America, Arizona HorizonClick hereAug 2019
14African-American 101: ASU students and faculty dispel stereotypes: Arizona State University (ASU)Click hereFeb 2017
15Interview with Neal Lester : Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of GeorgiaClick hereSep 2016
16Dr. Neal Lester on Patriotism and FlagClick hereAug 2016
17Are race relations at a boiling point - Interview with Dr. Neal A. LesterClick hereAug 2016
18550 KFYI Chris Merrill Newstalk on Race and ViolenceClick hereJul 2016
19Dr. Neal A. Lester featured in Mac & GaydosClick hereJul 2016
20Black Relations in AmericaClick hereJul 2016
21Growing up black in AmericaClick hereJul 2016
22Race issues in AmericaClick hereJul 2016
23How does the current news affect race relations?Click hereJul 2016
24Obama Strikes "Negro" and "Oriental" from Federal DocumentsClick hereMay 2016
25Black Male Literary Scholarship & African American Children’s Literature interviewClick hereMay 2015
26Dr. Neal A. Lester Provides Insight On The Baltimore Situation On 550 KFYI NewsClick hereApr 2015
27Dr. Neal A. Lester provides insight on the Baltimore situation on 550 KFYI NewsClick hereApr 2015
28Many Rivers to Cross in Phoenix - Interview of Dr. LesterClick hereJun 2014
29Channel 12 News Tribute - Maya AngelouClick hereMay 2014
30Radio Phoenix Interview Teaser with Dr. Neal LesterClick hereJun 2013
31“Moisture in the Desert,” Neal Lester, 2001Click hereJan 2011


Digital Blackface: Adultification of Black Children in Memes and Children’s Books11 Jul 2024
Educators craft, promote Black studies as other states limit how it’s taught01 Feb 23
MLK Day a busy time for Ahwatukee professor at ASU12 Jan 23
Abolitionist Newspaper Revived as Fight Over CRT in Schools Intensifies23 Feb 22
Dr. Neal Lester Interview on Critical Race Theory22 Sep 21
ASU academics work to dispel critical race theory myths02 Sep 21
ASU Project Humanities event dispels myths about critical race theory26 Aug 21
Facebook post sparks discussion of racism here24 May 21
ASU professor’s project upholds MLK’s legacy in political climate, society18 Jan 21
Lessons from the Past: Reflections on the Life and Work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for our watershed moments14 Jan 21
Systems of Privilege: A Conversation with Dr. Neal Lester27 Jul 20
Digging up the roots of racism's serviceability09 Jul 20
Polititeen: "Awareness to Action": Filling the Gaps in Our (Im) perfect Union ft. Dr. Neal Lester on Apple Podcasts08 Jul 20
What should we do to fight racism? We are asking the wrong people04 Jun 20
“No, I'm not okay"03 Jun 20
America’s past and present: parallel plagues14 Apr 20
What meeting Toni Morrison taught me14 Aug 19
400 Years Forward Organizers Seek To Move The Conversation Beyond Enslavement13 Aug 19
ASU scholars reflect on Toni Morrison's impact on literature07 Aug 19
7 Metro Phoenix Creatives Share Reflections on Writer Toni Morrison07 Aug 19
Gillibrand’s Racial Elephant in the Room05 Aug 19
Schools keep teaching slavery and civil rights history in ways that traumatize black students19 Apr 19
Schools Keep Defending Racially Insensitive Classroom Activities In A Worrisome Trend18 Apr 19
BASIS teacher had class shame a black student for lesson on school segregation, mom says15 Apr 19
Classrooms and race: “What about the children?”16 Mar 19
'No Black bucks for Starbucks': Protesters at Phoenix Starbucks call company racist21 Apr 18
‘Putting out a fire’: Racial-bias experts say Starbucks training is only a start | AZCentral17 Apr 18
Black Male Literary Scholarship and African American Children’s Literature: An Interview with Dr. Neal A. Lester of Arizona State University03 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 sports06 Jan 18
ASU professors choose must-read books for college students15 Nov 17
ASU Professor Discusses Criticism Over Slavery Computer Game12 Oct 17
Parents Outraged After Phoenix Elementary School Students Instructed To Play Slavery Simulation Game12 Oct 17
Slavery-simulation game causes outcry at Phoenix elementary school11 Oct 17
Dr. Lester interviewed regarding "Children’s Literature and Race,” by Richard E. Ashby, Jr. | Your Voice Your Choice, MPI-TX02 Mar 17
University of Georgia visiting scholar18 Sep 17
Obama Strikes 'Negro' and 'Oriental' from Federal Documents - Iowa public radio31 May 16
Confederate flag debate reaches Arizona22 Jun 15
Neal A. Lester on Once Upon a Time in a Different World01 Jun 2008



S.No.Video TitleLinkDate
1Dr. Lester's Pre-Talk on Cultural Appropriation for Dr. Phil ShowClick HereSept 2022
2The Special Report with Areva MartinClick HereOct 2021
3Cultural Appropriation and Halloween Costumes : The Special ReportClick HereMar 2021
4The Special Report: Cultural Appropriation or AppreciationClick HereMar 2021
5Kendall Jenner faces backlash after launching her tequila brand l GMAClick HereFeb 2021
6From Surviving to Thriving: Season 2-Episode 1 - with Dr. Lester NealClick HereNov 2020
7Cultural Appropriation vs. Appreciation with Dr. Neal Lester, Real Life, Voices of Your VillageClick HereOct 2020
8Dr. Lester Speaks about Cultural Appropriation and Children’s Costumes (October 2019)Click HereOct 2019
9CBC Radio: VancouverClick HereOct 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 Justice10 Jan 14


S.No.Video TitleLinkDate
1Tucson teacher on administrative leave after using the N-word in class | Dr. Neal Lester weighs inClick HereDec 2021
2What's In a Name: Interview of Dr. Neal Lester about the N-word and Cultural AppropriationClick HereNov 2020
3Legitimate Matters with William Parris, “The N-Word and Power of Words in Language”Click HereOct 2020
4White and wondering why you cant use the N word?Click HereAug 2020
5BBC Radio 5live Up All Night (President Obama and the N-Word)Click HereJul 2020
6Dr. Neal Lester on the Power of Words and the Danger of SlursClick HereJul 2020
7Dealing with the N WordClick HereJul 2020
8The "N" Word: Racism, what white people don't understand, and what black people need to change.Click HereMar 2020
9"The N Word In Sports with Dr. Neal Lester" - The Sportscaster and Her SonClick HereMay 2019
10Workshop with Neal A Lester, PhD Straight Talk About the NWord 44News Evansville, IN 44News EvanClick HereNov 2018
11Today with Dr. Kaye - WEAA 88.9 FM (Baltimore)Click HereNov 2017
12Lingo Episode 8 :The N WordClick HereJul 2016
13Obama Strikes 'Negro' and 'Oriental' from Federal DocumentsClick HereJun 2016
14The N word (May 2016)Click HereMay 2016
15Dr. Neal Lester talks the N Word and race relations - Arizona PBS Horizonte (18 Feb 2016)Click HereFeb 2016
16KTAR (FM 92.3) - Desert Vista High SchoolClick HereJan 2016
17Is it 'just a word'? Questions, comments about the N-word controversy at Desert VistaClick HereJan 2016
18ASU professor weighs in on DVHS controversy (26 January 2016)Click HereJan 2016
19Dr. Neal Lester with Mac & Gaydos KTAR News 92.3 FM (25 January 2016)Click HereJan 2016
20Dr. Lester on BBC Radio 5live Up All NightClick HereJun 2015
21The Power of WordsClick HereApr 2015
22N-word: A Perspective with Neal LesterClick HereDec 2014
23The N-Word (Radio Supa) - 07-12-2014Click HereJul 2014
24ASU professor holds "Straight Talk about the N-Word" discussion at valley churchClick HereMay 2014
25Professor puts the 'N-Word' under microscopeClick HereMar 2014
26The UnForgiven Word, Why Are We Continuing To Use it in Our Lyrics?Click HereAug 2013
27YoAndrew News Talk Show Appearance with Dr. Neal A. Lester on July 9, 2013Click HereJul 2013
28Dr. Neal Lester on WVON Chicago AM1690 with host Cliff Kelly (Part 2)Click HereJun 2013
29Dr. Neal Lester on WVON Chicago AM1690 with host Cliff Kelly (Part 1)Click HereJun 2013
30"Straight Talk about the N Word:" Alabama State WVAS 90.7, Perspectives Featuring Dr. Neal LesterClick HereFeb 2013
31The N-word: An Anatomy of a Lesson, interview by Nick Taliaferro from Philadelphia's WURD, 9:00amClick HereJan 2013


Black man killed in Kansas City as assailant hurled n-word. That’s not a hate crime? | Opinion02 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 Bias29 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 Books01 Sep 01



S.No.Video TitleLinkDate
1Banning Chemical Hair Relaxers | Interview with Suryatapa | Wall Street JournalClick hereDec 2023
2ASU Professor: 'Our hair is part of who we are and how we are'Click hereMar 2023
3The Driving Force Behind Natural Hair Anti-Discrimination LawsClick hereMar 2021
4Dr. Neal Lester on the Race and Gender Politics of Hair with KJZZ Radio (January 2020)Click hereJan 2020
5Social & Political Culture of Black/Afrocentric Hair in EducationClick hereDec 2018
6Neal Lester, Athens Oral History ProjectClick hereSept 2016
7ΦBK Video Series: Neal A. Lester on the race and gender politics of hairClick hereJan 2013
8NPR Hair Weave Heists No Laughing Matter, Expert Says" Jim Burress, Atlanta's NPR Station, WABEClick hereJun 2012
9HaireotypesClick hereMar 2009


Gov. signs executive order banning hair discrimination

- Additional Coverage: 

Governor Hobbs Signs Order Banning Hair Discrimination | 12News/ Arizona17 Mar 2023
Governor Katie Hobbs Signs Executive Order Race-Based Prohibiting Hair DiscriminationAZGovernor.Gov17 Mar 2023
Gov. Hobbs signs order banning discrimination based on hair textures, styles | AZFamily17 Mar 2023
Arizona governor signs executive order banning hair discrimination | Fox10 Phoenix17 Mar 2023
Arizona Governor Signs Order Barring Hair Discrimination | Tucson.Com18 Mar 2023
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs Signs Order Barring Hair Discrimination | Arizona Daily Star18 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 | kawc.org20 Mar 2023
Arizona Governor Signs Executive Order Banning Discrimination Based on Hair Style or TextureCronkite News/ PBS20 Mar 2023
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs Signs CROWN Act-inspired Executive Order Outlawing Discrimination Based on Hair | LocalToday20 Mar 2023
Katie Hobbs Signs Executive Order Prohibiting Hair Discrimination The Lumberjack, Northern Arizona University23 Mar 2023
Local Prof Hails Governor’s Hair Discrimination Ban | Ahwatukee Foothills News25 Mar 2023
CROWN Act prevents discrimination based on natural hair or texture | Arizona PBS30 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 Education01 Sep 99



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.NoVideo TitleLinkDate
1Animated Black AmericanaClick hereFeb 2024
2Diversity in the Workplace: Strategies and StrategizingClick hereJul 2023
3Beyond Books: Social Justice through Things & Stuff - Dr. Neal Lester's Research CollectionClick hereJun 2023
4Black Family Geneology and History Society: Monthly Meeting May 2023Click hereMay 2023
5Vital Voices Presentation at Carl Hayden Community High SchoolClick hereJan 2023
6Virtual Office TourClick hereNov 2022
7Vital Voices : Beyond Books - 2022Click hereOct 2022
8Beyond Books: Social Justice through "Things" and "Stuff".Click hereMar 2021
9"DENTIST" Original Antique Mechanical BankClick hereJan 2017






Dr. Neal Lester Vital Voices: Beyond Books19 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


“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”?



S.No.Video TitleLinkDate
1Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Economic Justice | 15 Jan, 2024Click hereJan 2024
2Vital Voices: Banned Books - 2023Click hereJan 2023
3Vital Voices | Banned Books - 2023Click hereJan 2023
4Dr. Neal Lester in conversation with Elvis MitchellClick hereNov 2022
5Dr. Neal Lester in conversation with Mr. SOUL! DirectorClick hereNov 2022
6Ambassador's ExpoClick hereJun 2022
7Exploring the "Poverty Porn" IndustryClick hereMar 2022
8Vital Voices: Joy as a Radical ActClick hereJan 2022
9Vital Voices: What Children's Stories Taught Me about HumanityClick hereOct 2021
10Dispelling the Myths: "Critical Race Theory" in K-12 ClassroomsClick hereAug 2021
11Vital Voices: The King We Don't KnowClick hereJan 2021
12Vital Voices: The Uses of AngerClick hereSept 2020
13The Uses of Anger: RecapClick hereSept 2020
14Podcast Club: Spare the KidsClick hereJun 2020
15Vital Voices: ntozake shange RecapClick hereJan 2019
16So Excited! An Evening with Ruth Pointer- Ruth pointer talkClick hereApr 2016


Arts and Humanities: Essentials, Not Extras: The State of Black Arizona, Volume IV2015