College of Arts and Sciences

Richard B. Pierce, II

Native Tongue Lectures

“This Will Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You”:  Corporal Punishment and Jim Crow in America

Richard B. Pierce, II, Native Tongue Lecturer

Richard B. Pierce, II
John Cardinal O’Hara, CSC, Associate Professor of History
Chair, Department of Africana Studies
University of Notre Dame

Thursday, October 13, 2011
Neff Hall, Room 101
7:00 p.m.

Pierce will present on his research into how African American families and institutions taught Jim Crow to their children in the United States from 1895–1965, especially the connections between corporal punishment and Jim Crow.


Richard Pierce, a graduate of Fort Wayne’s Concordia High School, specializes in African American, urban, and civil rights history, examining social and political protest in urban environments. In July 2002, he accepted an appointment as the Associate Director of African and African American Studies; in 2005, he was appointed as the inaugural chair of the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

He was a consultant for the “Faith and Community Initiative” of the Project on Religion and Urban Culture” at POLIS Research Center and For Gold and Glory, an award-winning documentary that depicted the African American automobile racing league of the 1920s. He has published articles and essays that have appeared in the Journal of Urban History, The State of Indiana History 2000, Chicago Tribune, and National Public Radio. Recently, his essay, “In Pursuit of Civil Discourse in the Academy,” was featured in Diverse Magazine, formerly known as Black Issues in Higher Education. He also published Polite Protest: The Political Economy of Race in Indianapolis, 1920–1970 (2005).

Peirce has been awarded multiple fellowship and academic appointments, including: Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Fellow (2002); Carl E. Koch Jr., Assistant Professor of History Chair (2000), a Ford Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) at Carnegie Mellon University (2000). In 2004, he was elected to the Indiana Historical Society board of directors.

He is presently seeking interviews with parents, teachers, and community leaders who reared children during the Jim Crow segregation era to enrich his research. A forthcoming text, tentatively titled, "Teaching Jim Crow," will examine the methods and strategies African Americans employed to preserve self-esteem within a system designed to dehumanize.