Ware Lecture

2023 Ware Lecture: Imani Perry

The 2023 address will take place at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, June 24. In-person registration is required to attend the event in Pittsburgh. In-person or full virtual registration is required to live-stream the event on June 24, or access the video on-demand when it is posted.

Imani Perry

Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and a faculty associate with Gender and Sexuality Studies and Jazz Studies. In the summer of 2023 she will join the faculty at Harvard University as a Radcliffe Professor. Perry is also a contributing writer for The Atlantic, Perry is the author of seven books, most recently South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation  (Ecco Books, 2022), which received the 2022 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was an instant New York Times bestseller and Indie bestseller. South to America was named one of President Obama’s favorite books of 2022, and included in numerous end-of-year best-of lists. Her book Breathe: A Letter to My Sons  (Beacon Press, 2019) was a finalist for the 2020 Chautauqua Prize and a finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. She is also the author of Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry  (Beacon Press, 2018), which received the Pen Bograd-Weld Award for Biography, the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award for outstanding work in literary scholarship, the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction and the Shilts-Grahn Award for nonfiction from the Publishing Triangle. Looking for Lorraine was also named a 2018 notable book by the New York Times, and an honor book by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. It was a finalist for the African American Intellectual History Society Pauli Murray Book Prize. Her book May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem (University of North Carolina Press, 2018) was a winner of the 2019 American Studies Association John Hope Franklin Book Award for the best book in American Studies, the Hurston Wright Award for Nonfiction, and finalist for an NAACP Image Award in Nonfiction. Perry has written for numerous publications including The New York Times MagazineThe Progressive, New York MagazineHarpers, and The Paris Review.

She is a scholar of law, literary and cultural studies, and an author of creative nonfiction. She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center, and a BA from Yale College in Literature and American Studies. Her writing and scholarship primarily focus on the history of Black thought, art, and imagination. She seeks to understand the processes of retrenchment after moments of social progress, and how freedom dreams are nevertheless sustained. Her book: Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation (Duke University Press, 2018) is a work of critical theory that describes the formation of modern patriarchy at the dawn of capitalism, the transatlantic slave trade and the age of conquest, and traces it through to the contemporary hypermedia neoliberal era. Her book More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States (NYU Press, 2011) is an examination of contemporary practices of racial inequality that are sustained and extended through a broad matrix of cultural habits despite formal declarations of racial equality. Her first book, Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop (Duke Press, 2004) was one of the earliest scholarly examinations of the music and culture.

History of the Ware Lecture

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President, in consultation with the General Assembly Planning Committee, invites a distinguished guest each year to address the General Assembly as the Ware Lecturer.

In 1920, Harriet E. Ware of Milton, MA, bequeathed $5,000 to the American Unitarian Association (AUA) for its unrestricted use. Two years later, on the evening of May 24, 1922, the first Ware Lecture was given by the Rev. Frederick W. Norwood, pastor of the City Temple in London, England. The lecture had been "established in honor of the distinguished services of three generations of the Ware family to the cause of Pure Christianity."

The lecture has been given every year at the former May Meetings of the AUA and since 1961 at the General Assembly. No lecture was scheduled for 1945 due to World War II, although Morris S. Lazaron delivered an address on May 23, 1945 at All Souls Church in Washington, DC, which is referred to as a Ware lecture. There was no lecture in 1950 when the Unitarians celebrated their 125th anniversary.

The Harvard Square Library maintains a history of the Ware Lecture, including illustrated biographical notes.

Previous Ware Lecturers

Previous Ware Lecturers have included the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Kurt Vonnegut, and poet Mary Oliver.

About the Author

UUA General Assembly and Conference Services

General Assembly & Conference Services professional staff coordinate logistics such as registration, housing, the exhibit hall, services to our attendees prior to General Assembly (GA), and the GA Program. Fax: (617) 948-4651

For more information contact .