Keynote Speaker

Heather Thompson


Dr. Heather Ann Thompson is an award-winning historian in the Department of Afro-American and African Studies, the Residential College, and the Department of History at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She has just completed the first comprehensive history of one of the world’s most important prisoner rights rebellions, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy, which has received numerous favorable reviews, has been profiled on television and radio programs across the country, and it was just named a finalist for the National Book Award, as well as listed #3 in the top ten books of 2016 by Publishers Weekly. Thompson has written on the history of policing, mass incarceration and the current criminal justice system for The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, The Atlantic, Salon, Dissent,, New Labor Forum, and The Huffington Post, as well as for the top scholarly publications in her field. She served on a National Academy of Sciences blue-ribbon panel that studied the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States and has given congressional staff briefings on this subject. Thompson is also the author of Whose Detroit?: Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City and the editor of Speaking Out: Activism and Protest in the 1960s and 1970s.