The subject of race makes a lot of people uncomfortable. That’s why it’s important — especially in the former Capital of the Confederacy — to have an open discussion about it. On Thursday, Sept. 3, the Humanities Research Center at Virginia Commonwealth University addresses the issue head-on with the speaker series Race, Citizenship and Memory in the South, which coincides with the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery. The series begins with a lecture from philosopher, activist, writer and Princeton University professor Cornel West called “Invoking Our Collective Memory.” In the coming weeks, the past, present and future of race in America will be explored through speakers and events designed to promote discussion about the nation’s ongoing and often contentious struggle for racial equality. West’s lecture, to be held at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, begins at 6 p.m. Free. Call 827-0889 or visit humanitiescenter.vcu.edu.