The fall semester is here and so are conference trips, paper panels, and long, pleasant coffees with colleagues & friends. Two panels and a roundtable follow:
This September, I’ll be at the 97th Association for the Study of African-American Life and History Annual Convention (September 26-30, Pittsburgh, PA). I’ll be presenting a paper on free women of color, inheritance, and property in late eighteenth-century New Orleans. The panel, “Property, Freedom, and the Politics of Resistance among Enslaved Women in the Atlantic World,” organized by Jessica Millward (University of California-Irvine), is a powerhouse gathering of black women historians of eighteenth and nineteenth-century African-American and Afro-Atlantic history. Presenting with me are Aisha K. Finch (UCLA) and Jessica Millward. Daina Ramey Berry (University of Texas-Austin) is our chair and Margaret Washington (Cornell University) will offer comments.
I’m also participating in the roundtable, “Black Women’s Cultural Agency and Political Power in the 20th and 21st Centuries” alongside Regina N. Bradley (Florida State University), Tanisha C. Ford (University of Massachusetts), and Treva B. Lindsey (University of Missouri-Columbia). We’ll be exploring black women’s cultural production and political lives. This discussion promises to range from images of black women and labor in books/movies like The Help to South African women’s activism to representations of women of color in hip hop. We’ll also be live tweeting the event so be sure to follow each of us and ASALH for updates.
I am over the top with excitement about the panel and the roundtable, and humbled to be presenting with such an amazing group of scholars.
As soon as I return, I fly back out to St. Louis for the inaugural James McLeod Lecture on Higher Education at Washington University in St. Louis. Walter Massey is the featured speaker. I’ve been invited to help commemorate the event as part of a panel of former WUSTL Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellows discussing what Mellon-Mays, Dean McLeod, and a liberal arts education has meant to us.
There is no better way to celebrate Dean McLeod’s work and continue his legacy than to share memories of him with the people who knew him (and many who did not), while reflecting on the very direct impact his commitment to education had on my life. And in the face of very disheartening news about the future of the McNair Scholars Program and the on-going Chicago Teacher’s Strike, I hope an event like this–and the lecture series itself–reminds us that the battle for equal access in education is far from over.
Image Credit: “Femme de couleur libre,” published in E.D.C. Campbell and K.S. Rice, eds., Before Freedom Came: African-American Life in the Antebellum South (Univ. Press of Virginia, 1991), plate 4, p. xi, as shown on www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. (Click image for details)