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UNH Hosts Black New England Conference 2007

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
May 23, 2007

The Center for New England Culture at UNH will host the Black New England Conference “Black New England: Visible Lives, Remembered Places” June 1 and 2.

The event will gather scholars, teachers, researchers, community members and members of local organizations to foster a dialogue on the black experience in New England throughout history.

James Campbell, associate professor of American civilization, Africana studies and history at Brown University, will give the keynote address at 7 p.m., Friday June 1, in MUB Theatre I. He is the winner of the Organization of American Historians’ Frederick Jackson Turner Prize and the Carl Sandberg award for nonfiction for his book, “Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa.”

Campbell will discuss “Navigating the Past: Reflections on Brown University’s Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice.” Campbell chaired the committee that sought to both investigate the Brown University’s historical connections to the practices of slavery, and to foster a dialogue on the campus and in the community about the complexities of those connections.

Other conference speakers include Barbara Neely, author of the acclaimed Blanche White mystery novels; Marilyn Richardson, principal of African-Americana Consultants and author of “Black Women and Religion: A Bibliography” and “Black Bostonians: Two Hundred Years of Community Culture”; and Joanne Pope Melish, associate professor of American and African American history at University of Kentucky.

The conference includes five panel presentations: Black Life in New England; Black Cultural Expressions in New England; Black New England and the Caribbean; Black New England and Africa; and Social Memories, Memorials, and Trails.

There also will be a workshop Saturday, June 2, about researching and teaching local black history. This workshop will feature David Watters, director of the Center for New England Culture, Valerie Cunningham of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, and JerriAnne Boggis of the Harriet Wilson Project. They will present their work on projects funded by the UNH President’s Excellence Award.

The events will be held in the MUB and Huddleston Hall. A registration fee of $50 covers breakfasts and lunches on June 1 and 2, and the conference packet. An optional tour of black heritage sites in Milford or Portsmouth is available Thursday by registration for $25. The conference is cosponsored by the UNH Vice Provost Office/Diversity Initiatives, Black Heritage Partnerships, the African American Collection of Maine at the University of Southern Maine, Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, the Harriet Wilson Project and the Upper Housatonic African American Heritage Trail.

For more information on the conference, call or email JerriAnne Boggis at 2-0639 and jerrianne.boggis@unh.edu, or David Watters at 2-0353 and david.watters@unh.edu. Information also is available online at http://www.neculture.org/ne-identities.html.

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