NASHVILLE, TN.—Thursday, May 7, 2015: Nashville-based advocacy initiative HBCUstory Inc. announces its partnership with the historic Fisk University, as well as a return to the Music City for its third annual HBCUstory SYMPOSIUM, Oct. 9-10.
The two-day research and cultural symposium, which will celebrate the beginning of the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction, annually convenes more than 100 historically black college and university (HBCU) presidents, researchers, administrators, faculty members, students and alumni from across the nation.
This year’s symposium, themed, “Reconstruction in a New Age of Resistance: Respecting our Roots + Restoring our Rites,” will contextualize the resistance that proponents of black education faced during the Reconstruction era while juxtaposing those challenges with the economic, political, social and cultural climate in which the nation’s now 107 HBCUs operate.
“As a proud daughter of Fisk University, it gives me immense pleasure to convene this year’s symposium at my alma mater,” said convenor and executive editor of HBCUstory Inc. Dr. Crystal A. deGregory, who graduated from Fisk in 2003. “In truth, my own HBCU story — my commitment to the historic preservation of HBCUs as well as my advocacy vis-a-vis efforts like this event — is inextricably linked to the story of Fisk, its campus and community.”
Fisk University President, Dr. H. James Williams, an alumnus of North Carolina Central University, added, “Fisk University is proud to partner with HBCUstory Inc. to present a first-rate conference that will both celebrate the legacy of the HBCU experience and forge new ground for the future stakeholders. We welcome our alumna, Dr. deGregory, home where we join and celebrate her vision, HBCUstory, and the work that she is doing for the HBCU diaspora.”
Offering open-access to academicians and practitioners, the symposium is the first of its kind for the nation’s HBCUs. The symposium’s collection of scholarly research and case studies outline the historic and contemporary value of HBCUs, and convenes expert voices in areas of history; information science; STEM; fundraising and development; partnerships and mergers, student persistence and retention; diversity and inclusion (LBGTQ, women studies); as well as athletics and wellness.
The 2015 symposium will also feature the presentation of HBCUstory Inc.’s Storyteller of the Year Legend and Storyteller of the Year Legacy awards, which recognize preservationists and architects of the HBCU experience. This year’s posthumous award recipients will include: Fisk University alumnus and director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers Dr. Matthew Kennedy; Tuskegee and Albany State universities alumna and Olympic gold medalist, National Track & Field Hall of Famer and U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer Alice Coachman; Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University alumnus and professor Dr. Charles U. Smith; Tennessee State University alumnus and pioneering cardiac surgeon Dr. Levi Watkins; Norfolk State University alumnus and minister, the Rev. Dr. St. Paul Epps; University of Maryland Eastern Shore alumnus, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Famer and athletic director Nelson Townsend; Alabama State University alumnus and mathematics professor Dr. Wallace Maryland, Jr.; as well as West Virginia State University alumnus and professional basketball player Earl Lloyd.
Last year’s symposium, hosted in downtown Washington D.C. by the Association of Public Land-Grant Colleges and Universities, championed the development of strategic partnerships and sustainability programs among HBCUs and the communities they serve. It also featured keynote speakers Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole (President Emerita of Spelman College and Bennett College for Women) and Dr. Ivory Toldson (Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities).