2016 African American History and Life Conference (ASALH)
Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories
October 5th – 9th, Richmond, VA
The year 2016 marks the beginning of a new century for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Our national theme for Black History Month is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.” One cannot tell the story of America without reflecting on the places where African Americans have made history. The Kingsley Plantation, DuSable’s home site, the numerous stops along the Underground Railroad, Seneca Village, Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, and Frederick Douglass’ home are but a few of the many sites remembered for shaping African American culture and consciousness in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
This year’s conference explores a spatial understanding of history as well as the power of place, be it a single site or particular community, to embody what it meant to be Black during a specific historical period and to evoke memories of past events that continue to resonate today. The history of African Americans has unfolded across the canvas of America, beginning many decades before the arrival of the Mayflower and continuing to the present. From port cities where Africans disembarked from slave ships to cotton fields where their labor enriched America, from battlefields where their descendants fought for freedom to colleges and universities where they have pursued education, from Southern farms and cities to congested metropolises in the North and West, Americans of African descent have imprinted their experiences and perspectives on the land and on the narrative of the American past. Across the country sites of hallowed grounds are remembered on U Street in Washington, DC, Bronzeville in Chicago, 125th Street in Harlem, Beale Street in Memphis, and Sweet Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. They tell the story of the black freedom struggle and the quest for equal citizenship during the American Century. .