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Spring 2017 Symposium

March 17-18, 2017 | Williamsburg, VA


2017 Schedule

As American colleges and universities begin the revolutionary task of confronting their slave-holding past, it is important to remember that African Americans have long grappled with slavery and racial oppression, from 1619 to the present. From the open rebellion of Nat Turner to the quieter revolutions of the thousands of enslaved men and women who feigned illness, broke tools, or slowed down the pace of work, black revolutionaries throughout the eighteenth-and-nineteenth-century Atlantic World challenged the existing racial order. In the nineteenth century, from slavery into reconstruction, and beyond, figures like Pauline Hopkins, Harriet Tubman, and Sutton E. Griggs spoke out and railed against racist practices and racially-motivated violence. And the revolution continues today with people like Bree Newsome, Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley, Beyoncé and Black Lives Matter activists.

We seek papers that address and confront the diverse breadth of topics surrounding Black Revolutionary Thought from both historical and modern perspectives. We encourage presenters to engage a wide range of time periods, methodologies, and fields, such as American Studies, the Atlantic World, archaeology, anthropology, history, gender studies, and Africana studies.

Possible topics include but are not limited to: Atlantic World revolutionary thought; the Underground Railroad; gendered resistance; the Back to Africa movement and colonization societies; antebellum and postbellum activists such as Harriet Jacobs and Sojourner Truth; A. Phillip Randolph and the African American labor movement; Women’s Clubs and the politics of respectability; Colored Conventions; WWII and the Double V campaign; Black Power; third world feminism; the Black Lives Matter movement; “resegregation“ and education reform; the New Jim Crow and mass incarceration.

Cover Sheet

Please include a cover sheet with the following:

  • Contact Information: Name, Email, and Phone        
  • Institutional Affiliation
  • Professional Title

Indicate whether you are a/an:

  • Undergraduate Student
  • Graduate Student
  • Law Student
  • Community Member
  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Administrator


  • 300-500 words double-space
  • Title
  • What is your project?
  • How does it relate to the theme?
  • Brief bio (not more than 200 words)

Submit proposal to no later than Friday, February 17, 2017

If you intend to attend, please register. 

Associated Events:
Lemon Project Open Mic Night

Calling all performers! The Lemon Project seeks spoken word artists, freestyle rappers, poets, dancers, drummers, singers, other musicians, comics, and expressive artists of any kind to perform in a night of memory and renewal for our Annual Spring Symposium on March 18, 20177-9pm in Sadler Lodge 1. This year's theme focuses upon the rich, radical, and revolutionary tradition of Black political thought from the 1800 Gabriel Prosser slave revolt in Richmond, VA and extending into the present with #BlackLivesMatter mobilization. We seek performance submissions that elaborate this tradition of resistance and that celebrate the vitality and richness of Black life that thrives despite the darkness cast by the ever-present shadow of death. To submit your performance, visit

Visual Art Exhibit 

The American Studies Graduate Digital Humanities Fellows at the College of William and Mary are seeking submissions in the form of visual art that engages with contemporary discourse surrounding race and inequality. Accepted submissions will form an exhibition in the newly formed Equality Lab, which will open to the public as an event for Black History Month on March 17, 2017 at the start of the Lemon Project Symposium, stay in the School of Business through March 18th. It will then be moved into the Equality Lab in Morton Hall for the remainder of the semester. 

GOALS: The goal of this exhibition is to encourage study at the intersection of art, scholarship and activism, while also introducing students and community members to the Equality Lab, which is a resource for digital scholarship, the study of disenfranchised groups and the pursuit of activism, and the Lemon Project, a resource for the study of Black students in the history of the College. Accepted submissions will be digitized in collaboration with the Lemon Project for those unable to visit the exhibition.

SUGGESTED TOPICS: We encourage artists, both at the College and in the larger Williamsburg community, to submit pieces which explore topics which include but are not limited to:

  • Online/virtual activism, hashtags, particularly #BlackLivesMatter, etc.

  • Police Brutality

  • The Prison Industrial Complex

  • The School-to-Prison Pipeline

  • Art as Activism

  • Intersectionality

  • #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackBoyJoy

  • Local/Regional Black History in Williamsburg and at the College

SUGGESTED MEDIA: Accepted media include but are not limited to:

  • Visual Art (On canvas or other sturdy material. Digital materials will also be accepted.)

    • Paintings

    • Sketches

    • Graffiti

    • Short comics and cartoons

    • Sculpture

  • Photography

  • Short Film (5 minutes maximum)

  • Digital Art

DEADLINE: We will be accepting submissions on a rolling basis until March 4, 2017 at 11:55 PM.

SUBMISSIONS: To submit, please send the following materials to Ravynn Stringfield at

  • Your piece, which should be identified with your name, date, and a title. (If your piece is a sculpture or a 3D piece, you may first submit a photograph of your piece, and then make arrangements for the acquisition of your piece.
  • A short statement (no more than 300 words) in a Word document about why you think this piece is appropriate for this exhibition.
    • Please include on this document a short biographical statement which should include your name, status as either a student, professor, or community member, and any other relevant information.

Please direct relevant inquires to