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Central Region Humanities | Black Life in the Ohio Valley, Sept 9-10

Scholars and community members will delve into four centuries of Black history and heritage at the Black Life in the Ohio Valley Conference at Ohio University in September.

 

 

"The purpose of the conference is to examine Black life in the general region of the Ohio Valley from a variety of disciplinary points of view, with particular focus on the perspectives of humanities disciplines, including history, literary studies, language studies, archeology, anthropology, religious studies, communication studies, and others," said Katherine Jellison, professor of history and director of the Central Region Humanities Center, which is sponsoring the conference.

 

"Recovering and preserving the culture and history of Black life in the Ohio Valley is certainly one aim of the conference," Jellison added. "Also, learning about racial inequality in the region and discussing ways to confront it and deal with it are an important aim of the conference."

 

The conference, on Sept. 9 and 10 at the Baker Center Theater, is free and open to the public, and audience participation and questions are highly encouraged.

 

This photo of school children in Omar, WV, in October 1935 was taken by Ben Shahn and is provided courtesy of the Farm Security Administration. This photo of school children in Omar, WV, in October 1935 was taken by Ben Shahn and is provided courtesy of the Farm Security Administration.

 

The keynote address, "Diversity in the Heartland: Exploring the Growth and Impact of Rural Diversity Upon Ohio's Small-Town Cultures and Characters," will be delivered by Ric Sheffield, chair of the American Studies Department and professor of Legal Studies and Sociology at Kenyon College. Sheffield will speak at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10.

 

Other presentations will include a panel on Black history museums and monuments in Ohio, a screening of portions of a new film series about Black life in the Midwest, and paper presentations about a variety of topics, including the Underground Railroad, Black labor activists, and Black ministers in the region.

 

The conference facilitator will be Jack Marchbanks, Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, who earned a Ph.D. in History and a Contemporary History Certificate from the College of Arts & Sciences in 2018.

 

This photo of a man working at an Aluminum Industries Inc. plant in Cincinnati, OH, was taken in February 1942 by Alfred T. Palmer and is provided courtesy of the Farm Security Administration. This photo of a man working at an Aluminum Industries Inc. plant in Cincinnati, OH, was taken in February 1942 by Alfred T. Palmer and is provided courtesy of the Farm Security Administration.

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