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FDD Celebration and Transcribe-a-Thon

Monday, February 14, 12:00-3:00 PM-Student Union Room 262 and hybrid Zoom
Zoom Link

Join us for a celebratory party to celebrate Frederick Douglass’s birthday and Black literary history!  We will be transcribing the records of the Colored Conventions Project , enjoying presentations and performances, and eating birthday cake from Mer-Mer’s Bakery!  

Everyone can join in transcribing records (we will show you how, and it’s fun!), and we will be focusing on the Black women involved in the Colored Conventions.  Come be involved in producing and celebrating Black literary history.

For on-campus parking, please email

Honored Guests

Rev. Willa Estell works for racial justice each and every day in Maryville, TN.  She is Chairperson of Blount County United and President of the Alcoa-Blount County NAACP.  Over the past ten years, she has formed Blount County United, a grass-roots racial justice organization, and reorganized the Alcoa-Blount County NAACP.  She has led countless peaceful protests and vigils; given a vast number of sermons, talks, and presentations about racial justice; and accomplished key victories in the work against racial oppression. Estell lives the legacy of the Black women involved in the Colored Conventions, and we are thrilled she joins us as an Honored Guest for the 2022 UTK Frederick Douglass Day.

Estell is the proud mother of three beautiful children and grandmother of two.  She is a graduate of Martin University in Indianapolis, Christian Theological Seminary, and Hood Theological Seminary.  She is an ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, serving as the Pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church in Maryville, TN.  She is the first female to serve in this capacity.  On the national level of the AME Zion Church, she serves as Executive Secretary of the Presiding Elders Council, a member of the Board of Global Missions and is an Alternate Delegate to the World Methodist Council. On the Conference level of the AME Zion Church, she is currently serving as Treasurer of the Tennessee Conference, Chairperson of Conference Admissions Committee, Vice President of the Trustee Board, Coordinator of the Intercessory Prayer Ministry, Chairperson of the Nominating Committee, and Chairperson of Specialized Ministry.  She is also the Chairperson of the Beloved Community Outreach Foundation.

P. Gabrielle Foreman is the founding faculty director of the Colored Convention Project and founding co-director of Penn State University's Center for Black Digital Research/#DigBlk. Foreman is an award-winning teacher and scholar of African American studies and nineteenth-century literary history and culture. Professor Foreman is known for her collaborative work including an edition of Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig as well as dance/poetry performance pieces on Wilson, David Drake or “Dave the Potter,” the Colored Conventions, and Mary Ann Shadd Cary. She is author, editor, or co-editor of five books and editions including Activist Sentiments: Reading Black Women in the Nineteenth Century (2009), and The Colored Convention Movement:  Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century (2021). She is Professor of English, African American Studies, and History at Penn State University where she also holds an endowed chair in Liberal Arts.