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Collective Actions for Black History: The Principles, Rituals, and Research Agendas of Douglass Day

Thursday, January 27, 3:30-5 PM, Zoom -  In collaboration with the University of Tennessee Humanities Center’s Digital Humanities Initiative

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Every year Douglass Day brings thousands of people together in a collective action. We gather—in classrooms and community centers, churches and libraries—to transcribe newly digitized collections of Black history & culture. This talk will share the principles, rituals, and collective research agendas that have driven the launch and growth of this international digital humanities project over the past six years. What new directions for Black participatory and community-engaged projects are now possible? This conversation between the co-directors of Douglass Day will offer strategies for creating Black public and digital projects to meet the overwhelming public demand for opportunities to get involved in the preservation and memory of Black history. 

Jim Casey is an assistant professor of African American Studies, History, and English at Penn State, where he serves as associate director of the Center for Black Digital Research. Along with a book in progress on the history of editors, he is co-editor with P. Gabrielle Foreman of The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century (2021) and co-founder and co-director of the Colored Conventions Project and Douglass Day.

Denise Burgher is the senior team leader for curriculum and community engagement on the Colored Conventions Project and at the Center for Black Digital Research at Penn State. She is finishing her PhD in English at the University of Delaware on Afro-Protestant nineteenth century women writers and theologians. Her work has been supported by a dissertation fellowship at the Library Company of Philadelphia and has appeared in Legacy, The Collective Wisdom Handbook, and in numerous public venues. She co-directs Douglass Day and the digital humanities Steenth Street Project on Alice Dunbar Nelson.