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Professor Gabrielle Foreman’s Plenary Talk

"Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Trust: Black Organizing, Black Wealth, and the Failure of the Freedman's Bank"

Thursday, February 10, 3:30-5:00 PM - Student Union Room 270 and hybrid Zoom
Zoom Link

In this Douglass Day keynote, literary historian Gabrielle Foreman revisits the stunningly little-known histories of the early Black convention movement and the post-Civil War Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company. Foreman centers Frederick Douglass’s role in each to highlight how trust is central to the heart of democracy, financial institutions, and citizenship rights across time and race.


Professor 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.