During the first week of October, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) held its annual conference in Charleston, SC. Yearly, the conference attracts the top scholars in African American history from around the nation to share their research.
This year the conference was packed with informative sessions covering topics ranging from the history of police brutality, the black freedom movement, and the role of black women in the black migration. Rounding out the conference were black history bus tours around the city and special plenary and luncheon sessions which highlighted local history. At its 104th convention, ASALH continued the legacy of its founder, the father of black history, Dr. Carter G. Woodson by sharing and promoting the study of black history.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Black Migrations” which according to the organization “emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities. While inclusive of earlier centuries, this theme focuses especially on the twentieth century through today.” A highlight of this recognition was the commemoration of the 1619 arrival of the first Africans in the British Colonies.
While Africans had existed on the continent and in the hemisphere before this time, it marked the first time Africans arrived in what became the United States.In keeping with ASALH’s desire to highlight African American history nationally, they also took the time to celebrate and recognize black history and culture in Charleston. The conference featured performances by local Charleston artists The Oscar Rivers Jazz Quartet of Charleston and Quiana Parler & Friends. It also featured an appearance by “The Art-ivist”, Queen Quet (Marquetta L. Goodwine) of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition.
The conference also held a powerful luncheon session titled, Bible Study (The Story of the Mother Emanuel AME Massacre in Charleston, SC). The session featured a panel that included members of the church discussing the racist attack during their bible study and the efforts to persevere and maintain their history and legacy in its wake.The attendees all left the conference having learned something about African American history and the city of Charleston! Next year, the conference will be held in Birmingham, Alabama with the theme, “African Americans and the Vote”.
For more information visit asalh.org/conference/ .