Last weekend, it was a pleasure to talk about some of the themes from my book Paul Robeson: A Life of Activism and Art at the Mid-America Conference which was hosted by the History Department at the University of Oklahoma. The topic for this year’s conference was Transnationalism and Minority Cultures. Jonathan Holloway’s keynote address was especially interesting and drew from his new book Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940. He ruminated on his trip to West Africa and the issue of subjectivity in historical analysis.
Joining me on an early morning panel on Friday were David Chappell and Randal Jelks who reflected on the topic of Leadership and Varieties of Black Power in the USA. Randal spoke about the centrality of religion in the life and leadership of Benjamin Mays and David reflected on the 1972 Black political convention in Gary, Indiana and the issue of unity in the post-King years.
I was also glad to get to see the campus at Oklahoma and a bit of the town of Norman. The neighborhood of historical bungalows was delightful! Many thanks to David Chappell for inviting me to the conference and to Janet Ward for organizing the conference.