About Us

The Black Communities Conference, a.k.a. #BlackCom2019, is a vibrant and uniquely important gathering featuring panel discussions, local tours, film screenings, workshops, keynotes, and more .Our core mission is to foster collaboration among Black communities and universities for the purpose of enhancing Black community life and furthering the understanding of Black communities.

Co-Chairs

Mark Little

Director, NCGrowth and Executive Director, UNC Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Mark Little, PhD, is Executive Director of the UNC Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise which advances the understanding of entrepreneurship, economic development, and global commerce for the public good.He is also the Director of NCGrowthan EDA University Center dedicated to helping businesses create good jobs and communities create sustainable and equitable opportunities for their people through economic development and research. In these roles, he manages institute operations, supports high-growth entrepreneurs, helps communities grow and retain business, facilitates strategic regional economic development, and researches solutions to pressing energy, environment, and climate related problems. He has also served as a AAAS Congressional Science Fellow to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

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Karla Slocum

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director, Institute of African American Research, UNC-Chapel Hill

Karla Slocum is Associate Professor of Anthropology and also Director, Institute of African American Research at UNC-Chapel Hill. She specializes in studies of globalization,place, race and history.Her major independent research projects have focused on Afro-an Indo-Caribbean farmers’ responses to global economic change and the salience of race and history to the contemporary identities of communities known as “All Black Towns.”Slocum is the author of Free Trade and Freedom: Neoliberalism, Place and Nation in the Caribbean(University of Michigan Press, 2006) and she is completing a book,under contract with University of North Carolina Press, on the appeal of black places.

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Advisory Board

Barrye Brown

Processing Archivist, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York

Barrye Brown is the Processing Archivist at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York. Previously, she was the Reference and Outreach Archivist at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston.  Brown is an experienced archivist with a demonstrated history of working in academic libraries. Skilled in Archival Research, Editing, Public Speaking, Online Research, and History. Strong education professional with a Master’s Degree focused in Library Science (Archives and Records Management) from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science.

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Melissa Cooper

Assistant Professor, Department of History, Rutgers University

Melissa Cooper is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Rutgers University. Cooper specializes in African American cultural and intellectual history, and the history of the African Diaspora. She is the author of Instructor’s Resource Manual–Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans with Documents (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2013) and a contributor to Race and Retail: Consumption Across the Color Line (Rutgers University Press, 2015). Cooper’s manuscript, Making Gullah: A History of Sapelo Islanders, Race, and the American Imagination is an intellectual and cultural history that examines the emergence of “the Gullah” in scholarly and popular works during the 1920s and the 1930s.

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Giselle Corbie-Smith

Professor of Medicine and Social Medicine, and Director of Center for Health Equity Research, UNC-Chapel Hill

Giselle Corbie-Smith is a Professor of Medicine and Social Medicine, and Director of Center for Health Equity Research at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Corbie-Smith serves as the Director of   NC TraCS’ Community Academic Resources for Engaged Scholarship (CARES) Services and the Program on Health Disparities at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Her empirical work, focuses on the methodological, ethical, and practical issues faced by mandated inclusion of minorities in research and the need for this research to address racial disparities in health.  She currently holds a K24 to support her mentoring efforts of young scholars, and has been the principal investigator of several grants including the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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William A. Darity

Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, Duke University

William Darity is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy at Duke University.  Darity is also Director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity (Duke). His research interests include educational policy, educational inequality, segregation in education, stratification economics, race, racial identity and income inequality.  He has served as chair of the Department of African and African American Studies and was the founding director of the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality at Duke.  He has published or edited 12 books and published more than 210 articles in professional journals.

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Maria Esther

PhD candidate, UT Austin

Everett Fly

Landscape Architect, FASLA and Architect, NCARB Certified

His national consultations include multidisciplinary planning, urban design and historic preservation projects. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA/1995). He chaired the board of Humanities Texas from 1993 to 1994. He served on the State of Texas National Register Board of Review and the City of San Antonio Historic and Design Review Commission. President Bill Clinton appointed Everett to two terms on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities from 1994 to 2001. President Barack Obama awarded him one of ten 2014 National Humanities Medals for his body of work preserving the integrity of African-American places and landmarks. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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Tadayuki (Tad) Hara

Associate Professor, Senior Research Fellow at the Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies, and Associate Dean of Finance and Administration, University of Central Florida

Tadayuki Hara is Associate Professor, Senior Research Fellow at the Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies, and Associate Dean of Finance and Administration at the University of Central Florida. Among the 100s of publications, keynotes, and publications he has contributed to, he is the sole author of the technical textbook Quantitative Tourism Industry Analysis… He currently serves on the Editorial Board for Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, International Journal of Tourism Sciences, and is the Associate Editor for Journal of Tourism Economics, Policy and Hospitality Management.

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Thomas Allen Harris

Family Pictures USA, NYC

Heather Hodges

Exec Dir, Gullah Geechee Corridor, NC/SC/GA/FL

Ellen Hunt

Architect, Ellen Pulner Hunt Architect, Inc.

Ellen Hunt, AIA, is a registered architect in the state of Texas with more than 25 years of experience. She went to the University of Texas at Austin and completed a bachelor’s degree in architecture and post-professional master’s degree in architectural history and theory. She has had her own architecture firm in Austin since 2003, and has been working with Everett Fly, FASLA, collaborating on preservation projects since 1996. Their work together focuses on the history, evolution and preservation of historic Black Towns and Settlements in Texas and across the country.

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James H. Sills, III

CEO, M&F Bank, Durham, NC

Valerie Ann Johnson

Mott Distinguished Professor of Women’s Studies, and the Director of Africana Women’s Studies, Bennett College, Greensboro, NC

Valerie Ann Johnson is the Mott Distinguished Professor of Women’s Studies, and the Director of Africana Women’s Studies at Bennett College.  Johnson chairs the NC African American Heritage Commission, serves on the NC Historical Commission, National Register Advisory Committee, Ms. Committee of Scholars, and recently rotated off the board for Scarritt Bennett Center in Nashville, Tennessee – a nonprofit education, conference and retreat center.  Serves on the Steering Committee for the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem North Carolina, and as a faculty mentor for the Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement (SITPA) at Duke University.

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Sonny Kelly

PhD candidate, UNC

Alicia Latimer

Tulsa City-County Library, OK

Alicia M. H. Latimer is the African-American Resource Center Coordinator for the Tulsa City-County Library System.  She is the recipient of numerous community awards, including the City of Tulsa Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women’s Pinnacle Award, The Tulsa YWCA’s Women of the Year Award,  the University of Oklahoma Department of Human Relations’ Distinguished Alumnae Award, and the Williams Companies’/Tulsa Shock Women of Inspiration Award. Alicia is an information specialist with a specific focus on Tulsa Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street and the 1921 Race Massacre.  In 2016, Alicia was selected as a member of a US contingent to Caux, Switzerland which presented on the 1921 Race Massacre.  She is a member of the Greater Tulsa African-American Affairs Commission, The 1921 Race Massacre Commemoration Commission, and on the board of the John Hope Franklin Center for Racial Reconciliation in Tulsa. Latimer received her Master of Human Relations, and Master of Library and Information Studies, degrees from the University of Oklahoma.

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Glenda Lawrence-Knight

Mayor Pro-tem, Town of Princeville, NC

Giselle Mendez

Volunteer Center of Trinidad and Tobago (VCTT)

Alexa Potashnik

Nina Smith

Assistant Professor of Human Sciences, North Carolina Central University

Nina Smith is an Assistant Professor of Human Sciences at North Carolina Central University. Smith’s training and specific research interests center around the impact of economic conditions such as poverty, parental job loss, and parental work characteristics on the well-being of children and families.   Her current research examines parental perceptions of child care, and how economic factors guide parental choices of child care. Currently, she is exploring these linkages among low-income and ethnically diverse populations, as well as the pathways through which these conditions influence children’s cognitive, behavioral, mental, and physical well-being.

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Angela Thorpe

Associate Director, NC African American Heritage Commission

Dwight Tillery

CEO, Center for Closing the Health Gap, Cincinnati, OH

Jacquelyn Dupont Walker

Director, Social Action Commission, Los Angeles, CA

Napoleon Wallace

Co-founder, Activest

Napoleon Wallace is currently a member of the Activest leadership team. He most recently was the Deputy Secretary for Rural Economic Development & Workforce in the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Before this role, he served as the Kresge Foundation’s Social Investments team, and a high yield research analyst at Wells Fargo.

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Ansel Wong

Cultural and political activist, London, UK

Planning Committee

Eldrin Deas

Maria Estorino

Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

María R. Estorino is Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and director of the Louis Round Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A cultural heritage professional with 18 years of experience in special collections, she was previously the Esperanza Bravo de Varona Chair of the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami Libraries and vice president for museum collections at HistoryMiami Museum. She received a Master of Arts in public history from Northeastern University and a Master of Science in library science from Simmons College. María also studied history at Loyola University, New Orleans, and participated in the Smithsonian Institution’s Latino Museum Studies Program.

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Patrick Horn

Associate Director, Center for the Study of the American South

Patrick Horn coordinates public programming as well as grants and fellowships at UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South. His research and teaching focus on multiethnic American literature, and his work has been published in Southern Cultures, North Carolina Literary Review, and Studies in the Novel. Prior to graduate school, he served as an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Kuwait, and East Africa.

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Miriam Johnson

Amatullah King

Co-Chair of Planning Committee;
Events and Programs Manager, Institute of African American Research

Amatullah King is the Events & Programs Manager for the Institute of African American Research and The Carolina Seminars. King has over six years experience in events planning. King holds a B.A. in English, cum laude, from Cornell University. At Cornell, she was a fellow in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF), to which IAAR’s MURAP is a sister program. As a fellow, she concentrated on 19th and 20th century African-American Literature. Her interests continue to be in African American history, culture, preservation, and theatre arts.

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DeWarren Langley

Mark Little

Observer

Mark Little, PhD, is Executive Director of the UNC Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise which advances the understanding of entrepreneurship, economic development, and global commerce for the public good.He is also the Director of NCGrowthan EDA University Center dedicated to helping businesses create good jobs and communities create sustainable and equitable opportunities for their people through economic development and research. In these roles, he manages institute operations, supports high-growth entrepreneurs, helps communities grow and retain business, facilitates strategic regional economic development, and researches solutions to pressing energy, environment, and climate related problems. He has also served as a AAAS Congressional Science Fellow to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

MORE

Karla Slocum

Observer

Karla Slocum is Associate Professor of Anthropology and also Director, Institute of African American Research at UNC-Chapel Hill. She specializes in studies of globalization,place, race and history.Her major independent research projects have focused on Afro-an Indo-Caribbean farmers’ responses to global economic change and the salience of race and history to the contemporary identities of communities known as “All Black Towns.”Slocum is the author of Free Trade and Freedom: Neoliberalism, Place and Nation in the Caribbean(University of Michigan Press, 2006) and she is completing a book,under contract with University of North Carolina Press, on the appeal of black places.

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Kara Stith

Co-Chair of Planning Committee;
Program Coordinator, NCGrowth
 

Leader

Black Communities: A Conference for Collaboration is Hosted By