Four Months to Go!

We began planning Black Communities: A Conference for Collaboration last April, as a follow up to the 2015 Historic Black Towns Summit.

Over the course of these past eight months, we have been excited by the prospects of what could materialize out of our planning. Our hope? A unique event that brings together hundreds of people from diverse personal and professional backgrounds who all share a commitment to highlighting black communities through their work. The mayors participating in the 2015 summit were our inspiration. They told us that they wanted to partner with UNC faculty and students to leverage research that would help them document and promote their towns. So, we set out to create a structure –the conference– that would take that idea on a wider scale. The goal would be to bring a broad range of community residents and leaders, faculty, students and practitioners together for two purposes: 1) to exchange knowledge and insights about black communities; 2) to partner in researching, documenting, and promoting them.

But the truth is, while we spent a lot of time developing our own ideas and plans for the conference, we didn’t know if our wildest dreams would come true. We threw ourselves into organizing the event, with the critical help of a 12-member planning committee and a 30-member advisory board. We put in a lot of hours. But, we had no idea if all of this work would result in what we hoped for.

Well, at this eight month mark, with the submission deadline having closed a couple of weeks ago, we are THRILLED to have received more than 270 proposals! The tremendous response has been beyond our wildest dreams. And it isn’t just the numbers that excite us. It is also the types of proposals and the types of people that are interested in participating in the conference.
Just as we wanted, we received interest from academics and community members alike. We estimate a 50-50 split, making the conference –we believe– a historic event. The proposals —for workshops, working groups and presentations– span more than 10 academic disciplines, and they come from people linked to numerous communities from all over the U.S. as well as Canada and Mexico. We received proposals covering the arts, criminal justice, histories of black communities, health, community economic development, education and so much more.

Over the next 6-8 weeks we contain our excitement just enough to focus in on going through each proposal with our 35- member selection committee. If you submitted a proposal you will hear from us in late January. But please get ready for a fabulous and dynamic conference and stay tuned for more updates.








Black Communities: A Conference for Collaboration is Hosted By