Researching, Preserving and Exhibiting Black History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture

What role do cultural institutions play in ensuring that the story of Black communities is accessible and valued? In this plenary, we highlight the work of libraries, museums and preservation foundations to explore the importance of public and private institutions that document, preserve and present the global and national black experience. Featuring four leaders of major institutions, the plenary is a panel discussion about their work facilitating the study, protection and exhibition of Black communities.


Saundra Williams

Chair, Chancellor's African American Community Advisory Council, North Carolina State University

Elaine Westbrooks

University Librarian, UNC Chapel Hill


Brent Leggs

Executive Director, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

Brent Leggs is the Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund – a $25,000,000 fundraising and preservation campaign of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to fill an important gap in the nation’s cultural heritage landscape. A Harvard University Loeb Fellow, he co-authored the National Trust’s booklet, Preserving African American Historic Places, which is considered the “seminal publication on preserving African American historic sites” by the Smithsonian Institution.

As the project manager for several National Treasure campaigns across the country, he led efforts to create the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in Alabama, which President Barack Obama designated in January 2017. Other campaign successes include the perpetual protection of icons like Villa Lewaro, the estate of Madam C. J. Walker in Irvington, New York; Joe Frazier’s Gym in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey; A. G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham; and more. Brent is currently advising Historically Black Colleges and Universities at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland and Howard University in Washington, D.C. to ensure these campuses are preserved for future generations. Currently, Brent is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Maryland’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation.


Michael Moore

Founding President and CEO.International African American Museum

Michael Boulware Moore is the Founding President and CEO of the International Afican American Museum. The $100+ million museum, located at the former Gadsden's Wharf in Charleston, will be a unique center of learning where individuals, families, and groups will advance their understanding and appreciation or American History, particularly the role of African Americans in creating the country we know today.

Standing at Gadsden's Wharf, the sacred spot where almost half of all enslaved Africans entered the United States, IAAM will tell the complete and accurate story of the pain, struggle, and incredible triumph of a race of people that built the very fabric of our Nation.

Michael is a seasoned business and community leader, board member, and author. He has experience both leading iconic global brands and smaller, entrepreneurial companies. Michael is a thought leader on both brand strategy and consumer behavior, as well as social justice and African American history. He has degrees from Syracuse and Duke Universities.

Michael is married, the father of four sons, and lives in Mount Pleasant, SC.


Loretta Parham

CEO & Library Director, Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc.

Loretta Parham is CEO & Library Director of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., an independent entity operating as the single library shared by its four member institutions—Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College. She is responsible for the strategic agenda transforming the Woodruff Library into the best choice for information for its community. With more than 30 years in the profession her experience includes: Director of the Hampton University Library, Deputy Director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pa., District Chief of the Chicago Public Library (CPL) and other public service positions with the Chicago Public Schools and the City Colleges of Chicago. An active leader, scholar and engaging speaker, Parham was named a 2004 “Mover & Shaker” by Library Journal and was also honored as the 2017 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).

Parham has authored articles on HBCU libraries and archives, and is co-editor of the book, Achieving Diversity: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians. She has been a featured speaker for programs of the IMLS, University of Tennessee Libraries, Georgia Public Library Services, The Commerce Club, Atlanta, Ga., University of Northern Colorado Libraries, the Heritage Preservation’s National Institute for Conservation, OCLC, the Georgia Society of Archivists, and more. Parham is a trustee of OCLC Inc., a member of the University of Michigan Information School Alumni Advisory Board, member of the ALA Committee of Accreditation., and Chair of the ARCHE (Atlanta Regional Council on Higher Education) Library Council. Parham is co-founder and past chair of the Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Library Alliance, past chair of the Georgia Humanities Council, former board member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), the Wayne State University School of Library Science Advisory Board, and past treasurer of the Oberlin Group. She has served as faculty for the EDUCAUSE Management Institute, on the National ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Literacy Policy Council’s Governance Committee, past president of the OCLC Members Council, past chair of the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET-now LYRASIS), and as a member of the Editorial Board of College & Research Libraries (a peer review journal). Parham holds the Master of Library Science degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and the Bachelor of Science in Communications from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Parham is an alumna of the Frye Institute, the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians, the HBCU Library Alliance Leadership Institute, and Leadership Pittsburgh. She is an active member of ACRL and the American Library Association (ALA).

Loretta O’Brien Parham is married to James B. Parham, Ph.D., and a very proud mother of two sons and a daughter.


Kevin Young

Director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Kevin Young is the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, newly named a National Historic Landmark, and Poetry Editor of the New Yorker. He is the author of thirteen books of poetry and prose, most recently Brown (2018), a New York Times Notable Book; Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 (Knopf, 2016), longlisted for the National Book Award; and Book of Hours (Knopf, 2014), a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets. His collection Jelly Roll: a blues (Knopf, 2003) was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Young’s nonfiction book, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News (Graywolf Press, November 14, 2017), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Nonfiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and named a New York Times Notable Book, a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” selection, and a “Best Book of 2017″ by NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Smithsonian, Vogue, the Atlantic, Nylon, BuzzFeed, and Electric Literature. Young’s previous nonfiction book, The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness (Graywolf Press, 2012), won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and the PEN Open Book Award; it was also a New York Times Notable Book for 2012 and a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.

Young is the editor of eight other collections, most recently The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton, 1965-2010 (BOA Editions, 2012) and The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink (Bloomsbury, 2012). Named University Distinguished Professor at Emory University, Young was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.



Karla Slocum

Director, Institute of African-American Research











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Downtown Durham, Inc.

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PNC Bank

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UNC Institute for the Arts & Humanities

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