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Making African America: A Symposium on Immigration and the Changing Dynamics of Blackness
*Due to campus restrictions on in-person events, this event has been postponed until Spring 2021*

April 16-17, 2020

Stamp Student Union

University of Maryland, College Park, MD

April 18, 2020

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Washington, D.C.


Immigration and the Making of African America will explore the largely untold history of African diasporic immigrants to the United States and their relations with native-born African Americans over the last 150 years. Black immigrants developed distinctive strategies for assimilating, even while maintaining ties with their countries of origin. They have profoundly influenced the social, political, and cultural history of the United States. In exploring these themes and by connecting immigration and African American history and culture, this conference will bring together scholars across the humanities to rethink the standard narratives of both fields, demonstrate that the fields must be in dialogue with one another, and illuminate in new ways the complexity of blackness in historical and contemporary America. Research presented at the conference will serve as the basis for the publication of an edited work of scholarship examining black immigration. The conference will combine academic panels at the University of Maryland with community-focused events at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The conference will open with a keynote address by Cornell professor Carole Boyce Davies on April 16. The following day, April 17, will highlight six thematic panels of scholars working on diverse topics from hip hop cultures in Africa, to black labor migration in the Caribbean, and even the complex relationship between African Americans and the African continent. The final day will feature community events and panels at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, including discussions of blackness in media, the African diaspora in film, black activism and justice, and writing blackness in poetry and fiction.

This event is presented in conjunction with the National Museum of African American History and Culture and was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Conference Participants


Thursday, April 16

"Dis-Locations, Dis-Possessions: On Borders, Walls, Nations"
Carole Boyce Davies, Cornell University
Prince George's Room, Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland

Friday, April 17

Panels at the University of Maryland

Saturday, April 18

Community Events and Panels at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Click here for a full schedule of conference events

Thank you to our generous co-sponsors!

Department of African American Studies

U.S. Latina/o Studies Program

Department of American Studies

Center for Global Migration Studies

2133 Francis Scott Key Hall
4280 Chapel Lane
College Park, MD 20742

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