Call for Proposals: 2024 Fighting for Freedom Symposium

Proposal deadline: February 2, 2024

Date of symposium: April 4, 2024

Overview: Georgia State University and the University of Maryland College Park invite students and faculty, archival staff and volunteers, new professionals, community organizers, and allied professionals and researchers to contribute proposals for presentation in the 2024 Fighting for Freedom Symposium. Organizers of this one-day virtual event seek presenters to discuss research related to topics included in Georgia State University and the University of Maryland’s collaborative exhibit “Fighting for Freedom: Labor and Civil Rights in the American South” and inspired by the digitization of thousands of records from the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department’s National Office and Southeast Division, accessible through the Digital Library of Georgia’s Civil Rights Digital Library. This collection of photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, departmental records, audiovisual recordings, speeches, and more, document the story of the labor and civil rights activists who fought together for the freedom of working people in the South.

Topics: We seek 250-word proposals for a 20 minute or 40-minute presentation or panel discussing the intersection between civil rights activism and organized labor, historical and contemporary, and the future of union organizing in the twenty-first century, including but not limited to:

  • The role of community leaders in grassroots activism
  • Labor strikes and the rhetoric of picket lines
  • A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Coretta Scott King, or others in their intersecting roles as civil rights leaders fighting for progressive labor change
  • The ideals behind and organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
  • The push for federal recognition of full employment in the 1970s
  • The effect of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on racist employment practices
  • The consequences of white supremacy in the labor movement
  • The effects of school integration on labor movement
  • Instances of employer tactics to dissuade workers from organizing or joining unions
  • The importance of primary source and archival research in academic and professional spaces
  • Archival work or digitization efforts centered on the topics of civil rights activism and organized labor

Submission guidelines: Submit a 250-word proposal here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe3TFo6pDZL3RUDmIif1JLCpioBFo3O79cQfk0u35NxOn32cA/viewform

Application deadline: February 2, 2024

Date posted: January 18, 2024