African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms, and police killings since our arrival upon these shores. These efforts have been to advocate for a dignified self-determined life in a just democratic society in the United States and beyond the United States political jurisdiction. During the 1950s and 1970s the United States was defined by actions such as sit-ins, boycotts, walk outs, strikes by Black people and white allies in the fight for justice against discrimination in all sectors of society from employment to education to housing. Black people have had to consistently push the United States to live up to its ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. Black people also have sought ways to nurture and protect Black lives, and for autonomy of their physical and intellectual bodies through armed resistance, voluntary emigration, nonviolence, education, music, literature, sports, media, and legislation/politics.
Black-led institutions and affiliations have lobbied, litigated, legislated, protested, and achieved success. In an effort to live, maintain, and protect economic success Black people have organized/planned violent insurrections against those who enslaved them, or choose to self-liberate as seen by the actions those who left the plantation system. Black people established faith institutions to organize resistance efforts; and it was a space that inspired folk to participate in the movements and offered sanctuary during times of crisis.
To promote awareness of the myriad of issues and activities media outlets were developed including radio shows, podcasts, and newspapers. Additionally, Black people created and built cultural centers such as libraries, fraternal and sororal orders/organizations, associations were founded to support the intellectual development of communities to collect and preserve Black stories, sponsor Black history and literature events, and were active in the quest for civil, social, and human rights. Black medical professionals worked with others to establish nursing schools, hospitals, and clinics to provide spaces for Black people to get quality health care. Similarly, whether in elementary, secondary, or higher education institutions, education has been used as a way for Black people and communities to resist the narrative that Black people are intellectually inferior. When Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week (NHW) in 1926, he saw it as to provide a space and resources to educate critically students about their history. As a result, students at all levels of education were at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement, Black Power Movements, and social justice movements from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. Often African Americans used African American spirituals, gospel, folk music, hip-hop, and rap have been used to express struggle, hope, and for solidarity in the face of racial oppression. In general, the arts have been used to counter stereotypes, to imagine a present and future with Black people in, to illustrate societal issues including white and state sanctioned violence, sexual politics, as motivation, for strength against harassment, and to experience freedom. Unfortunately, when Black athletic activists have spoken up they suffer personal and economic consequences due to their stances, speech, and actions, but to them it has been worth it to see changes.
Nearly 179 years ago, the Rev. Henry Highland Garnett proposed that the only path to freedom, justice, and equality; self-determination; and/or social transformation is resistance. In thunder tones, Garnett shouted, “Let your motto be resistance! resistance! RESISTANCE!” By resisting Black people have achieved triumphs, successes, and progress as seen in the end of chattel slavery, dismantling of Jim and Jane Crow segregation in the South, increased political representation at all levels of government, desegregation of educational institutions, the passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964, the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History in DC and increased and diverse representation of Black experiences in media. Black resistance strategies have served as a model for every other social movement in the country, thus, the legacy and importance of these actions cannot be understated.
This is a call to everyone, inside and outside the academy, to study the history of Black Americans’ responses to establish safe spaces, where Black life can be sustained, fortified, and respected.
Proposals should be detailed, comprehensive, and descriptive that outline the theme, scope, and aim of session. Details on each can be found on the ASALH website.
Papers: There will be limited slots for paper sessions at the ASALH annual meeting. Papers will ONLY be accepted by non-academics, undergraduate, and graduate students on the 2023 Annual Black History Theme: Black Resistance. For those who do not fit into these categories the Academic Program Committee encourages you to use the Google spreadsheet, which is an informal tool to connect individuals who are seeking ideas and/or collaboration. The spreadsheet is not monitored by ASALH or the Academic Program Committee and is not part of the official submission process.
Panels, Workshops, Roundtables, Media, and Woodson Pop-Ups: Proposals that incorporate the annual theme are preferred, but submissions can be on a variety of temporal, geographical, thematic, and topical areas in Black history, life and culture. Proposals will be accepted by all affiliations and academic status. For individuals who are interested in collaborating on a panel, workshop, roundtable please use the Google spreadsheet, which is an informal tool to connect individuals who are seeking ideas and/or collaboration. The spreadsheet is not monitored by ASALH or the Academic Program Committee and is not part of the official submission process.
All proposals should be submitted via the All Academic system. You will need to provide an abstract (300 words or less), a title of your presentation, your name, email, and affiliation. If you are submitting a panel, workshop, roundtable, or media session you will need the information for all the presenters.
The submission deadlines for proposals are as follows: Early Bird Submissions will be accepted via All Academic until March 18, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Conditional acceptance responses to Early Bird submissions will be sent out by April 21, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). After this date, the committee will accept all submissions until the deadline of April 30, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Regular conditional acceptances submissions will be responded to by June 9, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). You will not be considered official until all session participants have joined the Association and registered for the conference.