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Black Memory and Storytelling Symposium 2023

Symposium Description

ASU Library’s Black Collections, a new archival repository within the Community-Driven Archives (CDA) Initiative, is committed to empowering and centering the lived experiences and knowledge of Black and African American communities who are breaking cycles of erasure. This two-day hybrid symposium will bring together ASU faculty, students, archivists and community memory keepers to reimagine 21st century archives as spaces of inclusion and justice. The symposium is free and open to the public. All are welcome to join.

Image credit: The Dunbar Social and Literary club, Sahauro Yearbook, 1940. LD 179.47 .S3 1972 University Archives, ASU Library.  

Thursday, April 20

Day 1: Presentations, Hayden Library and Zoom

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

Registration and Breakfast

9:00 - 9:45 a.m.

Welcome to ASU Library

  • Lorrie McAllister, Associate University Librarian for Collection Services and Analysis

Introduction to Black Collections, Community-Driven Archives (CDA) Initiative 

  • Jessica Salow, Assistant Archivist, Black Collections, CDA Initiative 
  • Nancy Godoy, Associate Archivist and Director of CDA Initiative
9:45 - 10:00 a.m.


10:00 - 10:45 a.m.

Panel 1: Arizona Black History

Arizona’s Black history dates back to the late 1800’s; a fact most people don’t know when it comes to the history of the United States. The voices and stories of Black Arizonans continue to be underrepresented within archival institutions. In this panel, Dr. Anthony Pratcher and Dr. Meskerem Glegziabher discuss the work they are doing to correct the representation of Black communities within Arizona’s historical record. 

10:45 - 11:00 a.m.


11:00 - 11:50 a.m.

Panel 2: Community Knowledge and Memory Keepers

The labor and knowledge of community members is often overlooked in academia when understanding the impact and legacy of Black communities. In this panel, three community experts, Bruce Nelson (Washington Escobedo neighborhood), Dr. Josephine Pete (Okemah neighborhood) and Darren Chapman (South Phoenix neighborhood) will share their work and memories as community memory keepers. 

  • Moderator: Dr. Chandra Crudup, Associate Dean of Inclusive Design for Equity and Access ASU Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Clinical Associate Professor ASU School of Social Work, Interim Director of the Studio for Creativity, Place and Equitable Communities and Affiliate Faculty, The Design School at ASU
  • Bruce Nelson, Independent Filmmaker
  • Dr. Josephine Pete, Educator and Community Historian
  • Darren Chapman, CEO Tiger Mountain Foundation
11:50 a.m. - Noon Break
Noon - 1 p.m.

Lunch and Keynote Speaker: Carla LynDale Bishop

As a filmmaker and documentarian, Carla LynDale Bishop has used her expertise to explore the ways media can bring communities together to promote societal change. Her organization, Focused.Arts.Media.eDucation. (FAMe), uses in-school residencies, workshops and community documentary projects to train youth in media production. Bishop comes to Arizona State University with an extensive understanding of documenting the experiences of Black communities across the country. In this keynote address, Bishop discusses her work to blend current technology including augmented reality and 360VR to tell the stories of underrepresented Black communities in Arizona.  

1 - 1:45 p.m.

Panel 3: ASU Black History

Since the 1920s, Black students have attended Arizona State University (ASU), previously named the Normal School and then the Tempe State Teachers College. In this panel, ASU Black alumni will discuss their experiences and memories. In addition, a family member of Estella McHenry, ASU's first female Black graduate, will share her journey to correct the record and contribute to University Archives. 

  • Moderator: Dr. Kenja Hassan, Assistant Vice President, ASU Office of Government and Community Engagement
  • Virgil BerryASU Alum and CEO of Berry Realty & Associates, Inc.
  • Tracee Hall, ASU Alum and Assistant Director, City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation
  • Michele Neptune McHenry, Family historian and member of the Estella McHenry family
1:45 - 2:00 p.m. Break
2:00 - 2:45 p.m.

Panel 4: Social Movements and Rhetoric 

From the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, to the Black Panther Party movement, to the modern day Black Lives Matter movement, the history of Black activism and community building is long and multilayered. In this panel, Dr. Ersula Ore and Dr. Curtis Austin will share their research and the different ways we can create and preserve narratives that document Black life in America.  

  • Moderator: Allinston Saulsberry, Instruction and Outreach Librarian, E-Learning and Instruction (ELI), ASU Library 
  • Dr. Ersula Ore, Associate Professor, ASU School of Social Transformation
  • Dr. Curtis Austin, Associate Professor, ASU School of Philosophical Historical and Religious Studies
2:45 - 3:00 p.m. Break
3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Panel 5: Cultural Production and Placemaking

Black culture encompasses a wide variety of artistic expressions. Black artists, scholars and community members are shaping the way the world views their culture and traditions. In this panel, Dr. Mako Fitts Ward, Dr. Donta McGilvery, and Grisha Coleman will share their innovative projects and how they are uplifting Black experiences.

  • Moderator: Todd Bailey, Artist, Dancer and Community Historian
  • Dr. Mako Ward, Assistant Professor and Director of ASU Social Transformation Lab, ASU School of Social Transformation 
  • Dr. Donta McGilvery, Program Coordinator for Graduate Student Experience, ASU Graduate College 
  • Grisha Coleman, Associate Professor, ASU School of Arts Media and Engineering
4:00 - 4:30 p.m. Closing Remarks

Saturday, April 22

Day 2: Workshops
Burton Barr Central Library, Pulliam Auditorium

10:00 a.m. - Noon

Archives 101 Workshop

Learn how to be a Community Archivist and preserve Arizona history for future generations. Jessica will share how to organize and store your photographs, documents and artifacts. Participants will receive an "Archive Starter Kit" that contains preservation information and archival supplies (acid-free box, folders, mylar and gloves). 

  • Facilitated by: Jessica Salow, Assistant Archivist, Black Collections, CDA Initiative 
Noon - 1:00 p.m.


1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Our Journeys Have a Name: Storytelling as Art, Healing and Justice Workshop

Storytelling is a defiant art one can use to break silences, stand proudly in our truths and honor our lived and collective experiences. Storytelling allows us to draw strength from generational resilience in the face of historic trauma, erasure and injustice. Centered upon Black experience, specifically “Black Joy,” as inspired by Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts, this workshop invites participants to explore storytelling in ways that allows for the complexities of our full selves and lived journeys to be present. When we give name to our experiences we reclaim our past, re-define our present, and re-imagine our future.  

Participants will be introduced to different methods of storytelling art including oral tradition, reflective journaling, written poetry, spoken word performance and digital & visual media. Participants will appreciate the role of storytelling as healing medicine, tools of resistance, community memory-keeping and bold acts of self-recreation. Please bring writing materials.

Trigger Warning (TW): Topics covered will involve storytelling as a method of healing from issues of gender-based/racial violence, holistic grounding techniques and art as a form of releasing trauma.

“Our joy and our trauma both sit on a continuum. There isn’t one or the other. There isn’t a binary. The complexities of our experiences mean that our joy can live just underneath pain. In fact, it can live alongside it.” - Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts from “Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration” 

  • Facilitated by: Leilani Clark, Afro-Indigenous (Santa Clara Pueblo/Diné-Navajo) poet, filmmaker, performance artist and community organizer

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.