DUNWOODY, Ga.—Georgia State University’s Perimeter College will celebrate African American art and literature with the inaugural Mario A.J. Bennekin Black History Symposium, Feb. 15-19.
The symposium’s theme is “The Harlem Renaissance: Roots & Reach.” Presenters will examine the birth, expansion and impact of the Harlem Renaissance as a rich cultural expression established in the Black cultural mecca of New York City in the early 20th century. The presentations will be presented virtually and are free and open to the public.
Dr. Ursula Thomas, associate chair of the Cultural and Behavioral Sciences department and associate professor of education at Perimeter, helped plan the week-long event.
“The symposium committee has assembled a slate of presenters, from inside and outside the college, who will share their passion for and knowledge of this exciting and highly creative period in American history that eventually spread across the country,” Thomas said.
“Our hope is that attendees will discover fascinating points about the reach of this historical time through topics ranging from the Great Migration to the Cotton Club and more.”
Historian and author Dr. Herman “Skip” Mason Jr. will deliver the keynote address. Other scheduled presenters include Dr. Leah Creque from Morehouse College; Professor Kathy Perkins, theatre consultant for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Brenau University’s Dr. Gnimbin Ouattara.
The Black history symposium is named for Mario Bennekin, a beloved history and political science professor at Perimeter who taught for 20 years and chaired the History and Political Science Department before his death in 2019. Bennekin was instrumental in bringing the African-American Studies curriculum to Perimeter.
In addition to featuring guest speakers, the Black history symposium will include student awards and the opportunity for faculty and students to submit scholarly work for publication.
Visit the Bennekin Symposium webpage for a schedule of activities and virtual presentation links.
Those interested in supporting the symposium may donate to the Mario Bennekin Memorial Fund.
Top photo: Cab Calloway and his band in a sleeper car. Band members are holding their musical instruments, and Calloway is at bottom right. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Cabella Calloway Langsam.