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DUNWOODY, Ga.—Scholars, award-winning authors and student panelists are among the slate of lively speakers scheduled to present during the third annual Mario A.J. Bennekin Black History Symposium hosted by Georgia State University’s Perimeter College Feb. 20-24.
“Black Empowerment in America: Organization, Mobilization and the Struggle for Equality” is the 2023 symposium theme.
Eshe Sherley, a black women’s and labor history scholar, will deliver the keynote on Monday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. in the Perimeter College auditorium on Georgia State’s Dunwoody Campus.
Her talk will focus on a group of black feminists in Atlanta that formed unions in the late 1970s and early ‘80s to address the demands of black women working in the service industry.
Sherley’s work around black women and labor movements has been supported by the National Center for Institutional Diversity and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan. She holds a bachelor’s degree in African American history from Yale and a master’s degree in history from the University of Michigan, where she also is now an African American History Ph.D. candidate.
Best-selling novelist and professor Dr. Daniel Black will speak on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 10-11:15 a.m. on Georgia State’s Newton Campus. The title of his presentation is “The Will to Thrive: Black People’s Invisible Power.” Black, an African American Studies professor at Clark Atlanta University, is author of “Don’t Cry for Me,” “The Coming” and “Perfect Peace.”
Four honors students from Perimeter Professor Dana Wiggins’ U.S. History class will lead a panel discussion titled “Communists, Jezebels, Soul Singers and Sitting Activists: Black Women Disrupting the Status Quo” on Tuesday, Feb. 21, on Georgia State’s Dunwoody Campus.
Other symposium sessions will include talks from Dr. Modibo Kadalie, social ecologist and academic as well as Dr. Valerie Matthews, English professor and associate department chair at Perimeter.
The symposium will round out with a panel presentation moderated by Dr. Shawn Williams, Perimeter College English and Africana Studies professor. Dr. Eric Bridges, assistant professor of psychology at Clayton State University, and Dr. Akinyele Umoja, Georgia State Africana Studies professor and author of “We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance and the Mississippi Freedom Movement,” will lead a discussion about the black student activists who pushed for creation of an African American Studies, now Africana Studies, department at Georgia State University 30 years ago.
The Bennekin Black History Symposium is named for Mario Bennekin, a beloved history professor at Perimeter who taught for 20 years before passing in 2019 when he chaired the History and Political Science department. Bennekin was instrumental in bringing the Africana Studies curriculum to Perimeter.
The Mario A.J. Bennekin Symposium is free and open to the public. Visit this webpage for more details about symposium events and speakers.