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Upcoming Events

Beginning on October 15th, Virginia Wesleyan College is hosting a series of events as part of the 1619: The Making of America series. You can find more information at http://www.vwc.edu/1619

2015 Call for Papers and Presentations

Please note the date of the conference has changed to Wednesday, Sept. 16th, 2015.

Deadline for submission of proposals:  Sept. 1, 2015   

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
[1918 reprinting of Theodore Parker’s sermon, “Justice” in Readings from Great Authors by John Haynes Holmes, Harvey Dee Brown, Helen Edmunds Redding, and Theodora Goldsmith.]

"I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice."
[Theodore Parker was a Unitarian minister and prominent American Transcendentalist born in 1810 who called for the abolition of slavery. The excerpt was taken from the 1853 a collection of “Ten Sermons of Religion” by Parker was published and the third sermon titled “Of Justice and the Conscience.”]

“The arc of the moral universe is long . . . but it bends toward justice.”
[Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the Baccalaureate sermon at the commencement exercises for Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in 1964.]

The Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for African Diaspora Studies (Roberts Center) at Norfolk State University (NSU), in partnership with the Civil Rights Institute (CR Institute) at Hampton University (HU), is hosting a one-day conference, 1619: Making of America that will be held at Hampton University on September 16, 2015.  This year’s conference theme, The Arc of Social Justice:  From 1619 to the 1965 Voting Rights Act and Beyond, offers scholars and participants from various disciplines a unique platform to engage in dialogue about important issues defining new interpretations of 1619 in American history.  This year’s focus seeks papers that will place events stemming from 1619 within the context of Atlantic migration, culture, and race, and will emphasize the wide-ranging, familiar, and mobile character of the African Diaspora.  The overarching point is that Chesapeake society was part of a hybrid and global culture predicated on intimate and overlapping encounters among Africans, Native Americans, Western Europeans, and other cultures from around the globe.

The conference will culminate in an important Round Table Discussion, moderated by radio personality Barbara Hamm Lee and involving legal scholars who will discuss America’s legal progression to full civil rights for all its citizens.  Free and open to the public, this evening Round Table Discussion will be filmed for video podcast and is designed to be engaging and educational.

Abstracts/Panel proposals
Prospective presenters should submit an abstract of 500 words or less to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   by September 1, 2015. Abstracts should include the presenter’s name, title of paper, institutional affiliation, and contact information (mailing address, phone number, and email address) and should be submitted as Microsoft Word files. Please note that acceptance of an abstract for the conference automatically grants the conference organizers the right to publish it in the conference program and website. Upon acceptance, presenters are required to register for the one day conference.

Conference presenters may be asked to submit their paper for publication in an edited book. 

Conference Registration Fees
Mandatory registration fees for the conference: Regular: $35 (per day); Students: $20, by September 11, 2015 (lunch included). Online conference registration will be available soon. For additional conference details, including accommodations, go to our website at www.1619makingofamerica.com.

Please email abstracts to:
Dr. Dr. William Alexander ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

We are soliciting papers that will reflect one or more of the following conference themes:

•    Law and Public Policy in the Making of America
•    The Arc of Social Justice
•    The creation of Legal Inequality in American Society and the Consequences
•    Policing and Minority Communities in America
•    Relationship between  Power with Fairness and Justice
•    Benefits and Consequences of Questioning / Challenging Social Order
•    The Meaning of Legal Invisibility 
•    Class, Ethnicity, and the Origins of America’s Social System
•    Diaspora Communities in the Americas
•    Establishing Racial Hierarchies in Early America
•    Intersections of Race and Culture in Colonial America
•    Land Rights, Legal Ownership, and the Evolution of American Wealth
•    Remembering America’s Cultural Foundations –Cultural Memory Crafted through National and State Parks, Memorials, and Museums
•    Native Peoples in Colonial America
•    Reassessing America’s Legal and Representative System and Rule of Law
•    Slavery and Native Peoples in America

Mary Kelsey Peake: Missionary to the Contrabands and Educator of the People

Join us on Thursday, April 30th at 7pm in the Archives Lecture Room of Lyman Beecher Brooks Library at Norfolk State University for a discussion of the life and legacy of Mary Kelsey Peake, a teacher and activist whose life touched many in Civil-War era Hampton Roads.

Speakers at the event include Eric Claville, Assistant Professor of Political Science and director of the Pre-Law Institute at Hampton University; Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Professor of History and Director of the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for African Diaspora Studies at Norfolk State University; and William Braxter Wiggins, historian and CEO of Cliosult and Associates of Hampton, Virginia.