Spring Speaker Series

In partnership with the University at Buffalo's Department of  Africana and American Studies, we are pleased to announce our Spring Speaker Series. Featuring five extraordinary professors, authors, and activists, the series will explore themes of freedom, civil rights, and feminism within the African American history both locally and nationally. 


Barbara Smith: A Conversation

Literary critic, Feminist and Human Rights Activist The 2021 African American Studies Endowed Lecture

Topic: Spring Speaker Series - Barbara Smith

Time: Mar 10, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Zoom Link: https://buffalo.zoom.us/j/96971121543

The Africana & American Studies Department, SUNYAB is pleased to announce that Literary Critic, Feminist and Social Activist Barbara Smith will deliver the 2021 Endowed African American Studies Lecture. This program also received support from the Gender Institute.

Barbara Smith is an author, activist, and independent scholar who has played a groundbreaking role in opening up a national cultural and political dialogue about the intersections of race, class, sexuality, and gender.  She was among the first to define an African American women’s literary tradition and to build Black women’s studies and Black feminism in the United States.  She has been politically active in many movements for social justice since the 1960s.

She has edited three major collections about Black women: Conditions: Five, The Black Women’s Issue (with Lorraine Bethel, 1979); All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies (with Gloria T. Hull and Patricia Bell Scott, 1982); and Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, 1983.  She is also the co-author with Elly Bulkin and Minnie Bruce Pratt of Yours in Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism, 1984.  She is the general editor of The Reader’s Companion to U. S. Women’s History with Wilma Mankiller, Gwendolyn Mink, Marysa Navarro, and Gloria Steinem, 1998.  A collection of her essays, The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom was published by Rutgers University Press in 1998.  Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith, edited by Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks with Barbara Smith was published by SUNY Press in November, 2014.

Smith was cofounder and publisher until 1995 of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, the first U. S. publisher for women of color.  She resides in Albany, New York and served two terms as a member of the Albany Common Council from 2006 to 2013.  From 2014 to 2017 she served as the Special Community Projects Coordinator for the City of Albany helping to implement the Equity Agenda.

Smith is the recipient of numerous awards including Doctor of Humane Letters, Honorary degree from her alma mater Mount Holyoke College in 2019, the African American Policy Forum’s Harriet Tubman Lifetime Achievement Award, Lambda Literary Award for Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around and 2012; Women Who Make America” AOL/PBS and in 2005 she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Dr. Brenda Moore

African American Women in National Defense

Moderated by Dr. Mopelolade Oreoluwa Ogunbowale

Time: Mar 17, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Zoom Link: https://buffalo.zoom.us/j/98528633924

Dr. Brenda Moore is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University at Buffalo, receiving her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. Dr. Moore has numerous publications, including several journal articles and a book entitled To Serve My Country, To Serve My Race: The Story of the Only African American Wacs Stationed Overseas During World War II. She has completed research for a forthcoming book, entitled Serving Our Country: Japanese American Women in the Military During World War II. Her most recent article is titled “Military Women: Changes in Representation and Experiences” In  Sookermany, Anders McD. (Ed.) Handbook of Military Sciences. Springer Nature Switzerland published in 2020. 


Dr. Moore enjoys a wide range of scholarly interests, and served as a contributor to the edited book, African Americans and the Rise of the Post Industrial City, writing a chapter on the class status of Blacks in Buffalo.

Dr. Moore has presented dozens of conference papers, served on several international, national, local community, and university committees, including the 1999 White House Initiative for One America sponsored by UB’s College of Arts and Sciences. Serving as the organizer and host for the event, Dr. Moore brought together concerned scholars, community leaders, students, and residents of Buffalo to talk about race and ethnic issues.


Dr. Lillian Serece Williams

"Through These Gates" Christine Parker's documentary film on John Brent and the Michigan Avenue YMCA

Topic: Spring Speaker Series - Dr. Lillian S. Williams

Time: Mar 24, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Zoom Link: https://buffalo.zoom.us/j/96956246702

Lillian S. Williams, PhD, is Associate Professor and former chair of the Department of African American Studies. Prof. Williams received the doctorate degree from the University at Buffalo. A specialist in United States social and urban history, Prof. Williams’ research is in the areas of institutions, ethnicity, biography and women’s history. Her research includes the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Christian Associations and the National Urban League; Jewish club women; and Mary Burnett Talbert, an early twentieth century reformer.

Jim Holstun.png

Dr. James Holstun

Black Abdiel: James Monroe Whitfield vs. The Fillmore Faction (1853)

Topic: Spring Speaker Series - Dr. James Holstun

Time: Mar 31, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Zoom Link: https://buffalo.zoom.us/j/92662494948

Jim Holstun has lived in Buffalo since 1991. He teaches in the UB Department of English, mostly English Renaissance literature until about twenty years ago, but more recently, world literature, proletarian literature, and Afro-American literature, including courses on Black Buffalo, on nineteenth-century Afro-American literature, Reconstruction, and (next fall) Black Socialism. He has published two books: A Rational Millennium: Puritan Utopias of Seventeenth-Century England and America, and Ehud’s Dagger: Class Struggle in the English Revolution, which won the 2001 Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize. He has recently published essays on Soha Bechara (a communist Lebanese activist and political prisoner), Joseph Conrad, Leo Tolstoy, Iraq War fiction, and the Buffalo proletarian novel (Connie Porter and Leslie Feinberg). He is working on a book on the global proletarian novel, and another on nineteenth-century Black Buffalo. His paper will be on the Buffalo barber, poet, and radical abolitionist, James Monroe Whitfield (1822-1871), who tangled with Millard Fillmore, Daniel Webster, and the Buffalo supporters of the Fugitive Slave Act.  Write him if you'd like an edition of Whitfield's poems! Email Dr. Holstun ->

Dr. Sharon Amos

The Centenarians

Topic: Spring Speaker Series - Dr. Sharon Amos

Topic: Spring Speaker Series - Dr. Sharon Amos

Time: Apr 7, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Zoom Link: https://buffalo.zoom.us/j/96398103177

Sharon R. Amos PhD is a historian, poet, and author. She received her doctorate at the University at Buffalo in American Studies (Women Studies). Her dissertation is titled “Whose Dust is Rising?: Literary and Historical  Narratives of African American Women.” In 2012, she retired from the faculty of the University at Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center. 

Dr. Amos serves as the editor of Open Doors: Western New York African American Houses of Worship. One of the church historians at St. John Baptist Church, she is committed to documenting and preserving the rich history of our religious institutions. Additionally, she is the president of the Buffalo Genealogical Society of the African Diaspora (BGSAD) and a member of the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier (AAHANF). She self-published several volumes of poetry and her work appears in local and national publications.

The project “Centenarians: We have a Story to Tell” began with the video interviews of ten African American women and it culminated in 2015 with several events. Dr. Amos serves as narrator and co-presenter with the late Fern E. Beavers. The Links of Erie County, NY and a grant from AAUW provided support for the project.

Watch Past Lecturers


Gary Earl Ross

Wading Into the African-American Mystery: A Reading from Nickel City Blues & Discussion 

Originally Recorded on February 17, 2021


Retired University at Buffalo professor Gary Earl Ross is an award-winning playwright, novelist, public radio commentator, and occasional actor and director. His plays include The Mark of Cain, The Guns of Christmas, The Trial of Trayvon Martin, The Scavenger’s Daughter, and Matter of Intent, winner of Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award. In addition to the Gideon Rimes mysteries (Nickel City Blues, Nickel City Crossfire, and the forthcoming Nickel City Storm Warning), his books include the short story collections The Wheel of Desire, Shimmerville, and Beneath the Ice, the children’s tale Dots, and the novel Blackbird Rising. 

Other honors include three regional Emanuel Fried Outstanding New Play Awards, a Saltonstall Foundation Playwriting Fellowship, a LIFT Fiction Fellowship, an ASI-DEC Fiction Award, two NYS AP commentary awards, and one NYS Broadcasters Association commentary award. Matter of Intent and The Scavenger’s Daughter, both African-American mysteries, have been made into transliterated films from CITOC Productions of Mumbai, India. 

For more information, visit him at www.garyearlross.net.


Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold

It Rests With Her to Pave the Way:  Ida Dora Fairbush, Buffalo Educational Pioneer

Originally recorded February 24, 2021

Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold is an educator, administrator, community and political activist. A native of Louisiana, Nevergold moved to the East side of Buffalo, New York in 1947 with her parents. She is a graduate of the Buffalo Public Schools and received her doctorate in Counseling Education from the University of Buffalo. In 1999, she co-founded with Dr. Peggy Brooks-Bertram, The Uncrowned Queens Institute, to promote the collection and dissemination of the individual and collective histories of African American women and their organizations. 

Nevergold has authored several articles and books including: An Uncrowned Hero: The Untold Story of James Benjamin Parker, 2018; The Power of the Pen: Crusading Journalist A.J. Smitherman Gave a Voice to His People, 2013; Nevergold, Barbara A. Seals and Bertram, Peggy Brooks, editors. Go Tell Michelle: African American women write to the New First Lady, 2009; Nevergold and Brooks-Bertram, Uncrowned Community Builders: Preserving Regional History, One Person at a Time; Nevergold, Barbara A. Seals and Bertram, Peggy Brooks. Uncrowned Queens: African American Community Builders Series, Vols. 1- 4, 2002-2007.


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