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2021 Virtual Black History Month Talks

In partnership with the University at Buffalo's Department of  Africana and American Studies, we were pleased to host a Spring Speaker Series titled "Eyes on the Corridor." Featuring seven extraordinary professors, authors, and activists, the series explored themes of freedom, civil rights, and feminism within the African American history both locally and nationally. 

Past Lectures

Dr. Sharon Amos


The Centenarians

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. 

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.

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Jim Holstun.png

Dr. James Holstun

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

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 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 ->

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Dr. Brenda Moore

African American Women in National Defense.

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. 

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Dr. Lillian Serece Williams

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

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.

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Gary Earl Ross

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


Retired University at Buffalo professor Gary Earl Ross is an award-winning playwright, novelist, public radio commentator, and occasional actor and director. In this lecture he reads a chapter from his book, Nickel City Blues, and discusses surrounding race and mystery novels. 

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Barbara Smith

In Conversation

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.

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Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold

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

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. 

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.  In this lecture she tells the story of Ida Dora Fairbush. 

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As public entities, both the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission and the University of Buffalo strive to make these educational opportunities available to everyone. Except when copyright laws come into play, we have listed all of the recordings. 

We want to thank all of the presenters for participating, with a special thank you to Dr. Lillian Williams for coordinating the program. 

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