Frederick Douglass scholars, IUPUI to celebrate publication of Douglass’ ‘The Heroic Slave’

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Frederick Douglass

INDIANAPOLIS — University scholars from the U.S. and Europe will gather at an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis event next month celebrating a new publication of an “underappreciated gem” – a novel authored by famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The Frederick Douglass Papers Edition, a documentary editing project of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, will host the conference, “Frederick Douglass’s ‘The Heroic Slave’ and the American Revolutionary Tradition” on Oct. 9 and 10. The conference takes place in conjunction with the Second Annual Madame C.J. Walker/Frederick Douglass Public Lecture.

The two-day event will observe and assess the significance of the Frederick Douglass Papers’ publication of the first scholarly edition of “The Heroic Slave” by Douglass (1818-95), a runaway slave who became an internationally recognized orator, reformer, journalist and diplomat.

“I am very excited that the forthcoming symposium will generate public attention for this underappreciated gem in early African American literature,” said John R. Kaufman-McKivigan, editor of the Frederick Douglass Papers. “Douglass’ achievements as an orator, autobiographer and political leader are well-remembered but not his important accomplishment as a fiction writer.”

“The Heroic Slave” was inspired by the actions of Madison Washington, a cook on a ship sailing to New Orleans. Washington led an 1841 slave rebellion on a ship that then sailed instead to the Bahamas, allowing 128 slaves to find freedom.

The Douglass Papers’ publication of the book received funding as part of a $52,060 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Conference presenters will provide special insights and tools to educators to help them better explain Douglass’ life and times to their modern-day students, Kaufman-McKivigan said.

The Oct. 9 conference sessions will take place at The Tower, 850 W. Michigan St., on the IUPUI campus. The Oct. 10 sessions, along with the Second Annual Madame C.J. Walker/Frederick Douglass Public Lecture and Workshop, will meet at the Jewel Center, 3333 N. Illinois St.

Robert S. Levine, professor of English at the University of Maryland, will deliver the Oct. 9 keynote address, “Heroic Slaves: Madison Washington and ‘My Bondage and My Freedom,’” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at The Tower.

V.P. Franklin, chair and professor of history and education at University of California Riverside, and editor of the Journal of African American History, will deliver the second conference keynote address, “The Power to Define: History, Scholarship, and Social Change,” from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Jewel Center.

Symposium sponsors include the IU School of Liberal Arts, the IUPUI departments of English and history, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, the IUPUI Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Indiana Humanities and the Africana Studies Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Additional conference details, including a complete syllabus, bios of speakers and online registration, are available on the conference website. For additional information, email douglass@iupui.edu.

Call for nominations: Madame C.J. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award

Deadline: Monday, November 24, 2013 at 5:00 P.M.

The Africana Studies Program and Frederick Douglass Papers at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis invite nominations forthe inaugural Madame C.J. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award, the first of which will be presented at the upcoming Madame C.J. Walker/Frederick Douglass Annual Lecture Series that will take place on December 6, 2013. This award is named in honor of the phenomenal Madame C.J. Walker, who is credited with being the first female self-made millionaire in the United States as a result of her creative genius, hard work and ingenuity in creating a hair-care business in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The above programs invite nominations for senior scholars who currently hold the rank of Associate or Full Professor. In particular,  nominations are sought for an individual who has served as a dedicated pioneer and innovative scholar in the fields of History, Black Business History, African or African American Entrepreneurship, Business and Marketing, Sociology, Women’s Studies, African Studies, African American Studies, Anthropology, or other related disciplines.

According the Call for Nominations: “We seek to honor a scholar who has served as an intellectual front-runner and scholar extraordinaire in uncovering the contributions, historical narratives, and real world experiences of African or African American entrepreneurs as they created various products and services to enhance the economic marketplace and promote economic development in their communities and nations. We seek to honor a scholar who has dedicated his/her lifetime to the relentless pursuit of knowledge and all that this embodies to create a large body of research and publications which has been considered by his/her peers to be of the highest quality. We seek scholars who have made indelible impacts on the academy both in terms of the sheer volume of their publications as well as the depth of their research. We seek to honor scholars who have performed original, innovative work to illuminate the historical and contemporary activities, accomplishments, and manifestations of entrepreneurial endeavors in order to demonstrate how it has impacted the survival mechanisms of African or African American entrepreneurs either on the continent of Africa or in the African Diaspora with regard to the promulgation of various principles of self-help and economic self-sufficiency.”

Please, email all letters of nomination along with a resume of the nominee to Dr. Bessie House-Soremekun, the Director of Africana Studies at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis at beshouse@iupui.edu.