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Pittsburgh, PA
September 26 - 30, 2012
Black Women in American Culture and History

Though African Americans have come a long way from enslavement in the United States and abroad, crusaders for justice are still much needed. As part of the ongoing commitment to social justice, the 2012 Black History Month theme embodies the shining example of Black women’s community leadership. Among a multitude of dedicated women, one important illustration of this commitment can be claimed by recognizing the 150th Anniversary of Ida B. Wells’s birth (July 16, 1862). As the Association for the Study of African American Life and History celebrates the personal fortitude, community organizing, creative resistance and political leadership of African American women past and present, we especially honor Wells’s legacy of championing for her race as well as her gender, which has left an indelible mark on American society. The international journalistic activism of her anti-lynching campaign spotlighted the complex construction of both Black manhood and Black womanhood and challenged all Americans to view themselves in global context. With an eye on this legacy, this year’s theme will highlight the work of African American women as vocal agents of change within all areas of African American communities, the nation and the diaspora.

Black History Month topics will explore African American women in varied areas from politics, business, education, and labor to entertainment, the arts, sports, communication and activism. In each forum, the lenses of self-concept, self-definition and self-determination remain important to accurately interpreting the range of Black women’s diverse experiences. Black women’s treasure trove of formal and informal narratives, broad-based oral and intellectual history and contemporary contributions from all walks of life have only begun to gain due recognition.

As the nation continues to face challenges of equality and equity, this theme will help identify a new wave of notable 21st century women who are vigorously building on 20th century club women’s work. Ohio State Senator Nina Turner's grandmother told her "There are three things you need to be successful in this life: a backbone, a wishbone, and a jawbone. Use your backbone for perseverance, your wishbone for goal setting, and your jawbone for speaking out." ASALH focuses on Black women in 2012 to recognize the examples of backbone, wishbone, and jawbone necessary to connect an active past with an enduring spirit of both celebration and struggle in the future.

Deadline for Submission of panel and paper proposals: Monday, April 16, 2012

All proposals must be submitted electronically at this site. For complete panels that are submitted by Monday, March 19, day and time preferences will be given on a first come first served basis. Please refer to the FAQ page for what constitutes a complete panel at
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