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“Reflecting Black: 400 Years of African American Life and History”

UHD Hosts Symposium October 24-25

By Emily Conrad

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is hosting a research symposium to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first African slaves to North America.

“Reflecting Black: 400 Years of African American Life and History” will feature panel discussions with scholars and historians on October 24 and 25. Dr. Alexander Byrd, associate professor of history at Rice University, will serve as the keynote speaker.

Dr. Jonathan Chism, assistant professor of history at UHD, is among the event's principal organizers. He noted that the symposium will include all aspects of African-American life and experiences.

“We are covering the entire spectrum of 400 years," he explained. "We are reflecting on the trauma and the pain that African Americans have endured, survived and overcome. We are also celebrating the achievements.” 

Chism also noted that the symposium also will provide a chance “to showcase UHD faculty and centers as it relates to our student demographic and working with first-generation and transfer students.”

UHD students, who attend and present at this symposium, will have the opportunity to collaborate and network with graduate students from all over the nation.

“The key word is exposure," Chism said. "It's important that our undergrads are exposed or have the opportunity to engage graduate students. Grad students tend to be more invested in terms of research, which has the potential to encourage and inspire our students on their academic journey.”

Scholars participating in "Reflecting Black" panels are from noted institutions, including: Yale University, Vanderbilt University, Delaware State University, University of Oklahoma, University of Colorado-Boulder, Pepperdine University, College of New Jersey, Rice, The University of Texas at Austin, University of Houston, The University of Texas at San Antonio, The University of Texas at Arlington, Prairie View A&M University, Stephen F. Austin University, Houston Community College and UHD.

The symposium is sponsored by the following UHD departments and colleges:

  • College of Humanities & Social Sciences 
  • Center for Critical Race Studies
  • Center for Latino Studies
  • Cultural Enrichment Center 
  • College of Public Service
  • Department of History, Humanities & Language
  • Department of Social Sciences
  • College of Sciences & Technology
  • Department of Title IX, Equity & Diversity
  • Office or Research & Sponsored Programs

For more information, visit https://tinyurl.com/UHDReflectingBlack

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD)—the second largest university in Houston—has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974.

As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive four-year university led by Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz. Annually, UHD educates more than 14,000 students; boasts over 50,000 alumni and offers 44 bachelor’s and eight master’s degree programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service, Sciences & Technology; and University College). In 2018, UHD grew its First Time in College student population by 11 percent and transfer students by 14 percent.

UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston. It also is ranked among 15 U.S. universities with lowest net price to students (according to the U.S. Department of Education). The University is noted nationally as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution and a Minority-Serving Institution. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.