National Conference on Present-Day Legacies of Slavery and Sisterhood at Pace Friday, Saturday

Pace University is hosting a two-day conference on Harriet Jacobs, the first American slave woman to write an autobiography.

MEDIA ALERT
Contacts: Christopher T. Cory, 212-346-1117, Cell 917-608-8164, ccory@pace.edu
Frank Lentini, 212-481-7000 ext. 3223, frankl@mbooth.com

PACE UNIVERSITY CONVENES MAJOR HARRIET JACOBS CONFERENCE

“The story of the centrality of slavery in American life remains largely untold.” — Jean Fagan Yellin

The Legacies of Slavery and Sisterhood: The Life and Work of Harriet Jacobs — To highlight that unheeded story, including its roots and its contemporary dimensions in the US and many places in the world, Pace University is hosting a two-day conference on Harriet Jacobs, the first American slave woman to write an autobiography. The conference also is expected to revise Jacobs’ place in American history and literature. It includes roundtable discussions, the world premiere of a play based on Jacobs’s life, a dramatic reading by stage and screen star Ruby Dee, and the presentation of 17 original research papers. One panel brings together Donna Brazile, one of the most powerful women in Washington with Mende Nazer, a former slave whose life mirrors that of Jacobs. Among the participants are historians, other scholars and journalists, including a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. www.pace.edu/dyson/HarrietJacobsConf

Who (partial list):
• Jean Fagan Yellin (Keynoter), author of “Harriet Jacobs: A Life,” best known for now-classic editions of Jacobs’s narrative, “Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself.”
• Donna Brazile, a leading political strategist whose ideas help shape the Democratic platform on race and the first African American woman to run a national election campaign (Gore-Lieberman 2000).
• Mende Nazer, a Nubian who was sold into slavery in Khartoum at age 12 and who made a break for freedom in London, later writing her memoir, “Slave.”
• David Reynolds, Professor of English at Baruch College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York and author of “John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights” (2005).
• Ruby Dee, award-winning actress whose credits include Purlie Victorious, (written by her late husband Ossie Davis), A Raisin in the Sun, Payton Place and Do the Right Thing..

What When & Where
Junior Historian’s Lecture & Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl – A play adapted from Jacobs’s writings brought to life in a Literature to Life ® adaptation commissioned by the New York Historical Society performed by the American Place Theatre. Special preview for high school students. Thursday, Oct. 5th, 9:30 am
Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, 1 Pace Plaza
Conference, including six panel discussions, two keynote addresses, and a dramatic reading by Ruby Dee. Friday, Oct. 6th, & Saturday, Oct. 7th, 8 am- 6 pm, Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, 1 Pace Plaza
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl – (Play)
FREE TO THE PUBLIC Friday, Oct. 6th, 8 pm,
Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, 1 Pace Plaza

Why: By examining the works of the only literate slave woman whose papers are known to exist, the often overlooked centrality of slavery in American life can be brought into a sharper focus. But the conference is about much more than a woman who could write a passionate narrative of her life as a slave, for Harriet Jacobs became an abolitionist, an educator, a patriot who called for liberty for the oppressed everywhere.

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