Courtesy of Cornell University

Gabrielle Foreman to speak on Black organizing in the 19th-century.

April 25, 2023

Penn State Professor to Discuss Black Political Organizing

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Gabrielle Foreman, the Paterno Family Professor of American Literature and Professor of African American Studies and History at The Pennsylvania State University, will give a talk, titled “Why Didn’t We Know?!: The Forgotten History of the Colored Conventions and 19th-Century Black Political Organizing,” on May 2.

The event is part of the College of Arts and Sciences’ annual Krieger Lecture in American Political Culture. The American Studies Program is sponsoring the talk as part of an endowed fund started by Sanford Krieger ’65 and Carol Krieger in 2000.

In addition to her duties as a professor, Foreman is a MacArthur Fellow –– an award intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual and professional inclinations –– and the founding director of the Colored Conventions Project, a digital initiative that collects and documents Black political organizing efforts in the United States. Her research focuses on literary activism from 19th-century women, particularly looking at the ways in which they engaged in community organizing.

Foreman is also the director of Penn State’s Center for Black Digital Research, which houses multiple projects committed to bringing the histories of early Black organizing to digital life through a series of collaborative partnerships. Their website features exhibits, historical records and informational videos free of charge for the public. 

At a 4 p.m. reception on May 3, Foreman will discuss her latest book, “Praise Songs for Dave the Potter.” The book revisits the legacy of David Drake, recognized as one of the United States’ most accomplished nineteenth-century potters, and the impact of his works on later artists that claim inspiration from him. 

Free and open to the public, the talk will take place at 5 p.m. in Goldwin Smith Hall’s Kaufmann Auditorium. 

Correction, April 26, 1:50 p.m.: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the reception is taking place on May 2. The article has been corrected to accurately reflect that the reception is on May 3.