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2023 ASA Teachers' Workshop

Education for Justice: Amplifying Voices When Histories are Silenced

December 9, 2023 | Location: Online via Zoom

Workshop Essential Questions

How have African American activism and African anti-imperial movements been inter-connected across time? What global histories are you silencing when you silence African American history? This workshop invites all teachers to consider a new lens to amplify silenced histories.

Workshop Schedule

12:00-12:15PM ET: Introduction & Welcome Address by Gretchen Bauer

12:15-1:00PM ET: Prof. Molefi Kete Asante: Keynote Address and Q&A

1:00-1:45PM ET: Mora McClean: William Leo Hansberry and "Howard's  Supreme Opportunity" 

1:45-2:30PM ET: Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey: "An Act of Identification'": Pan-Africanism and African Liberation Day in San Francisco, 1972

2:30-2:45PM ET: BREAK

2:45-3:30PM ET: Prof. Bob Edgar: African Americans and the Italian Invasion of Ethiopia 1935

3:30-4:15PM ET: Chumani Maxwele: Education as a Vocation for Generational Mission for African Educators and Activists for the Oppressed People

4:15-4:20PM ET: Closing Remarks

Workshop Details

Session One: 12:15-1:00PM ET

Keynote Address 
Description: Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, who is recognized as the leading scholar and proponent of Afrocentricity, will discuss how African (and African American) studies programs in universities across the USA and beyond came into being, and how activism and African anti-imperial movements have been inter-connected across time. Given the current anti-black history sentiments, Dr. Asante will offer insights on what is being silenced when African and African American history are silenced?
Presenter Bio:

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Prof. Molefi Kete Asante

Molefi Kete Asante is Professor in the Department of Africology at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He is the President of the Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies and Professor Extraordinarius at the University of South Africa. Asante is the Founding Editor of the Journal of Black Studies and was the first director of UCLA’s Center for Afro-American Studies. Often recognized as the most prolific African American scholar, he has published 100 books, among the most recent are Being Human Being: Transforming the Race Discourse with Nah Dove;  The Precarious Center, or When Will the African Center Hold;  Radical Insurgencies; The History of Africa, 3rd Edition; An Afrocentric Pan Africanist Vision; The African American People: A Global History;  Erasing Racism: The Survival of the American Nation; Revolutionary Pedagogy; African American History: A Journey of Liberation; African Pyramids of Knowledge; Maulana Karenga: An Intellectual Portrait;  Facing South to Africa, and the memoir, As I Run Toward Africa. Asante has published more than 500 articles and is considered one of the most quoted living authors on Africa and African American Studies, as well as one of the most distinguished thinkers and influential leaders in the African world and in education. In 2019 the National Communication Association named him an NCA Distinguished Scholar, its highest honor, saying that his writings were “spectacular and profound.”  

Molefi Asante received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, at the age of 26, and was appointed a full professor at the age of 30 at the State University of New York at Buffalo. At Temple University he created the first Ph.D. Program in African American Studies in 1988. He has directed more than 140 Ph.D. dissertations, making him the top producer of doctorates among African American scholars. He is the founder of the theory of Afrocentricity, The Cheikh Anta Diop Conference, and the think-tank, The Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies in Philadelphia. Asante wrote the mandatory African American History course for Philadelphia School District. He also initiated the Temple University Center for Antiracism. Asante has appeared on numerous television and social media programs in Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Europe. He has received many awards and honors for scholarship and political and community activism. He regularly consults with heads of state in Africa and has become one of the most popular lecturers on issues related to the idea of the United States of Africa.  He serves on the Thabo Mbeki African School of Leadership at UNISA. Asante was invited in February 2020 by the Russian Academy of Sciences and RUDN to co-chair a seminar on African Affairs with Professor Alexei Vasiliev. Dr. Asante’s writings are in Russian, Spanish, Kiswahili, Portuguese, French, Hungarian, and Japanese.

Session Two: 1:00-1:45PM ET

William Leo Hansberry and "Howard's  Supreme Opportunity" 
Description: Like many of his early twentieth-century contemporaries, William Leo Hansberry hailed the retreat of “scientific" racism after the First World War. As a freshly-minted Harvard graduate student in 1922, he set out to position Howard University to be the first higher education institution anywhere in the United States to establish an African studies program. He envisioned that well-trained Black scholars equipped to properly research and teach the history of Africa in antiquity—that is, Africa long before enslavement and colonization by Europeans—would restore the people of Africa and its worldwide diaspora to their proper place in "world history."
Presenter Bio:

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Mora McClean

Mora McLean is president emerita of the nonprofit Africa-America Institute (AAI) and the organization’s historian. Her ongoing research as a doctoral candidate in American Studies at George Washington University aims to recover AAI’s founding history in the mid-twentieth century—a period when pan-Africanist conceptions of progress for Africa and its worldwide diaspora competed with liberal cold warrior aspirations for African “development” in the self-image of the United States. 

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Prof. Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey

Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey (Nii Laryea Osabu I, Atrékor Wé Oblahii kè Oblayéé Mantsè) is William Dawson Chair, Assistant Professor, and specialist in post-Reconstruction U.S. and African Diaspora history at McGill University. He is the author of Cross-Border Cosmopolitans: The Making of a Pan-African North America (UNC Press). Dr. Adjetey is the back-to-back recipient of McGill's two teaching commendations: 2023 Principal's Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and 2022 H. Noel Fieldhouse Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Session Three: 1:45-2:30PM ET

An Act of Identification: Pan-Africanism and African Liberation Day in San Francisco, 1972 
Description: The Civil Rights Movement failed to meet the material needs of the African American masses. This talk will examine why Black activists embraced militancy in the 1960s and how that inspired African Liberation Day organizing in 1972.
Presenter Bio:

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Prof. Robert Edgar

Robert Edgar is Emeritus Professor of African Studies at Howard University and Senior Fellow in the Department of History at Stellenbosch University. He has taught as a visiting professor at the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, the National University of Lesotho, University of Cape Town and University of Western Cape. He specializes in the history of modern religious and political movements in southern Africa. Among his publications are An African American in South Africa: the Travel Notes of Ralph J. Bunche (1992), African Apocalypse: the story of Nontetha Nkwenkwe (2000),coauthored with Hilary Sapire, The Making of an African Communist: Edwin Mofutsanyana and the Communist Party of South Africa, 1927-1939 (2006), The Finger of God: Enoch Mgijima, the Israelites and the Bulhoek Massacre in South Africa (2018), Africa’s Cause Must Triumph: the Collected Writings of A.P. Mda (2018), co-authored with Luyanda Msumza, and Josie Mpama/Palmer: Get Up and Get Moving (2020).

Session Four: 2:45-3:30PM ET

African Americans and the Italian Invasion of Ethiopia 1935
Description: When Italy invaded Ethiopia on 3 October 1935, it roused Africans and people of African descent in many parts of the world who regarded Ethiopia and its emperor, Haile Selassie, as a symbol of black self-determination.  My presentation discusses how African Americans responded to the invasion and the roles a handful of African Americans played in Ethiopia during the war.  It also analyses the significance of the war for Pan Africanists and how it became a prelude for decolonization in Africa.
Presenter Bio:

Session Five: 3:30-4:15PM ET

Education as a Vocation for Generational Mission for African Educators and Activists for the Oppressed People
Description: The historical reading of #RhodesMustFall in our contemporary times is informed by a long history of the first generation of African people who were educated through missionary education in South Africa in the 1800s. African people were educated by missionaries for the sole purpose of converting them to Christianity which was used as part of many strategies to colonize African people in South Africa and other parts of Southern Africa and Africa at large. When one reads the historical material of the African people’s encounter with the missionaries one is bound to discover a few African individuals and families who were known as amagqoboka (the converts) of Christianity. Christianity as a religion and as a way of life for missionaries was used as a silencing tool of African people’s histories and ways of being and living that were not wanted or deemed as ‘backward’ or ‘barbaric’ by the missionaries. Missionaries used the newly “educated” Africans, that is, amagqoboka “converts” as tools to recruit as many Africans as possible under the name of education towards Christianity as a religion and as a way of life and the way of being. Over time, the Amagqoboka (and by then they were Christians in their own right, that is, in the mid 1800s during the Fronter Wars of Resistance) they realize that Christian missionaries were in fact collaborating with the colonialist in their project of conquest. The evocation of “Education for Justice: Amplifying Voices when Histories are Silenced” is a useful and important reminder for us to go back to history and study the historical past of early African Educators and their role in educating African people as a form of silent resistance against systemic oppression. African American history is in many ways similar to that of Africans in Africa. I would like to explore these two histories of Africans and African Americans as to how did they use their education in educating their people about their silenced histories. #RhodesMustFall student movement as a platform or as a vehicle was used as a rejoinder to the historical Vocation for Generational Mission for African Educators and Activists. My presentation will explore the names of individuals and families in South Africa who sought to educate others about their silenced histories.  
Presenter Bio:

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Chumani Maxwele

Mr. Chumani Maxwele is a Chevening Scholar, Research Associate at University of Cape Town’s Centre for African Studies, South Africa and Research Associate at Sun Yat-sen University’s School of Government, Guangzhou China. He is co-founding member of #RhodesMustFall Student Movement. He is a social activist with interests in socio-political and socio-economical challenges that are facing young people in South Africa and in Africa. His research interests are in Post-Colonial Higher Education System in South Africa and its limitations. Mr. Maxwele served in the Presidential High Education Task Team that was appointed by the President of South Africa that was tasked to investigate university costs that prohibit students from accessing university education. Currently, Mr. Maxwele is currently writing a book on #RhodesMustFall Student Movement. 

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