"The Legacies of Slavery and Sisterhood: The Life and Work of Harriet Jacobs" Centennial Conference: A Resounding Success!
Pace celebrated its actual birthday on October 6: 100 years old! Dyson College celebrated Pace's Centennial with a wonderful academic symposium, “The Legacies of Slavery and Sisterhood: The Life and Work of Harriet Jacobs.” Held on October 6, the symposium celebrated two remarkable women: Jean Fagan Yellin, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, and Harriet Jacobs, former slave, reformer, activist, and the only African American woman held in slavery whose papers are known to exist. Jacobs's work spans a range of issues involving sex, race, and class—issues that American society continues to confront in the 21st century—which the symposium participants examined in panel and roundtable discussions on the current implications of her writing and life.
Thanks largely to more than three decades of persistence and remarkable work by Dr. Yellin, Jacobs is finally receiving the recognition she deserves as an important American writer and activist. The symposium attracted numerous scholars who spoke of the legacy of Harriet Jacobs, as well as an attentive audience comprised of high school and college students and faculty, local scholars, journalists and community members.
A highlight of the conference was a reading by actress Ruby Dee from Harriet Jacobs's autobiographical Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Both Dr. Yellin and Miss Dee received Pace Centennial medals honoring them for their intellectual and cultural contributions. View photos of the event.
The conference was primarily organized by Associate Professor of Political Science Chris Malone, PhD, who was assisted by Kim Misevis, a Dyson graduate and Fulbright scholar. Adrienne Capps, Dyson Director of Development, helped garner financial support for the symposium, and Chris Cory, Executive Director of Public Information, brought local media coverage to the event. I especially wish to thank Chris Malone and everyone who worked with him to make this event such a success, including all of the behind the scenes workers at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts.
As we usher Pace University into its second century, we are very proud to have hosted such a successful symposium that brought together the luminaries in the field to honor and celebrate these extraordinarily accomplished women. This symposium firmly establishes Pace University as a center for liberal arts education through Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. Our ability to reach out across many disciplines, drawing upon our faculty's expertise, dedication, and associations, made it possible for this symposium to succeed on such a high level.