Mar 02

Ten Years of Conversations in Black Freedom Studies


Join us in person or online, for a very special edition of the next Conversations in Black Freedom Studies, Building a Black Public Square: Ten Years of Conversations in Black Freedom Studies. This is the first in person iteration in this series since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic closures in March 2020.

Conversation in Black Freedom Studies (CBFS) was founded to preserve a space for community based conversations about the long Black freedom movement at a time when bookstores and other institutions in Harlem were closing. From small gatherings in the Schomburg Center’s American Negro Theatre, the series developed into a regular (the first Thursday of every month) large gathering in Langston Hughes Auditorium of of those seeking to listen, learn, and share in ongoing conversations about freedom.

The conversations continue and all are invited to join in fellowship - students, teachers, professors, community residents, historians, life-long learners, and those learning for the first time. The series is curated and moderated by the co-organizers of the Conversations in Black Freedom Studies series, professors Robyn Spencer-Antoine and Jeanne Theoharis.

This program will feature reflections on the urgency of preserving the Black public square from CBFS’s founding directors, Komozi Woodard and Jeanne Theoharis, and the scholar-activist-archivists, Brian Jones and Robyn C. Spencer-Antoine, who were among its earliest supporters. The conversation will be followed by Q&A with the audience.


  • Robyn C. Spencer-Antoine

    Lehman College CUNY

    Dr. Spencer is a professor of African American History at Lehman College. She also taught African and African American Studies and History at Penn State University from 2001-2007. Before that, she was a Visiting Predoctoral Fellow at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. Her areas of interest include black social protest after World War II, urban and working-class radicalism, and gender. She is the author of Mad at History, and is currently completing a book about the Black Panther Party.

  • Jeanne Theoharis

    Brooklyn College CUNY

    Jeanne Theoharis is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. Her book, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, won a 2014 NAACP Image Award. She is the author of A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History. She and Komozi Woodard have edited several collections of scholarship on the Black Freedom Struggle, including Freedom North: Black Freedom Struggles Outside of the South, 1940-1980, Groundwork: Local Black Freedom Movements in America, Want to Start A Revolution?: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle with Dayo Gore, and The Strange Careers of the Jim Crow North: Segregation and Struggle Outside of the South with Brian Purnell.

    Theoharis is the author of numerous books and articles on the civil rights and Black Power movements, the politics of race and education, social welfare and civil rights in post-9/11 America. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, The Nation, Slate, Salon, the Intercept, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Her most recent book, written with Brandy Colbert, is The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks: Young Readers Edition.

  • Komozi Woodard

    Sarah Lawrence College

    Komozi Woodard is Professor of History, Public Policy and Africana Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. Earning a Ph.D. in History at the University of Pennsylvania and B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology, Dr. Woodard held the Esther Raushenbush Professorship in History at Sarah Lawrence College; served on the Board of Directors of the Urban History Association; edited a few African American newspapers and cultural journals as well as Black Power & Black Arts Movement archives; directed an international news service and a radio news program; curated library, museum and college programs; and published hundreds of news and scholarly articles as well as six books, including these: A Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Black Power Politics; The Making of the New Ark; The Black Power Movement: Amiri Baraka from Black Arts to Black Radicalism, Freedom North, Groundwork and Want to Start a Revolution: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle?

    Komozi Woodard began as a civil rights & black power activist, then journalist as well as an economic adviser, urban planner and community developer. Woodard began teaching in 1968 when he established a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or SNCC liberation school and when he initiated Africana Studies at Dickinson College. Woodard was a founding member of the Congress of African Students at Dickinson College, the international Congress of African People, the national Black Women’s United Front, the international African Liberation Support Committee, the National Black Political Assembly, the National Black United Front, the Anti-Imperialist Cultural Union and the Stop Killer Cop Campaign and so forth.

  • Brian Jones

    New York Public Library

    Brian P. Jones is an American educator, scholar, activist, and actor. He is the inaugural director of the Center for Educators and Schools of The New York Public Library, and formerly the Associate Director of Education at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where he was also a scholar in residence. Jones earned a PhD in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center and has contributed to several books on issues of racism, inequality, and Black education history, most recently to Black Lives Matter At School: An Uprising for Educational Justice. He is the author of The Tuskegee Student Uprising: A History (NYU Press Black Power Series).


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