DHX Presents: The Center for Black Digital Research

 Humanities Center     Oct 13 2021 | 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM Zoom

Add to Calendar 10/13/2021 1:00 PM 10/13/2021 2:30 PM America/Los_Angeles DHX Presents: The Center for Black Digital Research Please click the URL for event detail information. https://www.humanities.uci.edu./SOH/calendar/event_details.php?eid=9253&fn=1 Zoom

Digital Humanities Exchange welcomes three senior team members from the Center for Black Digital Research/#DigBlk which houses the Colored Conventions Project, the early Black Women's Organizing Archive (BWOA), and Douglass Day.

This team includes Denise Burgher (co-director of Douglass Day and chair of our Community Engagement committee), Samantha De Vera (chair of the Digital Exhibits committee ) and Sabrina Evans (coordinator of the Black Women's Organizing Archive).

This event will be held remotely. Register HERE.


Our talk will offer a holistic view of the Center for Black Digital Research’s foundation, guiding principles, where it is going, and how it is expanding. Samantha de Vera will begin by briefly recounting the first exhibits of the Colored Conventions Project and discussing how they’ve developed over the years. Denise Burgher will explain the values and ethics that have guided the project since its inception and focus on the project’s community engagement. Lastly, Sabrina Evans’s talk looks forward by introducing and discussing the Center for Black Digital Research’s new project, the Black Women Organizing Archive.

DENISE BURGHER, To the Forming of a Perfecting Union

In this talk I discuss the five organizing principles of the Colored Conventions Project (CCP), how these principles which were inspired by the Jemez Principles created October 8th 1996 by a group of climate change activists  show up in various aspects our work and briefly touch on the ways that they in turn inform our biggest public facing yearly event, Douglass Day (and if we have time a new initiative with Mural Arts Philadelphia). The decision to identify, define and organize our work around our five core principles has been critically important to our success. The central argument of my talk is the importance of the CCP principles to our work as a project from the ways we structure our committees, our pay scale, decision making, the content of our online exhibits, the partnerships we develop, to the programs we create. Our principles anchor our conscious, conscientious decision-making processes to conduct our work which forms the foundation of our relationships and in turn produces the texts, exhibits, curricula, and programs we create as a collective, paying strict clear-eyed attention to race, gender, power and class and the ways these show up independently and intersectionally. Deliberate principled/ethical work can contribute significantly to success or failure of a digital project not just because clarification of values, norms and standards are good practice—but because if we do not explicitly state and determinedly work with our values, ethics, and ideas we run the risk of amplifying, replicating and or concretizing the very ideas, concepts and or practices we are trying to change, deconstruct, challenge or avoid in and by our work. And further that because of the purported promise of the digital to a purported future unencumbered by the flaws of human biases—mediated by amoral machines, shaped by unbiased algorithms and structured by objective hardware is so seductive and a fallacy, that to form a more perfect union--principled work should be expected and standardized in the digital humanities. 

Denise Burgher is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department at the University of Delaware. Denise is a Colored Conventions Project Fellow, African Americans in the Public Humanities Fellow and recently completed a year-long resident fellowship at the Library Company of Philadelphia. Denise is interested in nineteenth-century literature written by women of the African diaspora but particularly the texts that come out of the Afro-Protestant world. Denise is the chair of the Colored Conventions Historic Church and Out-reach committee where she works to connect members of church communities and broader publics to CCP archive and work of the CCCP. Denise is also co-chair of the Curriculum Committee where she co- leads a team of graduate and undergraduate students working on designing a standards based CCP high school curriculum.

SAMANTHA DE VERA, The Colored Conventions Project’s Exhibits and Teaching Guides

My talk will center the Colored Conventions Project’s ongoing efforts to provide accessible and rigorous study materials. Since the Project’s inception, it has produced several online exhibits, which explore the diverse and the wide-ranging activism of convention leaders, delegates, and attendees. Many of these exhibits have been incorporated into college and K-12 curriculums. Recently, we created sets of college teaching questions that instructors and professors can integrate in their classes. I will be focusing on how the CCP’s exhibits evolved from student projects, became the basis of articles, and finally turned into teaching guides.

Samantha de Vera is a PhD candidate in History at the University of California, San Diego. Her dissertation focuses on Black refugees’ experiences during the Civil War. She has been a member of the Colored Conventions Project since 2015 and has published on role and works of Black women in the Colored Conventions Movement.

SABRINA EVANS, The Black Women’s Organizing Archive

The Black Women’s Organizing Archive (BWOA) is one of the research projects housed within the Center for Black Digital Research and is dedicated to bringing together the scattered archives and buried histories of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Black women organizers, intellectuals, and activists. Sabrina Evans will speak about her role as project coordinator of BWOA and co-editor of the BWOA website, paying particular attention to her work with the Anna Julia Cooper Digital Project. She will discuss the progression of the Anna Julia Cooper Digital Project to the creation of BWOA and how BWOA intends to grow and expand its focus to Cooper’s activist and intellectual foremothers and contemporaries, notably Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Mary Church Terrell.

Sabrina Evans is a PhD candidate in the English and African American and Diaspora Studies Dual Title Program at Pennsylvania State University. Sabrina is beginning her second year as a #DigBlk Scholar for the Center for Black Digital Research and is the project coordinator for the Black Women’s Organizing Archive. She also served as project manager for Douglass Day 2020 Transcribe Cooper. Her research centers on the intersection of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century African American literature, Black print culture, and Black Digital Humanities with a specific focus on Black women’s writing and archives during the nineteenth and early twentieth century.