Norfolk State University Newsroom  


NSU to Host 1619 Making of America Conference

(NSU NEWSROOM--Aug. 28, 2014)--The Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center at Norfolk State University will host an upcoming three-day, “1619 Making of America” conference and historic tour in September that will explore cultural foundations, music, foods, law and how we became Americans.

The Center will host, “1619 Making of America: When Did We Become Americans?” from Sept. 18-20 on the campuses of Norfolk State University, Hampton University and the Hampton History Museum. The conference will include performances, scholarly presentations, workshops and a spoken-word contest for students. It is the third major event delving into the question of the genesis of American life and culture.

Some of the signature events will include roundtable discussions about what it means to be American, the origins of American cuisine, migration networks in the early Atlantic, musical and spoken word legacies such as hip-hop music in American society and native peoples in colonial America.

Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, an NSU History professor who is the lead organizer for the conference, said this year’s theme will focus on culture. It was in 1619 that America would see the formation of a culture that blended components of American, African, and European identities, foodways, customs, and practices.

The event will kick off on Sept. 18 at Hampton University’s McGrew Tower. On Sept. 19, the conference will be held at Norfolk State University’s Student Center. Registration on both days will begin at 9 a.m.

The program offers a special event targeting those who are involved in poetry and spoken word. A Spoken Word Invitational for secondary and college-age students focusing on “Being American: What Is Your True Identity?” will be one of the highlighted events for this year’s conference.

Special presentations by the New Bedford Whaling Youth Ambassadors and the Hampton Performing Arts Program will conclude each day’s activities. Foodways and African American Interpreter with Colonial Williamsburg, Harold Caldwell, will provide a special demonstration on the foodways transformations in colonial America.

During the final day of the conference, in Hampton, participants have the opportunity to take a historic bus and boat tour of the city that will include visits to Fort Monroe, the 1619 landing site, Emancipation Oak, the Grand Contraband Camp (an active archeological site), Fort Wool and other locations.

Some of the conference guest speakers will include Benjamin Bowser of California State University East Bay, Virginia Johnson of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Glendola Mills-Parker of Morgan State University, Lisa Brooks of Amherst College, Paul Finkelman of Albany Law School, Michael Gomez of New York University, Donna Gabaccia of the University of Toronto and Kariamu Welsh of Temple University.

Pre-registration for the conference is $40 per day for attendees and $25 for students. On-site registration is $45 per day for attendees and $30 for students. Students can receive a free pass to attend individual sessions. The cost of the historic tour of Hampton is $20 per person. For more information about the conference or to register online, visit 1619MakingofAmerica.com.


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