The African American Program at the Heinz History Center will host the Inaugural Martin R. Delany Symposium on Aug. 26-27, 2022, at the History Center.
The two-day academic conference will take an unprecedented look at the life, career, and legacy of Martin Delany, one the nation’s most influential African American leaders in the 19th century.
Born on May 6, 1812, in Charles Town, Virginia to a free mother, Pati, and enslaved father, Samuel, Delany lived under the yoke of racial oppression. He spent his formative years in Pittsburgh, where his education in enterprise, medicine, and journalism would set him apart from other abolitionists.
A free Black man in Pittsburgh, Delany became an outspoken voice against slavery. In 1843, he published “The Mystery,” the first African American newspaper published west of the Alleghenies, which championed equality for Blacks and supported the abolition of slavery in other parts of the nation. In 1865, President Lincoln would commission him a Major of the 104th United States Colored Infantry (USCI), making him the highest ranking African American field officer in the US Army.
The History Center’s Martin R. Delany Symposium will feature speakers and scholars from across the nation who have studied Delany and his indelible impact, including keynote speakers Richard J. Blackett, the Andrew Jackson Professor of History at Vanderbilt University; and Tunde Adeleke, director African American Studies at Iowa State University. Sessions will examine how ideas Delany presented during the 19th century correlate with the modern Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives Matter movement, and other watershed moments that focus on freedom.
Check this page frequently for more details, including registration information.
Call for Proposals
The Martin R. Delany Symposium welcomes paper proposals or panels that address Delany’s life and legacy as a freedom fighter, politician, journalist, physician, author, emigrationist, and other titles. Individual papers would be added to a panel of similar subject.
Suggested topics for session proposals include:
- Slavery and Abolitionism
- Fraternal Order – Masonry
- Delany and his Contemporaries
- Civil War
- In Africa, Europe, and North America
- Reconstruction Politics
- Writer and Publisher
- Medical Practice
- Delany and Art
- Delany, Modern Medicine, and the Pandemic
Proposals should be submitted in electronic form, 1,000 words or less, double spaced, either Calibri or Times New Roman font. A title should be clearly listed at the top of the page accompanied by name and contact information. Please inform the proposal if your presentation needs audio/video technology (power point, film, video, sound, etc.). Please submit proposals to:
Samuel W Black
Director, African American Program
Senator John Heinz History Center