Building Community, Continuing the Legacy: A Rosenwald Schools of Tennessee Symposium

Date: 15 September 2023
Time: 2:00 pm CT
Location: Appleton Room, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee (in person only)
Presented by: The Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage at Rare Book School

Join the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage at Rare Book School for two in-person panels, as part of a larger symposium at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. This event, which is free and open to the public, will explore the history and legacy of the Rosenwald schools and the communities that built and preserved them.

All are welcome; however, advanced registration is required. To register (and to learn more information about the larger symposium), please click here.


Session #1: Community Curation and Digitization
2:00–3:00 p.m. CT

Doretha Williams is the Director of the Center for the Robert F. Smith Digitization and Curation of African American History at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Smith Center serves as the burgeoning digital humanities and public history forum for the NMAAHC. The Smith Center’s mission is to make historical collections accessible through digitization, public programming, and interaction, and to support educational development in museums and archives.

Jocelyn Imani is a storyteller, educator, and community builder, with more than a decade of experience as a public historian. She joined the Trust for Public Land as National Director of the Black History and Culture program in 2022. In her work, she is focused on reimagining how Black history and culture sites are activated, and aims to make shared spaces more relevant and accessible to all populations. She holds a Ph.D. in African diaspora and public history from Howard University, and a B.A. in history from Fisk University. She is a member of the Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and of the Junior League of Nashville. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Progress, Inc., an organization that promotes health, happiness, and safety for people with disabilities and senior adults needing care.


Session #2: Forging Future Pathways Forward: Building a Portal to Rosenwald Collections for All at Fisk University
3:15–4:30 p.m. CT

DeLisa Minor Harris currently serves as Director of Library Services at Fisk University. She is also the Project Director for the Mellon-funded Portal to Julius Rosenwald Fund Collections grant, a four-year project to create digital access to the Julius Rosenwald Fund Collection. She is also a doctoral student at Middle Tennessee State University, pursuing a Ph.D. in Public History. Her research examines the life and legacy of Henrietta Crawley Myers, the first female director of the Fisk University Jubilee Singers. In addition, she will complete the Mellon-RBS Cultural Heritage Fellowship program this year. Throughout this fellowship, she focused on conducting bibliographic research on the rare and distinct book collection of Fisk University’s Special Collections and Archives, known early on as the “Negro Collection.”


Click here to learn more about the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage at Rare Book School.