Dr. Kerstin Rudolph, an assistant professor of English at Catawba College, recently attended the annual conference of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), founded by Carter G. Woodson. This Association's 101st meeting took place in Richmond, Va., in early October.
Rudolph presented a conference paper as part of a panel titled "Struggles in Black Gotham" that looked at various sites of New York City through the lens of black progress and political development. Her paper, titled "The Spatial Politics of Race and Ethnicity: The White Rose Mission and Social Reform Work in Turn-of-the-Century New York," examined the working friendship between the mission's founder Victoria Earle Matthews and novelist Alice Dunbar-Nelson as part of black clubwomen's efforts to do racial uplift work while also navigating African American identity against a larger backdrop of New York's diverse ethnic make-up.
Rudolph shared that "together with my panelists' presentations, we were able to span a full century from 1897 to the present, but also cover a range of topics, from my focus on reform work to the black-owned Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartment Complex and Bank in 1930s Harlem, and contemporary mayoral politics regarding police violence against African Americans as well as a paper on the connections between black poverty and NYC's HIV crisis."
Although the conference was large, Rudolph noted that "the diversity of panels, roundtables, and keynotes made ASAHL a stimulating and nurturing event." She also cited "an invigorating plenary session on the role of museums in African American life and history, and another highlight that was a luncheon featuring a moderated discussion with cultural critic Ta-Nehasi Coates."