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BWC 2012

Learning the Ropes: Black Girlhood, Identity and the Power of Play


In 2012, the Black Women’s Conference comes of age. This year marks the 18th year of the Annual Black Women’s Conference sponsored by the African American & Africana Studies Program (formerly African American Studies and Research Program) at the University of Kentucky. The consistency of this program in linking the University and the black community in dialogue makes it an extremely important event in the larger mission of the African American & Africana Studies Program and the University of Kentucky’s commitment to community engagement. Eighteen is a magical number in our society that defines the line between childhood and being an adult. In our reaching this symbolic marker, we have chosen to reflect on the early development of the women who have been the focus of this conference for so many years. The theme for this year is Learning the Ropes: Black Girlhood, Identity and the Power of Play.

It would be easy to recount the troubling statistics on black girls in the United States. We have instead chosen to highlight the triumphs as well as the challenges. The conference will include scholars from education, English, ethnomusicology, political science and medicine and draw from those engaged in powerful work with young girls and women in our local community. In addition to the distinguished speakers, we have included a day of play to remind the grown up girls of the joy and pass the tradition to the girls still growing. Please come and join us in our celebration of black girlhood.


Thursday, March 22, 2012
6 pm
Student Town Hall Meeting
Asha French, Affrilachian Poet and Doctoral Student, English, Emory University
UK College of Law Courtroom
Friday, March 23, 2012
10 am
Anna Julia Cooper Lecture
Nazera Wright, Ph.D., English, UK
UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion Auditorium
12 pm
Mary McLeod Bethune Luncheon
Kyra Gaunt, Ph.D., Ethnomusicologist and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Baruch College
UK Boone Faculty Center
(Tickets $20 General Admission and $15 for Seniors and Students)
2 pm
Panel: “Girl Talk”: Creating Empowering Spaces for Black Girls
UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion Auditorium
4 pm
Panel: Black Girl Games 101: An Interactive Experience
UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion Auditorium
5:30 pm
Doris Y. Wilkinson Distinguished Lecture
Ruth Nicole Brown, Ph.D., Education Policy Studies, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and founder of SOLHOT (Saving Our Lives Hearing Our Truths) Program for Black Girls and Women
UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion Auditorium
Saturday, March 24, 2012
11 am  – 2 pm
Zora Neale Hurston Community Play Date for Girls of All of Ages: A Village 
Experience, Lyric Theater and Cultural Center