Program at Yale to Explore Educating Public on African American History & Culture

December 5, 2011. New Haven, CT — Scholars, historians, and educational professionals from museums, historic sites, and libraries across the nation will convene on the Yale campus on July 22–29 to explore ways to interpret African American history and culture for the broader public. The summer program is a cornerstone of the Yale Public History Institute, dedicated to fostering connections and collaborative opportunities between academic institutions and other educational organizations that raise public awareness of issues of national heritage.

Hosted by Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the eight-day seminar will feature sessions led by Yale faculty members and preeminent public historians on ways to interpret and present the unique African American historical perspective. In addition to attending scheduled sessions, participants — including staff members of invited institutions, selected Yale graduate students and NMAAHC young professionals— will break into teams to develop an interpretive project for each organization represented at the seminar.

In the year following the seminar, under the direction of the Institute organizers, students and NMAAHC professionals will continue to collaborate with the participating organization on these interpretive projects.

The Institute

Richard Rabinowitz, an Institute organizer and president of American History Workshop, remarked, “We hope this Institute helps not only to bridge the divide between the academy and public history institutions, but also to generate deep exploration of issues relating to the interpretation and analysis of African American history and culture.”

In addition to Rabinowitz, other featured speakers include David W. Blight, professor of history and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center, Yale; Lonnie G. Bunch III, director of the NMAAHC; Christy S. Coleman, president of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar; Rex M. Ellis, a director for curatorial affairs at NMAAHC; Robert Harms, professor of history and African studies, Yale; Jonathan Holloway, professor of African American studies, history, and American studies, Yale; Matthew Frye Jacobson, professor of American studies and history, Yale; Lynda B. Kaplan, principal, American History Workshop; Faith Davis Ruffins, curator, home and community life division, National Museum of American History; and Jill Sanderson, independent museum education and interpretation specialist.

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, a part of the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University, was established in 1998 to promote the study of all aspects of slavery and its destruction. The Center seeks to foster an improved understanding of the role of slavery in the founding of the modern world by promoting interaction and exchange between scholars, teachers, and public historians through publications, educational outreach, and other programs and events. For information on the Center’s programs and activities, visit

For more information about the seminar, visit

Contact Information:

Marilyn Wilkes

The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale

(203) 432-3413