Call For Proposals / Call for Artists


Americans@Risk:  Race, Denial, Privilege, and Who Matters

Panel Proposals 2017:

torch-and-hands-onlyThe 16th annual Underground Railroad Public History Convention

Organized by Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.

March 24-26, 2017

Schenectady County Community College – 78 Washington Avenue, Schenectady, NY 12305

Join Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region as we transform our history conference into the format of a historical Comic-Con.  Americans@Risk is a broader undertaking than our previous conferences have explored.  Race relations, gender issues, immigration reform, white privilege, and religion play a role in the risks Americans face today.  In our two day convention, we will explore these risks, locate them in their relationship with American history, and dialogue about action responses through a series of workshops, roundtable conversations, and keynote speakers.  Is history repeating itself?  Join us as we explore our past and look towards the future.

Each session is 60 minutes long. A panel presenter will share a 45 minute presentation period with two additional presenters. Each panel presenter will have 15 minutes within which to present his/her comments. A 15 minute Dialogue with session attendees will conclude the hour. Further conversation around panel topics can be conducted at Round Tables that will be continuous throughout Saturday, March 25. Panel presentation topics are as follows:

  1. Talk to History: Panel of Historical Figures

Have you ever wished you could ask a historic figure from the Underground Railroad a question? Now is your chance!  Join us for a paneled discussion featuring Jermaine Loguen, Stephen and Harriet Myers, William Lloyd Garrison and Henry Highland Garnet, and others.  Learn history by conversing with historical figures about their lived experience.

  1. What’s the Story

Learn about the history and people of the Underground Railroad from the voices of those written out of the story.  Through research done over the past 19 years, Stephen Myers, leading figure of the Vigilance Committee, opened his home at 198 Lumber Street to Freedom Seekers. His activism, along with that of his colleagues, contributes to a new interpretation of this old story. Is there more to this piece of American history than the standard canon recounts about Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass? What can we do with this new understanding?

  1. Twisting the Truth: Then and Now

As early as the 1741 New York Weekly Journal coverage of the Slave Conspiracy Trials, fear in white residents was encouraged with such lines as, “…more discoveries are made and fear that many more whites are involved, 42 blacks ordered for transportation and there is a goal of 100 more.”  Suppression of newspaper coverage of the Stono Rebellion was rampant, with no account of the revolt in the 1739 South Carolina Gazette. Media outlets, through exaggeration or lack of facts, modify, twist, and sometimes eliminate the story.  Do we still see this trend today?  What strategic responses can we implement to keep the truth front and center?

  1. Parallels of Racism – Then and Now

Stephen Myers wrote in 1842 that “northern prejudice was akin to the slavery of the south and that their example cripples black aspirations.” Today the Black Lives Matter movement voices that same message.  Has anything changed?  How can we, collectively and individually, be a corrective?

  1. Schenectady’s Piece of the Puzzle

Moses Viney, a freedom seeker from Maryland, started his own successful coach taxi business in the late 19th century.  Eliphalet Nott, the president of Union College in 1804, hired Moses as his personal driver.  Moses Viney was one on many freedom seekers who thrived in their freedom.  Learn about Moses Viney and other African American Schenectadians who contributed to American history. Here their voices and their stories, and discuss strategies for sharing these inspiring stories with the broader community.

  1. Lesser Known Ladies Passing the Torch

There were many women who changed the world during their lifetime that our history books do not mention.  Elizabeth Jennings, in 1854, successfully sued the Third Avenue Railroad Company when she was forced off a rail car because she was black.  Elizabeth was legally represented by future president Chester A. Arthur.  Maria Stewart was an early African American activist, feminist and lecturer.  In the 1830’s Maria was the first African American female lecturer who spoke to a mixed audience; men, women, blacks and whites.  Join us as to learn about more inspirational female figures and discuss how to share this inspiring information with the broader community.


Panel proposals should indicate: (1) selection of title from list above (2) brief content description, (3) name and full contact information, including title(s) (5) target audience (youth, adult, multi-age, family with young children), and (6) technology needs.

Panel Proposals should be submitted by January 15, 2017 

Postal mail to URHPCR, 194 Livingston Avenue, Albany, NY 12210 or email to


Call for Artists 2017:

Artists help us make sense of our world, and they broaden our experience and understanding. The arts enable us to imagine the unimaginable, and to connect us to the past, the present, and the future, sometimes simultaneously. Biographer and journalist Walter Isaacson says that science can give us empirical facts and try to tie them together with theories, but it’s the humanists and the artists who turn them into narratives with moral, emotional and spiritual meanings. He’s right, of course. Art gives meaning to the data science provides. (Barbara Ernst Pray, 2014)

The Art Exhibition at the 16th annual UGRR Public History Convention celebrates the importance of art in our lives and its value in understanding our past in its relationship with the present as if informs the future. If you are interested, or if someone you know might be interested in submitting pieces for the Art Exhibition to be held on March 24-25, please see full details below. Submissions are due by February 11, 2017.


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