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Pamela Newkirk to Provide Opening Address at FreedomCon 2022: Toward Change – Toward Equality

April 1, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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Join us Friday evening April 1st as we kick off FreedomCon 2022 with a presentation by Pamela Newkirk. This is an in-person and virtual presentation. Visit FreedomCon 2022 for details on our full weekend of events.


Locked In and Left Out: Ota Benga, the Diversity Industry and the Power of Portrayals

Pamela Newkirk, PhD, is an author, award-winning journalist, professor and scholar whose work presents multidimensional portraits of African American life across the full spectrum of U.S. history.  Her FreedomCon 2022 presentation will primarily draw upon two of her best-selling books: Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga (HarperCollins, 2015) traces the deeply troubling tale of Ota Benga’s journey from the Congo to the United States, where he was exhibited at the St. Louis World’s Fair and in 1906 in the Bronx Zoo Monkey House. The book received the 2016 NAACP Image Award and was listed among the Best Books of 2015 by NPR, The Boston Globe and The San Francisco Chronicle. Diversity Inc.: The Failed Promise of a Billion-Dollar Business (Bold Type Books., 2019) examines how workplace diversity initiatives have turned into a profoundly misguided industry – and have done little to bring equality to American institutions and industries. Diversity, Inc. was included on Time Magazine’s 2019 list of Must-Read Books. Prior to joining the NYU faculty, Pamela was a daily news reporter at four news organizations, including the Albany Knickerbocker News and New York Newsday where she was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team. Her articles on race, media and African American culture have been widely published, including in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Time magazine.

Pamela is a native New Yorker who as a child was surrounded by the ephemera of African American life — the posters, letters, books and photographs — collected by her father. Those images became a life-long inspiration for Pamela, nourishing her scholarly interest in the unexplored history of the African Diaspora and the ways in which racial portrayals shape cultures, societies, institutions, public policies and the lives of individuals.

She holds undergraduate and graduate journalism degrees from New York and Columbia universities, and a PhD in Comparative and International Education from Columbia University.

Visit to learn more about Pamela Newkirk and her work.

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April 1, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Mary Liz Stewart


HVCC BulmerTelecommunications Ctr
80 Vandenburgh Avenue
Troy, NY 12180
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