Open house and lecture celebrate many firsts for Tubman Institute

York’s Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples will be hosting a special open house and lecture on Thursday to celebrate its move to new offices in 321 York Lanes. The open house, which begins at 4pm, will be followed by a keynote lecture at 5:30pm by leading African scholar and historian Professor Toyin Falola, the Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor in History at the University of Texas at Austin. A reception will follow at 7pm to launch the new Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora.

Of special interest at the event is a display of the many resources available at the Tubman Institute, and the various research projects underway, including projects to digitize endangered archival materials in Cuba, Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Columbia and elsewhere.

In his keynote lecture, titled “Globalization of the African Diaspora”, Falola will examine the impact of the global migrations of African peoples, first under slavery and now through voluntary migration, which is sometimes legal and sometimes illegal.

“Dr. Falola is one of the leading historians of Africa, having published more than 50 books,” says York Distinguished Research Professor of History Paul Lovejoy (right), director of the Harriet Tubman Institute and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in African Diaspora History. “While he is an historian, he has written poetry and is considered one of the leading intellectuals of Africa.”

A Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and a Fellow of the Historical Society of Nigeria, Falola is a distinguished teaching professor at the University of Texas at Austin. His most recent book, a memoir titled A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt, captures his childhood and has received numerous awards.

toyin falolaLeft: Toyin Falola

Thursday also marks the launch of the Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora, a collection of books that explore the African diaspora in historical and contemporary times. The series, which is being published by Africa World Press, features seven books with two more in press. An additional 23 titles are under contract and will be published within the next 18 months.

The Harriet Tubman Series explores the African diaspora in historical and contemporary times. It addresses the quest for social justice and equitable conditions of life in Africa and diaspora as revealed in history, literary studies, culture and the performing arts. The series is named after Harriet Tubman (1820-1913), who as a young woman fled slavery to help others escape to Canada on the Underground Railroad and subsequently fought in the US Civil War to end slavery.

Right: Harriet Tubman

The series examines all aspects of the global migrations of African peoples, whether under conditions of slavery or more recently as a product of the post-colonial conditions of a global society. It focuses on the enslavement of Africans in the racialized colonial context of the Americas; the place of slavery and abolition in the global context centred on the Indian Ocean; and the importance of enslaved Africans in the Islamic world encompassing the regions crossing the Sahara from the Mediterranean to western and central Sudan of West Africa. The series offers a perspective on global multiculturalism emphasizing the centrality of African peoples. The contributions to the Tubman Series are intended to promote dialogue along and across regional, religious, cultural and political frontiers.

Thursday’s event also marks another milestone with recent news that Lovejoy has been named a recipient of the President’s Research Award of Merit (see YFile, Nov. 5).

All are welcome to attend. For more information, visit the Harriet Tubman Institute for the Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples Web site, or call ext. 33058.