Annual Meeting Roundup: “Stop, Look, and Listen: Sound and Film Conservancy and African American History” Session Preview

This roundtable discussion takes place on Friday, April 13 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at the 2018 OAH Annual Meeting in Sacramento.

Twitter: #AM2413

Chair: Josh Shepperd, Catholic University of America

• Sonja Williams, Howard University
• Josh Shepperd, Catholic University of America
• Carleton Gholz, Detroit Sound Conservancy
•  Suzanne E. Smith, George Mason University

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This roundtable discussion imaginatively engages with the conference theme of “The Forms of History” by addressing the critical role of sound and film conservancy in the researching, preserving, and teaching of African American history. The panelists, all of whom are working on sound and/or film conservancy projects in African American history, will discuss their research strategies, preservation projects, and long-term plans to bring these vital primary sources to the general public. The panel’s roundtable format will allow ample conversation not only among presenters, but also with audience members.

The panelists include: Walter Forsberg, Media Archivist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC); Carleton Gholz, Founder of the Detroit Sound Conservancy; Sonja D. Williams, Media Producer and Professor of Media, Journalism, and Film at Howard University; Suzanne E. Smith, Professor of History at George Mason University; and the panel will be chaired by Josh Shepperd, Director of the Radio Preservation Task Force at the Library of Congress and Professor of Media Studies at Catholic University.

In terms of their specific projects, Walter Forsberg will discuss his work restoring and archiving home movies as a part of the NMAAHC Great Migration project; Carleton Gholtz will present his work as the founder of Detroit Sound Conservancy including Vault Version 1.0, a long-term project to convert Detroit’s musical heritage into a digital archive; Sonja Williams will discuss her work leading Radio and Civil Rights Caucus for the Radio Preservation Task Force as well as her award-winning work on radio projects such as Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was (Radio Smithsonian/PRI); Suzanne Smith will present her work preserving the radio broadcasts of Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux; and Josh Shepperd will discuss the mission of the Radio Preservation Task Force as it relates to African American history.

Participants hope that audience members will come away from the session learning the latest approaches to audio and film conservancy in African American history that they can take implement in their own academic and local communities.

Suzanne E. Smith is Professor of History and Internship Director in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University. She is the author of two books, Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit (Harvard University Press, 1999) and To Serve the Living: Funeral Directors and the African American Way of Death (Harvard University Press, 2010). She is currently working on her third book tentatively titled, “The ‘Happy Am I’ Preacher: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux.”


Posted: March 16, 2018
Tagged: Conference, Previews, Teaching, Public History, AfAm, Preservation/Museums