The Universities Studying Slavery 2019 Fall Symposium The Universities Studying Slavery (USS) 2019 Fall Symposium on October 9-12, co-hosted by Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati, was executed with memorable distinction. The conference co-chairs - Dr. Kyra Shahid, Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Xavier University, and Dr. Holly McGee, associate professor of history at the University of Cincinnati - have received numerous accolades and affirmations of success, both orally and in writing. Participants’ stories convey the deep impact of their experiences, and they used words such as “seen,” “valued,” “hopeful,” “enlightened” and “empowered” to describe their feelings. Their comments also left little doubt that Xavier is viewed as an institution committed to engaging honestly with its historical connection to slavery.
The symposium took place on both campuses and in other Cincinnati locations and drew a multi-generational audience of more than 700 people – faculty, staff, students, community members and others – from as far away as England and Senegal, Africa. Attendees arrived throughout each day, and many participated “a la carte,” rather than being present for all sessions, which contributed to more intimate settings, dialogue and ongoing networking. One notable highlight was the intentional inclusion of a wide range of voices at the symposium.
Session contributors included local high school students, undergraduate students, community leaders and direct descendants of Georgetown’s enslaved Africans, as well as faculty from various institutions across the country who are engaged in scholarship and praxis related to racial reconciliation, repair and healing.