SUNY Oneonta News

February 1, 2010



ONEONTA, N.Y. -- SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Gretchen S. Sorin, Professor of Museum Studies and Director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program, will present “‘Keep Going’: African Americans on the Road in the Era of Jim Crow’’ as the first event in the 2009 2010 Ralph R. Watkins Africana Studies Lecture Series at the SUNY College at Oneonta on Wednesday, February 3, at 6 p.m. in the Center for Multicultural Experiences in Lee Hall. Admission to all events in the series is complimentary, and members of the community are invited to attend.

In her presentation, Dr. Sorin will discuss how African Americans avoided segregation on public transportation under the Jim Crow laws by using their automobiles for interstate travel.

Professor Sorin has been active in the museum field for 35 years, having served as Director of the SUNY Oneonta Cooperstown Graduate Program for the past 14 years. She has been a consultant to more than 200 museums and historical organizations as a scholar, exhibit curator, and education and interpretive program planner and developer. She was named the 2009 recipient of the Katherine Coffey Award, the top honor presented by the Mid Atlantic Association of Museums.

The Ralph R. Watkins Africana Studies Lecture Series is being presented in honor of the late Professor Emeritus Ralph Watkins of the SUNY Oneonta History and Africana and Latino Studies Departments. A specialist in African-American and American history, Professor Watkins taught at the College for over 30 years and served as Chair of the Africana and Latino Studies Department for more than a decade.

Upcoming events scheduled in the series at the Center for Multicultural Experiences include the following:

  • Wednesday, March 17, at 6 p.m.: “La Blanche Negresse: Ourika and the Re assimilation of Colonial Elites in Post Haitian Revolutionary France” by Robin Mitchell of the SUNY Oneonta Women’s and Gender Studies Department, who is a dissertation fellow in Women’s and Gender Studies and a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of California, Berkeley; and

  • Wednesday, April 21, 2010 @ 6 p.m.: “Linguistic Connections Between Africa and the Caribbean: The Case of Guadeloupe” by Dr. Ama Mazama, Associate Professor of African American Studies at Temple University.

Presented by the SUNY Oneonta Departments of Africana and Latino Studies and History, the Ralph R. Watkins Africana Studies Lecture Series is sponsored by an Inclusion Diversity Equity Action (IDEA) Grant from the College. More information about the series is available from Dr. Ibram H. Rogers, Assistant Professor of African American History, at (607) 436-3253 or by e-mail to



For more information about the College, please call the Community Relations Office at (607) 436-2748 or send e-mail to Hal Legg, Director of Communications.

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