“Black Women in the Academy: Defending Our Name, 1894-1994,” was a national conference convened to address historical and contemporary issues faced by African-American women in academia. The conference, which took place January 13-15, 1994, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was attended by over 2,000 people. The MIT Program in Women’s Studies co-sponsored the program with additional sponsorship from the Ford Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Ms. Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. Logistical support was provided by the MIT History Department and Program in Science, Technology, and Society.
The conference was planned and organized by two faculty members at MIT, Robin W. Kilson, professor in history and women’s studies, and Evelynn Hammonds, MIT professor in science, technology, and society. With Florence Ladd of Radcliffe College’s Bunting Institute, they constituted the Executive Committee. The conference Advisory Committee was made up of representatives from major colleges and universities, including Charles Vest of MIT, Linda Wilson of Radcliffe College, Neil Rudenstine of Harvard University, and Diana C. Walsh of Wellesley College.
“Black Women in the Academy: Defending Our Name, 1894-1994,” offered workshops, panels, and roundtables, and featured addresses by Angela Davis, Lani Guinier, and Johnnetta Cole. Performance artist Vinie Burrows presented her one-woman show, “Sister, Sister.”
From the guide to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Black Women in the Academy: Defending Our Name, 1894-1994 conference records, 1993-1994, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Archives and Special Collections)