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Reading the Oral Archive As

An Act of Recovery (ROAAR)

Revisiting the Institute for the Arts and Humanities Writers’ Conferences at Howard University 

The Institute for the Arts and Humanities

at Howard University

"Black Americans and this university must value excellence and quality more than we have even in the past. In our determination to celebrate and affirm the Black presence as an integral, legitimate and unavoidable expression of the American presence in the world, we must be equally determined to make being Black synonymous with being excellent, to endow that which is Black with an unmatched quality, and to express a dedication and a devotion that will be the envy of all men everywhere. The Institute for the Arts and the Humanities is one more example of our collective determination at Howard to use our existing resources and to harness additional resources in our effort to make a major contribution to world civilization.”

—Dr. James Cheek on the establishment of the Institute for Arts and Humanities

1974 Conference Keynote Speaker Ossie Davis

1976 Publishers and Editors panel with Toni Morrison 

1977 Conference Keynote Speaker Toni Cade Bambara

1978 Folkbase panel moderator Sterling Stuckey

1983 Conference Participants Daryl Dance and Joyce Joyce 

The Writers' Conferences 1974 - 83

Between the years of 1974 and 1983, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities held five writers conferences. Each conference featured a keynote speaker, at least four panels, readings by authors, and an open forum at the close of the conference to discuss the future of black writing. 

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