Thursday, Mar 3, 2022

Spring 2022 Sciame Lecture Series: Amber Wiley

A Quest for a Continuing Revolution: Black Heritage and the 1976 Bicentennial


Thursday, Mar 3, 2022

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Online - Zoom meeting

Amber Wiley Headshot

Please join us for the fourth event of our Spring Lecture Series, titled "A Quest for a Continuing Revolution: Black Heritage and the 1976 Bicentennial", featuring Amber Wiley.⁠

This lecture is part of the 2022 Spring Sciame Lecture Series, themed “Radical Black Space.”

All lectures will be presented via Zoom and held on Thursdays at 6pm NYC time. ⁠

Free and open to the public - Register below. Register here and then check your email immediately for the passcode needed to join.

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A Quest for a Continuing Revolution: Black Heritage and the 1976 Bicentennial

Wiley’s talk will focus on the research she is currently conducting as an Mellon Urban Landscape Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, as well as the National Historic Landmark nomination update she completed for the Carter G. Woodson National Historic Site. She examines the legacy and impact of the Afro-American Bicentennial Corporation (ABC), illustrating how the ABC set the precedent for a more nuanced understanding of the American past by expanding the National Park Service’s inclusion of Black historic landmarks twentyfold, including the Woodson site. The organization’s mission was to increase participation of African Americans in the 1976 Bicentennial and to direct projects that highlighted Black history, but most importantly to be a “‘vehicle’ for improving the lives of Black Americans.” ⁠ The group worked to “continue the revolution” through the “process of decolonization, a movement toward self-realization and self-government by people determined not to be kept in a subject status.” Wiley’s research will tell the story of the broadening of historic preservation field in the Bicentennial area, and document the history and condition of the landmarks nominated by ABC. Preservation was a tactic for curating a cultural heritage that hitherto was rendered invisible, but the aims of ABC were also a part of the larger freedom struggle for Black Americans. Her work will connect this important past with the continuing effort to identify, contextualize, and save Black landmarks within current preservation practice.

Suggested Reading: Carter G. Woodson NHL Nomination Update


Amber N. Wiley

Amber N. Wiley is an assistant professor of art history at Rutgers University. Her research interests center on the social aspects of design and how it affects urban communities—architecture as a literal and figural structure of power. She focuses on the ways local and national bodies have made the claim for the dominating narrative and collective memory of cities and examines how preservation and public history contribute to the creation and maintenance of the identity and sense of place of a city. Her publications cover African American cultural heritage, urbanism in New Orleans, school design, urban renewal, and preservation. She has served on the National Heritage Sites Research Committee of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the National Historic Landmarks Committee of the National Park System Advisory Board, and on the boards of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, Latrobe Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, and the Yale Black Alumni Association.


Series Theme -- Radical Black Space

The Spring 2022 Sciame Lecture series, themed Radical Black Space, brings together architects, preservationists, planners, artists, and historians of color at a precipitous moment. The Movement for Black Lives demands that Americans from all walks of life confront racism and its sordid impact on constructed environments, and understand the rich, vital tradition of Black resistance, innovation, and creativity. Speakers will touch on many questions: How do the places and things made by African Americans disrupt the racial status quo in the United States? How is difference celebrated? How is equity imagined and achieved? What constitutes anti-racist spatial practice? Radical Black Space shows that the Black radical tradition is alive in art and architecture, and that having a handle on Black history is essential to understanding the present and shaping the future. Join us to find revolution in the everyday and to recognize the extraordinary places and objects that Black Americans make and the stories they tell about themselves. Radical Black Space is convened by Marta Gutman and Jerome Haferd.

Sciame Lecture Series with additional funding provided by the Bernard & Anne Spitzer School of Architecture Fund.

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