Black Media: Reflecting on the Past and Reimagining the Future


Friday, October 28, 2022
Howard Thurman Center

8:00-9:00 a.m.

Registration, light breakfast, and optional speed networking.

9:00-9:15 a.m.


Symposium organizers Dorothy M. Davis, Mark Walton, Walter Middlebrook, Allison Davis and Mariette DiChristina share goals for the day.

9:15-10:15 a.m.

From The Liberator to The Emancipator: The Past, Present, and Future of Anti-Racist Journalism

Two centuries ago, William Lloyd Garrison’s publication The Liberator sought to advance racial justice through opinion, analysis, and reportage—a mission carried on presently by the creators of the online platform The Emancipator. In this panel, journalism historian Aleen Ratzlaff and The Emancipator’s editors-in-chief Deborah Douglas and Amber Payne will highlight the vital need to bring historical context to journalism; explore how journalists are reframing the conversation on racial justice, equity, objectivity, and activism; and explore the future of the anti-racist newsroom.

  • Deborah Douglas, The Emancipator
  • Amber Payne, The Emancipator
  • Aleen Ratzlaff, Tabor College
  • Chris Daly, Boston University

10:15-10:30 a.m.


10:30-11:30 a.m.

Nurturing Diverse Communicators: How to Cultivate Talent

Recent studies and surveys have confirmed what many already know: the PR, marketing, and advertising industries are predominantly white. In this session, champions of diversity, equity, and inclusion in communications industries share how they are creating sustainable pipelines to bring Black professionals to the table (and to the c-suite). They’ll discuss what gains have been made, what remains to be done, what role allies can play, and what all of us can do to create and sustain more inclusive workplaces.

  • Fanshen Cox, TruJuLo
  • Kathy Johnson, The Lawrence Advisory
  • Anthony Harrison, Boston University

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Towards a Broader Perspective on Black Storytelling

Recent Census statistics find that 1 in 10 Black people in the U.S. were born in a different country, and it is projected that this figure will more than double by 2060. While shows and stories about Black people in the U.S. have increased like never before, there continues to be a dearth of stories about Black immigrants.This session will address the importance of telling nuanced and varied stories about the full scope of the Black experience, which can be achieved by including the Black immigrant experience in film, tv, and digital storytelling.

  • Mark Walton, The New School
  • Dorothy M. Davis, Griffith J. Davis Photographs and Archives
  • Tina McDuffie, Boston University

12:30-1:45 p.m.

Lunch and optional mini-session

How to Prevent Burnout in Black Storytellers: Dr. Xenia Bhembe, M.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard University

1:45-2:45 p.m.

Utilizing Social Media and New Platforms

From Black Twitter to TikTok to new platforms now gaining attention, panelists in this session will discuss the history of slacktivism, highlight new platforms content creators should know, and share what storytellers need to know about creating quality content on social media.

  • Meredith D. Clark, Northeastern University
  • Wesley Lowery, CBS News
  • Michelle Johnson, Professor Emeritus, Boston University

2:45-3:00 p.m.


3:00-4:00 p.m.

The Innovators: Meet the Communicators Who are Reshaping the Narrative

When a seat at the table isn’t enough, some choose to construct an entirely new table. Meet three leaders across industries who created their own projects to amplify Black voices and spotlight the stories that are missing from the mainstream.

  • DeShuna Spencer, KweliTV
  • Tiffany Walden, The Triibe
  • Michael Holley, Boston University

4:00-4:45 p.m.

Fireside Chat

A conversation between Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Times Kevin Merida, former NBCUniversal executive Paula Madison and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University Ibram X. Kendi,  moderated by Boston University’s Meghan Irons.

4:45-5:00 p.m.

Closing remarks

5:00-6:00 p.m.

Reception and networking