The Department of History, Geography, and Philosophy at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette announces Representing Enslavement: Louisiana’s Past in the Present a conference on Friday, March 15, 2019, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at the Clifton Chenier Center Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public. Speakers include Freddi Williams Evans, Dread Scott, Dr. Ibrahima Seck, Leon Waters, Robin McDowell, Dr. Phebe Hayes, Dr. Jonathan Earle, and Daphne Thomas. The conference is preceded by a keynote lecture on Thursday, March 14, at 6:00 pm in H.L. Griffin Hall, Rm 147 at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Dr. LaKisha Simmons of the University of Michigan will deliver the keynote lecture, “Black Women’s Memories: Monuments, History, and the Louisiana Sugar Plantations of Beyoncé's ‘Lemonade.’” Finally, Dr. Seck will lead a tour of Whitney Plantation Museum for conference participants on Saturday, March 16 at 10:30 am. Free registration is required for the conference and tour, but not the keynote.

Representing Enslavement is an evening keynote and one-day conference designed to bring together experts and practitioners in the public history of enslavement in Louisiana. Too often the deep history of enslavement in this region is twisted or erased in service of comfort, tourist dollars, or white supremacy. The conference seeks to foreground the perspective of artists, museum professionals, academic historians, public historians, and organizers in order to make present this history in Lafayette and Acadiana. “We hope this event can be a first step to making lasting changes in the way the history of enslavement is represented across Louisiana,” said conference organizer Dr. Ian Beamish. “This is a major part of our region’s history and it is too often ignored, softened, or sidelined.”

The conference and tour are sponsored by the Jamie and Thelma Guilbeau Charitable Trust, the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the College of Liberal Arts at UL, the Cheryl Courrege Burguieres Professorship. The Dr. James Wilson/BORSF Eminent Scholar Endowed Professorship in Southern Studies, the Haynie Family Foundation, the Center for Louisiana Studies, and the Guilbeau Center for Public History. The keynote is the annual Department of History, Geography, and Philosophy endowed Guilbeau Lecture.

For more information about this event and to register please visit our website,, call 337.482.6900, or email

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