Fourth HBCU Symposium to Explore Transdisciplinarity and Rewriting Black Futures Beyond the Margin

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Acclaimed “The Three Mothers” Author Anna Malaika Tubbs, Ph.D., will present the Thursday keynote address: "If We Don't Tell Our Story, Who Will?"

Regina N. Bradley, Ph.D., Author of Chronicling Stankonia: the Rise of the Hip-Hop South and Assistant Professor, Kennesaw State University will present the Friday keynote address: Still Standing: Student Voices, Curation, and HBCU Legacies

New York, Sept. 17, 2021 --  The fourth Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Rhetoric & Composition Symposium, a national symposium focusing on excellence in English composition and rhetoric, will be held virtually from September 23-25, 2021. The symposium, established by Macmillan Learning in 2014, gathers English and Writing professors to historically Black colleges and universities bi-annually to discuss strategies that support student engagement and success. Macmillan Learning, a privately-held, family-owned education and publishing services company is hosting the 2021 event in partnership with Florida A&M University (FAMU). 

The theme, “Transdisciplinarity @ HBCUs: Rewriting Black Futures beyond the Margin,” will offer a nuanced look at the intersections between “the meaning we can make with all of the languages and literacies we speak and understand.”  In addition to keynote presentations and panel discussions, there will also be workshops that provide opportunities for hands-on experience. The virtual symposium is open for all faculty, and is free to attend.

“With COVID-19 continuing to exacerbate the social and racial inequities we see in the classroom, it's more important than ever we uphold this symposium’s tradition of gathering leading faculty from the Rhetoric and Composition Disciplines at HBCUs to discuss the state of education, celebrate our contributions to it, and strategize about what we can do to improve on it,” said Dr. Kendra L. Mitchell, Symposium Chair and Assistant Professor of English at FAMU.

“For nearly 200 years, HBCUs have played an essential role in providing access and support for Black students and others who have been traditionally marginalized from the opportunities afforded by obtaining a higher education. Bedford/St. Martins, an imprint of Macmillan Learning, began this partnership in 2014 with our first writing symposium in order to facilitate collaboration among HBCU scholars, and we are proud to sponsor the fourth symposium in 2021 to ensure that this important work continues,” said Leasa Burton, Vice President of Humanities for Macmillan Learning. 

This year’s symposium will feature two keynote speakers. On Thursday, Sept 23, The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation author Anna Malaika Tubbs, Ph.D., will present: "If We Don't Tell Our Story, Who Will?": A Fireside Chat. On Friday, Sept. 24, Regina N. Bradley, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University, will present: "Still Standing: Student Voices, Curation, and HBCU Legacies." 

Panels and workshops will be presented by instructors from Arizona State University, Bethune Cookman University, Bowie State University, Dallas College, Florida A&M University, Florida State University, Howard University, Kennesaw State University, Langston University, Morehouse College, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, Oakland University, Stanford University, Texas Southern University, Tougaloo College, University of Maryland, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Tech.

Sessions include:

  • Kickoff and Welcome with Dr. Kendra Mitchell, Symposium Chair
  • Through Voice and Pen: Transdisciplinary and Social Justice in HBCU Speech Education, A Workshop
  • Developing Foundational Approaches to Teaching Writing Using Black Voice
  • Writing Across the Curriculum at HBCUs
  • Engaging Non-English Faculty in the Work of the Writing Center, A Workshop
  • HBCU/PWI Partnerships to Increase African American Scholars(hip), A Roundtable Discussion
  • Transdisciplinary Strategies for Promoting Cognitive Shifts in Student Writing
  • Framing Writing Instruction through a Black Worldview in Writing Courses at HBCUs
  • Using Multimodal Texts to Teach Rhetorical Analysis
  • Rewriting the Learning Relationship in the Writing Classroom
  • Black to the Future: An Analysis of Past and Future Black Voices
  • Transdisciplinarity Beyond the Classroom
  • Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Modern Black Writing
  • Transdisciplinarity and Social Justice in the Writing Classroom
  • Roundtable Discussion with Past Chairs of the HBCU Rhetoric & Composition Symposium, representing North Carolina A&T State University, Howard University, and Morehouse College
  • Publication Roundtable with Editors from College Language Association Journal, Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics, and CaKe, FAMU’s Literary Journal
  • Workshop: Getting Your Article Published

To learn more about or register for the symposium, click here. Select sessions will be available on the Macmillan Community following the event. Media interested in attending should email

*Speakers and sessions are as of September 15, 2021, and are subject to change.

About Macmillan Learning
Macmillan Learning is a privately-held, family-owned company that improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that are highly effective and drive improved outcomes. To learn more, please visit or join our Macmillan Community.


About FAMU

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, founded on October 3, 1887, began classes with 15 students and two instructors. Today, FAMU is one of 12 institutions in Florida's State University System and has nearly 10,000 students. 

FAMU offers 54 bachelor’s degrees, 29 master’s degrees, 12 doctoral degrees and three professional degrees.  The three professional degrees include the J.D., Pharm.D., and the Doctor of Physical Therapy. The 12 doctoral degree programs include 11 doctoral degrees and one Doctor of Public Health. The 11 doctoral programs are: biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, pharmaceutical sciences, physics, educational leadership, environmental science and entomology. For more information, visit