With Eve Ferguson, Sala Patterson, and Adjoa Osei, after the presentations for “Performing Black Womanhood,” in the Hispanic Division Reading Room at the Library of Congress on March 2nd, 2019.

The Winston and Carolyn Lowe Lecture Series at the Harlem Fine Arts Show on February 1, 2014, with Harry Philbrick, the Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Nigel Freeman, Director of African American Fine Arts Department at the Swann Gallery, Blake Bradford, the  Bernard C. Watson Director of Education at the Barnes Foundation, and Souleo, contemporary art curator and journalist.

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I was one of the scholars interviewed for the landmark film Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People.

“‘Aglow in the Darkest Vistas’: Africa, Racial Fantasy, and the Modernist Self-Fashioning of F. Holland Day” presentation at the “American Art in Dialogue with Africa and its Diaspora” Symposium, Smithsonian American Art Museum, October 4, 2013.

Moderating a conversation with Artists Sonya Clark and Maren Hassinger at the University Museums, University of Delaware, September 18, 2013. The artists’ works were featured in the fall 2013 exhibition “HASSINGER & CLARK: Boxes, Combs and Constellations.”

Courtesy of the University of Delaware

“In Conversation: Acts of Resistance and Inclusion in African American Art” roundtable at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, February 21, 2013.

The “Photography and Race Session” chaired by Tanya Sheehan at the College Art Association Annual Conference, February 14, 2013. My talk was titled “Black Ops: Photography, Race and Modernist Subjectivity.”

Photography & Race Session, CAA 2013
From left to right: Tanya Sheehan (at podium), Vera Grant, Kate Flint, Camara Holloway, Gabrielle Moser, and Carol Payne

With the University of Delaware contingent at the second AHAA symposium in Boston, Massachusetts, October 2012.


Norman Baynard Collection at the San Diego History Center, San Diego, January 2011

Norman Baynard (1908 – 1986) operated a commercial studio in Logan Heights for over 40 years where he documented the social, political and religious life of San Diego’s African-American community.

I was invited to help assess the collection by the SDHC and appear in this video broadcast by NBC San Diego about the collection. From SDHC’s press release:

Leading history and photography scholars looked over examples from the center’s collection Thursday. A standing-room-only crowd piled in to the center Thursday night to hear observations from Deborah Willis, a New York University professor and one of the nation’s leading historians of African-American photography, according to the center. Joining Willis was Camara Holloway, an associate professor of 19th and early 20th century photography at the University of Delaware.

While some big American cities have well-documented photographic collections of their black communities’ histories, the collection is a rare find on the West Coast, the scholars said. Because Baynard was a commercial photographer, he wasn’t necessarily trying to tell the same kind of story that a social documentarian or a hobbyist photographer would. Someone paid Baynard to take the photographs in the collection. But they capture important elements of the daily life in the black community in Logan Heights during that time.

Such highlights include the number of cars featured in the photographs, Holloway remarked as she flipped through a photo album Thursday afternoon. Much is commonly known about the first Great Migration from the southern United States as black Americans moved to try to escape racism and find better jobs.

But a second migration — around this exact time when Baynard was photographing — brought a large number of black people to California, Holloway said. The automobile was a strong part of that migration, and a point of pride: it represented stability, mobility and a suburban, settled life.

With my fellows’ cohort at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in Washington, DC, in 2011.

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