The conference "Ever Closer to Freedom: The Work and Legacies of Stephanie M. H. Camp" was held at the University of Washington on May 7th and 8th. Professor Camp was a beloved member of the history faculty, as well as a widely-admired and influential historian of African American slavery, the American South, women and gender. She passed away in 2014.
In 2002, Camp organized a conference entitled "New Studies in American Slavery." A watershed event, that conference sparked tremendous energy in the study of slavery, gender and black history. Among its results was an edited volume, New Studies in the History of American Slavery, edited jointly by Camp and Ed Baptist of Cornell University. Together, the conference and book inspired a generation of researchers in these fields to embrace new ideas, interpretations and methods.
The 2015 conference sought to build on this legacy. The emotional and intellectual energy at the various panels and talks was palpable, creating many memorable moments. A particular highlight was the keynote lecture by UCLA Professor Robin Kelly. In his talk, Kelly underscored the many ways that Camp had advanced the study of slavery in America, while also emphasizing the great relevance of Camp's work to the events which have shaken America's cities in the last year. And, like the 2002 conference, this event is also expected to lead to the publication of an edited volume.
The conference served to advance the fields of study that had inspired Stephanie Camp, but it also allowed those who knew her an opportunity to reflect on her passionate spirit, eloquent scholarship, and warm affection. In this, participants were aided by a pair of special guests, her parents Don and Marie Camp, who attended from Philadelphia.
Slideshow of pictures taken at the conference
"Ever Closer to Freedom" was organized by the UW History Department and Ed Baptist of Cornell University, along with Barbara Krauthamer of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It was supported by a number of other endowed funds, centers and departments at the university. The organizers wish to thank all those who helped make the event a success, including the many participants that traveled to attend from across the US.