Carnegie Mellon University
April 07, 2011

Press Release: CMU’S CAUSE To Host Conference on “Black Power Beyond Borders"

Contact: Shilo Raube / 412-268-6094 /

PITTSBURGH—Potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s recent comments that President Obama “holds a different perspective than most Americans because he was raised in Kenya” caused an uproar. Scholars say that Huckabee’s comments underscore the ongoing importance of historic linkages between race, global affairs and American domestic politics.   
Leading thinkers from around the world will gather to share cutting-edge research in transnational African-American history at “Black Power Beyond Borders,” a conference hosted by Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) April 8-9 in Baker Hall’s Giant Eagle Auditorium.
“One of the objectives of CAUSE is to facilitate research in new areas, and that is what we aim to do at this conference by helping to internationalize black history,” said CAUSE Director Joe Trotter, the Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice. 
The goal of the conference is to expand the understanding of the black power movement geographically, chronologically and thematically and to investigate the multiple meanings of black power within and beyond the United States. Currently, historians have only begun to bring together transnational African-American history and the burgeoning scholarship on the black power movement.
“It’s important to understand that the world has long been interconnected,” said Nico Slate, assistant professor of history and conference coordinator. “Social justice movements such as the Civil Rights and Black Power movements learned from events abroad and in turn inspired other activists throughout the world.”
Slate noted, for example, that the Black Panthers often referenced revolutions in Cuba and China. In turn, organizations such as the Israeli Panthers and the Polynesian Panthers emulated the Black Panthers in countries as far apart as Israel, India and New Zealand.
Presenters at the conference include keynote speaker Barbara Ransby, professor of history and African-American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Kevin Gaines, professor of history at the University of Michigan; Yohuru Williams, associate professor of African-American history at Fairfield University; and Robbie Shilliam, senior lecturer at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.
Slate will give a talk on “The Dalit Panthers: Race, Caste, and Black Power in India,” which will explore the impact of the Black Power movement on anti-caste struggles in India.
For more information about the conference and speakers and to obtain the full schedule, visit


Pictured above are Joe Trotter (top) and Nico Slate.