Mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama
Mayor Johnny Ford, has spent his entire life serving others. His tenure includes being one of the first black mayors of a city of more than 10,000 people. In 1972, Ford along with seven other black men were elected mayors in the state of Alabama. Soon after taking their respective offices, the men discovered they would be unable to join the U.S. Conference of Mayors which required governance of a city with more than 30,000. As a result, Ford and his colleagues leaned on each other and out of this camaraderie was born the Alabama Conference of Mayors that subsequently grew into the National Conference and now the World Conference of Black Mayors.
National Park Service
Megan Brown, works as the Certified Local Government National Coordinator within the State, Tribal, Local Plans and Grants Division of the National Park Service in Washington, DC. She works with over 1900 communities certified as having a commitment to preservation in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Offices in all 50 states. Through partnerships and the allocation of Historic Preservation Fund grants to local communities, Megan helps local preservationists take on projects to engage and save their communities.
SAM COLLINS III
Cultural Entrepreneur and Financial Consutant
Sam Collins, is an investment and financial expert. He is also owner and operator of Stringfellow Orchards. He purchased the homestead of Confederate veteran Henry Martyn Stringfellow in 2005. The 1884 property was blighted with weeds and nearly fallen into disrepair. Sam will share his knowledge on developing a sustainable financial strategy to support preservation projects. Sam serves on boards for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Texas Historical Commission, Galveston Historical Foundation and the Ruby Bridges Foundation. Collins also helps in preservation projects for The 1867 Settlement Community in Texas City, an area settled by former slaves and cowboys.
Director, Texas Partners for Saving Places
SUZANNE YOWELL, joined Partners for Sacred Places almost a decade ago following a career in real estate investment and development. In her role as state director, she has been able to combine her passions for business and community development to help congregations leverage existing and new resources, solidify their continued relevance, and ensure their own sustainability. In addition to delivering Partners programs and support, she also manages all regional research and grant support as well as provides consultation on special initiative projects.
Public Historian and Outreach Specialist
DR. SADE TURNIPSEED, is a public historian and community outreach specialist. She is also the long-time host and producer of Delta Renaissance, the number one rated locally generated talk show in the Mississippi Delta, which airs during primetime on the NBC affiliate network. Turnipseed received a US Congressional Honor by Congressman Bennie G Thompson, for her commitment to preserving the rich history and heritage of the Mississippi Delta. In 2008, Mississippi Governor Barbour selected Turnipseed to be one of three Fellows for the Delta Regional Authority’s, Delta Leadership Institute.
Founder, Texas Freedom Colonies Project
DR. ANDREA ROBERTS, is a Community & Regional Planning and Historic Preservation researcher, writer and educator. She is a 2016-2017 Emerging Scholar Fellowship in Race and Gender in the Built Environment of the American City at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Architecture. Her research and teaching interests include community development, African American Studies, historic preservation policy, participatory action research, urban finance and development, planning history and theory, and cultural landscapes.
Founder, M&M Consulting Partners
CYNTHIA ALLEN-McGEE, is the founder and managing director of M&M Consulting Partners PLLC, an accounting and consulting firm based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has nearly 15 years of experience in accounting and consulting that include “Big 4” public accounting, and management roles in public corporations. Her firm is the largest black-owned public accounting firm in the state, and has attracted a diverse clientele ranging from Fortune 500 companies, to start-up corporations. The firm holds the highly coveted certification as a state approved governmental auditor, and proudly serves the historical black towns of the state of Oklahoma.
Founder, McDoux Preservation
STEPH McDOUGAL, is the founder of McDoux Preservation LLC. McDougal spent more than a decade in sales and marketing before opening a consulting practice in training/education and performance improvement. Since refocusing her consulting practice in 2007, she has developed a broad portfolio of work in historic preservation. She is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Texas, Society of Architectural Historians, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Texas State Historical Association, and the Historic Resources Committee of the Texas Society of Architects.
Director, Independence Heights
TANYA DEBOSE, is the Executive Director of the Independence Heights Redevelopment Council and a fourth generation descendant of the first city incorporated by African Americans in the State of Texas, Independence Heights. As director, she is responsible for coordinating and implementing the first written community plan in Independence Heights. She established the Independence Heights Legacy Project where she works with multiple partners, descendants and others to preserve the community. She serves on the board of the Houston History Alliance, City of Houston Preservation Appeals Board and Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance.
OUR CONFERENCE IS FOR EVERYONE
Mayors of Historic Towns Connected
Our conference aims to present diverse viewpoints by including workshops and sessions from various perspectives that range from preservation, housing, economics, displacement, youth, cemetery restoration and more. The conference is perfect for people seeking to learn about, engage and plan with communities of color. It considers how placemaking in marginalized communities can be successful. Seize this historic opportunity to be in the same room with the people on the ground working to make things happen. This conference is for everyone, especially you!
Didn’t Attend the 2016 Conference? Here’s What You Missed!
Hilton North-Greenspoint Houston, Texas
We met in Houston for a full day of workshop sessions focused solely on preserving communities of color! Civic leaders, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, cultural resource professionals, and allies working with communities of color gained valuable knowledge and many opportunities to network .
8:00–8:30a Welcome Keynote
What Every Church Should Know About Preservation
Suzanne C. Yowell, Partners for Sacred Places
Partners for Sacred Places is a nonprofit organization works with congregations, delivering a range of programs and support such as asset mapping, public value calculations, fundraising assistance, partnership facilitation, and building assessments. Ms. Yowell, director of the organization’s Texas office, will share information about the challenges facing historic congregations and the resources that Partners for Sacred Places has to offer.
Economic Empowerment: Creating a 21st Century Black Wall Street
Cynthia Allen-McGhee, CPA, M&M Consulting Partners
The model for economic empowerment is easily observed through the community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As one of the most successful and wealthiest black communities in the United States during the early 20th Century, it was popularly known as America’s “Black Wall Street” until the Tulsa race riot of 1921. This workshop session examines the economic empowerment principals applied in this community that can guide modern communities to be successful in the 21st century.
African American Civil Rights Movement Grants
Megan Brown, National Park Service
In 2016, the National Park Service announced its new African American Civil Rights Grant Program, which will be used to document, interpret, and preserve sites and stories related to the African American struggle to gain equal rights as citizens in the 20th century. NPS division chief Megan Brown will discuss the new grant program, which will fund a broad range of planning, development, and research projects for historic sites including survey, inventory, documentation, interpretation, education, architectural services, historic structure reports, planning, and bricks and mortar repair. Learn how your community can position itself to take advantage of funding available from the National Park Service.
Yusef Muhammad, Frequency Communication Inc.
As a well accomplished business expert, Yusef Muhammad is a direct descendant of the first black municipality in the State of Texas, Independence Heights. Yusef will share his knowledge of establishing his own business and how it relates to building sustainable economic systems in historic places.
12:00 Keynote Lunch, Brent Leggs
Historic Preservation in the Mississippi Delta
Dr. Sade Turnipseed
The Cotton Pickers of America Monument and Sharecroppers Interpretive Center documents the history of field hands, landowners, and the usually forgotten mule that worked from “kin to kain’t” (can see in the morning to can’t see at night), and their truth and reconciliation about the “Old and New South.” This Monumental project presents an opportunity to not only give dignity to those who made cotton “king,” but also to say “thank you” to those who with their sweat equity investments made cotton production the number one industry in America, for over two-hundred years.
1:45-2:30 Texas Freedom Colonies Project
Dr. Andrea Roberts, University of Texas
From 1865 to 1910, former slaves founded hundreds of Freedom Colonies or Freedmen’s Towns across Texas. Since then, a variety of factors accelerated Freedom Colony descendants’ dispersal, leaving behind intangible geographies where structures and populations associated with early African American placemaking have nearly disappeared. Annual celebrations, land stewardship, and oral traditions sustain enduring commitments to these Black settlements’ survival, even as THE physical manifestations of place dissipate.
Meet Our Young Professionals Team
Meet our YP team of talented individuals. The YP Group has come together for many different reasons; whether it was for networking, socializing, professional development or just getting involved community. Regardless of the reason, they are NOW involved in life changing work that impacts our history and the future of communities of color.
TELLING OUR STORIES
We Must Tell Our Stories to Everyone
So much of our true history has rarely been told. This conference is an opportunity to build upon our legacies by influencing proper documentation of our past, challenging current standards that are not inclusively diverse and making bold moves to be included in the current narratives so they will reflect a more diverse America for future generations.
Forty Acres and a Mule
African Americans acquired approximately fifteen million acres of land in the South in the fifty years following Emancipation. As much as any group of Americans in this nation’s history, these landowners believed that only through land ownership could real economic and political independence be achieved.
Now, we are in a new millennium, and the pattern of landownership in rural black communities have declined and the remarkable history of land acquisition blacks enjoyed 100 years ago has reversed and we are seeing extraordinary levels of land loss in both rural and urban settings.
Today, African Americans own just a little over two million acres of farmland and another 6 million across the United States.’ Despite hard-fought struggles to retain their land, many African Americans have lost land involuntarily, some have just walked away and others are selling our communities for pennies.