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Honoring Black Stories in White Institutions - NEW DATE

A Programmatic Collaboration between Black History Untold and the Penn Museum

Tuesday, April 06, 2021 |
6:00PM - 7:30PM ET

This is a virtual event.
Sofiya Ballin


Virtual Event - Penn Museum


The human story is the foundation for the Penn Museum’s collections, galleries, and exhibitions, shared in hope of fostering deeper understanding of cultures from around the globe. But where does ownership of these stories begin and end? The Museum welcomes Sofiya Ballin, award-winning journalist and founder of Black History Untold, to co-design a series exploring representation, stewardship, and what it means to balance the two.

How can cultural institutions make space for authentic Black stories beyond their collections and exhibitions? This in-depth panel conversation with Museum experts will offer perspectives regarding ownership, representation, and how to honor Black stories in white institutions.

  • Zoë Rayn Evans; Collaborative Programs Manager, Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • Ayana Flewellen; President-Elect, Society of Black Archaeologists
  • Brittany Webb; Curator of Twentieth Century Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
  • Sofiya Ballin; Founder, Black History Untold

Free to Registered Guests


About the Partner

Black History Untold, created by award-winning journalist Sofiya Ballin, is an independent identity series that explores the importance of a comprehensive Black history education through personal essays. In a 2016 revelatory interview for, Ballin explains why she created the project: "I learned the most about Black history in whispered tones while my mother braided my hair, after school when my father listened to talk radio, as my grandmother grated coconut, and at the dinner table set with shades of brown and opinion. In those moments I learned of the rise and destruction of Black Wall Street, the inhumanity of the Tuskegee Experiment, the tales of Angola’s Queen Nzinga, the triumph of Queen Nanny of the Jamaican Maroons, and the Haitian Revolution. I learned that Black history crossed continents and spanned languages, creating dialects that sang. It left traces in music, from the bachata to rock-and-roll. It birthed Moses a thousand times. And it is a history I share, where a knowing nod or smile can instantly connect me with the only other Black person in the room.” Ballin left the Inquirer to produce the series because she felt it should be Black-owned and Black-run. It's produced with a small budget and a team of people who are passionate about the work.

Center for Experimental Ethnography
Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia
Wolf Humanities Center