This year’s inaugural Mario A.J. Bennekin Black History Symposium explores the roots and reach of the Harlem Renaissance, from Harlem to Atlanta to Miami and beyond, from 1918 to 1930. The symposium examines the birth, expansion and impact of the renaissance as a rich cultural expression rooted in the Black cultural mecca of New York City in the early 20th century. It highlights the reach of this historical time through topics ranging from the Great Migration to the Cotton Club.
Dr. Herman “Skip” Mason Jr., author, historian and pastor, is a native of Atlanta. He matriculated and graduated from Morris Brown College and continued his education at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) and earned a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science with a concentration in African American Studies and Archives/Museum Management. He is also a graduate of the Phillips School of Theology of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta where he obtained the Master of Divinity and the Doctor of Ministry degrees, respectively.
Dr. Mason, a seasoned educator for more than 25 years, has served as professor of history, college archivist, director and dean of students and Vice President of Student Services at both Morris Brown College and Morehouse College in Atlanta. Currently, he is the Director of Library Service and Assistant Professor of African-American History and Religion at Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C.
Dr. Mason has curated major exhibitions and is the author of numerous books on the history of African Americans’ experience in Atlanta, Georgia and the South and has published more than 10 books, including Going Against The Wind: A History of Black Atlanta; Black Atlanta in the Roaring Twenties, Black Entertainment in Atlanta, African American Life in DeKalb County, Politics, Law and Civil Rights in Atlanta; Black American Series: East Point, Georgia and In Their Own Words: 150 Years of Wisdom from the Bishops of the CME Church (to be released in 2021). He is also the creator of the Vanishing Black Atlanta Facebook Page, with over 43,000 members, and the Vanishing Black Atlanta Book Club.
Dr. Mason served on the National Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. which led to the completion and dedication of the monument on the Mall in Washington, D.C in 2011. He is a member of numerous fraternal, social and civic organizations and was the 33rd General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
An avid genealogist, Dr. Mason enjoys reading, local and international traveling, collecting Black memorabilia and photographs and listening to music. He is the father of two wonderful teenaged children, Jewel and Jodari. He gives thanks to God for his journey.
Dr. Crystal Garrett
History, Political Science & African-American Studies
3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. KEYNOTE PRESENTATION
Remarks Wendy Hensel, J. D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Georgia State University
Dr. Nancy Kropf
Musical Tribute Dr. Valerie Matthews
Featured Speaker Dr. Herman “Skip” Mason Jr.: “Atlanta’s Black Bottom: The Cultural,
Educational, Spiritual and Business History of African Americans in Atlanta in the ‘Roaring Twenties’ and the Era of the Harlem Renaissance!”
Call for submissions: Perimeter College Dean Dr. Nancy Kropf announces an invitation for Perimeter faculty and students to submit scholarly works related to the 2021 Bennekin Symposium theme. The deadline is May 31.