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SCHEDULE & SESSIONS

2024 Theme: “City eScape: Freedom Communities in Urban Settings” 

 

This year's Aya Symposium will focus on the unique histories, cultures, and characteristics of Texas freedom colonies in and near urban centers – especially Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. The day will feature stories of emancipated Texans’ migration to these metro areas, (as well as smaller cities (like Beaumont, Waco, Corpus Christi, Abilene, etc.), and celebrate the countless “Black Wall Streets” they built upon their arrival. 

 

In addition to sharing celebratory stories of urban freedom colonies’ pasts, 2024 Symposium presenters will discuss the challenges these communities in Texas and the U.S. currently face. These include gentrification, which leads to accelerated property loss, the scourge of past government zoning, freeways that have split communities in half, planning and eminent domain decisions, and how/why these communities tend to be located in or near flood prone areas, industrial sites and/or dumps. 

 

The symposium will be designed to highlight these issues and the work of those offering solutions and strategies for addressing them as residents and descendants strive to maintain each community’s distinctive history, culture and contribution to the story of Texas and the United States. 

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