Teaching Black History Conference

Black to the Future: Afro-Futurism as Black History.

Each year, the Teaching Black History conference, our signature event, convenes hundreds of teachers to learn the best curricular and instructional practices surrounding Black history education. We host expert speakers and entertainment, but the stars of the conference are our teachers. Each conference session is led by a classroom teacher who shares their Black history strategies. The sessions are interactive, so participants will have hands-on experiences to bring to their classrooms. We welcome community educators, parents, school-aged students, librarians, museum curators and anyone who loves to learn about Black history. Attendees are eligible for 24 professional development credits.

Information is being added daily. Please check back frequently to keep up with the most current developments.

2024 Conference Theme

In 2024, the conference theme is Black to the Future: Afro-futurism as Black History. Join us as we reimagine the world without racism and antiblackness. Our conference work will focus on reconceptualizing the past and present through writing about the future. We will push the boundaries of learning, using our knowledge of the past as commentary for Black people’s future, not one of despair but one that reimagines what it means to be Black in a society that historically was meant for us not to survive.

Mark Your Calendars

The conference will be held over three days:
Friday, July 26-27 will be in-person. Sunday, July 28 will be held virtually.

*Note that this year we will not have asynchronous or live stream learning for our virtual attendees.

Center Director and Conference Leader

LaGarrett King.
Afro-futuristic grpahic of LaGarrett King.

LaGarrett King

LaGarrett J. King, PhD joined the University at Buffalo’s Graduate School of Education in January 2022 as an associate professor of social studies education. He was previously the Isabella Wade Lyda and Paul Lyda Professor of Education at the University of Missouri. He received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin after an eight-year teaching career in Georgia and Texas. His primary research interest examines the teaching and learning of Black history in schools and society. He also researches critical theories of race, teacher education and curriculum history.

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Call for Proposals

The 2024 Teaching Black History Conference call for proposals is now open! 

This is a great opportunity to present to hundreds of K-12 educators about the best practices for Black history education. While the theme for 2024 is Black to the Future: Afro-futurism as Black History,  your proposal can include any topic related to Black history education. 

This year, the conference will have two days dedicated to in-person learning and one day of virtual learning. This year we will not have asynchronous or live stream learning for our virtual attendees.

Below, you will find our call for proposals and a link to submit your idea.

Proposals are due by March 2, 2024.

Registration To Attend

This year, the conference theme is "Black to the Future: Afro-futurism as Black History." Afrofuturism is seen as a cultural aesthetic combining science-fiction, history, and fantasy to explore and connect the African American experience to their forgotten African ancestry. Others have noted that Afrofuturist imagines a world absent of white supremacist thought and institutional structures hindering and oppressing Black communities. Afrofuturism evaluates the past to create a better present and prepare for a future void of those problematic histories. Afro-futurism is about using science fiction that is fact based to teach about Blackness that diverges from societal understandings about Black people and their history.

Afrofuturism is typically associated with Black science fiction and includes various sub-categories, including cyberpunk (art in futuristic settings focusing on futuristic technology and scientific achievement, think Artificial Intelligence, and cyber culture), Black speculative fiction (futuristic literature focusing on race and the history of race, may also include fantasy and horror), and music such as Afropunk and funk, art, fashion, costumes, and films. Yet, it is history education that ties everything together. To reimagine a safe and free world for Black people, Afrofuturism must use history as its foundation. For many, it is commentary on where we have been. In many ways, it is about teaching us about our history that has been forgotten or ignored.

Thumbnail image of the program cover for the Teaching Black History Conference.

Conference Dates

Three Days
Friday, July 26, 2024 (in-person)
Saturday, July 27, 2024 (in-person)
Sunday, July 28, 2024 (online only)

Researchers/Teachers/Educators: $115
College Student: $50 (must upload proof of student status)

Conference Location

Diefendorf Hall
University at Buffalo
South Campus
Buffalo, NY 14214



Please note that this year we will not have asynchronous or live stream learning for our virtual attendees.


Black History & Racial Literacy Writing Retreat

This year's conference will include the opportunity to participate in a writing retreat. This two‐day session best serves researchers and scholars who are interested in writing collaborations around Black history and race research. Snacks and drinks are provided.

Price: $50/person

Dates: July 24-25, 2024

Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: University at Buffalo South Campus, Diefendorf Hall

Contact LaGarrett King at lagarret@buffalo.edu or 716-645-2455

Social Studies Curriculum Coordinators Retreat

This two-day retreat will include presentations by social studies coordinators about developing Black history and racial literate curriculum. Each day will also include collaborative planning sessions. Snacks and drinks are provided.

Price: $125/person

Dates: July 24-25, 2024

Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: University at Buffalo South Campus, Diefendorf Hall

Contact LaGarrett King at lagarret@buffalo.edu or 716-645-2455

Conference Swag

Black to the Future logo ona black tshirt.
Read. Teach. Write. Research. Learn. Love. Live. Black History.
Black hoodie with Black to the Future logo.
Read. Teach. Write. Research. Learn. Love. Live. Black History.

Keynote Speakers

Friday, July 26

Afro Future Drummer.

Buffalo’s African American Cultural Center (AACC) 
Dance and Drum Performance Company

Bavu Blakes.
Afro-futuristic graphic of Stephanie Toliver.

Stephanie Toliver, PhD
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Title of Talk

Wakanda vs. Everybody: A Layered Account of Speculative Mundanity

Saturday, July 27

Daphanie Bibbs.
Afro-futuristic graphic of Daphanie Bibbs.

Film Session 1

Moderator: Daphanie Bibbs
Graduate Research Fellow, Center for K–12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education

Title of Film

Pushed Out

Asif Wilson.
Afro-futuristic graphic of Asif Wilson.

Film Session 2

Moderator: Asif Wilson
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Title of Film

Towards Inquiry

Bobby Morgan.
Afro-futuristic graphic of Bobby Morgan.

Film Session 3

Moderator: Bobby Morgan
Liberation Lab

Title of Film

Cultural War: Focus on Black Youth

Sunday, July 28

Franklin Oliver.
Afro-futuristic graphic of Franklin Oliver.

Franklin Oliver
University High School (Indiana)

Title of Talk

Building A High School Afrofuturism Class

Presenters and Room Numbers

All room assignments are within Diefendorf Hall on UB's South Campus unless otherwise noted.


Bronze Sponsor

Wayne State University Press logo.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, African Studies Center