Texas HBCUs conference and call for papers

Conference and call for papers: Democracy Schools, Civic Capacity Building, and the HBCU

Texas HBCU Conference Call for Papers

Huston-Tillotson University has announced the second annual conference of Texas’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Texas HBCUs)! The dates for the conference are Friday-Saturday, March 31-April 1, 2023. The year two conference builds on the success of the inaugural conference a year ago (read more about the accomplishments and the history of Texas Historically Black Colleges and Universities Conference here). The University of Texas Press journals program is happy to share submission information for the conference, and we are excited to announce a new journal coming in 2023 in collaboration with Huston-Tillotson University—Freedom Schools: A Journal of Democracy and Community.

Note for scholars who submit their work for the conference, a chance to publish in the new peer review academic journal with University of Texas Press, Freedom Schools: A Journal of Democracy and Community, is an opportunity we are excited to offer.  Freedom Schools is a major outcome of the year one conference – the journal was developed from the collaboration of conference participants and stakeholders.  Freedom Schools elevates the distinctive voices of the HBCU in Texas and more broadly as well as scholars and scholar-practitioners from across the disciplines who recognize that democracy as a politics/culture, a society, and a government requires leaders who think seriously about civic capacity building across the social life of a people and the role of institutions, including colleges, universities, and schools.

Democracy schools, civic capacity building, and the HBCU is the focus of the 2023 conference.  Democracy schools the idea draws attention to the challenges of a democratic society rooted in civic capacity and community institutions. The formation of a democratic people, or strong meaningful citizenship, is how the idea can be summed up. Only we are not moralizing.  Instead, we are thinking in practical terms about the enormity of American democracy, the institutional supports needed to cultivate and support strong meaningful citizenship broadly across the spectrum. The democratic person is not an individual, but a political culture. 

No institution in American life is better positioned to explore the subject matter than the HBCU. HBCUs were born at a time during Reconstruction largely after the Civil War and the end of slavery when civic capacity rooted in community institutions is how many Americans thought about the challenges of democracy. Civic capacity is the model for higher education practice that the HBCU represents. 

Today again community institutions are being called upon to play such a role. Only models and practices have largely been forgotten. Through the conference we will raise anew questions about the challenges of a democratic society rooted in civic capacity and community institutions. We will draw insight from the model of higher education practice the HBCU represents.

A Conference Series

More than a theme for one conference, democracy schools provides a framework for an ongoing conference series designed to explore civic capacity building and community institutions over time. A yearly conference series that speaks to the moment of democratic peril that Americans find themselves in today is how we are thinking about the Texas HBCU Conference Series. In subsequent years (years three, four, and beyond) we will use the framework, democracy schools, to develop conference themes that explore support for strong meaningful citizenship in all areas of social life that contribute to development of a democratic people—in sports, the media, the arts, science, the economy, public policy, etc. HBCUs make vital contributions in all of these areas.

Participants at the year two conference will explore the idea of democracy schools over the conference’s two days—through panels, workshops, speakers, events, and more. We are inviting our state lawmakers at the Texas Capital to be part of the conference as well to continue the conversation we started (year one) about the need to adequately fund Texas HBCUs both public and private in manner commensurate with the role the Texas HBCU plays in building a shared Texas future. The role of the Texas HBCUs as civically engaged institutions was the theme for the year one conference. 


Submissions from scholars and scholar-practitioners whose work incorporates purposes and themes that speak to the formation of a democratic people are welcome. We are thinking about democracy as a politics/culture, a society, as well as a government, to make room for contributions from a variety of fields (literature, science, humanities and the arts, the media, and more). We invite submissions for conference panels, presenters, and discussants. We encourage submissions that include the active participation of students. 

Questions about the conference may be emailed to HBCU Conference Planning, Dr. Robert M. Ceresa rmceresa@htu.edu and Dr. Ronald E. Goodwin regoodwin@htu.edu. We look forward to working with you.

Texas HBCU Conference Year Two at Huston-Tillotson University

Democracy Schools, Civic Capacity Building, and the HBCU

Conference Overview

Submissions from scholars and scholar-practitioners whose work incorporates purposes and themes of development and formation of democracy as a culture and a society, as well as a government are welcome. We encourage submissions that incorporate the deep participation of students.

Primary Presenter/Contact Information

Include the following information for the primary presenter/contact.

  • Presentation Title
  • Primary Presenter
  • First
  • Last
  • Presenter’s Position
  • Presenter’s Home Institution
  • Presenter’s Email
  • Co-presenter(s)

Presentation Information

Indicate the following in your proposal.

  • Special requirements for delivery of your presentation:  Such as computer lab giving all attendees access to a computer for example. 
  • The desired format for your presentation (see below)

Individual Presentations

Individual presentation, which may be grouped by conference coordinators with presentation on the same or a similar topic.

Format: Each presenter will have 15 minutes. The moderator will then lead a 15-minute question and answer discussion on all three presentations.


Interactive, hands-on workshop and discussion.

Format: One or more presenters will have one hour to lead interactive workshop.

Panel Sessions

A single focused presentation on a given topic by a group of 2-5 individuals; alternately, several presentations under a cohesive theme by a group of 2-5.

Format: The panel presents for 45 minutes. The moderator will then lead a 15-minute question and answer discussion of all three presentations. Alternately, panelists may choose to answer questions throughout the session.


An open-dialogue roundtable discussion of a given topic.

Format: A presenter or a team of presenters will lead this 60-minute open dialogue.

Poster Session

Presenters are available to answer questions pertaining to their display during the designated Poster Session time slot TBD. 

Format: Posters available will be on view on starting first day of the conference.


Provide a brief abstract (max. 500 words) that clearly describes of the major conclusions of the research including how the presenter came to the conclusions. The abstract also should demonstrate the presentation’s relationship to the theme of the conference.