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Philosophy Born of Struggle Conference records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 194

Scope and Contents

These records document the Philosophy Born of Struggle Conference, an annual conference relating to the African American philosophy movement. Conference programs, abstracts, speakers, lectures, interviews, and publicity are included along with administrative information and historical perspectives regarding the Conference. Materials for the Struggle and Liberation Today/Lucha y Liberación Hoy virtual confernece sponsondered by the Philosophy Born of Struggle Conference and held in 2021 are also included.


  • 1989 - 2022


Access Information

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Material copyrights held by Purdue University and original creators. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Historical Information

The impetus for the Philosophy Born of Struggle (PBoS) conference began on February 17, 1974 when students and faculty at Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York, gathered for a philosophy discussion entitled "The Search for Alternatives: African American Perspectives on the Human Situation" for the purpose of bringing awareness of the African American experience to the campus. While Roy D. Morrison III, professor of Black Philosophy of Culture and Scientific Method at Wesley Theological Seminary, and Frank Kirkland, professor at Hunter College, were both asked to speak, only Kirkland was able to attend. The discussion still garnered great interest on campus, resulting in the creation of a full-day conference to be held on October 21 of the same year, at the same campus.

The conference was named "Philosophy Born of Struggle," after a text authored by Leonard Harris, and featured a keynote address by the late Shanara Gilbert, professor of law at Queens College CUNY, entitled "Owning the Self in a Disowned World." From its beginning, the purpose of Philosophy Born of Struggle has been to "bring together philosophers who share an interest in the philosophy of the Black experience and in the public philosophy concerning issues of racial justice and human liberation." PBoS has become the gathering place for many pioneers in Africana philosophy including Leonard Harris, Lucius Outlaw, Howard McGary, John McClendon III, and the late William R. Jones. Over the years, the conference has attempted to address the "continual struggle of African people" by highlighting relevant topics as evidenced by the following conference themes: Legitimation Crisis in American Philosophy; Harlem Renaissance and the Black Enlightenment; Black Enlightenment and the Future of the Race; Family and the Intellectual Life; Civil Liberties in the New Millennium; Slavery and Reparations; Race Reparations and Restoration; Race and the United States Constitution; Rethinking the Intellectual Life; Black Aesthetics and the Politics of Recognition; Philosophy and Liberation; Philosophy and the Scientific Spirit; Africa in the Dialects of Histoy; Philosophy of African American Studies; Race, Religion, and Social Transformation; Struggle in the House of Life: Equality, Education, and Economic Empowerment; Economic Crisis, Education and the Role of Philosophy for the African American Public; Race, Class, Gender, and State Violence; Advocacy: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Epistemology of Being; Racism, Empire, and Sexual Violence.


1.058 Cubic Feet (Four shoe boxes and one letter-size full-width manuscript box)

627.80 Gigabytes

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


The records are organized chronologically into three series.
  1. Conference Recordings
  2. Conference Brochures, Flyers, and Documents
  3. Administrative Information

Technical Access Information

Conference recordings have been digitized and are available online or upon request.

Custodial History

The collection was originally deposited in the Black Cultural Center Library by Dr. Leonard Harris.

Acquisition Information

Collection materials were transferred by Purdue University Black Cultural Center on November 13, 2012, September 20, 2013, and March 6, 2019. Materials were transferred by Dr. Leanord Harris on March 5, 2020, March 11, 2021, and October 26, 2022.


Duplicate materials and items containing personally identifiable information were not selected for inclusion in the collection. In accordance with the transfer agreement these items were returned.


New materials are added to the collection on an annual or semi-annual basis.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of materials are available for research use. See our digital collections database e-Archives: Philosophy Born of Struggle Conference records

Processing Information

Collection materials are organized chronologically. All printed materials are housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes. Recordings on physical media have been imaged to create digital preservation files and access files were generated from the digital preservation copies.

Additional conference recordings and programs were added to the collection in November 2015. In July 2019 additional recordings and programs were added to the collection, and a new series for Administrative Information was created.

Additional confernece recordings for the 2019 Philosophy Born of Struggle Conference and the 2021 "Struggle and Liberation Today/Lucha y Liberación Hoy" were added in September 2021.

Materials for the 2022 Philosophy Born of Struggle Conference "Exits from Absence" were added in December 2023.
Philosophy Born of Struggle Conference records
Jamillah R. Gabriel, Michelle Jones, and Neal Harmeyer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Fifth edition. Collection description was first completed 2014-09-10.

Revision Statements

  • 2016-03: Revisions made by Michelle Jones.
  • 2019-08-02: Collection description updated to meet new standards; addition 2 information added to collection description, by Neal Harmeyer.
  • 2021-09-22: Updated description, dates, extents, and notes to reflect inclusion of additions 3 and 4, by Neal Harmeyer
  • 2022-12-22: Updated description, dates, extents, and notes to reflect inclusion of addition 5, by Neal Harmeyer

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States