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Texas HBCU Conference Series

Texas HBCU Conference Series


Texas HBCU Conference YEAR TWO at Huston-Tillotson University, March 31-April 1 (Friday-Saturday), 2023

Democracy Schools, Civic Capacity Building, and the HBCU 



The Conference begins Friday at 9:00 AM (registrations starts at 8 AM, breakfast provided).  Individuals are urged to arrive on Thursday, March 30, accessing the conference hotel room rate for Thursday and Friday (two nights).  See updated “Hotel Information” link on the left-hand side of the Webpage.  


Three categories of registration for the Conference are available (student, community partner, faculty/admin). Also, families of students are eligible for special conference registration rate! Contact Alexandra Castillo (via email at mail) or America Macias (via email at for consideration for family conference rate.


Free parking in University lot on Chalmers Avenue is available.  Free parking is also available in the surrounding residential area near Chalmers Avenue.


Generous Sponsors

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Conference Description

America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (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 (or civic muscle) is how many Americans thought about the challenges of democracy. Civic capacity rooted in community institutions 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.

We seek to raise anew questions about 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. We are thinking in practical terms about the enormity of American democracy. What are the requisite supports in institutions and the political economy? The democratic person is not an individual, but political culture. What does the political culture look like and how do we get there? No institution in American life is better positioned to explore the subject matter than the HBCU.

The conference is the second annual conference of Texas’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The accomplishments of the year one conference were many (to learn more about the accomplishments and the history of the year one conference, see “Conference Links” on the left-hand side of the page, then click “Conference History in Student Leadership, Accomplishments”). We started something special a year ago. Now we want to keep building.


A Conference Series

Democracy Schools, Civic Capacity Building, and the HCBU is the focus of the year two conference. More than a theme for just one conference, however, 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.


A New Peer Review Academic Journal

For scholars who submit their work to the conference, a chance to publish in the new peer review academic journal with University of Texas Press, Freedom Schools: 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 democracy as a politics/culture, a society, as well as a government requires leaders to think seriously about civic capacity building across the social life of a people and the role of institutions, including colleges, universities, and schools.


Check back again soon for more updates.