"ERIC WILLIAMS: HIS SCHOLARSHIP, WORK AND IMPACT"
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in cooperation with the Eric
Williams Memorial Collection at the University of the West Indies, invites you to the
above-named conference to be held on February 15 and 16, 2002 in New York City.
We are pleased to announce that the keynote speaker will be Professor Rex Nettleford, Vice
Chancellor, University of the West Indies and, himself, a noted historian. Scholars will
also be participating from a multitude of prominent universities and colleges in the
United States, Canada and, of course, the Caribbean.
Since Eric Williams established a tradition of excellence in Caribbean History almost 60
years ago, which has secured this area of study as critical to any larger considerations
of African American scholarship, these scholars, then, as worthy exponents of that,
promise to make the event both
a stimulating social and intellectual experience.
The significance of this conference, unlike others which tended to focus almost
exclusively on Eric Williams' seminal work, Capitalism and Slavery, is that the themes
here are far-reaching, exploring hitherto unknown areas of research into his multifaceted
personality and accomplishments - as well
as his failures. And this is primarily as a result of the inauguration of the Eric
Williams Memorial Collection at the University of the West Indies by current US Secretary
of State, Colin Powell, in 1998.
There has clearly been a resurgence of interest, internationally, in Eric Williams and a
general recognition of his continuing importance, emphasized by the Collection being
recently named to UNESCO's prestigious "Memory of the World Register" - the
United Nations' attempt to preserve the world's historical and cultural heritage.
For instance, in recent public fora, both former US President Clinton and current Nobel
Laureate, Sir Vidia Naipaul, have made specific mention of Eric Williams' vision,
exhortations and encouragement of his people.
And just a few months ago, both Guyana's Stabroek News and the Jamaica Observer, in
commenting on Venezuela's alleged encroachments in the Caribbean area, have reprised
EricWilliams' words and warnings, uttered some 30 years ago, which are now coming back to
haunt - yet another validation of the motto of the Eric Williams Memorial Collection:
Proponit" - History Provides the Blueprint.
We do hope you will mark your calendar and plan to attend this important event: as a
Caribbean nation, we simply must be known for something other than Carnival. So should you
need additional information, please don't hesitate to contact me.