NASA in the 'Long' Civil Rights Movement Conference - Call for Proposals

Brian Odom's picture
Call for Papers
August 31, 2016
Alabama, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, Labor History / Studies, Oral History, Public History, Women's & Gender History / Studies
Call for Papers: NASA in the “Long” Civil Rights Movement Symposium – United States Space and Rocket Center - Huntsville, Alabama – March 16-17, 2017
Call for Papers

NASA in the “Long” Civil Rights Movement Symposium – United States Space and Rocket Center – March 16-17, 2017

The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center History Office and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) History Department invite academics, graduate students, and independent scholars to submit proposals for papers to be presented at a two-day symposium, March 16-17, 2017, at the United States Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The purpose of the symposium is to address the role/relationship of NASA to the ‘Long’ Civil Rights Movement, particularly, but not limited to, the Deep South (Huntsville, Florida, Houston, Mississippi, and New Orleans). The conceptual framework for the symposium is provided by Jacquelyn Dowd Hall’s 2005 essay in the Journal of American History, “The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past,” which called upon historians to produce new “modes of writing and speaking that emphasize individual agency…while also dramatizing the hidden history of politics and institutions.” Along these lines, the conference welcomes papers addressing the Civil Rights experience across NASA that not only explore the experience of African Americans, but also of women, immigrants, and other politically/legally marginalized groups. The intention is to publish a subset of the papers as an anthology.

Possible topics for papers include, but are not limited to:

  • Experience of African Americans, women, and minorities at NASA Centers
  • Development/experience of NASA Centers during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Role of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) at NASA Centers
  • Biographies of minorities associated with the US Space Program
  • Impact of Southern politics on NASA’s development
  • Math and science education in the segregated South
  • Role/involvement of historically black colleges and universities
  • Integration of immigrant communities (including German, Hispanic, etc.) into workforce
  • Gender and sexual identities in the NASA workplace
  • Issues of class and labor at NASA in the period
  • NASA/Contractor workplace and communities as racialized space
  • Impact of federal involvement in surrounding communities
  • Civil Rights activism in NASA communities
  • Impact of the Cold War on NASA/Civil Rights
  • Experience of international aerospace communities in the movement

Submission Procedures:
If you wish to present a paper, please send an abstract of no more than 400 words and a short biography or curriculum vita, including affiliation by August 31, 2016 to Brian Odom at or Dr. Stephen Waring at
Decisions about acceptance will be made by November 1, 2016.

For more information contact Brian Odom at

Contact Info: 

Brian C. Odom


NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Huntsville, AL 35812

256-544-5670 (office)

256-924-6553 (cell)

Contact Email: