Distinguished scholar and human rights advocate Allida M. Black will deliver the keynote address at Sweet Briar College’s 104th commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18.
Black is the executive editor of fdr4freedoms Digital Resource, an online education and advocacy program dedicated to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of speech and freedom of worship. The program is part of the FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy. In addition, she serves as founding editor and chair of the editorial advisory board for the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, a research center at The George Washington University designed to preserve, teach and apply Eleanor Roosevelt’s writing and discussions of human rights and democratic parties. Black is also a research professor of history and international affairs at the university.
“A scholar of women’s leadership and human rights, an educator and popular lecturer, Allida Black offers an inspiring example for graduates,” said Jo Ellen Parker, president of Sweet Briar College. “I’m sure the Class of 2013 and their families will deeply appreciate her message and her presence.”
In 2010, Black served as program manager for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs’ Women’s Political Participation Team, helping women in 70 countries run for office, lead their parties and serve as advocates for fellow citizens. The year before, she conceived and organized “The Courage to Lead: An International Summit for Women’s Human Rights Leaders,” which was co-sponsored by the Department of State, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Vital Voices Global Partnership.
A prolific writer, Black has authored seven books and multiple articles on women, politics and human rights policy. In 2012, she provided the introduction for Penguin Classics’ reissued “Tomorrow Is Now” by Eleanor Roosevelt, and she currently is writing a political biography of the former first lady. Other work includes writing teachers’ guides for PBS documentaries and serving as an advisor to PBS, the History Channel, A&E and the Discovery Channel on additional projects.
Among her many philanthropic roles, Black serves as a governor of the Roosevelt Institute and its Four Freedoms Center, a member of the board of directors for the Educators Institute for Human Rights, a director of the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology and a director of the Liberian Education Trust.
Black holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory University and a doctorate in history from The George Washington University.
For more information, visit the College’s commencement website.