SUNY New Paltz will welcome Odell Winfield, the founder and executive director of the Library at the A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Center in Kingston, New York, to deliver a talk on library services for underserved communities and the experience of building and maintaining an African roots center in the Hudson Valley.
This event will take place on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 5 p.m., in Science Hall Auditorium (room 181) on the New Paltz campus. All are welcome to attend this free public event.
Winfield will discuss his experiences working in the Hudson Valley to preserve books and other learning materials focusing on the roots of African and African American history and culture.
He’ll guide attendees through the inclusive approach he took to inviting community residents to share their stories and contribute to the creation of the African Roots Center. He’ll also highlight key aspects of the Center’s mission: teaching and learning about the African roots experience, and a dynamic exchange of information, ideas and creativity.
Winfield’s talk will be given as the 15th annual Dennis O’Keefe Lecture presented by the Friends of the Sojourner Truth Library. It is cosponsored by the SUNY New Paltz Department of Black Studies, the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, and the Office of Development & Alumni Relations.
About Odell Winfield
The mission of the Library at the A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Center (named for the late SUNY New Paltz professor of Black Studies) is to “promote literacy through teaching and learning about the African roots experience, including history and culture, through a dynamic exchange of information, ideas and creativity.”
Odell Winfield has been engaged regionally in this effort for many years. Prior to his work with the Williams-Myers African Roots Center, Winfield cofounded its sister organization, the Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Library in Poughkeepsie.
“I think the community understands the need for such a center,” he said in a TMI Project Podcast episode from 2021. “Our centers are the places where the stories are kept.”
He is also the founder of the End the New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN), a collective of Hudson Valley residents working locally to end mass incarceration in the U.S.
About the Annual Dennis O’Keefe Lecture
The O’Keefe Lecture is sponsored by the Friends of the Sojourner Truth Library. Since 2007, the Friends have honored library staff member Dennis O’Keefe with an annual fall lecture, always open to the public, that celebrates Dennis’s intellectual curiosity, range of interests, and public spirit.
Questions and requests for accommodations can be directed to Thomas Olsen, chair of the Friends of the Sojourner Truth Library steering committee, at email@example.com.