About AFRO PWW

AFRO PWW's goal is to provide access to and training for open-source digital publishing tools. In collaboration with scholars at historically black colleges and universities, the project intends to develop initiatives that serve as models for those institutions and academics exploring digital publishing. The project not only reaches out to faculty and staff at HBCUs but to members of the HBCU Library Alliance and Black Studies scholars at other institutions. Bringing the digital world to publications addressing Black life was Inspired by decades of documenting the Black experience, producing exhibits, creating educational materials for teaching Black Studies.

The outreach activities taken by AFRO PWW to bridge the inequities existing in digital publishing takes the form of formal and informal sessions at annual conferences and meetings and by invitation day-long workshops designed to give participants hands-on experiences with the tools the project supports. The workshops are a form of teach the teachers activities who are expected to take what they learn back to their institutions.

The initiative provides Individual consultations for translating your research into digital publication forms. It offers support to help you mount your work through free access to hosting tools and platforms necessary for launching your publications. Additionally, AFRO PWW guides you through the workflows necessary for University Press publications as well as connections to a peer-review journal for publication of short-form versions of your research. The project is here to help scholars navigate the new opportunities presented by collaborative, multi-modal, and interim phase works.

Outreach Team Members

Marilyn Thomas Houston


marilyn thomas-houston
Outreach Coordinator
Visiting Research Specialist in Digital Humanities. Until she retired in June 2015, Thomas-Houston was Joint Associate Professor of African American Studies and Anthropology at the University of Florida. She is the Co-founding Editor with Daryl Michael Scott of a new peer-reviewed journal, Fire!!!: The Multimedia Journal of Black Studies. The journal is published by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and made accessible online by JSTOR as a part of its Current Scholarship initiative. She also edited a special issue of the International Journal of Africana Studies, a compilation of papers and discussions by key Black Studies scholars at a convening sponsored by the Ford Foundation, which was distributed at the 2011 NCBS meeting. Her research publications include an ethnography, ‘Stony the Road’ to Change: Black Mississippians and the Culture of Social Relations published by Cambridge University Press (2005) and the edited volume, Homing Devices: The Poor as Targets of Public Housing Policy and Practice published by Lexington Books in 2006. Since 2013-2014, she has served as Visiting Research Specialist in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois.
Ron Bailey


Ron Bailey
Principal Investigator
Head of the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since July 2012. He is a 1965 graduate of Evans County History School in Claxton, GA, and a 1969 Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a BA in Liberal Arts (Cross-Cultural Studies) from Michigan State University’s Justin Morrill College. He holds an MA in Political Science from Stanford and a Ph.D. in Black Studies from Stanford, the first such degree awarded in the United States in 1980. He has taught at Fisk University, Cornell, Northwestern, the University of Mississippi (as chair of the African American Studies Program), and Northeastern University, where he chaired the Department of African-American Studies for eight years. He also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at South Carolina State University and at Knoxville College, and as a senior scientist with the Education Development Center, Inc. Work on digital technologies has included the development of two website: NubiaNet with support from NEH and digNubia, with support from the National Science Foundation. He has served as a member of the national advisory board of the William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University since 2008.
Joshua Lynch


Joshua Lynch
Research Assistant
Joshua Lynch was assistant to the outreach coordinator on the AFRO PWW project. With PWW, Lynch helped conduct outreach, construct curricula, led workshops, develop workflows and documentation, web design and maintenance, and one-on-one technology assistance to project participants. Lynch holds two advanced degrees from the University of Illinois, a Masters in English and a Masters in Library and Information Science. He specializes in metadata, digital librarianship, digital preservation, and scholarly communications.