Published: Feb. 13, 2018

Event is first of three commemorating 100th anniversary the graduation of Lucile Berkeley Buchanan, the first African American woman to graduate from CU

What happens when you take a black baby and raise it to be German? Vanessa Roberts, a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder, has some answers, because that story resembles hers.

Roberts will perform her workshop and satirical lecture “Afropuff Lederhosen: Experience the Difference Humor Makes” on Tuesday, Feb. 20, from 5-6:30 p.m., in the British & Irish Studies Room on the fifth floor of Norlin Library. 


Vanessa Roberts

The event is the first of three this spring to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the graduation of Lucile Berkeley Buchanan, the first African American woman to graduate from CU. Buchanan Jones, the daughter of slaves, earned a degree in German here.

During Roberts' performance, she interrogates her own history as an African American and German woman in the context of the “European creation of the social construct of race.”

Her presentation will include tips and examples on incorporating humor into difficult discussions on race. Roberts states: “With a focus on combining theory with personal, subjective and humorous storytelling, this workshop provides tips and examples designed to take conversations to the next level.”

“The performance is followed by an interactive presentation which will encourage the audience to re-think racial and social norms. Ripe with humor and true stories, this workshop makes race personal and promotes reflection and further discussion among audience members,” a description of the event states.

The workshop will include handouts and detailed activities aimed at promoting conversation and dialogue focused on “our personal relationship to difference and otherness,” and a reading list for further study of topics discussed the workshop.

The event is sponsored by the CU Boulder Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages & Literatures and the Department of Women & Gender Studies. Learn more about Roberts by clicking here and here.

The events in the Lucile Berkeley Buchanan series this semester occur in February, March and April. 

Three events commemorate Lucile Berkeley Buchanan

“Afropuff Lederhosen” followed by a workshop looking at her history as a Black woman in Germany
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 5-6:30 p.m.
British & Irish Studies Room, Norlin Library
Free and open to the public

Forum with Professors Reiland Rabaka and Beverly Weber discussing connections between African American intellectuals and Germany in the early 20th Century
Thursday, March 15, 6:30-8 p.m.
Hale 270 
Free and open to the public

Inaugural Lucille Berkeley Buchanan Lecture:  Polly McLean
Wednesday, April 4, 6:30-8 p.m.
Old Main Chapel 
Free and Open to the public