In her talk “Becoming History” Mabel O. Wilson will present an overview of some of the central themes of her book Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (U. California Press 2012). Negro Building examines the history of exhibitions about black Americans, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, focusing on the increasing curatorial participation of African Americans themselves and the formative role of this participation in the development of models of national, racial, and class identity and of a black American public sphere. An urban, architectural, and cultural history her comprehensive archival project asks what can we learn from how black Americans built or claimed spaces to reimagine their national belonging and share a collective memory of their past? How did World’s Fairs, Emancipation Expositions, and early black grass-roots museums serve as counter-public spheres for black Americans during the era of Jim Crow Segregation?  The talk will take place at 4:30 pm in the Princeton University School of Architecture, Room N107.