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NOTE: This event will be a hybrid format, that is, we will have an in-person location (TBD) and Mr. Allen will speak to us virtually, which will enable virtual attendance as well. More information on location and virtual platform will follow.
Norm Allen Jr. established African Americans for Humanism (AAH) in 1989, the only humanist organization primarily dedicated to attracting people of African descent throughout the world to organized humanism. From 1989-2010 he was the first and only full-time African American humanist activist traveling the world promoting humanism and skepticism.
In 1991 he edited his first book, African-American Humanism: An Anthology. That groundbreaking book was the first to demonstrate the extent to which humanism has influenced Black life, culture, intellectualism and activism. In 2003, he edited The Black Humanist Experience: An Alternative to Religion. That was the first collection of essays in which Black humanists discussed their personal paths to humanism.
Allen has worked as editorial associate, deputy editor, associate editor, letters editor and reviews editor for Free Inquiry, and founded and edited the AAH Examiner, the international newsletter of AAH, and the only publication of its kind. He was the editor of The Human Prospect, the journal of the Institute for Science and Human Values, now known as the Paul Kurtz Institute. He wrote a column for the journal called “the Allen Angle,” as well as an online column for the Institute called “Reasonings.”
While head of AAH, Allen was able to get news stories about African American humanism in the Black media on a regular basis. Most of the then-200 Black newspapers and about 40 of the then-400 Black radio
stations carried AAH articles and news releases, or featured the group’s spokespersons. This was the first time Black humanism had received widespread coverage in Black media.
One of the group’s most successful news items was about their African-American Humanist Declaration released in 1989. It was the first such declaration issued by people of African descent.
In addition to having articles published in numerous journals, books and encyclopedias, Allen has been featured in major media, including CNN, C-Span, BBC Radio, Fox News and others. His pioneering efforts
paved the way for African American humanist leaders, thinkers and scholars today.
Allen is the only African American humanist leader and thinker who has maintained strong ties with Black humanists outside the U.S., and he established and/or strengthened over 70 humanist groups in 30 African
nations. He visited Africa seven times and helped to send reading materials and establish humanist libraries on the continent.
Today, Allen writes a regular column on Medium (find him at https://normrallenjr.medium.com/ ) and is on the board of directors for The Freethought Society based in Pennsylvania ( https://www.ftsociety.org/ ).