April 1, 2021

2021 Gates-Ferry Lecture - Gary LampleyCentenary University Gates-Ferry Lecture Focuses on African American Fashion Influences in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Speaker Gary L. Lampley has conducted extensive research on African American fashion as an aspect of material culture and African American history.

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J., April 1, 2021—Fashion industry educator, researcher, and diversity and inclusion advocate Gary L. Lampley will present “The Cool Pose: Zoot Suits, Hip Hop and High Fashion” on Wednesday, April 7, at 7 pm as part of Centenary University’s Gates-Ferry Distinguished Visiting Lecture series. The event will be held virtually due to the pandemic.

Zoom link to attend the lecture.

Lampley’s research focuses on the examination of dress, adornment, and the appearance of African Americans during the 20th and 21st centuries and analyzes their fashion influences. His lecture is particularly relevant at Centenary, which offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Fashion with concentrations in design and merchandising. The degree prepares graduates for successful careers across all aspects of the fashion industry.

His topic also supports the work of the University’s Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging Advisory Board, which was formed earlier this year to advise Centenary University President Bruce Murphy, Ed.D., on initiatives that lead to meaningful dialogue and action. Comprised of a cross-section of the University’s leadership, the board provides input on a broad range of experiences on campus, from instruction and extracurricular activities to decisions regarding admissions, financial assistance, athletics, and more.

In addition to serving as this semester’s Gates-Ferry lecturer at Centenary, Lampley was selected to participate in the National Endowment for Humanities Summer 2011 Landmarks for American History and Culture Workshop, “African American History and Culture in the Georgia Lowcountry: Savannah and the Coastal Islands, 1750 – 1950.” He served as panel moderator for “The Invisible Demographic: African Americans and the Retail & Luxury Goods Industries” at the 36th Annual H. Naylor Fitzhugh Conference sponsored by the African American Student Union of the Harvard Business School. Finally, he was selected as a Smithsonian Graduate Student Fellow at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. This appointment allowed him to utilize the institute’s archives, image files, and costume collection to further his research.

Lampley has presented papers related to this research on panels at The University of Calgary, the 21st annual James A. Porter Colloquium at Howard University, the 2018 New Jersey History Forum Conference at Monmouth University, the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference (SAMLA 90 & 91), and a special topics lecture at the University of Cincinnati. Through this work, he has gained a strong theoretical foundation in cultural studies and material history. Lampley’s research challenges others to explore the coded meanings behind clothing and fashion movements within society, culture, and history.

Lampley has also served as a volunteer, member, president, director, and officer on the board of the Black Retail Action Group Inc. (BRAG), a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting the acceptance and participation of people of color at all levels of retail and related industries for more than two decades. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Lampley also holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) from Empire State College, State University of New York (SUNY) and currently resides in New Jersey.

A link to this free lecture, which is open to the public, will be published here on April 7.


The Gates-Ferry Distinguished Visiting Lecture at Centenary University recognizes the dedication to the University of Joseph R. Ferry, trustee from 1948 to 1976 and treasurer of the Board of Trustees for 20 years. It was established to set high standards and goals for students and faculty, and to enrich the quality of life on the Centenary campus.


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs in Parsippany, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.

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