Monday, January 31, 2011

Baraka Recounts, Instructs, Riffs about King and Black History

January 28, 2011 — Amiri Baraka – poet, playwright, composer, activist and teacher – treated a Thursday night audience of several hundred in the University of Virginia's Culbreth Theatre on to a lively talk about the importance of knowing 20th-century African-American history, peppering his stories, poems and political commentary with excerpts from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches and letters.

The event was the last in January's lineup of the University's Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration, coordinated at U.Va. by Dr. Marcus Martin, interim vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, and his team.

Events in the two-week commemoration of Martin Luther King featured talks, panel discussions, music and film that related to King's legacy through a range of topics from history to health care.

"This year's Martin Luther King Community Celebration exceeded our expectations," University President Teresa A. Sullivan said. "The celebration brought together members of our community to reflect on King's legacy and to discuss our roles in a diverse society. I'm grateful to Dr. Marcus Martin and to the community organizers who planned such a meaningful schedule of events. I hope the conversations that we started this month will continue in the days ahead."

Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka (Photo: Cole Geddy)
The Baraka program also included the Black Voices chorus singing the black national anthem and introductory remarks from Maurice Apprey, dean of African-American Affairs, and education professor Patrice Grimes, interim associate dean of African-American Affairs.

Baraka, 76, told of how he first met King, a moment immortalized in a photographer's snapshot. For many years the photograph – of a surprised young black activist greeting King at his front door – hung in the Newark, N.J., city chambers, the city where Baraka was born and still resides.
The youngster was Baraka, whose given name was LeRoi Jones (until he changed it not long after this meeting). King had just finished a march in Newark and stopped by to meet this man he had heard of.

He looked tired and was dressed casually, Baraka said.

A week later he was shot dead in Memphis.

The photo was taken down, an office worker told him, some time after Baraka wrote a poem about Sept. 11 that was critical of white, corporate America. Baraka was asked to give up his post as poet laureate of New Jersey or apologize for the poem, but he refused to do either.

He read "Somebody Blew Up America," while periodically drumming on the podium and interjecting a jazzy tune.

"... Who make the credit cards
Who get the biggest tax cut
Who walked out of the Conference
Against Racism
Who killed Malcolm, Kennedy & his Brother
Who killed Dr. King, Who would want such a thing?"

Baraka said he didn't agree with King's nonviolent tactics at the time of the civil rights leader's unexpected visit in the early 1960s, but has come to appreciate him more in his adult years. King had to fight for basic civil rights for black Southerners. In the North, the struggle was more about opportunities for self-determination, Baraka said. Many of the young activists agreed more with Malcolm X – that you treat people the way they treated you, he said.

For African-Americans, losing King and Malcolm X when they were young – both men were 39 when they were assassinated – was a terrible blow, he said. He encouraged students to study the life of Jesus, as well as the lives of King and Malcolm X, and to look at how and why they pushed for changes that were resisted in their day.

He and his comrades never lost their love and respect for King, even when they disagreed with him, Baraka said.

African-Americans need to show a united front these days, he said, an objective he has worked on for many years. He said people should come together to work on the problems that have persisted under the legacy of slavery and intensified in the recent right-wing backlash since the election of the nation's first black president.

He used Texas as an example, where the State Board of Education considered last year whether or not to remove the word "slavery" from textbooks. (The board ultimately voted to modify use of the term, with some conservatives lobbying to replace it altogether with "Atlantic triangular trade." The term was finally changed to the "trans-Atlantic slave trade.")

Some also wanted to omit the 44th American president – namely Obama.

"The resistance to Obama is connected to the same racism from the past," Baraka said. "Although we have made progress and continue to fight the struggle, we still have a ways to go, and we will be opposed," he said, urging college students to take their education seriously.

He encouraged them to continue King's work on economic injustice and civil rights and be prepared to challenge "Obama's enemies."

"What do you think your parents sent you to college for?" he said. "Get the information and skills you need. It's your turn to help."

Baraka is the author of more than 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism. His reputation as a playwright was established with the 1964 production of "Dutchman," which won an Obie Award for best off-Broadway play and was made into a film. His other awards and honors include the American Academy of Arts & Letters award, the James Weldon Johnson Medal for contributions to the arts and National Endowment for the Arts grants.

Baraka and his wife, Amina Baraka, head up the word-music ensemble, "Blue Ark: The Word Ship," and co-direct "Kimako's Blues People," the art space housed in their theater basement for some 15 years.

Romano Encourages Audience to Reach Across Gaps

Arthur Romano, a Rotary International World Peace Scholar who gave a Jan. 24 presentation on King and nonviolence in the auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, said communicating and making connections despite differences are keys to building community. He encouraged the audience to stretch beyond the comfort zone, as King did when he worked with everyone from sanitation workers to presidents.

"If we don't exercise communication across differences, the skills atrophy," Romano said. He added to the idea of people having a "comfort zone," saying we each have a stretch zone and a panic zone. It's helpful in building community, he said, to recognize the stretch zone, where a person can learn new cultural meanings and contexts.

He distributed a handout with King's principles and steps of nonviolence as a guide to King's philosophy and as a road map for social change. The first principle says, "Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people."

The end result is redemption and reconciliation, he said.

One Last King Talk Set for Feb. 22

Another talk related to King and his time will be held on Feb. 22: Julian Bond and retired magazine reporter and public activist Arlie Schard will give a presentation on "The Civil Rights Movement and the Media" at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature and Culture and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

UVA Today: News Releases — By Anne Bromley Contact: Anne E. Bromley Senior Writer, Editor (434) 924-6861

Sunday, January 30, 2011

African American men say doctor visits are often a bad experience

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A majority of African American men said they do not go to the doctor because visits are stressful and physicians don't give adequate information on how to make prescribed behavior or lifestyle changes, a new University of Michigan study shows.

When they did go, the majority of the 105 men questioned said they disliked the tone physicians used with them. When those men did visit the doctor, they said it was because they were seeking test results or their family encouraged them to go.

Men often said they knew they needed to lose weight, change eating habits or become more physically active before visiting the doctor. They hoped the doctor would help them figure out how to make those behavioral and lifestyle changes without sacrificing time with spouses and children. The men in the focus groups explained that adopting healthy behaviors was more complex than simple motivation and that doctors didn't understand that a healthier lifestyle meant the men had to give up other meaningful activities.

"That's usually not the story that's told," said Derek Griffith, assistant professor in the U-M School of Public Health and principal investigator of the study. Julie Ober Allen and Katie Gunter of U-M SPH are co-authors.

Derek M. Griffith, Ph.D.

Derek M. Griffith, Ph.D.
"Too much emphasis is on the things that African American men don't do, rather than exploring why they don't do them. The reality is that many men want to adopt healthier lifestyles but face significant challenges beyond health insurance and the cost of care. They are concerned about their health and are more knowledgeable about the changes they need to make than they are often given credit for," Griffith said.

African American men die an average of seven years earlier than men in other ethnic groups, and are more likely to suffer from undiagnosed chronic illnesses. Overall, African American men have shorter lives than whites and men of other ethnic groups, said Griffith.

In an attempt to understand why African American men don't visit the doctor more often, Griffith and his colleagues at the Center on Men's Health Disparities, housed at the U-M SPH, conducted 14 focus groups with urban, middle-aged African American men in the Midwest.

The findings highlight the need for physicians to offer practical information, resources and support to help men adhere to medication regimens and make lifestyle changes within the context of their other responsibilities to family and community, Griffith said. The findings also suggest that understanding these needs may increase men's willingness to go to the doctor and follow to medical recommendations.

The University of Michigan School of Public Health has been promoting health and preventing disease since 1941, and is ranked among the top public health schools in the nation. Whether making new discoveries in the lab or researching and educating in the field, our faculty, students, and alumni are deployed around the globe to promote and protect our health. 412 MAYNARD STREET ANN ARBOR, MI 48109-1399 PHONE: (734)764-7260 FAX: (734) 764-7084

Contact: Laura Bailey Phone: (734) 647-1848

Friday, January 28, 2011

African-Americans and the Civil War: Bruised, Battered, But Not Broken

Black History Month at U of M Will Offer a Variety of Events.

Under the theme “African-Americans and the Civil War: Bruised, Battered, But Not Broken,” the University of Memphis will host a full schedule of programs, theater, music, and lectures during Black History Month.

Many of the events are open the public and free of charge.

Black History Month events include:

Tuesday, Feb. 1 – Opening ceremony and presentation of Authur S. Holman Lifetime Achievement Award to Judge Bernice Donald, 7 p.m., Michael D. Rose Theatre;

Wednesday, Feb. 2 – Storyteller Dylan Pritchett, “African-American Life During the Civil War,” noon, University Center Fountain View Room;

Tuesday, Feb. 8 – Play For Colored Girls, 7 p.m., University Center Theatre;

Wednesday, Feb. 9 – Reading and discussion with Marcus Matthews, author of I Am Not the Father, 6 p.m., Rose Theatre lobby;

African Americans and the Civil WarFriday, Feb. 11, ­– Talk by Nobel laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, 4 p.m., University Center Ballroom;

Gospel Explosion featuring Deitrick Haddon, 7 p.m., Rose Theatre;

Monday, Feb. 14 – A Night of Romance featuring Lil Rounds of American Idol, 7 p.m., University Center Ballroom;

Thursday, Feb. 17 – Igniting Excitement, 2 p.m., University Center River Room;

Friday, Feb. 18 – “Food Fight: How to Bridge the Food Divide Before Things Get Really Ugly” with Chet W. Sisk, noon, University Center Fountain View Room;

Wednesday, Feb. 23 – “An Evening With Soledad O’Brien,” 7 p.m., Rose Theatre;

Thursday, Feb. 24 – “A-Train Express: When Harlem Was King and the Music Was Swing,” panel discussion 10-11:15 a.m., documentary film screening 1-2:15 p.m., lessons 6:30-7:30 p.m., band 7:30-10:30 p.m.; various locations in the University Center;

“What Does It Take to Go to Law School?,” 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., University Center Bluff Room;

Monday, Feb. 28 – Closing ceremony with speaker Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, 1 p.m., University Center River Room.

Parking is available in the Zach Curlin garage, adjacent to the University Center.

More information is available online at or from the U of M Office of Multicultural Affairs at 901-678-2054.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Cowboy Mike" to discuss black cowboys at Troy University

TROY—“Cowboy Mike” will discuss the legacy of black cowboys in the American West during a presentation on Monday, Feb. 7, as part of Troy University’s Black History Month lecture series.

The event will start at 8 a.m. at the Troy Campus inside the Trojan Center Theatre. Admission is free and open to the public.

“Cowboy Mike” is the persona created by Augusta State University history professor Michael Searles to help audiences better understand the Western experiences of black cowboys. As “Cowboy Mike,” Searles dresses in authentic Western gear and displays his collection of Western artifacts including chaps, spurs, lariat and branding iron.

His presentations explore the rich lore of the West while dispelling many myths.

“As ‘Cowboy Mike,’ Professor Searles is more than a lecturer,” said Dothan Campus Library Director Chris Shaffer. “His performance is truly unique and it leaves the audience spellbound while exploring the important contributions made by African Americans to the history of the American West.”

Michael SearlesSearles will also appear as “Cowboy Mike” during a lecture at the Dothan Campus on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 3 p.m. inside the Sony Hall auditorium in the Library/Technology Building. Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Shaffer at (334) 983-6556, ext. 1320.

Press Release. January 27, 2011 Contact: Tom Davis or Matt Clower Troy Office of University Relations 334/670-3196

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stories of Delaware’s free and enslaved African Americans highlight February’s events at First State Heritage Park

DOVER (Jan. 25) - On Saturday Feb. 5, the First State Heritage Park presents its monthly First “Saturdays in the First State” in Dover. Special highlights include stories of African Americans during three centuries of Delaware history.

Throughout the day at The Old State House, living history performances reveal aspects of Delaware’s African-American history. Syl Woolford, featured speaker at the Delaware Public Archives at 10:30 a.m., speaks about African-American troops during the Civil War and a walking tour at 2 p.m. features stories of the free and enslaved African Americans who lived and worked on The Green in Dover in the 1700s and 1800s. On this tour, visitors will hear about Richard Allen’s journey from slavery to freedom, of Henry Predeaux and the “Dover Eight,” who staged a dramatic escape from the Dover jail in 1857, and of Delaware’s position as a border state during the Civil War.

First Saturday activities also feature the two capitol buildings in Delaware’s capital city – The Old State House, which served as the seat of Delaware’s General Assembly from 1791 to 1933, and Legislative Hall, which has served this function since 1933. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of both capitol buildings from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and also visit the Governor’s House at Woodburn from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tours and exhibits are also available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Biggs Museum of American Art and the Johnson Victrola Museum.

The Old State House DelawareAdmission to all sites and activities is free. Centrally located free parking is available at the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, located at 121 Duke of York Street. For more information about The First State Heritage Park programs, call 302-739-9194 or visit:
First Saturdays in the First State activities on Saturday, February 5:

The First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
121 Duke of York Street
The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs presents a new exhibit: USS Delaware: An American Battleship. The story of the USS Delaware (1909 – 1924) is told through objects, photographs and ceremonial silver.

Guided Tours of Legislative Hall – Delaware’s Capitol
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Legislative Hall has been the seat of Delaware’s General Assembly, the supreme lawmaking body in the state, since 1933. Tour the House and Senate Chambers as you learn about the legislature and Delaware history. Photo ID is required for all adults entering the building.

Trilogy: A Celebration of African American History
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Old State House, on The Green
(Special living history programs begin at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.)
Experience three living history performances: A Black Man's Journey, A Judge’s Ruling and End Slavery, Stop the War. These short performances bring to life the attitudes of Delaware citizens during the 18th and 19th centuries.

“… And the Grammy Goes To…”
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New Street
Want to see a Grammy Award? The Grammy Awards are presented annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States for outstanding achievements in the music industry. Find out how a person from Dover determined the award’s shape.

Tours of the Governor’s House at Woodburn
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
151 Kings Highway
Enjoy guided tours of Woodburn, the official residence of Delaware’s Governor since 1965, as well as Hall House, the Governor’s guest house.

Civil War Series: The United States Colored Troops
10:30 a.m.
Delaware Public Archives, 121 Duke of York Street
When the Civil War began, African Americans were not allowed to enlist. After Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, thousands of African Americans joined the fight. This program, presented by Syl Woolford, explores the role of the United States Colored Troops. Hear the story of 1st South Carolina Regiment, as well as the famed 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, which included several Delawareans.

Tales of Slavery and Freedom
2 p.m.
Meet at The Old State House on The Green
The Dover Green was a place where free and enslaved men and women lived out their lives, where national decisions regarding slavery were debated, and where a brave group of runaways known as the Dover Eight made a daring escape from the Dover Jail. Learn about Dover’s complicated positions regarding freedom and slavery, and its role as a border state during the Civil War.

Biggs Kids – Seeds of Friendship
2 – 3:30 p.m.
Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal Street
Valentine’s Day is all about sharing our feelings with the ones we care about the most. Create a card that promises to plant the seeds of friendship. Ages 5 to 10. Reservations are required. Please call (302) 674-2111

Self-Guided Audio Walking Tours
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Free audio wands are available at the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center, located at the Delaware Public Archives, 121 Duke of York Street.

The First State Heritage Park at Dover is Delaware’s first urban “park without boundaries” linking historic and cultural sites in the city that has been the seat of state government since 1777.

The park is a partnership of state agencies, under the leadership of Delaware State Parks, working in collaboration with city and county government, nonprofit organizations and the private sector.

Vol. 41, No. 26

Abbie Wilson, The First State Heritage Park at Dover, 302- 739-9194.; Necia Beck, Delaware State Parks, 302-739-9175,

IMAGE CREDIT: The Old State House

Monday, January 24, 2011

Eighth annual Freedom Breakfast featuring Mary Frances Early, the University of Georgia’s first African-American graduate, has been rescheduled

Athens, Ga. – The eighth annual Freedom Breakfast featuring Mary Frances Early, the University of Georgia’s first African-American graduate, has been rescheduled for Feb. 14 at 7:30 a.m. in the Grand Hall of the Tate Student Center.

A reception honoring Early also has been rescheduled and will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. Feb. 14 in the cafeteria of J.J. Harris Elementary Charter School, 2300 Danielsville Road.

Early will deliver the keynote address for the Freedom Breakfast, which will include the presentation of the President’s Fulfilling the Dream Awards. The awards honor community members who have dedicated their time to advancing the ideals of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Previously purchased tickets to the breakfast, originally scheduled for Jan. 14 but postponed because of inclement weather, will be honored. Any questions should be directed to UGA’s Office of Institutional Diversity at 706/583-8195.

The J.J. Harris Elementary School reception, which is open free to the public, is being hosted by UGA’s College of Education and the Institute for African American Studies.

Mary Frances Early

Mary Frances Early has been the recipient of a number of awards and honors, including the STAR Teacher Award, Coan Middle School, 1972; Benjamin E. Mays Black Music Heritage Award, 1995; University of Georgia Outstanding Alumna Award, 2000; and the Foot Soldier for Equal Justice (University of Georgia) Award.
The reception will open with a performance by students of the UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music and the J.J. Harris Elementary School Drum Corps, followed by remarks from UGA Professor of History Robert Pratt entitled “Reflections on Ms. Mary Frances Early.” Early will make brief closing remarks.

Early completed her graduate studies in the College of Education where she earned her master’s degree in music education in 1962. She went on to receive a specialist degree in 1971.

Early taught music, band and chorus for 37 years in Atlanta public schools. She retired in 1994 and became an adjunct music professor at Spelman and Morehouse colleges. She went on to chair the music department at Clark Atlanta University for eight years before retiring again in 2005.

J.J. Harris Elementary Charter School was chosen for the reception because the school is a professional development partnership school with the College of Education.

Held annually in conjunction with the national King holiday in January, the breakfast is sponsored by UGA, the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government and the Clarke County School District. This year’s theme is “The Power of the Dream: Celebrating Courage.”
Both events are part of the observance of the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the University of Georgia. For more information, see ##

YEXT CREDIT: University of Georgia: News & Information: Writer: Matt Weeks, 706/542-8024, Contact: Vanessa Smith, 706/425-3098, Jan 24, 2011, 16:38

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Broadway musical actress to present "How High: An African American Soprano Retrospective"

Broadway musical actress Cicily Daniels will present "How High: An African American Soprano Retrospective" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 8, in Mitchell Auditorium in the Health Professions Center at the University of Southern Indiana. Daniels will perform a song cycle that illuminates her perspective on the African American experience in the American musical form in the 20th century.

Accompaniment will be provided by USI students under the direction of Daniel Craig, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities. The concert is hosted by the Office of the Provost with assistance from the Department of Performing Arts, and is free and open to the public.

Daniels performed the role of Armelia in New Harmony Theatre's 2010 production of Ain't Misbehavin'. New Harmony Theatre is USI's professional Equity theatre.

More recently, she originated the role of Michelle in the off-Broadway production My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, which won the New York Times Musical Theatre Festival Award for Most Promising Musical, co-starred in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, and served as the celebrity spokesperson for Nielsen TV.

Cicily Daniels

Cicily Daniels
A native of Potomac, Maryland, her Broadway credits include Disney's The Little Mermaid, All Shook Up, and Rent. She was in the cast of the national tours for Caroline or Change and Rent. She appeared in the off-Broadway productions Irrationals, Skin of Our Teeth, and Revivalwith Sam Harris.

Regional theatre credits include Once on this Island, Little Shop of Horrors, and Into the Woods. On television, she played the role of Zelda on Ugly Betty and has appeared on Saturday Night Live and One Life to Live. Film credits include Across the Universe and American Gangster.

She also has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, appeared in numerous commercials, and recorded voice-overs for companies such as Covergirl, Time Warner Cable, EA Sports Active, Softsheen, and LensCrafters.
Daniels graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies with a concentration in performance. She also studied classical music at the Yale School of Music.

During her visit to USI, Daniels will also meet with students and attend classes in the Department of Performing Arts.

Elliot Wasserman, chair of the Department of Performing Arts and producing artistic director for New Harmony Theatre, said Daniels has a "bring the house down set of pipes." "I guarantee Ms. Daniels will prove to be the real thing," he said.

TEXT and IMAGE CREDIT: USI » News and Information Contact for more information: Wendy Knipe Bredhold Media Relations Specialist, News & Information Services 812/461-5259 email

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz" to be Performed at CGCC on January 27

In celebration of Black History Month, Chandler-Gilbert Community College will present The Langston Hughes Project, "Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz," a free multimedia jazz concert based on a poetic masterwork by poet/playwright Langston Hughes, on Thursday, January 27 at 7 p.m. in CGCC's Performing Arts Center on the college's Pecos Campus.

McCurdy and his live jazz quartet will perform Hughes' soulful jazz poem, "Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods of Jazz," accompanied by video images of the Harlem Renaissance by African-American artists and photographers, including Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, and Romare Bearden.

The poem, "Ask Your Mama" is an 800-line, 12 part epic poem written by Hughes in 1961, which created his vision of the global struggle for artistic and social freedom in the '60s.

Sponsored by CGCC and the Maricopa Community College District, this performance is free and open to the public.

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes
Ron McCurdy 2011 Jan 21 For Immediate Release Contact: Trish Niemann (480) 732-7030

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Celebrating the International Year for People of African Descent

The General Assemblies of the United Nations and the Organization of American States have declared 2011 the International Year for People of African Descent. During this momentous year, the U.S. Department of State will collaborate bilaterally and regionally to expand our efforts to promote full and equal participation of people of African descent in all aspects of political, economic, social, and cultural life in the countries of the Americas.

It is estimated that one third of the population in the Western Hemisphere is of African descent. They contribute to our culturally rich and racially diverse region. The largest populations are in Brazil, Colombia, and the United States. People of African descent comprise the majority racial group in the Caribbean, and are a large minority in most countries of the region. Yet they suffer deep inequalities and comprise one of the most historically excluded and vulnerable racial groups.

During the United Nations launch of the International Year for People of African Descent on December 10, 2010, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recognized that although “the international community has affirmed…the transatlantic slave trade [as] an appalling tragedy…even today, Africans and people of African descent continue to suffer the consequences of these acts.” Analyzing the origins of residual racial discrimination against people of African descent is part of our expanded efforts for 2011 and beyond to cultivate more advanced racial and social inclusion practices in the region.

Celebrating the International Year for People of African Descent

Celebrating the International Year for People of African Descent
Recently, Brazilian and United States law enforcement practitioners, members of civil society, and government officials toured the Word, Shout, Song exhibit at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum showcasing African historical, language, and cultural links among Afro-Brazilians and Gullah-Americans (African Americans off the Georgia and South Carolina coast with a strong preservation of their African cultural and historical heritage). The multi-ethnic group of Brazilians and Americans was captivated by the commonalities in the history of people of African descent.
This kind of cross-cultural experience serves to strengthen our commitment to promote racial equality and equal access to justice through the U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton affirmed that "Our nation's quest for freedom, justice, and opportunity must take place simultaneously here at home and around the world. Because our ability to stand for democracy in other countries depends, in part, on how well we fulfill the dream of democracy right here...And as we work to strengthen existing friendships, we have to demonstrate, by word and deed, our commitment to the full diversity of America, because that is one of our strongest strengths.”

In 2011, the Department of State will further explore our shared regional African Diaspora roots; create awareness of and respect for the diverse heritage, culture, and contributions of Afro-descendents; and participate in diverse forums to advance the rights of people of African descent. As we embark on the International Year for People of African Descent, we look forward to partnering with our diverse region to build a foundation for the integration of people of African descent in all political, economic, social, and cultural aspects of society.

About the Author: Julissa Reynoso serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

African American Cultural Center hosts art exhibition based on Brother Man graphic novel series

African American Cultural Center hosts art exhibition based on graphic novel series

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia African American Cultural Center will host an art exhibition titled Drawing from the Soul by artist Dawud Anyabwile on Jan. 31 from 7-9 p.m. in the Tate Student Center Grand Hall. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The exhibition will feature pieces from the artist’s graphic novel series Brother Man. According to Anyabwile, the art infuses the energy, rhythms and flavor of African-American culture to give patrons the sense that they are stepping into the comic world that he has created.

The African American Cultural Center is a program of Intercultural Affairs within the UGA Division of Student Affairs Department of Campus Life.

For more information, call 706/542-8468 or see

News Release Last Updated: Jan 18th, 2011 - 08:27:47

Dawud AnyabwileWriter: Don Reagin, 706/542-7774, Contact: LaRetha Spain-Shuler, 706/542-8468, Jan 18, 2011, 08:20

IMAGE CREDIT: Blogger: User Profile: Dawud Anyabwile

Monday, January 17, 2011

James Tolbert Sr. presented MLK Achievement Award at WVU's King Unity Breakfast

The West Virginia University community commemorated the Martin Luther King Jr. Day by honoring the man who, among his many achievements, fought to make the day a state holiday.

James Tolbert Sr., president of the West Virginia State NAACP for more than two decades, pushed the Jefferson County School Board to integrate its schools, worked to withhold federal funding from towns that flouted the Civil Rights Act, and orchestrated celebrations on the nation’s hallowed ground.

At WVU’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast, Tolbert was recognized with the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award for his life’s work furthering civil rights, humanitarianism and equality in West Virginia. Sherline K. Montoute, a WVU senior, is the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship, also presented at the breakfast.

Tolbert, who retired from the U.S. Veterans Administration in 1988, is a native of Charles Town, W.Va., and graduated from West Virginia State College (now University) with a bachelor’s degree in zoology after serving as a dental technician in the U.S. Air Force.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking as Edward B. Footmon of the National Park Service looks on Civil Rights March on WashingtonFor more than 50 years, he has fought for the rights of African Americans, beginning with the struggle for integration in Jefferson County schools in 1968. He worked so that his alma mater and historically black college, West Virginia State University, received land-grant status and appropriate funding.

He also lobbied for the employment of African Americans in positions that would have been denied them before the Civil Rights Act.
As state NAACP vice president from 1976 to 1986, he lobbied the governor and the legislature on equality and social justice issues and helped to increase the number of minority-owned businesses in the state.

In the late 2000s when it came time to remember the 100th anniversary of the Niagara Movement, a precursor to the NAACP, he requested that Sen. Robert C. Byrd allocate funding. He did the same in 2009, the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on the arsenals at Harpers Ferry.

He is a member of the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society, the West Virginia Martin Luther King Holiday Commission, the Community Relations Council of the Harpers Ferry Job Corps, the Jefferson County Economic Development Commission and the Marshall-Holly-Mason American Legion Post #102, among others.

For his lifelong work, Tolbert has been recognized with several prestigious awards. The West Virginia State NAACP presented him with its highest award in 1976, the T.G. Nutter Award. He later received the West Virginia Civil Rights Day Award and the Living the Dream Award, both awards for furthering civil rights in West Virginia.

Montoute, who expects to graduate this December with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, is a McNair Scholar, has worked as an undergraduate student researcher, has held a variety of leadership roles at a private school, and participated in mission trips.



CONTACT: Marjorie Fuller, WVU Center for Black Culture and Research 304-293-7029,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

‘Manning up’ appears to help, not hinder, African-American male’s health

Whether they see themselves as tough or just self-reliant, men are less likely than women to seek routine, preventive medical care, like blood pressure and cholesterol screenings.

However, a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that African-American men delay going to the doctor because they do not trust the health-care system, rather than because they feel the need to display their masculinity.

“Men’s concepts of what it means to be a ‘real’ man are generally shaped by traditional masculine role norms, which encourage men to be extremely self-reliant and these norms often affect their health behavior,” said Wizdom Powell Hammond, Ph.D., assistant professor of health behavior and health education at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a member of UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We’ve seen in other studies that men with strong commitment to traditional masculine role norms delay health care because they don’t want to seem weak.

“But this study shows that the opposite may be true for African-American men,” Hammond said. “Their delays in getting routine check-ups are attributable more to medical mistrust. Their beliefs about masculinity may not always have a negative impact on their use of health care.”

Wizdom Powell Hammond, PhD, MPH

Wizdom Powell Hammond, PhD, MPH
Hammond’s study, “Masculinity, Medical Mistrust and Preventive Health Services Delays Among Community-Dwelling African-American Men,” appears in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The study was based on surveys of 610 African-American men, aged 20 and older, recruited primarily in barbershops in the North, South, Midwest and West regions of the U.S. The authors adjusted for possible differences in age, education, income, health insurance, health status and access to a regular physician.

Men with a stronger commitment to traditional masculine role norms were 23 percent less likely to delay blood pressure screening and 38 percent less likely to delay getting their cholesterol checked than men with a weaker commitment to such norms, the research found. On the other hand, men who reported being highly mistrustful of the medical system were more than twice as likely to delay routine check-ups and cholesterol screenings and three times more likely to delay having their blood pressure checked by a physician or health-care professional than men who were less mistrustful.

“What we found is that mistrust of the medical system accounts for delays in using health care, especially among older African-American men,” Hammond said. “The survey results indicated that African-American men consider preventive medical services, like getting their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked, as a demonstration of masculinity, rather than a denial of it.”

Previous studies have shown that, among adults, men are less likely than women to use preventive health services and wait longer after symptom onset before seeking care. This underuse of preventative services coincides with shorter life spans and more preventable deaths among men than women.

Compared to non-Hispanic white men, Hammond said, African-American men go less often for preventive health visits, are less likely to know their cholesterol levels, have poorer blood pressure control and face greater illness and premature death from conditions that usually respond well to treatments if caught in early stages.

“To improve the health of African American men, we should consider addressing why they lack trust in the health-care system and its providers,” Hammond said. “Health-care providers and public health professionals also might consider leveraging traditional masculine self-reliance in interventions and clinical encounters as a way to empower African American men to ‘seize control’ of their health. This gendered, patient-centered approach could shift power balances, perhaps inspiring greater health-care system trust among African-American men.”

Other authors of the study are Giselle Corbie-Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of social medicine and epidemiology in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the UNC School of Medicine; Derrick Matthews, Ph.D. candidate, and Amma Agyemang, research associate, both in the public health school’s health behavior and health education department; and Dinushika Mohottige, student in the UNC School of Medicine.

UNC Men’s Health Lab website:

Media note: Hammond can be reached at (919) 962-9802 or

Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, (919) 966-7467, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center contact: Dianne Shaw, (919) 966-5905, News Services contact: Patric Lane, (919) 962-8596,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

NIMHD names first African-American scientific director at NIH

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) announced today the appointment of William G. Coleman, Jr., Ph.D., as the NIMHD’s first permanent scientific director and the first African-American scientific director in the history of the NIH Intramural Research Program. The appointment follows an extensive national search. Dr. Coleman is one of 23 scientific directors at the NIH.

Dr. Coleman has had a long career as a scientist in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Intramural Research Program and has held a number of positions within NIDDK including research microbiologist, staff fellow and senior investigator. Dr. Coleman’s research spans the realms of basic research and health disparities. His recent research emphasis has been on H pylori pathogenesis. H pylori infection is associated with several clinical pathologies including gastritis, ulcers and gastric cancers. About 10 percent of the U.S. population develops peptic ulcer disease during their lifetime, of which 90 percent of cases are related to H pylori infection. In the U.S. population, infection is much more common among Mexican Americans (62 percent) and non-Hispanic blacks (53 percent) than non-Hispanic whites (26 percent). Non Hispanic blacks are also more likely to be infected with virulent H pylori strains.

William G. Coleman Jr., Ph.D."Dr. Coleman brings a wealth of knowledge and notable scientific contributions to meet the challenges of an evolving health disparities environment. His extensive research repertoire and reputation within the science community will make him a great addition to the NIMHD team. Dr. Coleman’s appointment exemplifies one of the major objectives that we seek to achieve through the NIMHD intramural research program, and that is to add to the diversity of individuals and research disciplines in the NIH intramural program," said John Ruffin, Ph.D., NIMHD director.

As scientific director, Dr. Coleman will direct the overall portfolio of trans-disciplinary research conducted by the NIMHD through its newly established Health Disparities Intramural Research Program. The goals of the intramural program are to:

* Conduct state-of-the-art research focusing on the linkage between biological and non-biological determinants of health in health disparity populations
* Create training and mentorship opportunities to increase the number of intramural researchers focusing on health disparities research including those from health disparity populations
* Contribute to a pool of early stage and experienced investigators that would enhance the diversity of the NIH Intramural Research Program in terms of scientists and research disciplines
* Utilize its successful Centers of Excellence and Community Based Participatory Research Program models to expand health disparities intramural research into urban and rural health disparities communities in order to respond to urgent public health needs, examine high-risk/high impact research opportunities, and establish collaborations for long-term complex research efforts

Prior to joining NIH, Dr. Coleman served as a lecturer at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. and biology teacher in Atlanta. He brings over 45 years of experience to NIMHD. Dr. Coleman received his doctorate from Purdue University. He holds a master’s degree from Atlanta University and a bachelor’s degree from Talladega College in Talladega, Ala. He has written nearly 30 journals and publications. In 2005, Dr. Coleman received the Dr. Philip J. Browning Scientific Pioneer Award.

NIMHD is a part of the NIH that promotes minority health, conducts and supports research, training, research infrastructure, fosters emerging programs, disseminates information, and reaches out to minority and other health disparity communities. For more information on the NIMHD, see

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

For Immediate Release Friday, January 14, 2011 Contact: Kester Williams 301-402-1366

Thursday, January 13, 2011

King March slated for Monday

Morehead State University will celebrate the life, dream and vision of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 17.

The theme of the celebration is “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” This year’s theme is a continuation of the themes from the 2009 and 2010 MLK Jr. Unity in the Community Service.

The event will begin with the traditional march at 6:30 p.m. at the Little Bell Tower on the MSU campus. After brief remarks, participants will travel to the Morehead United Methodist Church, 227 West Main Street, for the unity service, which is set to begin at 7 p.m. or as soon as group reaches the church. A reception will follow the program.

The program will feature Dorothy B. Wilson as the speaker.

Wilson is an accomplished businesswoman, having worked in major corporate and nonprofit positions for nearly 30 years. She is regional vice president of the largest Goodwill Industries enterprise in the world and is responsible for 400 employees, more than 45,000 program participants and a $25 million division in Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago. All of the organization’s workforce development, vocational training, senior citizens and disability programs are under her supervision.

Dr. Martin Luther King JrShe holds an MBA degree from Clark Atlanta University and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and economics from Benedict College.

A Milwaukee native, Wilson is currently the international first vice president of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the nation’s oldest African-American service sorority for college trained women.

Following the program, MSU President Wayne D. Andrews and Dr. Francene Botts-Butler, director of Multicultural Student Services, will offer closing remarks.

Additional information is available by calling the Office of Multicultural Student Services at (606) 783-2668.

Offices at Morehead State University will be closed on Monday, Jan. 17, in observance of the national holiday in remembrance of Dr. King’s birthday.

Posted: 1-13-11 Morehead State University 150 University Blvd. Morehead, KY 40351 • 1.800.585.6781

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Submarine Group 2 Hosts Black Heritage Month Gospel Concert

GROTON, Conn. - The Commander of Submarine Group 2 and the Black Heritage Committee seek choirs to help “make a joyful noise” and celebrate Black Heritage Month through music during a Black Heritage Month Gospel Music Concert on Feb. 18 at the Shepherd of the Sea Chapel, 231 Gungywamp Rd.

Currently, the committee is seeking choirs to participate. If you are interested, please RSVP not later than Jan. 21 with your church and choir name and/or soloist representative. Also include your musical needs. All choirs are asked to render two selections; all soloists one selection. Points of contact for this event are Joseph M. Brickhouse Sr., office 860-694-4292/3341, cell 201-463-3867 and Eric Rattler, office 860-694-4451/3341.

We have come to understand that from inception to present day, music has been a part of the trials and triumphs in African-American heritage. Moreover, the church and Gospel music have been the backbone for much of African-Americans culture. Therefore, we want to recognize and celebrate the many contributions of African-Americans to the country and the world by lifting our voices in unity through song and fellowship.

Submarine Group 2Thank you for helping us celebrate an important part of our national heritage.

- USN -

1/10/2011 From Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

Chandler-Gilbert Community College will offer African-American Literature: The Beautiful Struggle (ENH114, Sec 28790) this spring

Chandler-Gilbert Community College will offer African-American Literature: The Beautiful Struggle (ENH114, Sec 28790) this spring, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:50 a.m. to 11:05 a.m. beginning January 18.

This course explores significant eras of African-American Literature from the early 1800s to present. Students will read from a variety of genres including slave narratives, novels, memoirs, short fiction, essays, poetry, and plays. The course is discussion-oriented, interactive, and reading-intensive. A service-learning project will enable students to apply classroom learning toward real-world situations.

This course provides both a Humanities (HU) credit and Cultural Inquiry (C) credit.

For more information, please contact Patrick Williams at 480.857.5007 or To register, access

Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond headlines MLK celebration at Vanderbilt

Civil rights leader and former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond will deliver the keynote address at a 4:30 p.m. event at Vanderbilt University commemorating the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 17.

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Vanderbilt student tickets are still available. A limited number of Vanderbilt faculty/staff and general public tickets are also still available. Student tickets not picked up by Friday will be released so that others may attend. Tickets can be picked up at the Sarratt Box Office in Sarratt Student Center. Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff must show Vanderbilt ID to pick up tickets.

Sarratt Box Office’s regular hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, visit or call 615-343-3361.

The event featuring Bond opens with performances by Vanderbilt student groups Voices of Praise, Victory A Cappella and Jeremiah Generation, and winners of an earlier MLK Essay and Oratorical Contest for local middle and high school students will read their winning essays. Bond will begin his keynote address at 5 p.m. A reception for attendees will follow the event.

Julian Bond

Julian Bond
The theme for Vanderbilt’s commemoration is the “The Road to Freedom,” which will carry through to Bond’s address titled “The Road to Freedom: From Alabama to Obama.” Bond’s talk will be streamed live and made available after the event at

Born in Nashville, Bond is an activist, writer, teacher and lecturer who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) while a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta during the early 1960s. He was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center and served 20 years in the Georgia General Assembly.
He was chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, from 1998 until early 2010. He currently is a distinguished adjunct professor at American University in Washington, D.C., and a professor of history at the University of Virginia.

Other holiday activities scheduled include university-provided transportation for members of the Vanderbilt community wishing to participate in Nashville’s annual citywide march and convocation. Starting at 9:30 a.m., shuttle buses will depart from Hank Ingram/Murray Circle at The Commons, Branscomb Quad and Kirkland Hall to Jefferson Street Baptist Church for the beginning of the march. Lunchtime roundtable discussions on issues relevant to King’s legacy and teach-ins conducted by Vanderbilt faculty and staff are scheduled throughout the afternoon. Students will also participate in community service projects throughout the day and the preceding weekend.

Vanderbilt students will also have the opportunity to tour significant sites in Nashville’s civil rights movement with local civil rights leader Kwame Lillard. The tour buses will depart from Branscomb Quad at 12:15 p.m. Students must register to attend. Visit to register. Fifty students will be selected randomly. The deadline for registration is Wednesday, Jan. 12.

The grand opening for “Relevance, an art exhibit featuring the work of Kamal Al Mansour” will begin at 1 p.m. at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. Mansour uses large mixed media pieces and shadow-box dioramas to depict the African American experience. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At 3:30 p.m. in Vanderbilt’s Sarratt Cinema, middle and high school participants in the Black Cultural Center’s MLK Essay and Oratorical Contest will present their works. A vespers service and candlelight vigil will be held at 9:30 p.m. in Benton Chapel and a short film, “Vanderbilt and the Civil Rights Movement: Reliving the Words from Our Past,” will be shown continuously from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Library Lawn. The film features video of speeches made by prominent civil rights era leaders such as Bond, King and Stokely Carmichael during Vanderbilt’s Impact Symposium, one of the oldest university lecture series of its caliber in the nation that continues today. The Vanderbilt Central Library’s Special Collections provided the video for the film.

For more information, please visit the Vanderbilt University MLK Commemoration website at

Media Contact: Princine Lewis, (615) 322-NEWS

Monday, January 10, 2011

South Mountain Community College Langston Hughes 'Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz'

As a lead-in to South Mountain Community College's 2011 celebration of Black History Month, the college will present "Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz", a multi-media concert based on a poetic masterwork by poet/playwright LANGSTON HUGHES, at the SMCC Performance Hall on Wednesday, January 26 at 7:00 p.m.

Led by internationally recognized scholar Dr. Ron McCurdy, the program will feature Hughes' insightful, wise, poignant, funny and soulful poem, accompanied by a live jazz quartet and video images of the Harlem Renaissance by African-American artists and photographers such as Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks and Romare Bearden.

Tickets will be on sale at the door for $5, general admission. All Maricopa Community College students with a current ID will be admitted free of charge.

South Mountain Community College is located at 7050 S. 24th Street in Phoenix, just north of Baseline Road.

For additional information about SMCC performing arts events, call 602.243.8353 or visit


Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes
"Ask Your Mama" is an 800-line, twelve part poetic suite written by noted African-American poet/writer/playwright LANGSTON HUGHES in 1961. This work is described as a multimedia presentation that recreates Hughes' vision of the global struggle for freedom in the coming, turbulent decade. The piece itself is an original work conceived by USC Professor and Chair of Jazz Studies DR. RON McCURDY, and DR. JOHN S. WRIGHT, Morse-Amoco Distinguished Teaching Professor of Afro-American Studies and African Studies and English at the University of Minnesota.

A scholarly exploration of the original work by Dr. Wright revealed that Hughes had originally included musical cues to accompany his poem, intending to work with musical contemporaries on a full production; regrettably, Hughes died in 1967 before a production could be developed.
Dr. Wright felt that the unrealized work had enormous potential, not only to entertain, but more importantly to introduce modern audiences to the power of Hughes' words and the eloquence of his political discourse. A collaborative effort between Drs. Wright and McCurdy expanded on Hughes' original concept, adding images from the Harlem Renaissance gleaned from Dr. Wright's work at the Schomberg Research Center in Harlem, and an accompanying jazz suite based on Hughes' original notes, composed and arranged by Dr. McCurdy and Eli Bruggeman. As the McCURDY/WRIGHT CONSORT, these two gentlemen have presented "THE LANGSTON HUGHES PROJECT" in both performances and master classes on the college circuit and for African American Heritage celebrations throughout the nation. Information about The Langston Hughes Project is available at:

Dr. Ronald C. McCurdy is Professor of Music in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California (USC) and is Past President of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE). Prior to his appointment at USC he served as Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC. He has served as Professor of Music and chair of the Afro-African American Studies Department and served as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota. In 1997, Dr. McCurdy served as Visiting Professor at Maria-Sklodowska- Curie University in Lublin, Poland. In 2001 Dr. McCurdy received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Kansas.

Dr. McCurdy recently released a CD titled Once Again for the First Time on the INNOVA label and is author of Meet the Great Jazz Legends, published by Alfred Publishing Co. Dr. McCurdy is co-author of a vocal jazz improvisation series titled Approaching the Standards, published by Warner Bros. Dr. McCurdy is in demand as a guest clinician, soloist, speaker, director of honor jazz ensembles and choirs throughout the United States and Canada. He has directed All State Jazz Ensembles in New York, Texas, Arizona, Vermont, Nebraska, Ohio, Nevada, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Florida. Dr. McCurdy received his undergraduate degree from Florida A & M University and his Masters and Ph. D. degrees from the University of Kansas.

Dr. McCurdy is a consultant to the Grammy Foundation educational programs including serving as director of the National Grammy Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He served as Director of the Walt Disney All-American Summer College Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Singers in Orlando, Florida for seven years and continues to serve as a consultant for the college program. A few of the guest artists he has worked with include Joe Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Leslie Uggams, Arturo Sandoval, Diane Schuur, Ramsey Lewis, Mercer Ellington, Dr. Billy Taylor, Maynard Ferguson, Lionel Hampton, and Dianne Reeves. He has served as a member of the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Camp faculty. Dr. McCurdy is a performing artist for the Yamaha International Corporation.

Contact: Robert Price (602) 243-8030 2011 Jan 10 For Immediate Release.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Indiana University Bloomington will remember Martin Luther King Jr.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington will remember Martin Luther King Jr. and celebrate his legacy with activities beginning Thursday (Jan. 13) and running through Jan. 21.

Highlights will include the presentation on Sunday (Jan. 16) of an original, one-woman play by actress and playwright E.P. McKnight, entitled "I Question America," which chronicles the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer.

The university also will help to present the Bloomington community's celebration on Jan. 17, which will feature as keynote speaker Sonia Sanchez, a poet, activist and international lecturer on black culture and literature, women's liberation, peace and racial justice. The theme for IU Bloomington's celebration is "Sustaining the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Other IU events include a day of activities for elementary school children at the IU School of Education, an interfaith prayer service, a leadership breakfast, a unity summit and a series of films that will be presented in campus cultural centers and residence halls. With the exception of the breakfast, all IU events celebrating King's life are free and open to the public.

Dr. Martin Luther King jr.Classes are not held on the King holiday, and many IU Bloomington students use the day to honor King's legacy by volunteering in the community. "A Day On, Not a Day Off" -- a massive volunteer effort organized in cooperation with a number of nonprofit agencies, IU and the city of Bloomington -- will be all day on Jan. 17.

Also on Jan. 17, the IU School of Optometry, in collaboration with the Salvation Army, will provide eye exams and eye glasses to members of the Bloomington community who do not have access to vision care. Eligible patients are required to sign up with the Salvation Army prior to the holiday. The event will begin at 9 a.m. at the Community Eye Care Center, 803 N. Monroe.

The IU Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs and the MLK Jr. Day Celebration Planning Committee are coordinating many events. They are working closely with Residential Programs and Services, the Kelley School of Business and the IU schools of education, journalism and optometry and the sociology department in the IU College of Arts and Sciences.

E.P. McKnight's "I Question America"

McKnight's performance of "I Question America" will begin at 3 p.m. on Jan. 16 in Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St.

McKnight, a graduate of Fordham University and author of Words "N" Action, a book of inspirational and motivational poetry, wrote the play to help others become more familiar with Hamer's role in history. Her on-screen credits include roles in "Once And Again," "ER," "Passions" and "Another World" and "All My Children."

Inspired by organizers from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Hamer began to strive for equal rights in 1962 and later co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. She represented the organization in 1964 at the National Democratic Convention and challenged Mississippi's all-white and anti-civil rights delegation.

"If the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America," Hamer said in a nationally televised speech. "Is this America? The land of the free and the home of the brave? Where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hook, because our lives be threatened daily?"

Hamer also helped to organize the "Freedom Summer" in Mississippi that summer and was seated as a member of Mississippi's legitimate delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and again in 1972.

In a 1970 lawsuit, Hamer v. Sunflower County, she demanded school desegregation in her local community. She ran unsuccessfully for the Mississippi state Senate in 1971 and published To Praise Our Bridges: An Autobiography in 1967. Hamer died in 1977.

McKnight also will speak at a reception that follows her performance, which is free and open to the public.

"Jazz Service for Peace"

Keith McCutchen, director of the IU African American Choral Ensemble, is coordinating a program, "Jazz Service for Peace," on Sunday (Jan. 16). The program will begin at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, 2120 N. Fee Lane. The service will allow the Bloomington community to experience the universal power of jazz music interwoven with the words of King's principles of freedom, community, non-violence and cultural exchange. The performance will feature local church and school choirs and other community organizations, a jazz quintet and the African American Choral Ensemble, conducted by McCutchen.

The musical service will feature the jazz arrangements by Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Hall Johnson and McCutchen. The musical also will feature the reading of King's Opening Address at the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival along with other readings and ecumenical prayers for peace.

Sonia Sanchez

Sanchez is a poet, playwright and educator noted for her black activism. She received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Hunter College in 1955 and briefly studied writing at New York University. In the 1960s, Sanchez was introduced to the political activism of the times and published poetry in such journals as The Liberator, the Journal of Black Poetry, Black Dialogue and Negro Digest and has written more than 16 books and plays.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts Lucretia Mott Award in 1984, the Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators; the Peace and Freedom Award from Women International League for Peace and Freedom for 1989 and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts for 1992-93.

The Jan. 17 community event, which also will feature musical performances, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., and is free and open to the public. For more information, go to, or contact Craig Brenner at 812-349-3471.

Other events centered around the holiday include:

An annual Leadership Breakfast that brings the IU community together to focus on King's ideals, beginning at 8 a.m. on Jan. 17 in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union. Winners of IU's MLK Day essay contest and Building Bridges Award will be announced and receive special recognition. Attendance is by invitation only and an RSVP is required to

An Interfaith Prayer Service scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Jan. 17, in Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union. The program celebrates and increases awareness of various faith traditions through reflective prayers, music and the spoken word.

A Unity Summit in the Willkie Auditorium, 150 N. Rose Ave., Jan. 17, noon to 3:30 p.m. The event brings IU students together for a program that promotes civil dialogue and explores ways to improve the campus climate for all IU students.

The IU Bloomington School of Education's Eighth Annual King Activity Day with Children, Jan. 17, in the School of Education Atrium. Elementary-age students from the community will participate in a variety of educational activities, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information or to volunteer, contact Leana McClain at 812-856-8160 or

IU's Race and Ethnic Relations Committee will screen the documentary, "Citizen King," at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 at La Casa Latino Cultural Center, 715 E. Seventh St. Fabio Rojas, IU associate professor of sociology, will moderate a discussion afterwards.

A discussion will follow a presentation of King's "I Have a Dream" speech at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Jan. 13) at the Kelley School of Business.

"Speak to Me: Open Mike Night" will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Union Street Center Auditorium.

At 7 p.m. Sunday in Ernie Pyle Hall, visiting journalism professor Marty Pieratt will discuss his book, First Black Red: The Story of Chuck Harmon, the First African American to Play Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds. The book is a biography of Chuck Harmon, a Washington, Ind., native and one of 12 children who was the first African-American to suit up for the Reds on April 17, 1954.

A series of films which deal with civil and human rights, including "A Time to Kill," "Crash," "Remember the Titans," "Invictus, "Freedom Writer" and "Gran Torino" will be shown across campus. For details, go to

"Have We Lost Sight of Dr. Martin Luther King's Dream?," a luncheon discussion at noon on Jan. 21 at the Asian Culture Center, 807 E. 10th St.

Complete information about all IU King Day events is available at a special Web site at


Friday, January 7, 2011

Double Exposure: African Americans Before and Behind the Camera


COLLEGE PARK, MD. – Double Exposure: African Americans Before and Behind the Camera, showcases 90 vintage photographs from The Amistad Center for Art & Culture’s historical collection of art and artifacts with photo-based art by contemporary African American artists. The exhibition organized by the Amistad Center for Art & Culture at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of art in Hartford, CT, opens to the public at the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland on Thursday, January 20, 2011, with an opening reception on Wednesday, January 19, 2011, from 5pm to 7pm. The exhibition will stay on view until Friday, March 11, 2011.

Double Exposure, curated by guest curators Lisa Henry and Frank Mitchell, illuminates the persistent interplay between the past and the present in African American photography. The exhibition highlights and explores the African American experience by bringing together photographic works from the 19th and 20th centuries by artists who expressed the experience of race through the use of personal, cultural and historical images. The exhibit delves into the interconnected reality of the past and the present for African American photography as well as concepts of identity and memory through visually theorizing the shifting relationships between black cultural memory and contemporary photographic storytelling

Willie Middlebrook Portraits of My People #246

Willie Middlebrook Portraits of My People #246, 1991. Gelatin silver print © Collection of the artist, Long Beach, CA
Double Exposure presents the history of African American photography in thematic sections rather than a strict chronology. The major themes include: the influence of historical and family photography on contemporary African American art; the multiple uses of photographic appropriation, a technique that has been used since the 1970s to commemorate as well as to critique;
the importance of the portrait tradition in African American photography from the earliest studio portraits of the 19th century to the mural size color and digital portraits made today; and the influence of master photographers such as Augustus Washington and James Van Der Zee. The techniques represented in the exhibit include: daguerreotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite, traditional silver prints, Polaroids, digital prints, assemblage, and photographs printed on linen, wood and felt.

The works of a variety of African American photographers are represented; in addition to those mentioned earlier, also included are J. P. Ball, Napoleon Sarony, Cornelius Marion Battey and Addison Scurlock as well as contemporary photographers such as Leslie Hewitt, Carla Williams, Clarissa Sligh, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, Albert Chong, and Myra Greene. Varying greatly in age and life experiences, as well as having different artistic, photographic and cultural interests, these artists display the daily lives of African American individuals and families in the Antebellum and Post Antebellum periods across the United States. This exhibition displays a range of works that cover significant events and periods throughout the history of the African American community such as the Reconstruction period to the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. This exhibition was sponsored by Aetna.

About the David C. Driskell Center: The David C. Driskell Center celebrates the legacy of David C. Driskell – Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Art, Artist, Art Historian, Collector and Curator – by preserving the rich heritage of African American visual art and culture. The Driskell Center is committed to preserving, documenting and presenting African American art, as well as replenishing and expanding the field of African American art. This exhibition is supported in part, by a special fund from the Office of the President at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

All exhibitions and events at the David C. Driskell Center are free and open to the public. The facility is wheelchair accessible. The Driskell Center Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 11:00am to 4:00pm with extended hours on Wednesday until 6:00pm. The Driskell Center observes all UMD closings including snow days and holidays; for closing due to Inclement Weather, visit For further information regarding this exhibition and future activities at the Driskell Center, please call 301.314.2615 or visit

NEWS RELEASE Date: January 3, 2011 Contact: Ms. Dorit Yaron Title: Deputy Director Phone: 301.405.6835 Email:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sleeping Through a Great Revolution

"Sleeping Through a Great Revolution" to be keynote address of Jan. 13th celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Sleeping Through a Great Revolution" will be the keynote address Thursday (Jan. 13) at a community celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Open to the public, the free 7 p.m. program will be held at West Virginia University at Parkersburg in the college's multi-purpose room.

The celebration is co-sponsored by DuPont Washington Works and WVU Parkersburg.

Keynote speaker will be Joseph Bundy, founder and artistic director of the Afro-Appalachian Performance Company.

The program will also feature performances by the Martin Luther King Jr. Male Chorus.

Bundy is an actor, writer and humanities scholar. He has been active in the arts in West Virginia and the mid-Appalachian region for several years. As a dramatist, Bundy has directed and performed in numerous plays for the Afro-Appalachian Performance Company and has been a guest artist for various theatrical groups.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Male Chorus

The Martin Luther King Jr. Male Chorus
He is known for his Chautauqua impersonations of James Weldon Johnson, Booker T. Washington, Martin R. Delany, A. Phillip Randolph and others. Bundy was selected by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission as one of five to receive the 2010 “Living the Dream Human and Civil Rights Award.”

The Martin Luther King Jr. Male Chorus includes approximately 40 men, both clergy and lay leaders, from 26 denominationally diverse congregations from St. Albans to Oak Hill.

Under the direction of Marshall Murray, the ensemble sings both contemporary and traditional African-American gospel music.

Also, as part of the program, winners in student essay and art contests will be announced. A reception will follow in the multi-purpose room.

The program is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusion or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.


For additional information, contact: Connie Dziagwa WVU Parkersburg Executive Director. Institutional Advancement (304-424-8203 - Office) E-mail

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Panel discussions to focus on legal issues, historical significance of UGA’s desegregation

Athens, Ga. – Two panel discussions on the University of Georgia’s desegregation 50 years ago will take place Jan. 10-11 on campus.

“We believe that it’s very important for students to know about this history—even though we are five decades removed from 1961,” said Derrick Alridge, director of the Institute for African American Studies and co-chair of the 50th Anniversary of Desegregation Committee. “The desegregation of UGA ushered in an era of change that paved the way for UGA to become a world-class university.”

A panel discussion about the legal issues involved in UGA’s desegregation and progress the university has made over the past five decades will be held Jan. 10 at 5 p.m. in Masters Hall of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel.

Participants will include Horace Ward, the first African American to challenge UGA’s discriminatory admissions policies after being denied admission to the School of Law in 1950, and Robert Benham, who was one of the first African Americans to receive a law degree from UGA in 1970 and later became the first African-American chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.

Horace T. Ward

Horace T. Ward
Specifically, the group will discuss Ward’s experiences with his court case and the court case surrounding Hamilton Holmes’ and Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s 1959 application to UGA. Ward, currently a senior district judge, served on Holmes’ and Hunter-Gault’s legal team. He also is the first African American to sit on the federal bench in Georgia.

“Horace Ward was the first African American to apply to the School of Law and his case helped pave the way for Hamilton and Charlayne’s case to come along a few years later,” Alridge said.

The panel discussion “Chronicling UGA’s Desegregation” will be held Jan. 11 at 4:30 p.m. Room 101 of the Miller Learning Center.

It will feature five authors who have written about the desegregation. From UGA’s faculty, the authors are Maurice Daniels, dean of the School of Social Work, who wrote Horace T. Ward: Desegregation of the University of Georgia, Civil Rights Advocacy and Jurisprudence; Robert Pratt, a history professor who chronicled UGA’s desegregation in We Shall Not Be Moved; and Thomas Dyer, a history professor emeritus who included a chapter on the event in his bicentennial history of UGA.

Robert Cohen, professor of history and social studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, who also has written about UGA’s desegregation in the Georgia Historical Quarterly; and Calvin Trillin, who wrote An Education in Georgia and was a reporter for Time magazine at the time of the desegregation, also will participate in the discussion.

“These are the most prominent scholars on UGA’s desegregation,” said Alridge. “Their scholarship comprises the major historiography of UGA’s desegregation.”

Betty Jean Craige, director of the Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts and University Professor of Comparative Literature, will moderate the discussion. She will ask about the importance of UGA’s desegregation in the history of the university and higher education in the U.S., about students reaction to the presence of Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes and about when white student attitudes toward black students and faculty begin to change.

For more information about the desegregation of UGA and anniversary events, see

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

South Mountain Community College annual production of Black Women Walking

SOUTH MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE PRESENTS BLACK WOMEN WALKING ~ Popular Production Returns to Highlight Black History Month ~ Shows Set For Feb. 11-12, 2011


To observe and celebrate Black History Month, South Mountain Community College, the SMCC Black Student Union and Seek First Entertainment will present their third annual production of Black Women Walking, the popular one-act play spotlighting the achievements of eleven notable African-American women, February 11-12, 2011.


From the living room of three friends, playgoers venture back in time to meet such historic figures as Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Mary McLeod Bethune, and other Black heroines of history, and witness the courage, character, and brilliance of these women who impacted the American landscape with their powerful journeys toward freedom, justice and equality.


Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth
The play is written by Karen F. Williams and directed by Kevvin Taylor. The complete cast will be announced at a later date.


* Friday, February 11, 7 p.m.
* Saturday, February 12, 7 p.m.


Black Women Walking will be presented in the South Mountain Community College Performance Hall, 7050 S. 24th Street in Phoenix, just north of Baseline Road.


General admission tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and $5 for seniors age 55 and older.


* Call 602.315.8178 (Seek First Entertainment)
2011 Jan 04 For Immediate Release Contact: Robert Price (602) 243-8030

Monday, January 3, 2011

Civil Rights Icon Joins Speaker Series

Carlotta Walls LaNier who, along with eight other students, integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 at the age of 14, will speak at Fayetteville State Univeristy (FSU) on January 20, 2011. LaNier’s appearance is part of the Chancellor’s Speaker Series. The presentation begins at 6 p.m. and is fee and open to the public.

The oldest of three daughters, LaNier was born on December 18, 1942. She made history as the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine courageous African American students who integrated Little Rock Central High School. The world watched as these children and their families braved constant intimidation and threats.

Inspired by Rosa Parks and the desire to get the best education available, LaNier enrolled in Central High School. White students called her names and spat on her and armed guards escorted her to classes, but LaNier concentrated on her studies and protected herself throughout the school year. Governor Orval Faubus stopped the public schools from opening in September of 1958, and after a year of closure and controversy, the schools re-opened in 1959. LaNier returned to Central High, graduating in 1960.

Carlotta Walls LaNier

Carlotta Walls LaNier
LaNier attended Michigan State University for two years before moving with her family to Denver. In 1968, she earned a B.S. from Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado) and began working at the YWCA as a program administrator for teens. In 1977, she founded LaNier and Company, a real estate brokerage company. Her experience in real estate extends from constructing and remodeling properties to marketing and selling them. Cherry Creek Realtors hired her in 1987.

LaNier was awarded the prestigious Spingarn Medal by the NAACP in 1958. She has been a member of the Colorado Aids Project, Jack and Jill of America, the Urban League and the NAACP, as well as the president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, a scholarship organization dedicated to ensuring equal access to education for African Americans.
She has also served as a trustee for the Iliff School of Theology. In 1999, President Bill Clinton bestowed the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, to the members of the Little Rock Nine. In 2009, LaNier completed her book, A Mighty Long Way, a biography with forward by Bill Clinton. LaNier and her husband, Ira

(Ike) LaNier, have two children, Whitney and Brooke.

FSU is the second-oldest public institution in North Carolina. A member of the University of North Carolina System, FSU has more than 6,300 students and offers degrees in 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Fayetteville State University News and Information For more information, please call (910) 672-1474.