sealPurdue News

September 12, 2002

Social activist from Harlem to speak at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University's Black Cultural Center will kick off its fall Cultural Arts Series with a lecture by social activist and educator the Rev. Calvin O. Butts III.

Butts will make his presentation, entitled "Harlem's New Renaissance: America's Best Kept Secret," at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. Butts is pastor of the Albyssinian Baptist Church in New York City and president of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury.

As a social activist, Butts led efforts against police brutality and boycotts of institutions with racist policies. He also led a campaign to eliminate billboard advertising of alcohol and tobacco products in Harlem and has been a vocal critic of rap music lyrics that denigrate women and promote violence. As a founder of the Albyssinian Development Corporation, Butts helped to attract more than $100 million in housing and commercial development in the Harlem district of New York City.

Renee Thomas, Black Cultural Center director, says Butts is a dynamic speaker who is well suited to launch the center's fall series of events.

"Reverend Butts is one of the most important African-American leaders in our nation," Thomas says. "He addresses a range of issues that are important to Americans, including the economy, politics, salvation and even rap music."

Throughout the fall semester, the Black Cultural Center's programs will focus on the Harlem Renaissance period between 1920 and 1930. During that time, Harlem experienced an artistic boom when music, art, literature and the struggle for racial identity converged.

CONTACT: Thomas, (765) 494-3091,

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: A publication-quality photo of the Rev. Calvin Butts is available at

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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