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Lecture to feature rare slides of Harlem Renaissance artists

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The director of Black American Studies at the University of Delaware will speak about prominent women of the Harlem Renaissance during a lecture at Purdue University on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Carole Marks, who also serves as a professor of sociology, will speak at 7 p.m. in Stewart Center, Room 218. The talk is free and open to the public.

Marks' lecture, entitled "Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Reflections of Women in the Harlem Renaissance," will be accompanied by slides of rarely seen photos of Harlem Renaissance artists. The slides also appear in Marks' book, "The Power of Pride: Stylemakers and Rulebreakers of the Harlem Renaissance," published by Crown Publishers.

As Marks describes it, the Harlem Renaissance was an electrifying period during which unprecedented numbers of African-Americans threw off the yokes of sharecropping and other forms of servitude in the South. Heady with feelings of liberation and the discovery of others like them, artists, writers, painters and dancers headed north and engaged in bursts of furious creativity.

From Josephine Baker taking Paris by storm in her feather boa and banana costume, to Duke Ellington revolutionizing the way people thought about rhythm and melody, each of these artists became a superstar of the era. In her talk, Marks will address the contributions of several of the women artists of the renaissance, including Jessie Fauset, Nella Larsen, Dorothy West and Zora Neale Hurston.

Renee Thomas, director of Purdue's Black Cultural Center, says Marks' lecture will be enlightening.

"This is a visually stunning presentation of rarely seen images of Harlem Renaissance women," Thomas says. "Dr. Marks' presentation will transport the audience back in time and provide fascinating accounts of key figures of this dynamic period."

Throughout her career, Marks has studied the migration of black Americans. Before moving to the University of Delaware in 1987, Marks held research positions at Duke and Harvard universities, as well as teaching positions at St. Lawrence University, Brown University and Williams College. She also has served as president of the Association of Black Sociologists.

CONTACT: Renee Thomas, (765) 494-3091,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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