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January 9, 2003

Maya Angelou speech anchors Black Cultural Center event lineup

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - An address on Feb. 5 by acclaimed author Maya Angelou is among the highlights of the Purdue University Black Cultural Center's lineup of spring events.

The spring semester BCC Cultural Arts Series will begin Monday (1/13) with art exhibits in the Robert L. Ringel and Stewart Center galleries. Entitled, "Ritual and Rebirth: African Masks from the West Guinea Coast," the first exhibit features association masks from the Poro and Soweii societies. The masks were traditionally used in ceremonial rites of passage in which young men and women were indoctrinated into the social responsibilities of adulthood.

The exhibit is being developed by art history students in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts under the supervision of art professor David Parrish. In recognition of the exhibit, a reception will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, in the Purdue Memorial Union's West Faculty Lounge. The reception will feature a performance by the Drums of West Africa, led by Price Julius Adeniya, and a lecture by William Siegmann, curator of the Arts of Africa and the Pacific Islands at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Showing concurrently in the Stewart Center Gallery, "Images of Human Rights" will document the promise of the burgeoning South African democracy in a portfolio of black-and-white woodcuts recently acquired for the Purdue Galleries permanent collection. In the aftermath of apartheid, the portfolio was assembled to celebrate the creation of the South African Bill of Rights. Each of the 27 clauses of the Bill of Rights is represented by an image from an individual South African artist. The Haraka Writers, a performing ensemble at the Black Cultural Center, are composing writings that reflect upon the exhibit images and the individual clauses of the South African Bill of Rights.

In recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a lecture will be delivered by Horace Huntley, director of the Oral History Project at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. His speech, entitled "Inspired by the Past: A Vision for the Future," will begin at 7 p.m. in Fowler Hall. It is free and open to the public.

The Oral History Project, for which Huntley has served as director since 1994, has recorded more than 260 interviews with participants in the Birmingham movement and others affected by Jim Crow separatism of the city. Huntley also serves as an assistant professor at the University of Alabama.  A frequent lecturer, he is published in the "Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History."

Angelou's speech on Wednesday, Feb. 5, will be delivered at 7 p.m. in the Elliott Hall of Music. Regarded as one of the great voices of contemporary literature, Angelou is a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil rights activist, producer and director,  She has written 12 best-selling books, including "I know Why the Caged Bird Sings."

Angelou's most recent work, "A Song Flung Up to Heaven," is currently on the best seller list for hardcover nonfiction. She is only the second poet in U.S. history to have written and recited original work at a presidential inauguration. Admission is $5 for students with a Purdue I.D. and $10 for the general public.

Other events sponsored by the Black Cultural Center include:

  • "Grandma's Quilt The Journey of an African Woman from Slavery to Freedom," 7 p.m.  Feb. 11 in the Experimental Theatre. It is free and open to the public.

    "Grandma's Quilt" is a theatrical chronicle of an African female born in slavery and her struggle in finding freedom. It begins in the post-slavery era of the 1920s, winds through two world wars, explores the innocence of America in the 1940s and '50s, and concludes in the present day.

  • Haraka Writers poetry presentation, 5 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Stewart Center Galleries. It is free and open to the public. The Haraka Writers will present poems in response to the "Images of Human Rights" artwork on display in the Stewart Center Gallery.

  • Haraka Writers love poems presentation, 7 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Black Cultural Center. It is free and open to the public.

  • "Black Women's Studies and the Academy: A National Symposium," Feb. 27 through March 1.

    The symposium will provide an opportunity for scholars, faculty, students, professionals and other researchers to trace the development of black women's studies as a discipline. Attendees will discuss theory as related to the study of black women. The symposium also will provide a forum for scholars to consider critical issues facing black women and explore research possibilities which can affect positive social change. The symposium is free for Purdue students and faculty. The fee is $22 for non-Purdue students and $42 for non-Purdue faculty. Contact the Black Cultural Center at (765) 494-3092 to register.

  • Coffee House, 7 p.m. March 46. at the Black Cultural Center. The New Directional Players will present three performances of "Wrong Man" by Amy Wheeler. The play is inspired by the James Byrd lynching in Texas. Admission is $5 for students and $7 for the general public.

  • Museum trip, March 7-8. A journey to discover African-American St. Louis will take place. Participants will visit the Black World History Museum and the Missouri Historical Society to learn more about historical figures, such as Dred Scott and Katherine Dunham, along with the contributions of many African-Americans to the city of St. Louis. The preregistration deadline is Feb. 21. A fee of $50 for students and $100 for the general public will be due at that time.

  • Haraka Fest, 7 p.m. March 26-March 27 at Fowler Hall. The Haraka Writers will present their most recent works.

  • Black Voices of Inspiration Spring Concert, 3 p.m. April 6 in Loeb Playhouse.

  • New Directional Players Spring Production, 7 p.m. April 12 in Fowler Hall.

  • Jahari Dance Troupe Spring Revue, 7 p.m. April 19 in Loeb Playhouse.

    Admission for all spring performances by BCC ensembles is $5 for students and $7 for the general public.

    CONTACT: Renee Thomas, Black Cultural Center director, (765) 494-3091, rathomas@purdue.edu; Craig Martin, Purdue Galleries director, (765) 494-3061; cmartin@purdue.edu

    Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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