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January 31, 2014

Lafayette Celebrates Black Heritage Month

Lafayette will celebrate Black Heritage Month in February with theater, dance, discussion forums, and lectures.

Abenezer Solomon '14 performs with other members of the Percussion Ensemble during last year's Black Heritage Month finale.

Abenezer Solomon ’14 performs with other members of the Percussion Ensemble during last year’s Black Heritage Month finale.

A special theater series will examine the changing racial makeup of American cities across many generations. The program will include two opportunities to see Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway starring Denzel Washington and Diahann Carroll. Lafayette College Theater will present Clybourne Park, Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning response to Hansberry’s play, spanning half a century in urban American with a focus on race, real estate, and the volatile values of each. Michael O’Neill, associate professor of English and director of theater, is directing the production running March 5-8. The series is part of Lafayette’s START initiative, which is funded by an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The month’s keynote speaker will be author and civil rights activist Tim Wise 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at Moravian College. Wise is the author of six books, including his highly acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son. In addition to his talk, there will be a workshop for faculty and staff.

Members of Nia (Multicultural Women’s Support Group) perform a skit during last year's finale.

Members of Nia (Multicultural Women’s Support Group) perform a skit during last year’s finale.

Another highlight will be the presentation of Stardust by David Roussève and his dance company REALITY 8 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Williams Center. The experimental production follows an unseen black gay teenager trying to negotiate a path through adolescence. Roussève, professor of choreography at UCLA, will host a talkback workshop for students noon Feb. 12 in the Marlo Room.

The month’s events are coordinated by the Office of Intercultural Development and are sponsored by the Africana studies, College Theater, and women’s and gender studies programs, Association of Black Collegians, the departments of anthropology & sociology and government & law, Friends of Skillman Library, the Office of Religious Life, the Pre-Law Advising program, and the Williams Center. For more information, contact Intercultural Development at (610) 330-5320.

Schedule of events:

  • Feb. 1, 10 p.m., Portlock Black Cultural Center – Black History Month Kick-Off Party
  • Feb. 10, noon, Portlock Black Cultural Center – discussion on “Saturday Night Live, Black Women, and ‘Diversity’ Hiring”
  • Feb. 11, 8 p.m., Williams Center for the Arts – David Roussève and REALITY present Stardust
  • Feb. 12, noon, Farinon College Center Marlo Room – Talkback with David Roussève, professor of choreography at UCLA
  • Feb. 18, noon, Skillman Library Gendebein Room – “Lafayette College and the Desegregation of the Sun Bowl” presented by Diane Shaw, director of Special Collections and College archivist
  • Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m., Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104 – “Suppressing Citizen Voices? The Impact of Felon Disenfranchisement and Voter ID Laws” presented by S. David Mitchell, associate professor of law at University of Missouri
  • Feb. 21, noon, Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104 – “Old Men and Women ‘Doing Gender’: Carework, Aging, and Identity in Uganda” presented by Enid Schatz, associate professor health sciences at University of Missouri
  • Feb. 25, noon, Portlock Black Cultural Center – discussion on “Richard Sherman and Other ‘Thugs’”
  • Feb. 25, 7 p.m., Moravian College – Black History Month keynote lecture presented by author and activist Tim Wise
  • March 5-8, Williams Center for the Arts – College Theater presents Clybourne Park
  • March 10, 7 p.m., Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104 – “New York v. Quarles and the ‘Public Safety Exception’ to Miranda Rights” presented by Steven J. Hyman `62, chair of Litigation Department at McLaughlin & Stern, LLP Attorneys at Law, who argued the case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1984
  • March 11, noon, Hogg Hall Interfaith Chapel – “A Day in the Life of an NYC Attorney” presented by Steven Hyman `62
  • March 12-13, all day, New York City – A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway starring Denzel Washington and Diahann Carroll
  • April 8, 4 p.m., Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104 – The annual McDonogh Lecture presented by Ira Berlin, Distinguished University Professor of History at University of Maryland, on African American history and contemporary critical topics in the field

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