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By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University's celebration of Black History Month, "Break the 28," will begin with the visit of renowned director, choreographer, and dancer Bill T. Jones on Jan. 23 and will continue throughout January and February.
Most events in the celebration, which is co-sponsored by the Griot Institute for Africana Studies, are open to the public without charge.
"The 'Break the 28' theme is a collaboration between the Griot Institute for Africana Studies and the Office of Multicultural Student Services," said Vincent Stephens, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Services at Bucknell.
"The phrase, coined by Bucknell international relations professor Hilbourne Watson, refers to a desire to envision African-American history as a vital part of American experience beyond the 28 days of February usually celebrated as Black History Month."
One key feature in the series is The Great 28 + 1. "From late January through early February we will post a daily fact on the university Message Center about black history at Bucknell. Each post also will feature information about a song with unique resonance for black American history and will include a YouTube link to the song," Stephens said.
Bill T. Jones to launch 'Break the 28'
Acclaimed performer Bill T. Jones will present "An Evening with Bill T. Jones" on Monday, Jan. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Harvey Powers Theatre of Coleman Hall.
The recipient of a MacArthur 'Genius' Award in 1994, two Tony Awards for Best Choreography, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2010, Jones will share his candid observations about directing, choreography and the life of an artist.
The Black History Month celebration continues with a performance by nine-time Grammy-winner and philanthropist John Legend on Tuesday, Jan. 24, as part of the Bucknell Forum national speaker series.
Legend will give a presentation on creativity at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center, then participate in a question-and-answer session prior to an hour-long concert. Because seating is limited, this is a ticketed event. Tickets will be distributed through a random lottery. For ticket information, see www.bucknell.edu/theforum
Noted fiction writer Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow, will give a reading on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. in Bucknell Hall. The reading will be followed by a book signing.
Jones is the author of three novels, all set in her hometown of Atlanta. Silver Sparrow explores the intersecting lives of James Witherspoon's two families, one public and one secret, and the impacts these dynamics have on his two daughters.
Bucknell will host the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration "Beloved" dinner on Monday, Jan. 30, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Terrace Room of the Elaine Langone Center.
The Beloved Community is a term used by King to describe a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth, with racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.
Dinner tickets are $10 for adults and students, $5 for children ages 7-12, available in the Elaine Langone Center ground-floor mall beginning Jan. 19 through Jan. 26, or via e-mail at MSS@bucknell.edu.
MLK Community Service projects
As part of Bucknell's MLK Community Day of Service program, students volunteers will work with local agencies Jan. 28 through Feb. 28. Service projects include assisting in the HandUp Foundation thrift store in Milton and cleaning assistance at the Sunbury YMCA (Jan. 28); making Black History Month educational items for Linntown Intermediate School (Feb. 7); facilitating educational workshops at Linntown Intermediate School (Feb. 16), Essex Place (Feb. 20), and Meadowview (Feb. 21); baking healthy snacks for local after-school programs (Feb. 22); and making no-sew fleece blankets for victims of the fall 2011 flood (Feb. 28).
For more information about these volunteer events, contact Lynn Pierson, assistant director for community service, at email@example.com or 570-577-1292.
'Break the 28' continues in February
The Black History Month celebration continues through February with several events, including the Griot Institute series, "Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: An American Origin Story," which will feature lectures, a film and a soundscape.
"These events are part of a larger semester-long series reflecting on the relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson," said Carmen Gillespie, director of the Griot Institute, professor of English and University Arts Coordinator at Bucknell.
- Feb. 1: Joshua Rothman will give the talk, "Hemings, Jefferson and Interracial Relationships in 18th-century Virginia," at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center. Rothman is an associate professor of history and African-American studies at University of Alabama and director of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South.
- Feb. 11: The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will perform "Body Against Body" at 8 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $25.
- Feb. 15: folksinger/songwriter Vance Gilbert will perform in concert at the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg at 7:30 p.m.
- Feb. 16: Rashad Shabazz will give the talk, "Geographies of Black Masculinity," at 4:30 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center. Shabazz is an assistant professor of geography at the University of Vermont.
- Feb. 16: the "Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: An American Origin Story" series continues with a screening of the PBS Frontline film, "Jefferson's Blood," at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center.
- Feb. 20: a food activism workshop with Dara Cooper, senior project manager with FreshMoves mobile produce market, and artist Fereshteh Toosi, creator of the Garlic & Greens soul-food oral history archive, at noon in Room 217 of the Elaine Langone Center.
- Feb. 20: African-American Foodways panel discussion, 5:30 p.m., Center Room, Elaine Langone Center.
- Feb. 21: "To Be Heard," a documentary film about poetry slams, will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Campus Theatre. The film will be followed by a panel discussion with William Evans; Jamaal May, Stadler Fellow; and Bucknell junior Lakiyra "Oompa" Williams, sponsored by the Stadler Center for Poetry.
- Feb. 23: Monika Gosin will give a talk at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center as part of the Center for the Study of Race Ethnicity and Gender/Social Sciences Colloquium Series, "Shades of Black and Brown." Gosin is a professor of sociology at William & Mary.
- Feb. 29: the "Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: An American Origin Story" series continues with conceptual artists Mendi and Keith Obadike who will share their original sound installation, "American Cypher: Stereo Helix for Sally Hemings," in the Samek Art Gallery. The Obadikes will give a talk and premiere a video associated with their installation beginning at 7 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre. Created for the Bucknell campus, the project uses the genetic code of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson as a musical score input into custom software to generate an original evolving soundscape. The soundscape will broadcast in the downhill stairwell of the Elaine Langone Center from February through the end of the semester.