January 21, 2013

Updated Feb. 1, 2013

By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University's celebration of Black History Month, "A Celebration in Blue," will use blues music as a focal point for a variety of events. Most events in the celebration, which is co-sponsored by the Griot Institute for Africana Studies, are open to the public without charge.

"Though the blues is commonly understood as a musical genre the melancholy, resilience, creativity, humor, and perceptiveness intrinsic to blues music are recurring themes in the lives of African-Americans, " said Vincent Stephens, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Services at Bucknell.

"From the thrilling soul cries of Etta James and Howlin' Wolf to the bountiful literary complexity of James Baldwin and Toni Morrison to the galvanizing poetics of Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, and Sonia Sanchez, the blues lives and breathes in many mediums," he said.

The "Celebration in Blue" began Jan. 28 with the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration "Beloved" dinner. 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. The event included a regional blues themed food menu and talks by keynote speaker Arthur Flowers, Syracuse University, and Bucknell sophomore Caesar Vulley, vocal performances by Beyond Unison and poetry by Bucknell senior Lakiyra "Oompa" Williams.

Other events in the "Celebration in Blue" series includes:

  • Jan. 30: Janet Weis Jazz Series. Vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant, 7:30 p.m., Weis Center Lobby.
  • Feb. 4: Lecture. "Living with Lynching: African-American Lynching Plays, Performance and Citizenship, " Koritha Mitchell, Ohio State University, 7 p.m., Forum, Elaine Langone Center, co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender.
  • Feb. 5: Poetry Reading. Terrance Hayes, poet-in-residence, 7 p.m., Bucknell Hall, co-sponsored by the Stadler Center for Poetry.
  • Feb. 6: Lecture. "A Dream Deferred: The Promise and Pathos of Peoples' Temple," Rebecca Moore, San Diego State University, 7 p.m., Forum, Elaine Langone Center, co-sponsored by the Griot Institute for Africana Studies series, "Jonestown Reconsidered, 35 years later."
  • Feb. 12: Poetry Discussion: Terrance Hayes, poet-in-residence, conversation and question-and-answer session, 4 p.m., Smith Library, Vaughan Literature Building, co-sponsored by the Stadler Center for Poetry.
  • Feb. 12: Blues Concert. Doug McMinn, 7:30 p.m., Weis Center Lobby.
  • Feb. 19: Film. "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples' Temple," a documentary by Stanley Nelson, 7:30 p.m., Campus Theatre, Lewisburg. Co-sponsored by the Griot Institute, the film will be followed by a discussion. In a related event, film-maker Stanley Nelson will discuss his film Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center.
  • Feb. 20: Lecture. "Documenting Jonestown," film-maker Stanley Nelson, 7 p.m., Forum, Elaine Langone Center, co-sponsored by the Griot Institute for Africana Studies in conjunction with the "Jonestown Reconsidered, 35 years later" series.
  • Feb. 27: Lecture. "Narrating Jonestown: Transforming History into Art," Leigh Fondakowski, Emmy nominated screenwriter for HBO's "The Laramie Project," 7 p.m., Forum, Elaine Langone Center, co-sponsored by the Griot Institute for Africana Studies in conjunction with the "Jonestown Reconsidered, 35 years later" series.

MLK Community Service projects
As part of Bucknell's MLK Community Day of Service program, students volunteers will work with local agencies Jan. 26 through Feb. 21. Service projects include assisting with recycling on Sixth and Seventh streets (Jan. 26 and every Saturday); crafting educational materials for Linntown Intermediate School (Feb. 5); playing Scrabble with the Area Agency on Aging (6:30 p.m. every Tuesday in February in the Barnes & Noble at Bucknell bookstore in Lewisburg); and making no-sew fleece blankets for the Red Cross (Feb. 28).

For more information about these volunteer events, contact Lynn Pierson, assistant director for community service, at lynn.pierson@bucknell.edu or 570-577-1292.

Contact: Division of Communications
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