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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

SU Celebrates African-American History Month

SALISBURY, MD---When Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the celebration known today as African-American History Month, his intent was to encourage African-Americans to be proud of their heritage and help others understand the culture.

Salisbury University’s African-American History Month celebration, held each February, aims for the same goals. This year, a series of informative talks, films and a performance by one of America’s premier dance companies honor the celebration’s founder as part of the national theme “Carter G. Woodson and the Origins of Multiculturalism.”

Dr. Cherry Gooden, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas Southern University’s College of Education, inaugurates the 2008 series 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 5, in the Wicomico Room of the Guerrieri University Center. An expert on diversity and global citizenship, she speaks on this year’s national theme.

Performer James A. Cameron presents the living history program “America’s Black Patriot” 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 13, in the Wicomico Room. A former professional basketball player and actor tutored by the likes of Louis Gossett Jr. and director Elia Kazan, Cameron’s interest shifted from athletics to history when he began researching the life of Revolutionary War-era African-American John Rollison. In this program, Cameron portrays Rollison, a free African-American who manages to acquire wealth and notability in colonial Williamsburg, Va., where “free” doesn’t necessarily mean “equal.”

His reenactment immediately follows a performance of the Bernard Sweetney Jazz Quartet during SU’s annual African-American History Month dinner 5-7 p.m. in the Commons. Cost of the meal is $9.68, $5.95 for children 6-12, free for children 5 and under. Cameron’s performance is free. Sweetney has performed with musicians such as Roberta Flack and Shirley Horn.

The history and flair of one of the nation’s most celebrated choreographers comes to Holloway Hall Auditorium 7 p.m. Friday, February 22, as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre presents the Ailey II Dance Company.

Created by Ailey in 1974 to help talented students make the transition from the studio to the stage, Ailey II now has over 30 years of history. Its program illustrates aspects of the Africa-American heritage and other cultures to unite people of different races, ages and background.

The company “can be counted on to deliver high-energy dancing made even more electric by the push of youthful ambition,” says The New York Times. Admission is free and the public is invited. Tickets are required and may be picked up at the Information Desk of the Guerrieri University Center starting Friday, February 8, with a limit of two per person.

The four-part film series Free to Dance complements the Ailey performance 7 p.m. Mondays from February 4-18 in the Great Hall of Holloway Hall. These three one-hour films chronicle the crucial role African-American dancers and choreographers have played in the development of modern dance as an American art form.

Through first-person accounts by dancers and witnesses, the series documents how African-derived movement and other forms of dance were fused to make modern dance so distinctively American.
SU’s African-American History Month celebration culminates with Steve Birdine’s talk “Affirmations in Action: Diversity Made Simple” 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 27, in the Montgomery Room of the Commons. A nationally known speaker and the author of A Common Sense Approach to Retaining Students of Color, Birdine has been named one of Ebony magazine’s “100+ Most Influential Blacks in the United States.”

All African-American History Month events are free unless otherwise noted. For more information call 410-548-4503 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.


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