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Noted African American historian to speak at UConn (Released: 2/21/00)

by Allison Thompson, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- For many, Black History Month is a time to reflect on where African Americans have been and where they are going. Historian and author Robin D.G. Kelley has made such reflection his life's work.

On Thursday, Feb. 24, Kelley, a professor of history and Africana studies at New York University, will deliver a lecture titled "When History Sleeps: On the Poetics of Black Social Movements," at the University of Connecticut. Kelley's talk, which is part of the Institute for African American Studies' critical issues series and its celebration of Black History Month, will take place at 4 p.m. in the Gentry Building auditorium.

Robert Stephens, interim director of the Institute for African American Studies, hopes Kelley's lecture will advance the institute's mission to enlighten and inform the University community and the public about the heritage, struggles and aspirations of African Americans.

"Professor Kelley's recent book, Yo' Mama's DisFunktional!, is an eloquent defense and celebration of those who are rarely seen beyond statistics or newsreels," Stephens says. "We are delighted and, indeed, fortunate to bring this important voice of enormous intellectual breadth and compelling insight to UConn as we celebrate the heritage, culture, and political and social lives of people of African descent."

Kelley is the author of the books Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression; Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class; Into the Fire: African Americans Since 1970; and Yo' Mama's DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America. He is also co-editor of Imagining Home: Class, Culture, and Nationalism in the African Diaspora, and general editor of the Young Oxford History of African Americans.

Kelley is currently writing a book on jazz musician Thelonius Monk.

Kelley's lecture is free, and open to the public and the media.