Series Explores the African-American Experience
By Alison Thompson, Office of University Communications
[Human Rights Semester
STORRS, Conn. -- What does it mean to be black in America?
The Institute for African American
Studies will explore that volatile question in a series of lectures
and discussions beginning later this month.
The series, "Race, Human
Rights, and the African American Experience," is part of the Human Rights
Semester taking place on all of the University of
Connecticut's campuses this fall. The semester's activities are intended to
underscore the importance of human rights and to inform and engage members of the
University community and interested members of the public about this critical
series of scheduled events, the institute hopes to begin a dialogue that addresses
the important issues of race relations and the dimensions of a
multicultural society at the University of Connecticut," says Robert Stephens,
interim director of the Institute for African American Studies. "The events will also
provide an informed forum for examining the legacy of segregation, economic
elitism, and exclusion of various racial and ethnic groups that have gone largely
unexamined or discussed, and give students the opportunity to learn from
diverse perspectives in a diverse setting."
The series will begin on Monday, Sept. 17, with a panel discussion on
Images of Blacks in the Media. Participants are Thirman Milner, the first
mayor of Hartford; Clayvon Harris, a television writer for shows such as
For Your Love, Living Single and Star Trek:
Voyager; Vivian B. Martin, a columnist for
the Hartford Courant and a faculty member at Central Connecticut
State University; Jerry Dunklee, the chairman of the journalism department
Connecticut State University; Robin Barnes, a professor at the University of
Connecticut School of Law; and Noel Cazenave, an associate professor
at UConn. Ann-Marie Adams, a reporter for the Hartford Courant,
will make opening and closing remarks, and Stephens will moderate. The
discussion will take
place at 6 p.m. in the Starr Reading Room at the University of Connecticut School
of Law at 55 Elizabeth Street in Hartford.
On Thursday, Sept. 27, Joseph Inikori will speak about the economic effects
of slavery. A professor of history at the University of Rochester, Inikori has written
several books on the African slave trade. His talk will begin at 10:45 a.m. in the
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center's Konover Auditorium.
The series continues on Thursday, Oct. 4, when Lani Guinier gives the talk
"Who's Qualified?" at 2 p.m. in the Rome Commons Ballroom. Guinier, a professor
at Harvard Law School, gained notoriety in 1993 when President Bill Clinton
nominated her for assistant attorney general for civil rights. He withdrew the
nomination after critics assailed Guinier and labeled her a "quota queen."
On Monday, Oct. 15, Carlton Molette, a professor of dramatic arts, will lead a
reading of the play "Living in the Wind." Written by Michael Bradford, a dramatic
arts assistant professor-in-residence at UConn's Avery Point campus, the play
tells the story of an African-American couple seeking to overcome the scars of
slavery after Emancipation. The reading will take place at 6 p.m. in Von der
Mehden Recital Hall.
The series will conclude on Tuesday, Nov. 6, with lectures by Joseph R.
Feagin and Randall Robinson. Feagin, a professor of sociology at the University of
Florida, is the author of more than 40 books on race in America. They include
Living with Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience;
White Racism: The
Basics; and The Agony of Education: Black Students at White
Colleges and Universities. Feagin's lecture, "Reparations for African
Americans: Obvious and
Necessary," will begin at 10:45 a.m. in Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J.
Dodd Research Center.
Robinson, author of the book The Debt: What America Owes to
Blacks and president of TransAfrica and the TransAfrica Forum, will speak
at 2 p.m in the Rome
Commons Ballroom. Robinson is one of the country's most outspoken and well
known advocates of reparations for African Americans.
The series is being co-sponsored by the African-American Cultural Center, the
School of Business Administration, the Neag School of Education, the School of
Fine Arts, the School of Law, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the
Women's Center, the Student Union Board of Governors, and the New England
chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.
All of the events are free and open to the public and the media.
September 2001 Releases