For Immediate Release
January 26, 2007
Public Information Office
310 Owen Hall, Campus PO 1820
Asheville, NC 28804-8507
828/251-6526 - FAX: 828/251-6677
UNC Asheville Celebrates Black History Month with a Variety of
■ EVENT POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER -- North Carolina author and historian Timothy B. Tyson will discuss “Blood Done Sign My Name: An Unflinching Examination of the Civil Rights Struggle in the South” at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium. This Black History Month keynote address program will also feature comments by Tyson’s father, Rev. Vernon Tyson, and a performance by noted gospel singer Mary Williams. A book signing and reception will immediately follow Tyson’s talk. Tickets are $5 at the door or free to local students.
** This event has been rescheduled for 12:15 p.m. Thursday, March 15, in Lipinsky Auditorium.
Tyson’s latest book, “Blood Done Sign My Name,” is a candid examination of the struggle for civil rights in the South. Tyson, a white historian, draws upon his childhood in Oxford, North Carolina during the summer of 1970. That year, his best friend’s father and brothers killed Henry Marrow, a black man, in public as he begged for his life. Tyson’s father, the pastor of an all-white United Methodist church, pressed his congregation to come to terms with its racial history. In the end, however, the Tyson family were regarded as traitors and forced to move away.
Tyson serves as senior scholar of documentary studies at Duke University, with secondary appointments in Duke’s Divinity School and History Department. Previously, Tyson served as the John Hope Franklin Fellow at the National Humanities Center and as professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds a doctorate from Duke University.
■ UNC Asheville student group, HOLA (Hispanic Outreach for Learning Awareness), and the Foreign Language Department will host a series of Afro-Cuban dance workshops with Cuban dancer Nelson Reyes. Reyes, a native of Cuba, studied dance in Havana and currently resides in Asheville. He was won several national awards for choreography. Workshops will be held from 12:30-1:30 p.m. for eight consecutive Thursdays beginning February 1. Classes will meet in UNC Asheville's Highsmith University Union Mountain Suites and Alumni Hall. The workshop series will wrap up with a performance at 7 p.m. April 16-18 in the Highsmith University Union Grotto. For more information, call UNC Asheville's Foreign Languages Department at 828/251-6419.
activist Kemba Smith will share her personal story at 3 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 15, in UNC Asheville’s Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall.
Smith, who grew up in an affluent family, went to college at a
prestigious university. While there, she fell in love with an
abusive drug dealer. After a turbulent four-year relationship with
this man, Smith was indicted by federal authorities on drug charges.
Because of stiff mandatory drug laws, Smith, a first-time,
non-violent offender, received a 24-year sentence without parole.
Smith’s case drew national attention and became the catalyst to
reverse lengthy sentences for first-time, female offenders. In 2000,
President Clinton granted Smith clemency and two years later she
earned her bachelor’s degree.
■ UNC Asheville will host a dialogue between community leaders and community members at a daylong conference on “The State of Black Asheville” from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union Mountain Suites. The event is free and open to the public and includes a complementary lunch. Space is limited and registration is required.
Sessions on education, health care, law enforcement and housing will be lead by local experts. Education panelists include Gene Bell, Asheville City School Board member; Robert Logan, Asheville City Schools superintendent; and Al Whitesides, Asheville City School Board member. Panelists discussing health care will include physician Dr. Charles Blair; Jim Pitts, UNC Asheville sociology professor; Marsha Stickford, Buncombe County Health Department Board chair; and Sharon West, executive director of the Institute of Parity Achievement of Asheville-Buncombe County. Law enforcement panelists will feature Theodis Beck, secretary for the North Carolina Department of Correction; Buncombe County Sherriff Van Duncan; Asheville Police Chief Bill Hogan; and Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower. Leading the discussion on housing will be Gene Bell, Asheville Housing Authority director; local activist Isaac Coleman; and Scott Dedman, Mountain Housing Opportunities executive director. Each panel will also include a member of the Asheville City Council.
For more information or to register, call UNC
Asheville’s Political Science Department at 828/251-6634.
A. Van Jordan will give a reading at 3
p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, in UNC Asheville’s Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall.
Jordan, a native of Ohio, received his master’s degree from the
Warren Wilson College Program for Writers. His first book, “Rise,”
won the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award and was a selection of the
Academy of American Poets book club. His second book,
“M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A,” imagines the life of MacNolia Cox, the first
black finalist in the National Spelling Bee Competition. This event
is free and open to the public.
■ SOLD OUT! -- The Harlem Gospel Choir will perform at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, at UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium. This 11-member group, now in its 21st year, is one of the world’s preeminent gospel choirs, spreading a message of love, peace and harmony through music. The choir tours extensively and has performed with such artists as the Chieftains, Diana Ross, Jimmy Cliff, Lyle Lovett, Avril Lavigne and U2.
General admission tickets are $12 or $6 for local students with ID. To reserve tickets by phone, call the UNC Asheville Box Office at 828/232-5000. Tickets may also be purchased with cash or check at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., downtown Asheville.
For more information about this performance or
purchasing group tickets, call 828/251-6227.
■ The heroic
Tuskegee Airmen will be celebrated with a “Back in the Day
Showcase” at 11:30 a.m. and again at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22,
in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union Mountain Suites. Oral
histories, historical documents, personal relics and fashions from
the airmen and their families will be on view. In addition, Leonard
“Hawk” Hunter, official spokesman and information officer for the
Wilson B. Eagleston Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., will
discuss the Airmen’s history.
■ Some 20 pieces of mixed media acrylic paintings and silkscreen prints by African American artist T.J. Reddy will be on view through Tuesday, Feb. 27, in UNC Asheville’s Blowers Gallery, main floor of Ramsey Library. An exhibition closing reception and artist talk will be held from 12:30-2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the gallery. The events are free and open the public.
A native of Georgia, Reddy holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in history and education from UNC Charlotte. Reddy is a self-taught painter, whose works are influenced by his study of the African Diaspora and travels to the Caribbean. He has received awards from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Arts Commission, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the National Endowments for the Arts.
For more information about UNC Asheville’s observance of Black History Month, call the Office of Multicultural Student Programs at 828/232-5110.
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