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MLK Memorial Public Affairs Lecture expanded

February 26, 2010

Rob Enslin
(315) 443-3403

Syracuse University’s Department of African American Studies in The College of Arts and Sciences has announced an expanded lineup for its 27th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Public Affairs Lecture on Wednesday, March 3. In addition to award-winning filmmaker Louis Massiah, who will speak on “Hayti and the Power of Community Media,” the presentation will feature violinist John Blake Jr. and keyboardist Adam Faulk performing jazz interpretations of Massiah’s speech.

The event, free and open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Life Sciences Complex Auditorium (room 001), between College Place and Comstock Avenue. A reception will follow in the auditorium lobby.

AAS will also host an “Open Classroom and Q&A” with Massiah on Thursday, March 4, at 11 a.m. in Sims Hall (room 219). For more information about both events, call Doreen Blenman in AAS at (315) 443-4302.

Massiah will explore the 200-year relationship between the United States and “Hayti”(the 19th-century name for the nation that English speakers refer to as “Haiti”), emphasizing how media projects function as tools of community empowerment and social change. He also will shed light on the role of power—political, economic and cultural—and how cultural workers and community members can access it.

Massiah’s credits include the landmark PBS series “Eyes on the Prize II,” “W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices,” “Louise Alone Thompson Patterson: In Her Own Words” and “The Bombing of Osage Avenue.”

The winner of four “Down Beat” critics polls, Blake is one the world’s leading jazz violinists. He has worked with saxophonists Archie Shepp and Grover Washington Jr., the Duke Ellington Orchestra and Turtle Island String Quartet. Blake is currently touring in support of his new album, “Motherless Child,” a tribute to Frederick Douglass drawing on the abolitionist’s historic papers for lyrics.

Like Blake, Faulk is classically trained and made the switch to jazz and R&B. The Philadelphia-based musician has performed with trumpeters Donald Byrd and Marcus Belgrave and with trombonist Robin Eubanks.

“This will be an amazing example of innovative scholarship and creativity in Black studies and in Scholarship in Action,” says Janis Mayes, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in AAS. “The improvisational music will be integral to Massiah’s lecture, which will resonate in innovative ways with the Underground Railroad and SU’s Connective Corridor.”

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