Denison University’s Celebration of the Life & Legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Words and the Music IV: “What’s Going On: Chaos or Community?”
Date of Event: January 26, 2009
Posted: December 4, 2008 / Last Updated: December 16, 2008
Denison’s 2009 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, “The Words and the Music IV,” will explore popular music, social justice issues of the 1960s—including the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and campus unrest—and the power of storytelling.
This year’s theme is “What’s Going On: Chaos or Community?” with programming tied to Marvin Gaye’s seminal album, “What’s Going On,” and Dr. King’s book, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”
All events are free and open to the public; registration is required for Monday’s breakfast.
Note: Link here for a downloadable PDF version of the 2009 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration programming brochure, “What’s Going On: Chaos or Community?” (536 KB)
Dr. Portia Maultsby, an ethnomusicologist at Indiana University, will give the opening talk at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22, in the President’s Room of Denison’s William Howard Doane Library, which is sponsoring the event.
Maultsby’s talk will explore black popular music of the 1960s and early 70s, using Marvin Gaye and other artists as examples. She also will explore the social protests of the time, dance music, and related tensions.
Elizabeth Siwo-Okundi, a 2001 Denison graduate, will return to campus to give a convocation address in Swasey Chapel at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 25. The daughter of a university professor and a nurse, Siwo-Okundi grew up in the small community of Kendu Bay on the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya.
A black studies major at Denison, she went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree, magna cum laude, and a graduate certificate in African studies from Boston University, and is now enrolled in Harvard Seminary. After a visit home in 2004 to perform service work at an orphanage, she founded Orphan Wisdom upon her return to the United States. Siwo-Okundi’s convocation is sponsored by the 2009 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Committee and the departments of religious life and black studies.
Opening Breakfast - Multimedia Program — On Monday, Jan. 26, Denison’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration holiday begins with a breakfast program, “The Power of Story, ” in the Burton D. Morgan Center. Introduced by Erik S. Farley ’03, director of Multi-Cultural Student Affairs and assistant dean of students, and Jennifer Vestal, director of the Academic Support & Enrichment Center and associate dean of students, “The Power of Story” is a series of video and audio offerings that feature the experiences of Denison alumni and students. It will be presented at 8:30 a.m. in the Welsh Hills Room, with a breakfast buffet available in the atrium area. The event, sponsored by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day committee, is open to the public at no cost, but reservations are necessary, and can be made by calling 740-587-6344.
Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon is this year’s keynote speaker. She will give a convocation at 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 26, in Swasey Chapel. The event, sponsored by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day committee, also will feature the student a cappella group, Tehillah.
For more than four decades, Dr. Reagon has been a major cultural voice for freedom and justice. A composer, song leader, scholar, producer and founder of the a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Reagon was a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship Grant in 1989 and has authored several books.
Notes from a Pullman Porter’s Daughter, a one-woman show starring Dr. JoAnne F. Henry, will be performed at 8 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 28 and 29, in Ace Morgan Theatre.
An innovative performance piece based on autobiographical materials, Henry traces the struggle to become an artist, a scholar and an activist. The piece explores the intersections of creativity and the sacred, with the artist’s passion for social justice. It weaves narrative with popular music across several decades and includes freedom songs, rock, hymns, and folk music.
Film Series: “Color Adjustment” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5, in Slayter 3rd floor. The film traces 40 years of race relations through the lens of prime-time entertainment, scrutinizing television’s racial myths and stereotypes. Narrated by Ruby Dee, the documentary revisits some of television’s most popular stars and shows – “Amos and Andy,” “I Spy,” “Good Times,” “Roots” and “The Cosby Show” among them. The film is a stunning examination of how the American prime-time family is integrated, while excluding the daily reality of most African Americans.
The Game of Oppression on Wednesday, Feb. 11 and Thursday, Feb. 12. The Game of Oppression is an interactive tool of diversity education. It is played by 10 to 20 players at a time, with half playing as active participants and the other half designated as observers. The optimum amount of time allotted to play is four hours to ensure proper facilitation and personal engagement, but the game can be played in a minimum of three hours. The goal is to achieve “enlightenment.” To do this, the active participants move their pawns around the game board and respond to statements on the playing cards. After a set period of time, the two groups switch roles. At the end of the game, all players participate in a reflection and group discussion period to synthesize the game experience for each participant. Co-designed by Lamara D. Warren, a student affairs professional and doctoral student in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University, the game is designed to encourage and challenge individuals from different backgrounds and experiences to engage in authentic dialogue around the issues of oppression. Ms. Warren will be on campus to assist with utilization the game.
Film Series: “What’s Race Got To Do With It?” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12, in Slayter 3rd floor. The film goes beyond identity politics, celebratory history, and interpersonal relations to consider social disparities and their impact on student success in today’s post-civil rights world. The film follows a diverse group of students at the University of California, Berkeley, in a 16-week long interracial dialogue.
Film Series: “Boycott” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26, in Slayter 3rd floor. The film tells the story of the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., led by Dr. King after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus. Produced by HBO.
“The Meeting,” is a play by Jeff Stetson that will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, in Slayter Hall Auditorium. The playwright imagines for the audience what a clandestine meeting might have been like between Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
A shabby Harlem hotel room becomes the backdrop for a momentous confrontation between King, Baptist minister and champion of nonviolent protest, and Malcolm, advocate of self-defense through any means necessary and himself the center of fractional warring within his own Muslim faith.
The play examines both their public and private lives, the clash of ideas and tactics for the advancement of freedom, but also the humanity of two devout men of faith, loving fathers and husbands, and leaders willing to lay down their lives for the cause of justice. The play is sponsored by the Office of Student Activities, the Black Student Union and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day committee.
A Poster Exhibit, involving students in Associate Professor Ron Abram’s Printmaking and Activism class, will be displayed on the campus common during the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration day activities. Each student in the class will make use of a song’s lyrics to connect the issues of 1968 and 2008. The 40-year-old issues include war, human rights, environment, economy, and global community. The imagery of the two time periods will be used for the posters.
Students serving on this year’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day committee are David Brade, Joseph Butler, Darrin Collins, Steve Flores, Caitlin Jonassen, Courtney Herring, Cortez Hicks, Gregory Kendrick Jr., Christopher Moore, Dan Murphy, Tyra Owens, Shavely Peralta, Charles Phillips, Melissa Phineus, Donterio Porter, Jerome Price, Marcus Sanders, and Tiffany Williams. Denison staff members working with the committee are Lisa Scott, Marlaine Browning, John Beckman, Anne Crowley, Laura Dowler, Donna Ellis, Erik Farley, Heather Lyle, Laurie Mackenzie-Crane, Paul Pegher, Sarah Ray, Jennifer Grube Vestal, Barbara Stambaugh and Ginny Sharkey.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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