Black History Month at WPI

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - WPI's celebration of Black History Month will feature lectures, artistic performances, film presentations and public forums - all aimed at highlighting the role and impact of African-American people and culture in American Society.

Gloria Taylor-Neal, assistant director of minority affairs and outreach programs, chaired the committee of students, faculty and staff that coordinated the activities, which are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Black History Month at WPI is sponsored by the Office of Vice President for Student Affairs, the WPI Student Speaker's Fund, Minority Affairs and Outreach Programs, the Black Student Union, Residential Services, Student Life , Office Services, Healthy Alternatives and the Humanities and Arts Department. A list of committee members is attached. For more information, call 831-5796.

The calendar follows.

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2 p.m., Alden Memorial: internationally acclaimed tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano will conduct a Jazz Improvisation Clinic. In 1995, Down Beat magazine voted Lovano Jazz Artist of the Year and Tenor Player of the Year, and the publication's Critics' Poll named his recording Rush Hour Jazz Album of the Year. Lovano's appearance at WPI is funded in part by a grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest National Jazz Network, a program on the New England Foundation for the Arts. Additional support has been provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the WPI JazzGroup and Music Association and the Mass Jazz Festival.

Tuesday, Feb.4, 4:30 p.m., Great Hall, Higgins House: Maj. Gen. Milton Hunter will present a talk that focuses on black engineers. Hunter, commanding general and division engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' North Atlantic Division, earned a B.S. in architectural engineering at Washington State University, and an M.S. in construction management at the University of Washington, and has pursued advanced studies at the University of Virginia, Texas A&M and Harvard.

Saturday, Feb. 8, 8 p.m., Alden Memorial: internationally recognized jazz trombonist Curtis Fuller will perform in concert. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at door. Proceeds will benefit the Joy of Music Program at the First Unitarian Church, Main Street, Worcester, and the Charles Houston Cultural Project, an organization dedicated to fostering awareness of African-American art and culture among the city's youth. WPI's Concert JazzGroup is hosting Fuller's visit, which is sponsored by Allmerica Financial. On Sunday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m, Fuller will lead a Jazz Improvisation Clinic in Alden Memorial. The clinic is funded by the WPI Fine Arts Committee, Social Committee, Music Association and JazzGroup.

Monday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m., Salisbury Labs 105: Mark Anthony Neal, assistant director of African American Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana, will deliver a lecture titled "Education and Black Youth Culture in the Post-Civil Rights Era." Neal received his bachelor's and master's degree in English from the State University of New York College at Fredonia and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Buffalo, where he was an Arthur Alonzo Schomburg Graduate Fellow in American Studies. He has lectured, written and taught extensively on American Cultural History, with a particular emphasis on the African-American Experience.

Wednesday, Feb.12, 6:30 p.m., Goat's Head Conference Room, Riley Commons: A group discussion will focus on the importance of diversity in higher education.

Saturday, Feb. 22, 5 p.m., Riley Commons: WPI's Black Student Union will sponsor performances by WPI students and by members of the Worcester Community Gospel Choir and the Genesis Project, a semiprofessional collective of poets, visual artists and cultural critics from SUNYŚ Fredonia. Members of the group are dedicated to the preservation and presentation of live arts. The evening includes dinner. Call 831-5819 for reservation information.

Monday, Feb. 24, 6 p.m., Perreault Hall, Fuller Laboratories: Lecture by Michael Eric Dyson, professor of communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the university's Institute of African American Research. Dyson, who is regarded as a voice of his generation, holds a Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University and has taught at Hartford Seminary, Chicago Theological Seminary and Brown University. He is the author of Reflecting Black, The Making of Malcolm, Between God and Gangsta Rap, and Race Rules, and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Book World section of the Washington Post, The Nation and The Chicago Tribune. In 1992 he received the Award of Excellence in Journalism for Magazines from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 6:30 p.m., Institute Hall: Group discussion on affirmative action and race relations in America.

Thursday, Feb. 27, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Upper Wedge, Morgan Hall: local vendors will display and sell African and African-American handcrafts, books and other items at an AfroMart in the Upper Wedge.

Gordon Library will feature exhibits related to the African-American experience from Feb. 1 to Feb. 28 in the vestibule and from Feb. 17 to Feb, 28 in the third floor gallery.

The following individuals are members of WPI's Black History Month Committee:

Bland Addison, associate professor of history; Kristian Bleasdell '00, Andrea Scully '98, and Joseph Whitley '00, Black Student Union representatives; Robert Chambers, assistant director of residential services; Richard Falco, director of jazz studies; Yvonne Harrison, director of the Career Development Center; Kristine Niendorf, associate director of residential services; Clarence Plant, property administrator, Office Services; Gloria Taylor-Neal, assistant director of Minority Affairs and Outreach programs (chair); and Tom Hartvig Thomsen, associate dean of student life.

WPI is an independent technological university founded in 1865.