news releases

2006.01.26 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

Fifth Annual Malcolm X Festival at UNO Set for Feb. 15-16

Omaha - The Fifth Annual Malcolm X Festival at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) will focus on and feature the contributions of African-American women during two days of lectures, presentations and discussions on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 15 and 16.  Internationally known poet and playwright Sonia Sanchez will be present for the first day of the event.

"We're extremely honored to have Sonia Sanchez at this year's festival," said Peggy Jones, the festival's coordinator and a visiting assistant professor in the UNO Department of Black Studies.  "For decades now, she has been an original, serious voice who movingly describes the African-American experience."

The title for this year's festival is "The Black Woman: Past, Present, and Future."

Sanchez will give a presentation at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the Milo Bail Student Center (MBSC).  A reception in her honor will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Loves Jazz & Arts Center, 2510 N. 24th St.  Both her presentation and the reception—as well as all other festival events—are free and open to the public. 

Sanchez received the Robert Frost Medal In Poetry in 2001.  Themes in her work often show the conflict between black people and white people, between cultures and between the sexes. 

"Her work and life have been influenced by Malcolm X," Jones said.  "After reading and learning more about Malcolm, her focus increasingly shifted to her black heritage."

Other presentations on Feb. 15 include:

·      Amara Tabor Smith, from Urban Bush Women, a dance troupe.  Her presentation, beginning at 11 a.m. will be interactive.

·      Deborah Bunting, a local Omaha artist, and Wanda Ewing, UNO assistant professor of art and art history, will present "The Art of Black Women at 1 p.m.

·      Helen Fountain, an educational specialist in UNO multicultural affairs, will present "Black Women's Literature" at 2 p.m.

Presentations on Feb. 16 include:

·      Roslyn Teborg-Penn, professor of history at Morgan State University, discussing "Voter Education and Black Women in the Women's Suffrage Movement" at 10 a.m.

·      Two faculty members from the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana, Jennifer Hamer and Helen Neville, will present "Black Women Activism" at 1 p.m.

·      UNO students Genevieve Williams and Angela Drakeford will present "Addressing Issues of Race in Women's Studies" at 2:30 p.m.

All presentations will be held in the Milo Bail Student Center (MBSC). 

         Prior to the festival, Fountain will coordinate the 17th Annual African American Read-in—featuring "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" —on Monday, Feb. 6, starting at 6 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center  Fireplace Lounge.

For more information, contact Tim Kaldahl at (402) 554-3502 or Felicia Dailey at (402) 554-2412.

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