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2009.03.30 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@unomaha.edu

Malcolm X Festival Set for April 14-16 at UNO

Omaha - Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson, known nationally for his books on the African-American experience, will serve as the keynote speaker for the Eighth Annual Malcolm X Festival and Conference at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). The festival, sponsored and organized by the UNO Department of Black Studies, runs April 14 through 16.

“Having a scholar of Dr. Dyson’s caliber at the festival is extremely exciting,” said Omowale Akintunde, chair of the Black Studies Department. “He’s a dynamic speaker and truly a cutting-edge intellectual on the topic of race in America.”

Dyson, author of April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death and How It Changed America and more than a dozen other books, will give his presentation Wednesday, April 15, at 6 p.m. in the UNO College of Public Affairs and Community Service Auditorium. Like all festival activities, the presentation is free and open to the public.

Dyson made the New York Times' Best Seller List for his 2005 book, Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? Ebony magazine also named Dyson, a Detroit native and Georgetown University professor, "one of the 150 most powerful African-Americans."

The overall theme of this year’s Malcolm X Festival and Conference is “Resisting the Europeanization of Consciousness: Confronting the Invisibility and Privilege of Whiteness.” Scholars from across the metropolitan area and across the country will give a range of presentation – from multiculturalism to issues of identity to music. A complete listing of paper presentation with times and dates is available at -- http://www.unomaha.edu/blst/ . This is the first year that the festival has a truly national scope, Akintunde said.

In addition to the festival, a pre-event banquet at UNO’s William H. and Dorothy Thompson Alumni Center will take place Monday, April 13, and will feature actor Meshach Taylor and actress Anna Maria Horsford. Taylor co-starred on the CBS comedy “Designing Women”; Horsford is perhaps best known for her television role on “Amen” and in the “Friday” movie series. Taylor came to UNO last October and addressed the topic of race and American popular culture in a campus presentation.

“The banquet will underscore Malcolm X’s legacy and will also address the need to get Malcolm into the Nebraska’s Hall of Fame,” Akintunde said. “It’s an issue that has recurred several times during the past few years and it needs to be resolved with his inclusion.”

This pre-festival, black tie optional event costs $40 a ticket and $300 table of eight. To register or for more information, call 590-7526 or e-mail info@malcolmxfoundation.org .

On the opening night of the festival—Tuesday, April 14, the Department of Black Studies will premier the hour-long documentary “An Inaugural Ride to freedom: The Legacy of a People, a Movement, and a Mission” at the Great Escape Movie Theatre, 7440 Crown Point Ave. The movie starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $7.

Akintunde conceived and directed the movie. The film documents how members of the Black Studies Department and members of the community traveled to Washington D.C. for the presidential inaugural earlier this year. Akintunde also said it stresses how buses and transportation were key civil rights issues (Rosa Parks, Freedom Riders, marches on Washington). Taylor and Horsford will also attend the premier.

For more information, call 554-3502.

* *

UNO is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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