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Black History Month


-- Free Films Including a Preview of the PBS “Slavery” Series, African Dance, Experts’ Panel on Racial Politics, and Town Hall Meeting
Are Among the Many Public Events Planned During February --

FLUSHING, NY, January 26, 2005 – On the night of June 21, 1964, Queens College student Andrew Goodman, along with James Chaney and Michael Schwerner, was slain in Mississippi while trying to register African Americans to vote. Thousands of outraged activists flooded the south to battle segregation, racism, and disfranchisement during what came to be known as the “Mississippi Freedom Summer.” Just last month, a former Ku Klux Klansman was arrested and charged with their murder, bringing the case back into the headlines.

The murder of the three young men led to the passage just one year later of landmark civil rights legislation. In 2005 the nation marks the 40th anniversary of these laws and once again celebrates Black History Month during the month of February. At Queens College, a committee led by Professor Premilla Nadasen (Africana Studies) and Maureen Pierce-Anyan (Counseling and Advisement) has organized a wide variety of public events under the title “Queens College Reflects on the Black Freedom Movement, 1954-1968.”

“We have planned the events to take a clear-eyed view of the past, with the goal of building bridges among people today,” says Nadasen. Among the participants are Tamara Robinson, producer of the upcoming PBS series “Slavery”; community leaders such as Andrew Jackson, Executive Director of the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center; visiting and Queens College professors with expertise in racial politics; and local high school students.

“We are urging people to read Meridian, Alice Walker’s novel about an African American woman’s involvement in a voter registration campaign during the 1960s,” says Pierce-Anyan, who points out that “people are still struggling with all of the same issues today.” The novel serves as the foundation for several campus events, including a Presidential Roundtable on the book and a documentary on Walker’s life.

“Black History Month has a particular poignancy for us at the college, and especially this year,” notes Dr. James Muyskens, Queens College president. “So many struggled and suffered for the cause of civil rights and some, like our own Andrew Goodman, paid the ultimate price. We hope that the education our current students receive will instill the same commitment to humanistic values and social justice.”

In 1965 the Reverend Martin Luther King made a stirring speech at Queens College; recorded excerpts from this speech will be played on campus during February. The clocktower of the college’s Rosenthal Library is named after Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner. In 1996 Queens College awarded Carolyn Goodman, Andrew’s mother, its President’s Medal for her social activism, which included picketing the South African embassy during the era of apartheid.

More information is available at:
The following events are free and open to the public:

Wednesday, February 2, 3:30-5:30 pm
Dramatic Readings about the Black Freedom Movement by Queens College and Townsend Harris High School Students

East Ballroom, Student Union Building, 4th Floor
Will open with songs of the civil rights movement.

Tuesday, February 8 and Thursday, February 10
Documentary Film: Alice Walker, 33 min.
Film times: Every 35 minutes from 11 am to 2 pm and from 5 to 7 pm.

Student Union, Room 301
Alice Walker talks about her life, the civil rights movement, and "womanism."

Wednesday, February 9, 12:15 – 2 pm
Presidential Roundtable: Revisiting Alice Walker’s Meridian
Student Union, Room 301
Participants: Professor Marie Umeh of John Jay College; Professor Tony O’Brien of Queens College; and Queens College and Townsend Harris High School students

Monday, February 14, 4 – 7pm
Panel Discussion: “Where is the Promised Land: Racial Politics Then and Now” Rosenthal Auditorium. Moderated by Premilla Nadasen, Queens College Professor of History and Africana Studies. Will open with songs of the civil rights movement by Queens College and Townsend Harris students. Reception to follow.

•Stephen Steinberg, author of Turning Back: The Retreat from Racial Justice in American Thought and Policy, and Professor of Urban Studies at Queens College
•Barbara Ransby, Author of Ella Baker and the Black Radical Tradition, Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Chicago
•Andrew Jackson, Executive Director of the Queens Public Library’s Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center
•Brenda Batista, member of We Make the Road by Walking, a Brooklyn-based community organization.

Thursday, February 17, 1:45 – 4 pm
Tamara Robinson, PBS Producer of “Slavery,” a series debuting in February
Rosenthal Library, President’s Conference Room 1, 5th Floor
Ms. Robinson will address a Media Studies class open to the public on the state of minorities in the media today, and screen excerpts from “Slavery” and other PBS specials.

All, with the exception of Round Midnight, will be screened in Persia Campbell Dome. Enter the Dome through the courtyard in back of Powdermaker Hall.

Tuesday, February 15, Film Times: 12 noon, 1 pm, 5 pm, and 6 pm
Documentary: Eyes on the Prize, Episode 5, Mississippi: Is this America? 60 min.

Film focuses on black citizens’ right to vote.

Wednesday, February 16, Film Times: 12 noon and 5 pm
Feature Film and Discussion: 4 Little Girls. A Spike Lee film, 1 hr. 45 min.
A documentary about the bombing of an Alabama church, which takes the lives of four young girls and thrusts the civil rights movement into the forefront of national consciousness.

Thursday, February 17, Film Times: 12 noon and 5 pm.
Feature Film: Mississippi Burning, 1 hr. 45 min.
Civil Rights activists Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Queens College student Andrew Goodman are kidnapped and killed, focusing national attention on the brutality of racism in America.

Tuesday, February 22, Film Times: 12 noon, 1 pm, 5 pm and 6 pm.
Documentary Film: Eyes on the Prize, Episode 4, No Easy Walk, 60 min.
Explores Dr. King's initiation of non-violent protest and its powerful role in the civil rights movement.

Wednesday, February 23, Film Time: 12 noon.
Malcolm X. A Spike Lee feature film. 3 hrs. +.
The life of black activist Malcolm X.

Thursday February 24, Film Time: 1 pm
Jazz Feature Film and Discussion: Round Midnight. 2 hrs. +.
Aaron Copland School of Music Recital Hall, Room 226.
Film discussion: 2 – 4 pm in same room.
The compelling story of an expatriate jazz musician and his struggles in Paris in l959. Dale, the lead character, is played by renowned bebop jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon, who earned an Academy Award nomination for the role. Jazz musician Herbie Hancock also appears in the film and was nominated for the film's musical score.


Wednesday, February 23, 12:15 pm
African Dance Performance
Goldstein Theatre

Thursday, February 24, 4:45 pm
The American Jazz Legacy
LeFrak Concert Hall
Featuring Prof. Michael Mossman, trumpet, Prof. Antonio Hart, saxophone,
and students from the Queens College Jazz Program, Aaron Copland School of Music.

Monday, February 28, 3:30-5:30 pm
Town Hall Meeting: “40 Years Later: The Impact of the Brown Decision on Education on the Queens Campus and Community”
East Ballroom, Student Union Building, 4th Floor

Ongoing Activities

• Excerpts from a speech given by Rev. Martin Luther King at Queens College in 1965 will play Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to 1 pm throughout February in the lobby of the Rosenthal Library.
•Black History display outside Rosenthal Library, Room 201 (one flight down) and in main display case of the Library.
•Display in Student Union and college bookstore

For directions to Queens College, please visit where you will also find a detailed campus map. The college is located at 65-30 Kissena Boulevard in Flushing, exit 24 (Kissena Boulevard) from the LIE and on many bus routes.



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Deputy Director of News Services
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(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
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Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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