Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture

Programming 2014-2015

Can You Hear the Beat of the Drum: Voices of our People
Programming 2014-2015

Arguably our most important sense is sound.  With our ears we have the incredible capacity to decipher language through vibration. The African diaspora is an incarnation of what has been deciphered from our people’s stories, food, religion, language, dance, and drums throughout the world. In order to fully understand the magnitude that the vibration reaches, we must come to a deeper knowing of Black experiences around the world. We hear the voices of our people through the clave rhythm, or code, that binds us together across borders and seas.

In order to embrace our global citizenship it is vital that we begin to listen for the clave, and respond to the beat of the drum.  The beat of the drum is also a call to action. The 2014-2015 programming slate strives to engage students by calling them to action and to connection with each other and those others who also move to a different beat. We want to employ our students to act upon social justice issues through conversations around race, class, ethnicity, identity, sexuality, fraternity, and spirituality.

Thus, the ultimate outcome of all programming is to provide our audience with the listening skills so that they might be able to better decipher the voices of our people through various mediums as well as our intersections and divergence with others. Please join us for Freestyle Fridays, Illuminating Intersections: Identities at the Crossroads, Art Exhibitions, Jazz at the Mary Lou, Annual Observations of World Aids Day, Kwanzaa, Toast to our Graduates, Abele Awards, offCENTER outings, and many more engaging opportunities!  ​

Who We Are: 

The Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture strives to promote racial understanding, build community, and foster an appreciation for and increase knowledge of Black people, Black history, Black culture, and the vast contributions of people of the African Diaspora. Read more.

Have You Heard?

Mar 03, 2015

“Black Love”

On the night of February 11, #BlackDuke all joined for the annual “Black Love” event. Well known in the black community, “Black Love” is endeared by many as an opportunity to discuss the perils of finding a “bae” in the Duke community. Discussed topics ranged from the hook-up culture, interracial dating, off-campus cuffetry, and how academic stresses can stifle a dating culture. For me, though, the narrative I fully expected was lacking from the discussion. Given that I can count approximately 3.5 couples in the entire black community, all heterosexual, in a community as rich with attractive individuals and diversity of sexuality as Duke’s black community, it is absolutely astonishing to me that so few people are “cuffed,” or even remotely considering the pursuit of cuffetry. Literally no one has a Valentine; it’s ridiculous. And since loneliness seems to characterize our community’s bae relations so accurately, I expected someone to cogitate the reasoning for this fascinating phenomenon, or at least bring it up as having been their experience in on-campus boo searches at “Black Love.” I misjudged.

Feb 27, 2015

HK on J was a tremendous moment in time that we got to experience. The march was held in Raleigh and the air was filled with opportunity. We got the chance to speak out against a plethora of injustices and utilized it.  I was with the Duke NAACP and many other Duke students as we took to the streets with the NAACP banner and chanted out against marginalization of black bodies and the ways in which structures in NC and the US help devalue the lives of other oppressed peoples.

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