Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture

Programs & Services

Abele Awards

In early April, the MLWC, Black Student Alliance (BSA) and Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGPSA) co-sponsor the annual Julian Abele Awards, the premier Black community awards dinner.  This annual event honors the significant achievements of Black community members and their supporters. They are named in honor of Julian Abele, an African-American who designed the architecture for Duke's West Campus.

In the spring of 1990, the BGPSA began hosting the Julian Abele Awards and Recognition Banquet. At the first banquet, a commissioned portrait of Julian Abele was unvelied and now hangs in the foyer of the Allen Building, the first African American portratit displayed on Duke's campus.

Contact the Mary Lou Center for more information.

Art & Soul

This event showcases a collection of music, spoken word, and visual art. A neo-soul infused house band, student and local community poets, and student artists are invited to express their art form in a creative and respectful environment.

Contact the Mary Lou Center for more information.

Black History Month

The Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture centralizes the efforts of student Black affinity organization during the month of February for celebrating the history and culture of Black people in America. The key program the Center hosts is Documentary & Dialogue. Throughout the month, discussions will be held addressing relevant issues of the day.

Contact the Mary Lou Center for more information.

bLOUprint

The bLOUprint is the complete slate of programs of the Mary Lou Williams Center initiated and facilitated by students that represent targeted outreach to students of African descent.

This innovative initiative harnesses the creativity and energy of the past year and provides a framework to connect four separate efforts to engage Black students in the life of the University. In the interest of providing a firm foundation upon which to build an academic and professional career, the bLOUprint, which is student initiated and facilitated, provides intentional programming at each stage of the college career and in preparation for the lives' students will lead after Duke.

It provides identity, leadership, and professional development opportunities and support for new and returning students. Students will be invited to participate in the bLOUprint - either in a singular component or multiple facets.

There are 3 complimentary dimensions:

  1. The Intro
  2. Brothers' Advance/Sister' Retreat
  3. Black Student Leadership Summit

Documentary & Dialogue

In conjunction with area cultural centers, the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture hosts a series of documentary screenings and an accompanying dialogue exploring the intricacies and issues presented in each film.

Contact the Mary Lou Center for more information.

Final Honors

Each year during Commencement weekend, the Mary Lou Williams Center supports Final Honors, a Black student graduation ceremony and reception, for all affiliated seniors and their families.

A student committee enjoys the opportunity to work on this program annually, securing a keynote speaker, student artists to display varied talents and creating a memory book of pictures from throughout the year with words of encouragement from the graduating seniors' families. 

During the Saturday program, students participate by walking across the stage at Page Auditorium, receiving a special kente cloth stole, and the memory book.  Guests of families, campus, and community members attend to extend best wishes and bid farewell.

Contact the Mary Lou Center for more information.

Jazz

One of the major tenets of our annual calendar includes programming and events focused on jazz.  The Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture offers two programs, Jazz Matters and Jazz @, that highlight the genre's issues and feature opportunities to listen to live jazz music.

Kwanzaa

This year the Mary Lou Williams Center is celebrating Kwanzaa with a focus on the principle of Ujima (collective work and responsibility). The celebration will feature African drumming, ritual, food, and music in an effort to connect students, faculty, and community members. The evening will also featuring special guest, Dr. Eric J. Becoats, Superintendent of Durham Public Schools.

Mary Lou Day

Every Spring late in the Semester, the Center celebrates its namesake - Mary Lou Williams.

Featuring a delectable theme, the Center honors Ms. Williams with an assortment of delightful treats and jazz music. It is always a pleasure to take time out to honor those who have gone before us, and what better time to do it and what better person to honor than the woman who dedicated her talents and skills to Duke University unto her passing.

Mary Lou Day is a day of cheer and jeer. It is the day that we celebrate the life and birth of Ms. Williams and the work that she has contributed to the University.

Join us as we commemorate our history and future.

MLK Day

Each year, the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture joins in with the greater Duke community to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Holiday weekend consists of a keynote speaker during the special ceremony held at the Chapel.

Contact the Mary Lou Center for more information.

offCenter

Jump off the beaten path to explore Durham and the surrounding area! offCenter is your program through which you can attend theatrical plays, visual exhibits, dance and more.

Contact the Mary Lou Center for more information.

Roots to Rights

Roots to Rights in Action!
(Click on the photo to enlarge)

Read blog entries from the trips.

Join Jewish Life at Duke and the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture to explore key historical sites of the southern Civil Rights Movement, examine the history of the Movement from various perspectives and disciplines, and to discuss current issues surrounding the roots of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States in relation to Black / Jewish Identity Development.

A Day Without Art

As part of its annual participation in World AIDS Day, the Mary Lou Williams Center hosts a week-long observance of A Day Without Art, featured portraits and personal stories of Black people living with HIV and AIDS and celebrated activists who work on behalf of the Black community to fight the disease.

In Reflection of the lives lost in the AIDS pandemic, the MLWC seeks to wrap all things Black in RED. Thus all boards and art will be covered with red ribbon, as we hope to bring attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our Pan-African community.

During the day of November 28, our community will be invited to think about the specific impact of HIV/AIDS in the middle of our World AIDS Week.

Wednesday will be a day of art and reflection, but by Saturday, our Day without Art, our Center will fall silent because we know that HIV/AIDS has been a silent killer of artists, brothers, sisters, friends, mothers and fathers...and we shall be Wrapped in Red and silent in our reflection.

The first national Day Without Art (DWA) was held on December 1, 1989, in conjunction with the World Health Organization's AIDS Awareness Day, as a nationwide day of action and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis. More than 800 U.S. art and AIDS groups participated in the first Day Without Art, closing museum doors, and sending staff to volunteer at AIDS services, or sponsoring special exhibitions of work about AIDS.

Contact the Mary Lou Center for more information.