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 06, 2015

I strolled through the giant wooden doors of White Lecture out of the blistering cold on a typical Friday afternoon, took a seat in the back rows of the room, and pulled out my notepad to take notes. The first thing I heard was “Masisi sal is a Haitian word that means faggot”.

The event consisted of a series of presentations by various professors on Black studies about different topics related to the common theme of Black Artfulness and Survival. Thomas DeFrantz, professor of the African and African American Studies Department at Duke, did a presentation on the art of Black social dance as tactic of Black resistance and survival.

Mar 06, 2015

For those who regard the Civil Rights Movement as a decade long, predominantly male driven movement that started with Ms. Parks’ dauntlessness and culminated with Dr. King cheering “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last,” Malcolm X is the anti-King. For those who don’t know, Malcolm Little, turned Detroit Red, turned Malcolm X and El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was nothing more than a teenage delinquent who grew up to preach racism and violence. To others, he was a Muslim minister, Pan-Africanist, and human rights advocate who was militant in his viewpoints, but only because he believe the government failed to fulfill the social contract to protect Black Americans.


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