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?

Sep 11, 2014

Weekly Jazz Wednesdays add music to study sessions and coworker meetups

John Brown perched on a stool, his fingers flying across the thick strings of his bass. He closed his eyes as the drums, piano and trumpet conversed with each other, taking turns carrying the melody.

Across the room at Duke’s Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, students studied notes on laptops and visitors watched the jazz ensemble, bobbing their heads to the beat.  The tradition of “Jazz @ the Mary Lou” is 10 years old, and Brown, director of the Duke Jazz Program, brings different musicians to the center every Wednesday evening, from professional performers to up-and-coming high school students.

Read more.

Apr 28, 2014

In 2008, Ghana hosted the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), the most prestigious pan-African football (soccer) tournament. When the Ghanaian Black Stars defeated Nigerian Super Eagles in the semi-finals there was so much jubilation nationwide, you would have thought we won the whole AFCON or finally achieved Kwame Nkurmah’s dream of Pan-Africanism. Why the craziness? Because Ghana and Nigeria are archrivals and we beat them on home soil. I remember how my heart pumped as I watched Nigeria’s demise. We had defeated them.

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