Why “Circa 1963”?

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Sean Palmer
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Each year we seek to make the Abele Awards an extra special event by theming it with something from the history/creative genius of Black life.  In the past, we’ve honed in on the Harlem Renaissance, contemporary Hip Hop, and The Wiz. This year we take  for our inspiration both the year of integration at Duke and the sound of Motown. We imagine that young people in 1963 had to be listening to the “sound of young America” as artists like, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Temptations, Mary Wells, The Marvelettes, and The Vandellas played on their record players. Thus, the sound of Motown would have been spinning on their record players, as the world would have been spinning toward equality.

We have designed an Abele Awards that continues to highlight the contributions of Black students annually, and that honors what five courageous "crossovers" did in the evolution of a world class university! This year's Abele Awards is a tribute to 1963 and the Motown Sound. In our planning we seek to honor the style and significance of the Motown era by designing the space to emulate elements one would expect to see from that era.  Our research has included menu, video, songs, attire, people, and history. We are hoping to bring all of that alive in this “Circa 1963.”

So, the 27th Annual Abele Awards, seeks to turn the Searle Center into a musical soundstage that brings the music of Detriot to Durham on Saturday, April 13th, 2013 at 6PM.  Join us in our celebration of Black student excellence!

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