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January 2009 Archives

"They Call Me Lizzie"

Written by Emily Bonoyer

 

Stephanie Jackson as Lizzie-1.JPG            Willimantic, Conn. - Actor Stephanie Jackson of Farmington, will portray Elizabeth Keckly, an enslaved woman who persevered to become dressmaker to President Abraham Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, in a one-person theatrical performance, "They Call Me Lizzie." The performance will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 18 in the Betty R. Tipton Room of Eastern Connecticut State University's Student Center. The event is part of Eastern's University Hour Series. The public is invited.  Admission is free.

            Elizabeth Keckly's story is one of bravery, ingenuity and resilience. Keckly was born Virginia. At the age of five she began fulfilling her duties as a slave to plantation owners Armistead and Mary Burwell. Keckly's mother, who was the household seamstress, taught her daughter to sew at a young age. These sewing lessons laid the framework for Keckly's much sought after, hand-crafted garments.

            As Keckly grew older, her garment business brought her to Washington, DC., where she became known as an outstanding designer and creator of fine dresses. Keckly's patrons included Varina Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis; Mary Anne Randolph Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee; and Mary Todd Lincoln. Keckly lived in the White House with the Lincoln's for four years, becoming personal confidant to Mary Todd Lincoln.

            Jackson is an alumna of the University of Connecticut. She originated the role of Elizabeth Keckly in 2006 for the East Haddam Stage Company. She has previously created roles in such diverse productions as Tiwanna Lewis's social issues theatre piece, "Slice of Life," and portrayed the ancient African leader Yaa Asantewaa for the University of Connecticut's theater department. In addition to acting, Jackson is an assistant special education teacher at Connecticut's Oak Hill School for the Blind.

Holocaust Exhibit Comes to Eastern

Written by Ed Osborn

 

holocaust blog.JPGWillimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University will host an exhibit commemorating the life and work of Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz, whose heroic actions helped to save the lives of more than 62,000 Jews in Hungary during World War II. The exhibit, which has been made available through the generosity of the Budapest, Hungary-based Carl Lutz Foundation and the Mensch Foundation, will be on display at the J. Eugene Smith Library on Eastern's campus from Feb. 26 to March 21. The Carl Lutz Exhibit comprises five stand-alone units that include photos, documents and other materials that recount this compelling and historic story seldom told outside of Europe. 

The Holocaust in Europe during World War II significantly changed the course of world history, for the lives lost, for the hopes and dreams dashed, and for the exceptional displays of humanity and inhumanity during a period of extreme international turmoil. The Carl Lutz Exhibit touches upon all those themes and recounts how Lutz, a Swiss diplomat assigned to Hungary from 1942 to 1945, used his diplomatic position and the legendary Glass House of Budapest to save the lives of tens of thousands of Hungary's Jewish population.

The exhibit opening will take place at 4 p.m. on Feb. 26. Notable dignitaries have been invited to participate in the opening, including the Swiss and Hungarian ambassadors to the United States ; U.S. Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman; Hadassah Lieberman, herself the daughter of Holocaust survivors; and local religious leaders.  After appearing at Eastern, the exhibit is scheduled for display at the Senate Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

 

Eastern to Showcase Costen Cultural Art Exhibit

Written by Emily Bonoyer

 

 

  Feb. 4-5-Costen's Button Display.jpg                                                        

Feb  4-5-Costen-Tuskegee Airmen.JPG Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will present the Costen Cultural Art Exhibit "To God Be the Glory," as part of its celebration of African American History Month. The exhibit will be on display Feb. 4 from 3 to 9 p.m. and onFeb. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center. The public is invited. Admission is free.

            The Costen Cultural Exhibit is a traveling multicultural collection of rare photographs, ephemera, memorabilia and collectibles that has been designed to showcase the accomplishments of Americans throughout history.

 

"Our Voices" Dramatic Presentations

Written by Emily Bonoyer

                                                            

Our Voices- Kenneth Briggs.JPG

Written by Emily Bonoyer

 

            Willimantic, Conn. - "Our Voices: Vacant Seats at the Table," a series of dramatic performances, will be part the African American History Month celebration at Eastern Connecticut State University. The production will be shown on Feb 17 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre. The public is invited. Admission is free.

            The series of monologues from great African American leaders throughout history will be performed by students and faculty. Dwight Bachman, public relations officer at Eastern, will play the narrator throughout the play. African American leaders portrayed include Theodore S. Wright, Sojourner Truth, Fredrick Douglass, W.E.B. Dubois, Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, Shirley Chisholm, and Michelle and Barack Obama.

 

Song for the Blue Ocean Author to Speak at Eastern

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. -Carl Safina, co-founder and president of the East Norwich, NY-based Blue Ocean Institute, will discuss the mystery, wonder and importance of the sea and its creatures at 3 p.m. on Feb. 4 in the Science Building Auditorium at Eastern Connecticut State University.        

            The Blue Ocean Institute is an international nonprofit conservation organization that uses science, art and literature to advocate for oceanic conservation and inspire a deeper connection with the sea, and acts as a translator, putting scientific terminology into language the average person can understand.

            Safina is the author of "Song for the Blue Ocean," "Eye of the Albatross," and his most recent book, "Voyage of the Turtle." He has been profiled in the New York Times and on Nightline and is the recipient of the World Wildlife Fund Senior Fellowship for his work in oceanic conservation.

 

Journalist Star Parker to Speak at Eastern

Written by Emily Bonoyer

 

Feb. 25 Star Parker Head Shot.JPG            Willimantic, Conn. - As part of its celebration of African American History Month, Eastern Connecticut State University will present "An Afternoon with Star Parker" on Feb. 25 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Student Center. The public is invited.  Admission is free.

            Star Parker, who writes a nationally syndicated column through the Scripps Howard News Service, will challenge conventional thoughts and practices in modern culture through an inspirational speech on her journey as an African American woman. Following her remarks, Parker will sign copies of her book, "Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It."

            Parker serves as commentator and analyst on major television and radio programs across the country, including CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News. She debated Jesse Jackson on Black Entertainment Television (BET); fought for school choice on Larry King Live; and defended welfare reform on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

            Parker also is founder and president of CURE (Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education), which provides national dialog on issues of race and poverty in the media and inner city neighborhoods. She often testifies before the U.S. Congress.

 

African American Storytelling and Food Tasting

Written by Emily Bonoyer

 

            Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will present African American storytelling and food tasting as part of its celebration of African American History Month. The presentation will take place on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Café. The public is invited.  Admission is free.

             African, West Indian and African American students, faculty and staff will tell stories from their own personal lives at the event. English Professor Raouf Mama, an internationally-known bilingual storyteller, will be one of the featured guests. He will present, in English and French, indigenous tales from his native land of Benin in West Africa. Drawn from one of the richest oral traditions in Africa, Mama's stories have strong connections to African cultures on both sides of the Atlantic.

            Mama has written several books: "Why Goats Smell Bad and Other Stories from Benin" (1998); "The Barefoot Book of Tropical Tales" (2000); "Pearls of Wisdom," (2001); and "Why Monkeys Live In Trees and Other Trickster and Sacred Tales from Benin" (2006).

 

Eastern to Present 12-Part TV Series on Martin Luther King, Jr.

Written by Ed Osborn

Willimantic, CT -- Had he lived, the late Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 80 years old this year.  As part of its celebration of King's birthday, Eastern Connecticut State University will present a 12-part series looking back on the life and times of King, considered to be the greatest civil rights leader of the past century.

The series, which contains a greeting by Eastern President Elsa Nunez, was researched, written and produced by Dwight Bachman, public relations officer at Eastern. The series will air all day on Jan. 19, the national celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Channel 22, Eastern's cable channel.  It will air on even hours all day beginning at midnight and ending at 10 p.m.

The series begins with a look at the forces that brought this humble Baptist preacher out of his pulpit and pushed him into the forefront of the civil rights movement.  From there, it moves on to the role King played in desegregating the transit system of Montgomery, AL.  It also reveals how King reacted to the many threats on his life, his extraordinary ability to articulate an idea, and his response to liberals who said he was moving too fast and to Christian clergymen who said he was a Communist troublemaker who belonged in jail.

Ellen Brodie, professor and director of theatre at Eastern, described Eastern's continuous airing of the television series as "an on-going beacon lighting the memory of Dr. King and a loving gift to future generations." 

Raouf Mama, professor of English at Eastern, called the series a "standard bearer of the ideals for which Martin Luther King Jr. lived and died." 

 "Dr. King changed the course of history for the entire world," said Bachman. "In the series, the debate between Dr. King and Black Power advocates Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, along with the Nobel Prize for Peace awards ceremony, are powerful moments in Dr. King's life.  His tragic death in Memphis in 1968 is something most of us will never forget.  While he had a dream, he believed in change and always had a plan of action to bring about change.  I know that Dr. King would be proud of America today for electing Barack Obama as its 44th president.  I hope everyone will learn from this series and commit or recommit to Dr. King's idea of making this a more fair, equal and just world."

The series originally aired in 1983 on the Stamford, CT-based Satellite News Channel (SNC).  Bachman was a news producer for SNC at the time.  Jose Grinan, anchorman for SNC, narrates the series. Nick Messina, director of media services at Eastern, and Craig Naumec, multimedia production technician in Media Services, recreated the series for the Eastern Connecticut State University television broadcast.

 

 

Eastern Presents "Loving Gift for Future Generations" on MLK

Writen by Dwight Bachman

 

Dr. King on National Television in 1957 During Montgomery Bus Boycott.jpg 

Willimantic, CT -- Had he lived, the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 80 years old this year.  As part of its celebration of King's birthday, Eastern Connecticut State University will present "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: A Look Back," a 12-part series looking back on the life and times of King, who is considered to be one of the greatest civil rights leaders of the past century.

            "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: A Look Back" will be shown in its entirety at 5 p.m. on Jan. 27 in the Student Center Theatre. A discussion and refreshments will follow.

The series, which contains a greeting by Eastern President Elsa M. Nuñez, was researched, written and produced by Dwight Bachman, public relations officer at Eastern, and also aired all day on Jan. 19, the national celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Channel 22, Eastern's cable channel.

The series begins with a look at the forces that brought this humble Baptist preacher out of his pulpit and pushed him into the forefront of the civil rights movement.  From there, it moves on to the role King played in desegregating the transit system of Montgomery, AL.  It also reveals how King reacted to the many threats on his life, his extraordinary ability to articulate an idea, his response to liberals who said he was moving too fast, and to Christian clergymen, who said he was a communist troublemaker who belonged in jail.

Ellen Brodie, professor and director of theatre at Eastern, described Eastern's continuous airing of the television series as "an on-going beacon lighting the memory of Dr. King and a loving gift to future generations." 

Raouf Mama, professor of English at Eastern, called the series a "standard bearer of the ideals for which Martin Luther King, Jr. lived and died." 

 "Dr. King changed the course of history for the entire world," said Bachman. "In the series, the debate between Dr. King and Black Power advocates Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, along with the Nobel Prize for Peace awards ceremony, are powerful moments in Dr. King's life.  His tragic death in Memphis in 1968 is something most of us will never forget.  I hope everyone will learn from this series and commit or recommit to Dr. King's idea of making this a more just world."

The series originally aired in 1983 on the Stamford, CT-based Satellite News Channel (SNC).  Bachman was a news producer for SNC at the time.  Jose Grinan, anchorman for SNC, narrates the series. Nick Messina, director of media services at Eastern, and Craig Naumec, multimedia production technician in Media Services, recreated the series for the Eastern Connecticut State University television broadcast.

 

Eastern Student Attends National Educational Symposium

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior Josh Lockheed participated in the American Humanics Leadership/Management Institute (AHMI) held Jan. 4-7 in Indianapolis, IN. Lockheed is a member of the Eastern chapter of American Humanics (AH), a nationwide alliance of colleges, universities, non-profit agencies and professional organizations dedicated to preparing and certifying undergraduate students for careers in the nonprofit sector.

For students earning American Humanics certification in nonprofit leadership and management, AHMI is the culmination of their educational experiences. AH offers a unique opportunity for students to network with nonprofit executives, participate in case studies and a national collegiate dialogue, attend workshops led by experts in nonprofit studies, and participate in interviews for nonprofit professional positions. This year's keynote speakers at AHMI included Robert Egger, founder and president of the Washington, D.C. Central Kitchen, and Jim Morris, president of Pacers Sports and Entertainment in Indianapolis and  former director of the United Nations World Food Program.

Founded in 1948, American Humanics is affiliated with more than 70 colleges and universities nationwide including Eastern Connecticut State University, and partners with more than 60 national nonprofit organizations including March of Dimes, YMCA, and Girl Scouts of the USA.

 

Newsweek Editor to Discuss Women's Right to Vote at Eastern

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. - Newsweek Contributing Editor Eleanor Clift will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center. Clift will discuss, "Inside Washington: Presidential Politics," and talk about her new book, "Founding Sisters," which focuses on the 19th Amendment and the path to women's suffrage.

Starting her career as a secretary to Newsweek's national affairs editor in New York, she was one of the first women at the magazine to move from secretary to reporter. Clift has been a contributing editor at Newsweek since 1994. She primarily covers topics dealing with the influence of women in politics as well as the Washington power structure. Clift has served as a congressional and political correspondent for the magazine for six years. She was instrumental in covering Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign, and was named deputy Washington bureau chief in June 1992.

Clift is a regular panelist on the talk show, "The McLaughlin Group," and a political analyst for Fox News Network. She also serves as the co-chair of the board of the International Women's Media Foundation.

Clift has co-written two books with her late husband, Tom Brazaitis, "War Without Bloodshed: The Art of Politics," and "Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling." She has also written a memoir, "Two Weeks of Life," about the last two weeks of her husband's life and the concurrent controversy surrounding the Terri Schiavo case, when the entire nation considered the moral issues posed with the death of a brain-damaged woman in Florida in 2005.

Tickets for Arts and Lecture Series events are $10 for the general public and can be reserved by calling (860) 465-0036 or sending an email to tickets@easternct.edu. For more information on the 2009 series, visit www.easternct.edu/ecsu/arts_lecture.

 

"Bittersweet" Exhibition at Eastern

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. - Contemporary artist and filmmaker Kelly Bigelow Becerra will discuss her exhibit, "Bittersweet," at 3 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the Julian Akus Gallery located in Shafer Hall at Eastern Connecticut State University. A reception will follow from 5-9 p.m. with a performance by the Quiet Corner Fiddlers. The exhibit will run from Jan. 29 to March 12.

Bigelow Becerra creates her work through direct, flatbed scanning of objects and people to create a digital vocabulary. The resulting scenes range from serene to stormy, reflecting the artist's tumultuous childhood. She is also the co-writer and co-producer of the short film, "Dear Beautiful," which was chosen as an official selection for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was screened during the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Bigelow Becerra was recently awarded an Artist Fellowship Grant for the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.  She has exhibited with the Rodger Lapelle Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, and the Aldrich Contemporary Museum of Art in Ridgefield, CT, among other venues in the northeast.

            The Akus Gallery is located in the lower level of Shafer Hall at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursday; and 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The gallery is closed Mondays and Fridays. Parking is available on both cross streets.  The gallery is fully accessible. For more information regarding this and other exhibitions at Akus Gallery, please call the Akus Gallery at (860) 465-4659 or visit the web site: http://www.easternct.edu/akusgallery

 

"College Goal Sunday Connecticut"

Written by Emily Bonoyer

universities across the state participating in "College Goal Sunday Connecticut," on Jan. 25. This event is a volunteer effort to help low-income families, high school seniors and juniors, minority students and first-generation college students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). At Eastern, College Goal Sunday will be held from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Computer Lab of Webb Hall on Eastern's North Campus.

            At College Goal Sunday, students and parents will be able to talk to experts and get in-depth help filling out the FAFSA form. Participants will also receive general information regarding state and federal financial aid programs.

            The event is sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Professional Financial Aid Administrators; the Connecticut Association of Educational Opportunity Programs; the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administration; and the Lumina Foundation. For more information about the event, call 1-800-277-2270; e-mail info@collegegoalsundayct.org; or visit www.collegegoalsundayct.org.

 

Eastern Celebrates National African American History Month

Written by Este Yarmosh

 

 

African American History MonthWillimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will celebrate African American History Month in February with numerous events, including the viewing of a TV series, story-telling, art exhibits, theatrical presentations, poetry slams, lectures and much more.  The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Eastern will begin its February celebration early on Jan. 27 with the broadcast of "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:  A Look Back," a 12-part television series produced by Eastern Public Relations Officer Dwight Bachman in 1983.  Eastern President Elsa Nuñez will introduce the series. A discussion on the series will follow the viewing, and food will be served in the Intercultural Center. ECSU TV-22, Eastern's television station, will air the 12-part series on Jan. 19, the federal holiday honoring King, beginning at 12. a. m.  One segment will air every even hour throughout the day. 

On Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Café, the Intercultural Center will present an African American storytelling and food tasting event, at which West Indian and African American students, faculty and staff will tell stories from their own personal lives.  Raouf Mama, professor of English at Eastern, will be one of the featured storytellers. 

On Feb. 4 and 5, the highly-acclaimed Costen Cultural Art Exhibit will be on display in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center.  The Costen Cultural Art Exhibit is a traveling multicultural collection of rare photographs, memorabilia and collectibles that shows the accomplishments of Americans throughout history.  

Feb. 12-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X!.JPGOn Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre, "Our Voices," a series of monologues from great African American leaders throughout history, will be performed by Eastern students and faculty.  Light refreshments will be available in the Intercultural Center following the event. 

On Feb. 18, at 3 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center, a theatrical performance, "They Call Me Lizzie," will be presented as part of Eastern's University Hour series.  Stephanie Jackson, an actress who has performed with the East Haddam Stage Company and is an alumna of the University of Connecticut, will play Elizabeth Keckly, born enslaved to George and Agnes Hobbs.  Keckly persevered and became Mary Todd Lincoln's dressmaker.

On Feb. 25, at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre, Eastern will present "An Afternoon with Star Parker," featuring the author and columnist.  Parker will discuss her inspirational journey as an African American woman and sign copies of her book, "White Ghetto:  How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay."

Also on Feb. 25, at 6 p.m., the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards ceremony will take place in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.  These awards recognize members of the campus and community-at-large whose actions demonstrate distinguished service in promoting the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Light food and refreshments will be served. 

               

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