We Celebrate Outstanding African Americans
Breaking Barriers: Louis Armstrong And Civil Rights
January 26, 2007 through October 8, 2007
Louis Armstrong House Museum, Corona, Queens—administered by Queens College, CUNY is featuring a fascinating look at Louis Armstrong’s views on Civil Rights, a controversial aspect of his legacy since the 1950s, when he was accused of being out of step with the movement. Did Armstrong’s response to the Little Rock Nine crisis in 1957 and his refusal to represent the United States on a State Department tour of the Soviet Union reflect a change in his attitudes, or had he been quietly breaking down doors all along? The exhibit also celebrates Armstrong’s many contributions – as jazz legend, good will ambassador, movie star and author. Included are film clips and artifacts from the period, including Armstrong’s FBI file, which will present a revealing look at one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.
For directions and other information, visit http://www.satchmo.net/.
Queens College -
Jeffrey Renard Allen
is an Associate Professor of English at Queens College of the City University of New York, the author of two collections of poetry, Stellar Places (Moyer Bell 2007) and Harbors and Spirits (Moyer Bell 1999), and of the widely celebrated and influential novel, Rails Under My Back (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000), which won The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Fiction. His other awards include a Whiting Writer’s Award, The Chicago Public Library’s Twenty-first Century Award, a Recognition for Pioneering Achievements in Fiction from the African American Literature and Culture Association, a support grant from Creative Capital, and the 2003 Charles Angoff Award for Fiction from The Literary Review. He has been a fellow at The Center for Scholars and Writers at The New York Public Library, a John Farrar Fellow in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a Walter E. Dakins Fellow in Fiction at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.
His essays, reviews, fiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous publications, including The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Triquarterly, Ploughshares, Bomb, Hambone, The Antioch Review, StoryQuarterly, African Voices, African American Review, Callaloo, Arkansas Review, Other Voices, Black Renaissance Noire, Notre Dame Review, The Literary Review, and XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics. His work has also appeared in several anthologies, including 110 Stories: New York Writes after September 11, Rainbow Darkness: An Anthology of African American Poetry, and Homeground: Language for an American Landscape.
Born in Chicago, Renard Allen holds a PhD in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Besides teaching at Queens College (including, as of fall 2007, in the college’s new MFA program in creative writing), Allen is also an instructor in the graduate writing program at New School University. He has also taught for Cave Canem, the Summer Literary Seminars program in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Nairobi, Kenya, and in the writing program at Columbia University. In addition, he is the director of the Pan African Literary Forum, a writers’ conference in Accra, Ghana, to be held in the summer of 2008. A resident of Far Rockaway, Queens, Allen is presently at work on the novel Song of the Shank, based on the life of Thomas Greene Wiggins, a nineteenth-century African American piano virtuoso and composer who performed under the stage name Blind Tom.
Hunter College -
was awarded the prestigious 2006 National Medal of Arts by President Bush at the White House on November 9. DeCarava, a Distinguished Professor of Art at Hunter, has devoted more than 60 years to an extraordinary career as a master photographer and a pioneer in the art of photography. During a presentation ceremony in the Oval Office with the President and First Lady Laura Bush, DeCarava—a member of the Hunter faculty since 1975—was hailed for a lifetime of inspiring contributions to the arts. “In the midst of the Civil Rights movement, his revealing work seized the attention of our nation while displaying the dignity and determination of his subjects,” DeCarava’s citation read. Living and working primarily in New York City, DeCarava has been widely praised as the first photographer “to devote serious attention…to the black experience in America” and for the affection for the people and places of his hometown of New York which are so evident in his work. DeCarava has been the subject of 15 solo exhibitions. His work is in collections at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He was also the first African American photographer to win a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Hunter College -
Dr. Godfrey Gumbs
of the Physics Department has been named a CUNY Distinguished Professor in recognition of his lifetime of contributions to theoretical physics, including research into some of the most complex problems of condensed matter. It is the latest in a series of well-earned honors for Dr. Gumbs. Last year, he was named a Fulbright Senior Scholar and he received the American Physical Society’s highest prize, the Edward A. Bouchet Award. An extraordinarily active and productive scientist, he has published almost 200 papers—and many research groups around the world carry out work today based on his discoveries. Dr. Gumbs, a member of the faculty since 1992, served as Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Hunter for five years. He has also made outstanding contributions and service to many College programs, including efforts to recruit and support minority students.