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Week of February 15, 2010

Don’t Miss: Greatest James Brown concert celebrated

In the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968, R&B artist James Brown was credited with helping to prevent disillusioned black Boston residents from rioting when Brown agreed to have his concert at Boston Garden aired on TV.

“April 5, 1968: On James Brown, Martin Luther King and the Manly Dimensions of Nonviolent Resistance” will be the topic of the Michael Awkward Collegiate Professorship Inaugural Lecture and reception. The lecture will be delivered by Awkward, the Gayl A. Jones Collegiate Professor in Afro-American Literature and Culture and professor of English language and literature and professor of Afro-American and African studies.

The lecture will be at 4:10 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Rackham Amphitheatre (fourth floor). The lecture and reception are free and open to the public, and sponsored by LSA.

Awkward explores historical and autobiographical accounts — including Brown’s own — of the complex negotiations between the singer and members of the Boston political leadership that enabled “Soul Brother Number One” to perform. He also compares Brown’s rhetoric of moderate and masculinist leadership against King’s increasingly dogged insistence that nonviolent protest be viewed as a manifestation of “Olympian (black) manhood.”

The lecture considers Brown’s courageous performance alongside the much-debated possibility that black athletes would boycott the 1968 Olympics to protest U.S racism. Awkward also considers the inability of black NBA players to compel league officials to postpone the start of the playoff series between bitter rivals representing Boston — where Brown had chosen to perform — and Philadelphia.

 

STAFF SPOTLIGHT

Jeanne Mackey, senior performance support analyst, Information and Technology Services, on environmental activism: “What I love about the Transition Towns approach to a low-energy future is that it draws on our hopes more than our fears.”

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