Willamette University celebrates MLK Days

Oral histories honor MLK Day

Willamette University and the Salem community present "I'm Not Getting On, Until Jim Crow Gets Off," by Awele Makeba, Monday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. in Hudson Hall at Willamette. The event is free and the public is invited.

The interactive performance and dialog highlight a watershed moment in United States history -- the Montgomery bus boycott. The oral histories about the women in the Montgomery movement are presented through a talking timeline that lets the audience reclaim this "herstory" in collective memory.?A variety of voices and stories weave the historical narrative. By interacting with the audience, Awele deconstructs the complexities of this layered history and links it to contemporary issues.?The audience is given an opportunity to discuss content and to interview characters about their motivations. The program concludes with the creation of a human sculpture by audience volunteers that celebrates the role of women as leaders and foot soldiers in the freedom struggle.

Makeba is an award-winning actor and playwright, storyteller and recording artist.?She is a "truth-teller" for social change, researching and performing African American history that might otherwise be lost. She invites audiences to wrestle with complex and emotionally laden issues that teach us about our common humanity.

Makeba has mesmerized audiences in Russia, Australia, Taiwan, France and Canada, and has performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The event is co-sponsored by Salem's Human Rights and Relations Advisory Commission, the Salem Chapter of the NAACP, the YWCA Racial Justice and Cultural Diversity Conference, the Salem Multicultural Institute, and One Community Initiative.

Civil rights film shown at Willamette

The Birth of a Nation will be shown Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Montag Den at Willamette University. The event is free and the public is welcome.

The silent film, directed by D. W. Griffith and released in 1915, is one of America's most influential and controversial motion pictures. The film was based on Thomas Dixon's novel and play, The Clansman. It has provoked great controversy for its treatment of white supremacy and sympathetic account of the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. A discussion will follow the film.

Hip hop artist to speak about King's legacy

Willamette University will sponsor hip hop performance lecturer Mark Gonzales, who will speak about "King's Legacy: A Lyrical Look" Thursday, Jan. 22, at 11:30 a.m. in Cone Chapel at Willamette and again at 7:30 p.m. in Cat Cavern in Putnam University Center. Both events are free and the public is invited.

Gonzales is a poet, Hip Hop Theatre playwright and performance lecturer who combines the spoken word and a turntable, and uses hip hop as a tool of resistance, rebellion and enlightenment. He has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry, Fox News, and at conferences across the United States. The Alaskan-born Chicano has traversed refugee camps in Palestine, back alley streets in Cuba and youth prisons in Los Angeles.

'Song Talk' Celebrates African History and MLK Days

Composer, musician and scholar Bernice Johnson Reagon will present a lecture interspersed with song Friday, Jan. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in Smith Auditorium.

For more than four decades, Bernice Johnson Reagon has been a major cultural voice for freedom and justice. Perhaps no individual better illustrates the transformative power of traditional African American music and cultural history. A singer and composer, Reagon recently retired after 30 years of performing with Sweet Honey in the Rock, the internationally renowned a cappella ensemble she founded in 1973. She produced most of the group's recordings, including the Grammy-nominated Still The Same Me, a 2001 release for younger audiences. Her work as a scholar and composer is reflected in numerous publications and productions on African American culture and history.

Tickets are $5 and are available beginning at 9 a.m. Jan. 20, on the 2nd floor of Putnam University Center.?Doors open at 7 p.m. Call (503) 370-6265 for information.

Join the Stride Toward Freedom 5K Run/1-Mile Walk

Celebrate the life and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at Willamette University's second annual fundraiser, the Stride Toward Freedom 5K Run/1-Mile Walk. The race will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, at Brown Field at Willamette University. Runners and walkers of all ages are welcome.

The entry fee includes post-race snacks, and a T-shirt for the first 100 entrants. Pre-register online for $15 at (type in "Willamette University") or at Putnam University Center at Willamette, or register for $20 beginning at 8 a.m. the day of the race.

Proceeds will benefit the Salem Multicultural Institute for a performance and lecture series. The institute also sponsors the World Beat Festival, held each June at Salem Riverfront Park.

For more information contact Reyna Meyers at (503) 370-6046 or