University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
 

January 11, 2006
Contact: Dr. Kern Jackson, Director of the USA African-American Studies Program, (251) 460-6363

USA African-American Studies Sponsors MLK Event

The University of South Alabama African-American Studies Program will present an evening with Civil Rights Activist Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19 at the Government Plaza Auditorium in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

Reagon, who resides in Washington , D.C. , is an activist, singer, producer, composer, and cultural historian, who is the Distinguished Professor of History at the American University in Washington , D.C. She holds the position of curator emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History.

Reagon is also a charter member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee Freedom Singers, where she was active in the Civil Rights Movement. Because of her activism in the SNCC, she was suspended from Albany State College. Reagon eventually received a bachelor's degree in history from Spelman College and earned her Ph.D. from Howard University .

A native of Albany , Ga. , Reagon is best known as a performer and founder of the a cappella singing group "Sweet Honey in the Rock," which was formed in 1973. The group's most recent recording is called "twenty-five." Reagon's solo work has been featured in several award-winning documentaries, including "The Songs are Free: Bernice Johnson Reagon with Bill Moyers," a 60-minute production of Public Affairs Television. She has also won Emmy Awards for her composition and performances in "Eyes on the Prize;" We Shall Overcome;" "Roots of Resistance: A Story of the Underground Railroad;" and Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History."

In addition to her highly acclaimed publications and recordings, Reagon has received numerous honors in recognition of her work, including the MacArthur Fellowship in 1989, the 2003 Heinz Award for the Arts and Humanities and the 1995 Presidential Medal for her contribution to public understanding of the humanities.

For more information contact Dr. Kern Jackson, director of the USA African-American Studies Program at 460-6363 .

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