Detroit theme of Black Cultural Center's fall series

August 22, 2012  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The city of Detroit inspires the theme of the Fall Cultural Series at the Purdue University Black Cultural Center.

Black Detroit: The History, Movement & Music That Changed a Nation will feature a multimedia theatrical performance, speakers, music, an information fair and also a research tour.

"Detroit provides an incredible narrative of the African-American experience in our nation. Throughout the semester we focus on three core components: the Abolitionist Movement and the Underground Railroad, the Great Migration and the birth of the middle class, and the rebirth of the city of Detroit," said Renee Thomas, director of the Purdue Black Cultural Arts Center.

"Detroit was a significant station on the Underground Railroad that helped many enslaved individuals reach freedom. More than 100,000 African-Americans flocked to Detroit during the Great Migration (1910-1930) to escape the social inequalities in the South and to find better opportunities in the industrial city. Detroit has been hit hard by the current economic downturn; however, the arts are playing a vital role in helping the city rise again."

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Upcoming events include:

* Aug. 23. 4-6 p.m. Black Cultural Center, 1100 Third St. 16th annual Boilerfest New Student Orientation. The casual outdoor program introduces new students to the Black Cultural Center, various student organizations and support services. The event will feature music, dance and culinary creations connected to Detroit.

Jessica Care Moore

Jessica Care Moore
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* Sept. 13. 7 p.m. Fowler Hall in Stewart Center. "The Missing Project: Pieces of the D Featuring jessica Care moore." A multimedia theatrical performance featuring the narrative and stories of poet jessica Care moore, the live graffiti of Antonio Agee (aka Shades) and a historical soundtrack with a live DJ that pays tribute to the record label that helped launch Detroit's international techno movement Underground Resistance.

"The Missing Project connects the recent recession and the revolutionary movements of an industrial city and the current state of art in Detroit and across the globe," Thomas said.

* Sept. 29. Immediately following Marshall-Purdue football game. Annual BCC Friends and Family Day. Participants will map the lives of African-Americans who moved from agricultural southern states to industrial northern states. The event will feature migration stories, children's activities and food. "Ford Motor Co. employed southern migrants and helped give birth to the black middle class by paying a living wage that enabled workers to improve their quality of life," Thomas said.

* Oct. 5-9. BCC Research Tour in Detroit and Ontario. Students will learn about the Underground Railroad and examine Detroit as a Midwest Mecca for African-Americans during the Great Migration. The city's struggles following the turbulent 1960s and its slow rebirth in the 21st century also will be explored, along with its artistic and musical legacy.

* Oct. 15-29. Stewart Center, under the mural. "The Race Experience." The race experience kiosk offers a diversity experience where people can see themselves in a different skin. You can change your race to black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Indian. "The exhibit will generate a discussion of race and why we understand the beliefs, biases and misconceptions about it," Thomas said.

Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy
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* Oct. 18-19. 7 p.m. Black Cultural Center, 1100 Third St. BCC Coffee House featuring the Performing Arts Ensembles.

* Oct. 20. 8 p.m. Loeb Playhouse in Stewart Center. An evening with blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy. The guitarist who built the bridge between blues and rock 'n' roll will perform. The concert is in partnership with Purdue Convocations. Tickets range in price from $35-$65 and are available at the Loeb box office.

* Oct. 25-28. Purdue's BCC will co-host the National Association for Black Culture Centers Conference. The theme is "Culture, Concerns and Contradictions: Being Black in the Age of Obama." Attendees will learn about relevant issues related to black and multicultural centers and the field of black studies. For registration information, visit

IU Soul Revue

IU Soul Revue
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* Oct. 26. 8 p.m. Fowler Hall in Stewart Center. Indiana University Soul Revue. The group performs R&B, soul, funk and contemporary urban black popular music. The concert will feature a musical journey of the sounds of Motown.

* Nov. 5. 7 p.m. Stewart Center, Room 218. "Kimberly Simmons: Detroit and the Underground Railroad." Simmons is the founder and executive director of the Quarlls Watkins Heritage Project, an organization dedicated to the public enlightenment of the Underground Railroad. She is a descendent from a Virginia family that traces its American heritage over 400 years.

* Nov. 30.  7 p.m. Loeb Playhouse in Stewart Center. Cultural Arts Festival. The festival is a culmination of the BCC's exploration of the birth, death and rebirth of black Detroit, featuring the BCC Performing Arts Ensembles. Admission: General public, $7; Purdue students, $5.

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711,

Source: Renee Thomas, 765-494-3091,

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