Purdue University Black Cultural Center to co-host Association for Black Culture Centers conference

October 17, 2012  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University's Black Cultural Center and the Association for Black Culture Centers will co-host the 22nd annual Association for Black Culture Centers national conference Oct. 25-28.

"Culture, Concerns and Contradictions: Being Black in the Age of Obama" is the theme of the conference.

Formed in 1987, the ABCC has more than 700 member or affiliate colleges and universities. The organization's website states it seeks "to celebrate, promote and critically examine the culture of people of African descent, through the institutionalizing of black and multiculture centers to enhance individual, community and global development."

All sessions are scheduled to take place in Rawls Hall on the Purdue campus. Registration fees for the conference are $275 for ABCC members, $325 for non-members and $125 for students. To register, or for more information, visit http://www.conf.purdue.edu/ABCC/

"We are very excited. Being a co-host with ABCC for its national conference has been a goal for us for quite some time," said Renee Thomas, director of the Purdue Black Cultural Center. "The ABCC conference has become the premiere gathering for Black and Multicultural Center professionals. We have been working diligently to provide an amazing array of plenary and breakout sessions."

Purdue's BCC is one reason more than 200 people are expected to attend the conference, Thomas said.

"Purdue University is a benchmark for many cultural centers," she said. "We expect a lot of people to come and see the center, learn more about our programs and take a tour of our freestanding facility. In addition, Indiana is the crossroads of America. It's in a central location and it's easy for attendees to travel here."

The event begins Oct. 25 with a pre-conference institute, which Thomas said consists of a series of workshops that "give cultural center directors information critical for their success. A unique feature is Ohio State will do special sessions on bias incidents. Ohio State has a comprehensive plan in place on how to deal with these incidents."

Also on Oct. 25, there will be an opening reception and keynote speech by Lori Patton Davis at 7 p.m. at the BCC, 1100 Third St., West Lafayette. The talk is free and open to the public.

Davis is an associate professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program at Indiana University. Among her areas of research are cultural centers. She edited the recently released book "Campus Culture Centers in Higher Education," serves as a consultant for cultural centers and speaks around the nation about them. Her work has been published in The Journal of Higher Education, Journal of Negro Education, Journal of College Student Development, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education and Negro Educational Review.

There will be plenary and concurrent sessions on Oct. 26-27. At 8 p.m. on Oct. 26, the IU Soul Revue will entertain in Loeb Playhouse. The performance is free and open to the public.

"The IU Soul Revue is one of the finest collegiate musical ensembles in America. The group has opened for James Brown and the Temptations," Thomas said. "They will present the timeless sounds of Motown music. IU Arts Institute director, Dr. Charles Sykes, will provide narration during the concert highlighting Motown history and making analogies between Motown music and the automobile industry of Detroit." 

Purdue's BCC sponsored a research tour earlier this month to Detroit, where students learned about the Underground Railroad, examined how the city became a "Midwest Mecca" for many African-Americans during the Great Migration as well as the music and artistic legacy of the city.

The conference concludes with a keynote speech by Michael Dyson at 8 p.m. on Oct. 27 in Loeb Playhouse. It is free and open to the public.

Dyson has written several books, including "Reflecting Black: African American Cultural Criticism," "Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X," "I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.," "Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur" and "Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?" He is an American Book Award recipient and two-time NAACP Image Award winner who has been named one of the 150 most powerful African-Americans by Ebony magazine. He also has taught at Brown, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania.

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, gmcclure@purdue.edu

Source: Renee Thomas, 765-494-3091, rathomas@purdue.edu

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