Robin D.G. Kelley Lecture on Monk

Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley, a leading scholar in African-American studies and author of books including "Yo’ Mama’s DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America, " will speak on Feb. 23 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kelley, a professor of cultural and historical studies at Columbia University, will present the second annual African-American History Month Lecture at UNC, "The Education of Thelonious Monk, " discussing the influential late jazz pianist and composer.

The lecture will be part of a free public program beginning at 7 p.m. in UNC’s Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, off South Road near the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower.

"Celebrating Community: A Tribute to Black Fraternal, Social and Civic Institutions, " the theme of national Black History Month this February, also will be the theme of the program at UNC.

Before the lecture, student ensembles will perform: The Black Student Movement groups Ebony Readers and Onyx Theater and its a cappella group, Harmonyx. The local rap duo Language Arts, featuring Aden Darity and Pierce Freelon, also will perform.

After the lecture, a presentation will recognize the centennial of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. A reception will follow; Kelley will sign copies of his books. A table of information about opportunities to volunteer with local African-American organizations will be available.

Kelley was a consultant to Ken Burns’ PBS documentary series "Jazz" and the late Peter Jennings’ ABC series "The Century."

The William B. Ransford Professor at Columbia, Kelley teaches in the departments of African-American studies and anthropology. He currently is compiling a biography of Monk, who was born in Rocky Mount.

The biography will be one of the more than five books that Kelley has written or edited, with topics ranging from politics to race and culture. His 1997 book, "Yo’ Mama’s DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America, " made The Village Voice’s top ten books list in 1998. He also is co-writing a new survey of African-American history.

Kelley’s other books include "Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression" (UNC Press, 1990); "Race Rebels: Culture, Politics and the Black Working Class" (The Free Press, 1994) and "Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination" (Beacon Press, 2002). He co-edited "To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans" (Oxford University Press, 2000).

"Robin Kelley is one of the brightest, most exciting young historians in the nation, " said UNC’s Dr. William Ferris, Joel R. Williamson eminent professor of history, senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South and adjunct professor in the folklore curriculum. "At the age of 32, he was one of the youngest full professors in the nation and had authored two books. I can think of no one more appropriate to deliver the second annual African-American History Month Lecture than Robin Kelley."

The program will be sponsored by the following units at UNC: the College of Arts and Sciences’ departments of history, African and AfroAmerican studies, music and sociology; the Center for the Study of the American South; the offices of diversity and multicultural affairs and of the provost; Davis Library; the Campus Y and the Stone Center.

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