January 07, 2011

Nell Irvin Painter to Headline Week of MLK Events at CWRU

Nell Irvin Painter
Nell Irvin Painter. Photo credit: Robbin Holland.

Nell Irvin Painter, the award-winning author of The History of White People, will deliver the keynote address for Case Western Reserve University’s weeklong 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, “The Weight of History and the Challenge of Change,” which takes place Jan. 14-21.

Painter will speak during a free, public event Friday, Jan. 21, at 12:30 p.m. in Ford Auditorium. Her talk concludes the weeklong celebration that includes a variety of campus activities exploring King's life and legacy, including an essay contest, film screenings and readings.

Painter will elaborate on her new book, described as a journey “through more than 2,000 years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but the frequent praise of whiteness.”

A distinguished 19th and 20th century American historian and scholar, Painter is the Edwards Professor Emeritus of American History at Princeton University. From 1997 to 2000, she directed the African-American studies program at Princeton University.

She has won much acclaim for writing about the history of the south in her articles and seven books, including Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol; Standing at Armageddon: the United States, 1877-1919; The Narrative of Hosea Hudson: His Life as a Negro Communist in the South; and Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction.

She holds a PhD from Harvard University; a master’s from the University of California, Los Angeles; a BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers; and her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, she is pursuing graduate studies in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. Arrangements for the appearance of Nell Irvin Painter made through Greater Talent Network, Inc., New York, NY.

Other Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration highlights:

Essay Contest
CWRU students can reflect and respond in a 500- to 750-word essay with thoughts about the concepts of race in the following statement from The History of White People: “Although science today denies race any standing as objective truth and the U.S. census faces taxonomic meltdown, many Americans cling to race as the unschooled cling to superstition.” The deadline is Jan. 10 and entries can be submitted by email to Melissa Burrows, Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity.

Essays will be judged on originality, relevance to the theme and creativity. The Kelvin Smith Library will award $300 for first place, $200 for second place and $100 for third place.

Student Celebration
All undergraduate, graduate and professional students are invited to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. during a luncheon and afternoon of activities Jan. 17. Registration for the luncheon and symposium, sponsored by the Share the Vision Committee, is required. Space is limited.

For a full list of activities, read more online.

Posted by: Emily Mayock, January 7, 2011 08:15 AM | News Topics: Events

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.