BGSU honors past, looks to future

Wil Haygood, author of “The Butler: A Witness to History,” will speak at BGSU for the celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event is part of the University’s commemoration of Black History Month, which includes public service, performances, dialogue and social events across campus.

Described as a “cultural historian,” Haygood is a Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and a writer for the Washington Post as well as the author of three iconic biographies, of Sen. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Sammy Davis Jr. and Sugar Ray Robinson. His book about White House butler Eugene Allen was made into a 2013 feature film.

Haygood’s presentation, “The Beauty of the Dream,” will begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 19 in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. His talk is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing. During his visit to campus he will also meet with students and speak to classes.

Starting off the month is a performance by University students and staff exploring the life and times of Dr. King. Sponsored by 10 student organizations, “The Fulfillment of the Dream: Spoken Word, Songs and Theatre” begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater and is free and open to the public.

BGSU students will again spend their Martin Luther King Day holiday helping in the community during the MLK Day of Service, on Jan. 18. Hundreds of students will work on projects for agencies and organizations in Bowling Green and Toledo. The annual event is organized by the Office of Service-Learning.

On Feb. 11, a 2:30 p.m. lecture about the original play, "Gibbeted," by playwright Imelda Hunt, will be held in 207 Union, followed by a 7:30 p.m. performance in the Union Theater. Adapted from trial transcripts including "The Trial and Execution, for Petit Treason, of Mark and Phillis, Slaves of Capt. John Codman," "Gibbeted" tells the story of slaves who murder their owner at Charlestown, Mass. (Phillis was the first woman in the American colonies to be tried and sentenced to immolation for the crime of petit treason).

The 17th annual Black Issues Conference, on Feb. 27, will feature Rosa Clemente, a community organizer, freelance journalist and hip-hop activist. Clemente, the Green Party candidate for vice president in the 2008 national election, will present “If I Was President” as the keynote speaker in the Union. The conference, which also includes research presentations by students from BGSU and other universities, begins at 8:30 a.m. The conference website will be updated as additional details are finalized.