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Reed Celebrates Black History Month: Politics, Activism, and Art

Reed’s theme in celebrating Black History Month is politics, activism, and art.

Portland, OR (January 24, 2008) -- Democratic Leadership Council chairman Harold Ford Jr. will open Reed’s Black History Month events on Saturday, February 2, at 2 p.m. in Reed’s Kaul Auditorium with his lecture, “The Economy and the 2008 Elections.” Reed’s theme in celebrating Black History Month is politics, activism, and art. Other lecturers include professor and civil rights leader Mary Frances Berry whose lecture is titled, “Race, Politics and the 2008 Elections,” and artist and children’s author Faith Ringgold presenting, “Thirty Years as an Artist, Author and Activist.”

The Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery presents Working History, African American Art & Objects. Working History brings together artwork by significant African American artists, and exhibits their work alongside historical and ephemeral objects. The exhibition explores how artists can reinterpret historical source material into forms of contemporary social and political critique. The exhibiting artists are: Nick Cave, Willie Cole, David Hammons, Glenn Ligon, Fred Wilson, Io Palmer, Kianga Ford, Dave McKenzie, Adrian Piper, Kara Walker, Sam Durant, Lorraine O’Grady, and Faith Ringgold.

A public celebration for Working History will take place on Friday, February 15, at 6:30 p.m., beginning with an artist talk by Nick Cave in the Vollum Lounge, followed by a reception at the Cooley Gallery from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Harold Ford Jr. served Tennessee in the United States Congress for 10 years and was described by President Bill Clinton as “the walking, living embodiment of where America ought to go in the 21st century.” Ford is currently a visiting professor of public policy at Vanderbilt University, and vice chairman of Merrill Lynch and Co.

Professor Mary Frances Berry served as Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; she was chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and a co-founder of the Free South Africa Movement. Berry is the author of seven books, including Long Memory: The Black Experience in America, which she co-authored with John W. Blassingame. Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania.

Faith Ringgold is internationally renowned for her painted story quilts. She has work in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the Studio Museum in Harlem; and the Museum of Modern Art, and is one of the featured artists of Working History.