Press Release


Amiri Baraka, Fayard Nicholas, and Dael Orlandersmith to speak on art and integration on May 13

CHICAGOThe Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will host a moderated discussion about the relationship between art and integration with poet and playwright Amiri Baraka , dancer Fayard Nicholas , and playwright Dael Orlandersmith on Thursday, May 13, 2004 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m . at the Harris Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, 115 S. LaSalle Street, 8th Floor. A pre-discussion reception will be held from 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. This event is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago and The HistoryMakers .

This event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required and space is limited. To make reservations or for more information, contact the IHC at 312.422.5580 or send an email to

The 20th century saw dramatic shifts in the legal rights and cultural production of African Americans, and the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision marks an important dividing line in that history. Panelists will discuss the role that integration has had on their art and how the fight for integration and equality has influenced the trajectory of the arts in general.

  • Amiri Baraka has been publishing poetry since 1961. In 1964 his won an Obie award for his play, Dutchman .
  • Fayard Nicholas , of the famous tap dancing duo the Nicholas Brothers, performed at the Cotton Club and appeared in The Ziegfeld Follies and in numerous movie musicals in the 1940s.
  • Dael Orlandersmith is a playwright and actress who won a 1984 Obie for her play Beauty’s Daughter. Her play Yellowman was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 and has just had its Chicago premiere.

Cheryl Johnson-Odim, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Columbia College Chicago and IHC Board member will moderate this discussion.

This event kicks off IHC’s “ Brown v. Board 50 Years Later: Conversations on Integration, Race, and the Courts,” a free, year-long series of programs going on around Illinois from April 2004-May 2005 . Future events include a discussion with legendary dancer Jeni LeGon; a Brown-related film series; a panel discussing the impact of race on rhythm and blues; and an all-day series of discussions related to the various legacies, both positive and negative, of Brown. For a calendar of events or for more information, please visit the IHC’s “Brown v. Board 50 Years Later” website at or contact the IHC at 312.422.5580 or via email at

This event venue is wheelchair accessible. If you need a sign interpreter, or have a disability and require accommodation to fully participate in this event, please call the IHC at 312.422.5580 to make arrangements.

Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5), the Chicago Sun-Times, Comcast, and WYCC-TV Channel 20 are media sponsors for “Brown v. Board 50 Years Later.” “ Brown v. Board 50 Years Later” is funded in part by grants from The Boeing Company, Jovon Broadcasting, the Polk Bros. Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Woods Fund of Chicago.


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