Poetry Reading, Bazaar, Concert Planned in Conjunction with Black History Month

By Mary Beth Spina

Release Date: February 13, 2001

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo will celebrate Black History Month with a reading of poetry penned by the African-American writer Paul Lawrence Dunbar; a bazaar featuring African crafts, culture and fashions, and a concert that blends the meaning of survival and desire for freedom as told through music from the African and Jewish cultures.

Ralph Moon, widely acclaimed for his portrayal of Dunbar, will bring the post-Reconstructionist writer to life through a reading of his poetry at 4 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Jeannette Martin Room, 567 Capen Hall, on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

The program will be free and open to the public, but seating will be limited. Call 645-3072 for reservations.

Sponsoring the program are UB's Educational Opportunity Program and UB's Office of Student Multicultural Affairs (SMA).

An administrator for the Cincinnati public schools, Moon has portrayed Dunbar for almost a decade in performances at schools, libraries and at social and historical events.

He has been a finalist for the Post-Corbett Awards, the highest honor given to a performer by the city of Cincinnati, and is one of only a few who have been invited to perform at the Dunbar Museum, formerly the writer's home in Dayton.

Moon received a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Cincinnati.

From noon to 4 p.m. on Feb. 23 in the lobby of the Student Union on the North Campus, the SMA-sponsored Eighth African Bazaar will feature African crafts, culture and fashion, as well as mini-performances by UB's Gospel Choir, Step Troupe and African Dance Troupe.

On Feb. 24, both Jewish and African cultures will blend music with messages of survival and freedom during a concert by the Jewels of the Diaspora. UB's African Dance Troupe will open the show at 8 p.m. in the Student Union Theatre on the North Campus.

Tickets are $2 for students and seniors, and $5 for general admission. Call 645-2353 for tickets or information.

Representing their African-American and Judeo-Ethiopian cultures, the "Jewels" -- Laura Wetzler and Janiece Thompson -- delight audiences with their music and messages.

The concert will be presented by the Jewish Student Union. Co-sponsors are SMA, Hillel of Buffalo, the World Languages Institute and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in the College of Arts and Sciences.