Contact: Bennetta Jules-Rosette, (619) 534-4790 or
Jan Jennings, (619) 822-1684, firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to view Pickett (199 K)
Click here to view Jesse Stahl (62 K)
Click here to view Cowboys (81K)
Click here to view Deadwood (67K)
Click here to view Seminole Negro Indian Scouts
THE BLACK WEST:
REINVENTING HISTORY, REINTERPRETING MEDIA WILL BE EXPLORED IN A SYMPOSIUM APRIL 22-23 AT
UC SAN DIEGO
The first and only black singing cowboy ever to
appear on the silver screen during the heyday of the singing cowboy movies the Roy
Rogers and Gene Autry era will take the stage once again in celebration of an
agenda dedicated to the Black West.
Herb Jeffries, who
starred in four singing cowboy movies in the late 1930s and later went on to a
multi-faceted performing career including as jazz singer with Duke Ellington, will be the
keynote speaker at The Black West: Reinventing History, Reinterpreting Media, a
symposium, film festival and youth forum sponsored by the African and African-American
Studies Research Project (AAASRP) at the University of California, San Diego.
The symposium will be
held April 22 and 23 in UCSDs Price Center. All events are free and open to the
Jeffries, whose films
include Two-Gun Man From Harlem and The Bronze Buckaroo, will speak on The
Black Western, A Performers Perspective, at 2 p.m. April 22 in Gallery A and B
of the Price Center. The octogenarians contributions to the black cowboy lore
of the Old West are represented at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and at
Californias Gene Autry Museum. His movies will be screened during the
symposiums film festival.
participation is just one facet of the far-reaching exploration, investigation and
reflection of the Black West symposium, according to Bennetta Jules-Rosette, professor of
sociology at UCSD and the director of AAASRP.
"The symposium will
examine how African-Americans have been depicted in American historical narratives and
media images of the West," Jules-Rosette said. "It will focus on the men
and women who were the builders, cowboys, heroes, villains and pioneers. The
symposium discussions will be linked to the film festival screenings that cover early
images of black settlements, race relations and the adaptation of African-American
vaudeville traditions to the Western."
various specialties in African-American history and culture from UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz,
UC Santa Barbara, California State University-Fullerton and the University of Southern
California, as well as UCSD, will participate in symposium discussions.
Also participating will
be Simon Njami, editor-in-chief of Revue Noire, Frances leading African art
magazine, and Filip De Boeck, director of the African Research Centre at the University of
The two-day symposium
will consist of four sessions. The opening session at 9 a.m. April 22 will deal with
Black Settlements in California History. John Stewart, director of
African-American Studies at UC Davis, will chair. The afternoon session beginning at
2 p.m. will address the topic of Media Images of the Black West, extending from
black silent Westerns to recent productions. Singing cowboy Jeffries will speak from
the performers perspective. George Lipsitz, UCSD Ethnic Studies Department,
The morning session
beginning at 9 a.m. April 23 will address African and Diaspora Images and the Western.
The session will include discussion of reggae and rodeos, Western images of the
African frontier, and uses of the American West in Caribbean and African-American popular
culture. UCSDs Jules-Rosette will chair. The afternoon session at 2 p.m.
will explore the relationship between African-Americans and American Indians. It
will examine historical interrelationships between these groups and contemporary issues
pertaining to cultural and media images. Ines Talamantez, Department of Religious
Studies, UC Santa Barbara, will chair.
symposium discussions will be the Black Western Film Festival. Films of the West
featuring black cast members or an all black cast will be screened from 9:30 a.m. to 5
p.m. each day of the symposium in the Davis/Riverside Room in the Price Center. More
than 20 films will be shown, including Jeffries The Bronze Buckaroo, Silverado
with Danny Glover, Posse with Mario Van Peebles, Buck and the Preacher with
Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, and Unforgiven with Morgan Freeman.
Robert Cancel, UCSD
associate professor of literature, will host a special Black Western Film Festival
screening from 5 to 7 p.m. April 22 in the Price Centers Gallery B. He will offer
commentary and lead discussion.
The film festival finale
will be from 5 to 11 p.m. April 23 in the Price Center Theater.
The Youth Forum, a
community outreach program, rounds out Black West activities. The 10 best essay
writers in a contest on the settlement of the Black West and its media heroes
will participate in a forum on the Black West beginning at 3 p.m. April 22 at UCSD.
The contest was sponsored by the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Diego, the Sojourner
Truth Academy of San Diego and Upward Bound, an after school program for youths in the
South Bay. The winners will attend lectures on black history and the media, a
screening of black Westerns, tour the UCSD campus and be honored at an AAASRP awards
banquet where the top two students in the essay writing contest will receive awards.
The Black West:
Reinventing History, Reinterpreting Media is among the research and outreach programs
sponsored by UCSDs AAASRP. The AAARSPs mission is to promote research
and intellectual understanding of the issues that face African-Americans and the African
disapora populations today from the perspectives of the humanities and the social
sciences. The project sponsors public events that bring diverse groups of people
together, both to foster a comparative and interdisciplinary environment and to share
information and exchange scholarly ideas on these topics.
For further information
on The Black West: Reinventing History, Reinterpreting Media call Jules-Rosette at