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Dillard Professor celebrates Richard Wright Centen


CONTACT: Karen Celestan
University Communications
(504) 816-4800 [office]

Dillard professor celebrates Richard Wright Centennial with lecture series

(January 4, 2008) - Jerry W. Ward, Jr., distinguished scholar and professor
of English and African World Studies at Dillard University, is conducting a
series of lectures throughout the 2008 academic year to celebrate the life and
literary work of author Richard Wright (Native Son, Black Boy, et al).

The series will feature with a three-day event - The Richard Wright
Centennial Lectures 2008 - to be held March 11-13, 2008 at Dillard University. The
events at Dillard are free and open to the public. Dr. Ward will also be
featured at the Richard Wright Centennial Conference, June 19-21, 2008, in Paris,
France. Wright spent a number of years as an expatriate writer in Paris.

Dr. Ward is the group leader for the pre-Centennial series of discussions on
Wright and his work that are held once a month at various locations around
Natchez, Mississippi, Wright's birthplace. The theme of the discussions is “
Reading Richard Wright on the Eve of His 100th Birthday.” The Natchez events are
sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Natchez Association for the
Preservation of African-American Culture, and the Natchez Literary and Cinema

Dr. Ward will be a featured speaker at the Natchez Annual Literary and Cinema
Celebration, to be held February 21-24, 2008, at the Natchez Convention
Center. The theme of the event will be “Richard Wright, The South, and The World.”
Wright's daughter and grandchildren are expected to attend.

One of America's greatest African-American writers, Richard Wright was also
among the first Black writers to achieve literary fame and fortune, but his
reputation has less to do with the color of his skin than with the superb quality
of his work. He was born and spent the first years of his life on a
plantation not far from Natchez, Mississippi. His father, Nathaniel, was an illiterate
sharecropper and his mother, Ella Wilson, was a well-educated school teacher.
The family's extreme poverty forced them to move to Memphis when Richard was
six years old. Although he spent only a few years of his life in Mississippi,
those years would play a key role in his two of his most recognized works:
Native Son, a novel, and his autobiography, Black Boy.

Dr. Ward is currently co-editing the forthcoming Cambridge History of
African-American Literature with Professor Maryemma Graham, University of
Kansas. Dr. Ward is also a Richard Wright scholar, and has a central role in
planning the Richard Wright Centennial 2008.

The Richard Wright Centennial Lectures 2008

January 24-25 - Elderhostel/Road Scholar, Atlanta, GA
o Richard Wright and Cultural Explorations, 1947-1960
o One Writer's Legacy: Richard Wright and Our 21st Century

February 15 - Heart's Day Program, Howard University
Memorial panel featuring Ward, Michel Fabre and John

February 21-24 - The Annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration
(Natchez Convention Center, Natchez, MS)
Theme: Richard Wright, The South, and The World
o February 21, 2008 - Discussion: Long Black Song - From Page to Screen
o February 22, 2008 - Native Son: The Novel and the Plays

March 11-13 - The Richard Wright Centennial Lectures
Dillard University

o March 11 - Lecture I: Richard Wright: Notes on Southern Exposure
o March 12 - Lecture II: Richard Wright: On Urbanization and Consequences
o March 13 - Lecture III: Richard Wright: Readings of International
Cultures and Politics

March 28-30 - Ninth National Black Writers Conference
Black Writers: Reading and Writing to Transform Their Lives and the World -
Medgar Evers College, New York

o March 29 - Disaster and Transformation: Writing The Katrina Papers: A
Journal of Trauma and Recovery

March 31-April 1 - Nazareth College, Rochester, New York
o Discussion of Eight Men with classes
o Richard Wright: Readings of International Cultures and Politics

April 3-5 - Oxford Conference for the Book (Oxford, MS)
o April 4 - Uncle Tom's Children Revisited

April 9-12 - College Language Association - Charleston, South Carolina
o Richard Wright and the Common Reader

April 13 - Richard Wright Colloquium, University of North Carolina-Chapel
Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
o One Writer's Legacy: Richard Wright and Our 21st Century

June 19-21 - Richard Wright Centennial Conference, Paris, France
o Autobiographical Imperatives and Subliminal Dialogic in the Works of
Richard Wright

June 28-30 - Japan Black Studies Association, Hiroshima, Japan
o June 29 - Wright's Prophetic Importance: A View from the Black American

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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