January 14: Amilcar Shabazz (UMass Afro-American Studies)

posted Jan 3, 2014, 2:06 AM by Amherst Club   [ updated Jan 19, 2014, 8:57 AM ]
Amilcar Shabazz is a professor in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and was the department's seventh chair.
In 2013, he accepted an appointment as Faculty Advisor to the Chancellor for Diversity and Excellence. He believes in the area of historical studies with an emphasis on the political economy  of social and cultural movements, education, and public policy. 
He has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist and has done work in Brazil, Ghana,Japan, Cuba,etc. His talk focused on Western Massachusetts and its diversity at Universities in the 19th and 20th centuries.
President Ellen Kosmer called the meeting of the Amherst Club to order at noon on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014, and welcomed us all.

Guests: Rachel Hare Mustin introduced her guests, Linda Papirio, recently retired as an administrator from the UMass Department of Comparative Literature, and her husband, Professor Tony Papirio, recently retired from the UMass Department of Physics. Andrea Battle introduced her guest, Edward Cage, Vice President and Chair, Fundraising Committee, NAACP Amherst, who accompanied our speaker, Professor Amilcar Shabazz of UMass.

Announcements: Andrea Battle reminded members that on Friday Jan. 17th at 7 p.m. the Amherst Regional Middle School will present Project Unspeakable: Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK. On Saturday January 18th, ARMS will host the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, 9am-12 noon. Tina Berins announced she will be shortly visiting Mexico where she will distribute eyeglasses, especially reading glasses of the generic type found at drug stores, to inhabitants of poor villages. Please bring in any you have to her this coming week, Tuesday January 21st, 2014. Nancy Gregg invited us to join in a community fundraiser for the workers at Mi Tierra restaurant, one of the Hadley businesses recently destroyed in the tragic fire. “Together We Dance – Bailamos Juntos” will celebrate Latin music and feature a Dance Party with DJ Ahmed Gonzalez. Amherst Regional Middle School, Saturday, January 25th, 2014, 4-7 p.m. Individuals $7-$10, Families $12-$15. Featuring Iroko Nuevo Afro-Cuban Performance Group, Grupo Folklorico Tradiciones, ARHS Dance Theater Ensemble, Cayena, ARHS Rabentolas, ARHS Conjunto de Bomba. Therese Brady Donohue reminded members to continue bringing good items to her for the Love Notes Silent Auction. Wrapped items are particularly desirable. Very popular also are gift certificates for restaurants, and for services such as hairdressing, carpentry, electricity, plumbing etc. – invite your favorites to donate their time and skill!

Snapshots: Nancy Brose is in charge of the popular twice-monthly Snapshots. Honore David is up next, followed by Bonnie Isman. If you are interested in participating in future, please let Nancy know. Poem: Jacquie Price read a poem, “Ice”, from Mary Oliver’s New and Collected Poems, Volume I. As well as winning a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, Mary Oliver is said to be America's best-selling poet!
Speaker: Andrea introduced our speaker, Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, an Amherst School Committee member and Special Assistant to the UMass Amherst Chancellor. Dr. Shabazz gave a fascinating illustrated slide-talk on Diversity & Education in Western Massachusetts and the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was inspiring to learn of the important role our region played in the spread of education and opportunity for Afro-Americans in the 19th and early 20th century, not just through well-known names such as W.E.B. Du Bois, but many other pioneers who are generally little known.

Raffle: The bottle of wine was won by Bill Vickery and the $10.00 by guest Tony Papirio.

Your scribe, Linda Honan