SMU sponsors musical tribute to African American author-activist Margaret Walker Alexander on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Randy Klein and Aurelia Williams
Randy Klein, at piano, and Aurelia Williams

Members of the SMU community are invited to a free performance of “For My People: A New Musical Work” on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Clarence Muse Café Theater, 1309 Canton Street, Dallas.

Celebrating the centennial of the birth of acclaimed African American poet-scholar-activist Margaret Walker Alexander (1915-1998), the event will feature the opus’ author, Randy Klein, joined by Aurelia Williams and the Heart and Soul Singers performing in honor of SMU’s first sponsorship of the annual College Language Association (CLA) convention (April 8-11 in Dallas).

Margaret Walker Alexander
Margaret Walker Alexander

Co-sponsors of the musical tribute are SMU’s Department of English and Ethnic Studies Program in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences along with the University’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, in partnership with the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, the College Language Association and Dr. Maryemma Graham of the University of Kansas.

“This is not only CLA’s 75th convention and the centennial of Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander’s birth, but it’s also the centennial of SMU’s opening,” says CLA host committee chair Darryl Dickson-Carr, associate professor of English in SMU’s Dedman College.

“Walker Alexander was the direct inspiration for The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, as its founder, Curtis King, was her student and protégé,” Dickson-Carr says. “The CLA’s first visit to Texas in 50 years coincides with remarkable events in Dallas and SMU’s histories, and features the work of some of its best and most celebrated students.”

Dylan Smith
Dylan Smith
Synthia Green
Synthia Green

SMU will host a private reception for CLA members at Café 43 in the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. University leaders set to greet CLA guests include Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero, Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies James Quick and Department of English Chair Nina Schwartz.

A jazz trio led by Dylan Smith of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will provide entertainment, as will Meadows student Synthia Green.

SMU English Department graduate students will serve as CLA convention volunteers.

For more details about the CLA and related events, contact Dr. Dickson-Carr.

Written by Denise Gee