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November 7, 2013

Program on Nov. 12 Will Commemorate 150th Anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation

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Old Dominion's Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in the North Cafeteria of Webb Center.

The theme of the program is "What Is FREEDOM and Who Defines It?" Traci Daniels, special assistant to the vice president of student engagement and enrollment services, will serve as moderator.

Professor of English Tim Seibles will open the evening with a "Poetic Expression of Reflections Written by Frederick Douglass." Next, Michael Hucles, associate professor of history, will discuss the historical context of the Emancipation Proclamation, the uncertainties, and also localize the discussion to the Hampton Roads area with a specific emphasis on the excluded territory of Norfolk.

Afterward, Jesse Richman, associate professor of political science and geography, will discuss the structure of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was shaped by President Lincoln's concerns about the scope of his constitutional powers to include the repeated revision and contest, and renewal of key constitutional questions. Richman will then trace some key elements of this history through to the most recent chapters, including this year's Supreme Court decision to declare parts of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

On behalf of Floetic Movement, ODU student Kimberly Morris, a double major in sociology and criminal justice, will recite a poem she wrote titled "Freedom Is Not Free." The program will conclude with African drumming and African/Caribbean dance, performed by the Ubuntu Dance Collectives of Norfolk.

Throughout the evening, guests will have an opportunity to view an enlarged photocopy of the Emancipation Proclamation, an exhibit displaying digital images documenting the sale of slaves, as well as other relevant photos during the time period. There will also be a PowerPoint presentation of images representing the time period, developed by Robert Wojtowicz, professor of art history and associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Arts and Letters.

Co-sponsors of the free program are the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, the Student Government Association, the Office of Intercultural Relations, the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice and Floetic Movement.

For more information about the program, contact Melvina Sumter, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice, at msumter@odu.edu.