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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

URI to celebrate Haitian Bicentennial

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 23, 2003 -- The University of Rhode Island’s African and African American Studies Program will celebrate the Haitian Bicentennial with a series events throughout the academic year. All events are free and open to the public.

One of the highlights of the celebration will be a talk by Ron Wilkens, an accomplished photographer. According to Wilkens, there are 156 million people of African descent in Latin America today. Through his PoliticArt, he continues to find and display inspirational images. He says of his work: "I endeavor to capture the sensitivity, vibrancy and dignity of people whom the average U.S. viewer is exposed to in stereotypical ways."

In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island—Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean, but only through the heavy importation of African slaves. After a prolonged struggle, the slaves were able to rid themselves of their oppressors. In 1804, Haiti became the first black republic to declare its independence.

URI events planned for 2003-2004 include:

Lecture: Blacks in Mexico by Ron Wilkens, Sept. 25, noon, Multicultural Center, Hardge Forum Room. Kingston Campus.
Film: Sugar Cane Alley, Oct. 8, 4 p.m., Atrium II, Memorial Union, Kingston Campus.
Film: The Other Haiti, Nov. 5, 4 p.m., Atrium II, Memorial Union, Kingston Campus.
Play: The Black Jacobins, Feb. 24 at the Feinstein Providence Campus and Feb. 27 in Edwards Auditorium. Kingston Campus.
Student Panel: March 2004, place and time to be announced.

For further information, contact URI’s African and African American Studies Program at 401-874-2536.


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Page last revised Wednesday, September 24, 2003 .