Friday, October 3, 2008

UMass Amherst Libraries Hosts Social Change Events in October


Special Collections and University Archives at UMass Amherst Libraries will host a series of events on social change in October. Two authors will read from their works: Tom Fels on October 21 and Cathy Wilkerson on October 24, both in the Special Collections Reading Room, Floor 25, Du Bois Library, 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. The film Hearts and Minds will be shown on October 27, 7:00 p.m., and on October 29, 2:00 p.m., at Amherst Cinema, 28 Amity St., Amherst. The Fourth Annual Colloquium on Social Change will feature journalist Parker Donham and activist Junius Williams on October 28, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., Cape Cod Lounge, Student Union, UMass Amherst. All events are free and open to the public.

On October 21, Tom Fels will read from Farm Friends: From the Late Sixties to the West Seventies and Beyond. Fels lived on a communal farm for four years (1969-73), which provides the background for Farm Friends, a memoir and a study of the generation of the 1960s. Beginning in 1969, it continues as a personal chronicle of the author and his extended family up to the present day. Farm Friends was nominated for the Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award, the Philip Johnson Award, and the Wittenborn Memorial Award. Fels was a college administrator for five years before becoming a full-time curator and writer.

On October 24, Cathy Wilkerson will read from Flying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman. Wilkerson was active in the civil rights movement, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and the Weathermen. In 1970, she was one of two women to survive an explosion in the basement of her family’s townhouse that killed three Weathermen, forcing the group underground. For the past twenty years she has taught mathematics in New York City schools. She graduated from Swarthmore College in 1966, worked in the national office of the SDS, and witnessed the results of the Cuban Revolution first hand. She was very active in civil rights and the women’s movement.

On October 27, Robert Cox, head of Special Collections and University Archives, will introduce Hearts and Minds at Amherst Cinema at 7:00 p.m. The film will also be shown on October 29, at 2:00 p.m. The controversial 1974 Academy Award winning documentary about the Vietnam War was directed by Peter Davis. The film consists of interviews, newsreels, and documentary footage of the conflict at home and abroad.

On October 28, Parker Donham will speak at the Fourth Annual Colloquium on Social Change. Known for his aggressive scrutinizing of government and his powerful columns in favor of social justice and the environment, Donham worked for 30 years as one of Canada’s best known independent journalists, winning two National Magazine Awards and many Atlantic Journalism Awards. He is now senior partner in Kempt Head Communications, a Nova Scotia company specializing in communications services and risk communications for public figures, corporations, and public agencies.

Junius Williams, Esq. will also speak at the October 28 colloquium. Williams is a noted attorney, educator, musician, and advocate for urban revitalization. He was elected President of the National Bar Association in 1978, the youngest person to be so designated. He served as Director of Community Development and the Model Cities Program for the City of Newark, N.J. (1970-72). He is co-founder, business manager, and performer with the vocal and instrumental ensemble Return to the Source, and uses music and a variety of media to enrich the curriculum of schools. Williams holds a B.A. from Amherst College and a J.D. from Yale University.

For more information, contact Robert Cox,; 413-545-6842.

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