Julian Bond Presents History Through Music at Siena Lecture

Jocelyn Thomas In the Headlines

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – An audience of approximately 2,000 students and representatives from the Siena College faculty and area government turned out at the college’s Alumni Recreation Center for a lecture by Dr. Julian Bond last week here.

Bond, who is chair of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a distinguished Professor in Residence at American University in Washington, D.C., spoke as part of Siena’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture Series on Race and Nonviolent Social Change on Jan. 25.

Siena president Kevin Mackin welcomed the audience and introduced the guest who has been a leading activist for civil rights and economic justice since the 1960s.

“Celebrating Martin Luther King is a good way to start the semester, since at Siena we study history to be inspired,” Kevin said.

Bond’s presentation, titled “Crossing the Color Line: From Rhythm N Blues to Rock ‘N Roll,” included both photos and audio clips. He began by telling the audience that the topic is neither frivolous nor insignificant.

“Rock N’ Roll history is American history,” Bond said. “It’s the history of survival. Like all American history, it is infused with racism.”

Bond encouraged audience members to “snap their fingers and dance in the aisles.”  As the evening’s music became more recognizable, many attendees could be seen smiling and mouthing the words to familiar songs.

In addition to Bond, the evening included performances by The New York Catholic Chorale, Siena’s artists in residence, and the presentation of courage awards to three students from the Albany area.

An introduction was given by Anne Pope, president of the Albany Branch of the NAACP, director of the New York African American Research Foundation, and vice chair of the King Lecture Series advisory board.

Kevin’s interview with Bond will be presented on Siena’s News & Views radio program on Feb. 3. Bond will discuss Black History Month, and music in the civil rights movement.  The program will include an arrangement of the spiritual “Free at Last” sung by the New York Catholic Chorale. The program can be heard at 9 a.m. Eastern time on WVCR FM 88.3; the station can also be heard live internationally via its Web site www.vcr.com

In photo: Julian Bond with Kevin Mackin and Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications for  Holy Name Province