|Panel discussion of book held at Centre
RELEASED: April 22, 2004
DANVILLE, KYCentre College sponsored a panel discussion on Frank X Walker's book Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York on April 25 in Newlin Hall of Centre's Norton Center for the Arts.
Buffalo Dance is a collection of poems written from the voice of York, a slave to William Clark. York was a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. He was the only African-American member of the group, and he served as an equal member of the team.
York, however, received no money or land for his efforts because he was a slave. Eventually York came to Kentucky and was granted his freedom.
Mauricus Lofton, a talented Danville High School junior and national speech champion who is a vivid performer of Frank X Walker's work, opened the event by reading of several of the poems from Walker's book.
Bill Goodman, host of Kentucky Educational Television's book club, served as moderator for the panel. The panelists were: James Holmberg, J. Blaine Hudson, Elizabeth Perkins and Lisa Williams. The panelists will frame the book in terms of their respected academic specialties.
Holmberg is curator of special collections at the Filson Historical Society. His edition of the letters of William Clark was released in 2002.
J. Blaine Hudson is the acting dean of arts and sciences for the Department of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville. One of his special interests is the history of African-Americans in Kentucky and the surrounding area.
Elizabeth Perkins, Gordon B. Davidson Associate Professor of History at Centre, is published widely on 19th-century American and Kentucky history and is a former curator of the Kentucky Historical Society.
Lisa Williams, assistant professor of English at Centre, is a poet whose first published volume, The Hammered Dulcimer, received wide critical praise and won the May Swenson prize. Williams recently won a prestigious Rome Fellowship in Literature and she will spend a one-year residency at the American Academy in Rome.
The panel discussion was the culminating event in the "What if all Danville-Boyle County reads the same book?" campaign that began in February. The campaign included readings and workshops in Danville and throughout central Kentucky.
James H. Atkins, director of diversity at Centre, says, "Frank X Walker, a native of Danville, has brought the life and words of York to life. This book affords both children and adults the opportunity to learn the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the eyes of an African-American. Frank has done a superb job of letting York speak to us through his poetry. It's a powerful message."
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