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African Diaspora Lecture Series Jan. 17th

African Influences on Latin America is Topic of Next UC Riverside African Diaspora Lecture

Miriam DeCosta-Willis will speak Saturday, Jan. 17 on campus

(January 7, 2004)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Author and scholar Miriam DeCosta-Willis will talk about the connections between Africa and Latin America from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, in the next event of the African Diaspora Lecture Series at the University of California, Riverside.

The talk, “The African Presence in Latin America,” is free and open to the public, and will be held in room 1500 of the Humanities and Social Sciences building. Professor DeCosta-Willis’s latest book, Daughters of the Diaspora: Afra—Hispanic Writers, will be available for purchase with the author signing copies.

“She is a brilliant scholar and an eloquent, compelling speaker,” said UC Riverside historian Sterling Stuckey, who coordinates the lecture series. “She attended Wellesey College, where she was Phi Beta Kappa and thereafter continued to perform brilliantly, winning one honor after another.”

Some of those honors, he said, include Torchbearer of Afro-Hispanic Studies, College Language Association, 1998, and, in the same year, the Leadership Award in Afro-Hispanic Studies, Howard University. She has been the Commonwealth Professor of Spanish at George Mason University, Professor of Romance Languages, LeMoyne-Owen College and, most recently, Professor of Africana Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Among Professor DeCosta-Willis’s many books are Singular Like a Bird: The Art of Nancy Morejon; The Memphis Diary of Ida B. Wells; Erotique Noire/Black Erotica; The History of Beale Street; and Blacks in Hispanic Literature.

Of her most recent two books, Daughters of the Diaspora and Singular Like a Bird, she has said, “The great joy of both these projects is that I have made wonderful friends ...throughout the Spanish Americas.”

The African Diaspora Lecture Series is part of an ongoing effort to increase awareness of the relationship between Africa and African Americans. The History Department and the Center for Ideas and Society at UC Riverside fund the program. Prof. Stuckey, an expert on African-American history, organizes the events.

Maps and directions to the event are available at UCR information kiosks located at the University Avenue and the Canyon Crest Drive campus entrances, or on the campus web site Visitor parking costs up to $6 per vehicle. Parking for events after 4 p.m. cost $3 per vehicle.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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