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January 24, 2018

Empire State College Honors the Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his 50th Anniversary in Celebration of Black History Month

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Artwork by Daisy Ferrar

(BROOKLYN, N.Y., Feb. 7, 2018) – In celebration of Black History month, SUNY Empire State College presents the art exhibition, “Fifty Years Still Dreaming,” in honor of Dr. King’s legacy. The works by current students and alumni reflect their individual views of this iconic figure in American history. Visual art faculty and SUNY Empire alumnus, Raúl Manzano, Ph.D., is the curator. Julia Primus, B.A., an alumna, is the assistant curator.

The opening reception is Wednesday, Feb. 7, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Livingston Gallery, 177 Livingston Street, 6th floor, Brooklyn. The exhibition will be on display through April 30, Monday through Thursday, noon to 5 p.m. by appointment at 718 907-5740.  Admission is free.

“This year’s exhibit takes a more urgent meaning as recent events and offensive racial remarks by our nation’s leader taint the very nature of the American Constitution based on respect, freedoms, pursuit of happiness, liberty, equality and social justice set forth by our founding fathers,” said Manzano. “These individual and collective civil rights must be protected and preserved for the good of our citizens and the health and prosperity of the nation above anyone’s agenda.”

Bob Carey, Ph.D., professor of Religious Studies, said, “While we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day and celebrate his legacy, we should remind ourselves that he is still ahead of us, calling us forward, challenging us to see and to work for a more just and open society.”

“This work begins with each one of us at home, at work and anywhere in the world,” added Manzano.  

The Black History Month exhibits have been groundbreaking for the college’s students, providing them a platform for artistic expression and career development. Students participate in the many layers of the exhibit production – from designing the exhibit, selecting of artworks, installing and catering to the opening reception, guided by Manzano, who introduced this annual event in 2012.

“As an assistant curator, I had the privilege of working on a topic that is sensitive, yet part of the American cultural fabric.,” said Primus. “To present an exhibition honoring Dr. King goes beyond a picture presentation; it is the legacy of a humble man who paid the price with his life in the name of justice and love. This servant of God is an inspiration to humanity.”

About the Artists and Their Work

The selected artists include Chris Bowman ’18, Daisy Ferrer ’16, Noel Hall ’83, Alisa Irby ’16, Marvenia Knight ’12, Natural Langdon ’17, Christian Miles, Vanessa Moore ’14, Julia Primus ’16, and Daryl Tillman ’16. The artists portray their personal views of the then and now since Dr. King’s assassination, in relation to poverty, child neglect and discrimination to a Black Lives Matter protest in New York City.  While some progress has been made to break racial divisions, these artists question if his “I have a dream,” and the “promissory note” Dr. King proclaimed in his 1963 speech, have been fulfilled.

The works include photography, photojournalism, paintings, installations, collage and drawings, which are as diverse as the student population of Empire State College. The artists will be present at the opening to address their work.

Special thanks to photographer Maynard Manzano at www.Magicglamour.com, who provided the image for the poster and card announcement for the show.

About Black History Month

Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, noting the absence of recognition of black accomplishments in the U.S., founded Black History month in 1926; then known as Negro History Week. His contribution helped highlight African-American accomplishments as a part of this country’s history.

About Empire State College:

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates nearly 18,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 30 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 78,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977.

Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.

Raúl Manzano - 718-907-5740 - raul.manzano@esc.edu

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