"I often say perception is reality, then have to spend the next few minutes explaining what I mean."
That's Lena Williams, veteran New York Times reporter, writing on the opening page of her book It's the Little Things: Everyday Interactions That Anger, Annoy, and Divide the Races. And that's what Williams means to do at the University of Memphis on Thursday, March 27th: explain what she means, but it may take her more than a few minutes. Consider it a full evening exploring the body language, the conversational cues, and the "microaggressions" that, yes, anger, annoy, and divide blacks and whites.
Then, think back to the late 1960s and early '70s, and if the name "Angela Davis" — she of the fiery rhetoric and serious Afro — strikes a nerve, it's because her communist sympathies and outspoken support of the Black Panthers — not to mention her appearance on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List — put her at the forefront of U.S. radicalism. Today, Davis teaches at the University of California-Santa Cruz, but on Wednesday, April 2nd, she'll be lecturing at the University of Memphis. Still outspoken on the issues of class, race, gender, and prison reform, in Memphis she'll be narrowing her focus but broadening her concerns by addressing the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the topic of global civil rights.
"It's the Little Things," a lecture and program by Lena Williams, Rose Theatre, University of Memphis, Thursday, March 27th, 7 p.m. For more information, call 848-0694; "Martin Luther King and Global Civil Rights: An Evening with Angela Davis," Rose Theatre, University of Memphis, Wednesday, April 2nd, 6 p.m. For more information, call 678-3550. Both events free and open to the public.