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National Lecture Examines 'Our Invisible Black Youth,' May 28 In Boston

Dr. Patricia Hill Collins to Speak at National Race and Education Forum, May 28-29 at Simmons College

BOSTON (May 13, 2008) — One of the nation's leading sociologists will counter mass-media "hip-hop" images of black youth who, she says, often take on an unrealistic, hyper-visible role in today's popular culture, in a May 28 national forum at Simmons College.

Patricia Hill Collins, Ph.D., president of the American Sociological Association and an authority on race, media and education, will argue that such overemphasized imagery makes the characteristics and needs of the majority of black youth invisible.

Collins's talk, "Somebody's Watching You: Black Youth and Popular Culture," is part of the national "Race, Education and Democracy" lecture and book series, sponsored by Simmons College and Beacon Press.

The free public lecture is May 28, from 4-6 p.m. in the Linda K. Paresky Conference Center, third floor of the Main College Building at Simmons College, 300 The Fenway in Boston. Collins also will speak May 29 on the topic "Critical Education and Democratic Possibilities." To register, visit the series website at or call 617-521-2257.

Collins, the Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland/College Park, is nationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on race, gender, education and class. Among her award-winning books are "Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism"; "From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism"; and "Race, Class and Gender: An Anthology," which is widely used at more than 200 colleges and universities.  Collins began her professional career teaching 7th- and 8th-grade social studies at St. Joseph's Community School in Roxbury, Mass.

Each year, the Simmons College/Beacon Press lecture and book series brings a nationally recognized scholar to Simmons to deliver several lectures, in order to address contemporary understandings and practices in education that either undermine or affirm the link between public education and participatory democracy. The talks are followed by discussions among education and civic leaders on topics as varied as establishing friendships across the racial divide, and exploring history and research that contradict common misconceptions that African Americans do not value education. All lectures eventually will be adapted into a book published by Beacon Press.

Beacon Press, a historical, highly respected independent publisher based in Boston, has published numerous groundbreaking books on a wide range of societal issues, including Cornel West's "Race Matters," as well as dozens of highly acclaimed works in the field of education.

Theresa Perry, Ed.D., series director and Simmons College professor of Africana studies and education, said the series was conceived "to reestablish for the public the historic connection between public education and the possibility of a robust democracy, against the backdrop of the issue of race in America." The series is funded in part by the Lowell Institute.

Due to construction, parking on the Simmons campus is limited.  Parking is available for May 28 lecture in the neighboring Boston Latin School parking lot. For other alternatives, please visit the college's website for parking alternatives for parking alternatives.