“Race in Black and White” is Theme for OLLI at UNC Asheville Spring 2018 Courses, Workshops and Panels

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Catherine Frank

“Race in Black and White” will be a core theme for many courses, workshops and panel discussions to be held in the spring 2018 term at OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

In addition to its courses on a broad range of academic and cultural interests, OLLI’s renowned College for Seniors will present more than 20 courses relating to the special theme, and these will be complemented by a series of freestanding discussions, films and workshops on contemporary and historical issues.

"OLLI's spring term on race is designed to invite our community into a conversation through a variety of disciplines. By agreeing to focus on challenging subjects together, we hope to overcome the temptation to avoid them, and we hope that by starting these conversations we will spark positive change in the OLLI community and deeper connections within our wider community. We recognize that learning is richer when we see things from many different points of view," said Catherine Frank, OLLI's executive director, who will teach a College for Seniors course on African-American autobiographies and co-teach a course called A Change is Gonna Come: The Civil Rights Movement and American Culture. "Many of our 2500 OLLI members have come forward to teach new courses and to make connections with community experts who can prompt us to examine race locally and nationally with historical perspective and contemporary awareness."

The spring’s College for Seniors lineup includes some courses that will take the form of direct dialogue on race relations, and many others that will focus on history and culture, including the early decades of African-American cinema; black writers including Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and August Wilson; African-American music, including separate courses on jazz history, blues, rock history and black opera stars; African-American art; the struggles of black athletes, and more. The full catalog, including OLLI’s many other courses, will become available online on Feb. 14.

Most classes and programs meet at the Reuter Center on the UNC Asheville campus. OLLI annual membership is $75 and the term fee for College for Seniors spring courses is $115 for any number of available courses. Registration will be held Feb. 20-27 and spring term courses run March 26-May 18.

OLLI will also offer a series of free events, open to everyone:

  • The Rev. Michael CarterFeb. 16, 2-5 p.m. – I Am a Recovering Racist with Bruce Mulkey, essayist and author.
  • March 16, 1-2:30 p.m. – Beyond Privilege workshop, with the Rev. Michael Carter, interfaith minister and anti-racism trainer. Registration is required; call 828.251.6188.
  • April 6, 4:30-6 p.m. – Screening of the documentary, Rosenwald, and a discussion of Rosenwald schools, which educated many poor, rural African-Americans in the early 20th century.
  • May 2, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – Housing and Race in Asheville, with Andy Barnett, executive director, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.
  • May 4, 2-5 p.m. – Screening of Beneath the Veneer, a documentary about opportunity, success and inequality in the U.S.
  • May 8, 9-11 a.m. – The History and Legacy of Lynching in North Carolina, part one: The Past is Not Past – with Seth Kotch, assistant professor of American studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • May 15, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – The History and Legacy of Lynching in North Carolina, part two: A Game Called Salisbury – with Susan Barringer Wells, author of A Game Called Salisbury: The Spinning of a Southern Tragedy and the Myths of Race; and with Dwight Mullen, UNC Asheville professor of political science.