The final Folk Friends concert of the semester, sponsored by the Folk Arts Society of Greenville was performed on Tuesday, April 24, at the Tipsy Teapot on Evans Street. Three groups consisting of English department faculty and alums participated: Leanne E. Smith (award-winning Scottish fiddler) and Luke Whisnant (guitar) opened for "See You Tuesday": Erica Plouffe Lazure (vocals) and Luke Whisnant (guitar, vocals). "The Revelators" closed the show. Mike Hamer is a percussionist and vocalist for the group, which also includes retired campus minister Bob Clyde (harmonicas and vocals), art professor Sue Luddeke (percussion and vocals), Dave Turner (guitar and vocals), Bill Redding (guitar and vocals), and geologist Jim Watson (accordion and vocals).
On Monday, April 23, visitors from the National Writing Project visited ECU's campus and the English Department to help Will Banks and Todd Finley prepare for the first year as site coordinators for the NWP.
The end of the semester EGSO Cookout was held at Jim Kirkland's house on Saturday, April 28. Lisa DeVries, Will Cyrus, Heather Huston, Elizabeth Howland, Janis Howard, Dean Tuck, Leanne Smith, Tom Douglass, and Chip Sullivan were among those who indulged in some restaurant hot dogs and hamburger pate.
Award-winning Appalachian storyteller Orville Hicks performed an evening of Jack Tales, jests, and other tall tales on Thursday, April 12, at the Willis Building. Hicks learned traditional Jack tales from his mother and from his neighbor and kinsman, the late Ray Hicks of Watauga County, widely known as a master among storytelling fans. Along with clever Jack's adventures, Orville Hicks told humorous tales from his own life and jokes from his Appalachian mountain home region. The program "Mule Egg Seller & Appalachian Storyteller: An Evening with Orville Hicks" was sponsored by the English Department, the ECU Folklore Archive, the North Carolina Studies Program (Harriot College of Arts and Sciences), and with a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council.
Sherman Alexie appeared at nearby Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, VA on April 16. Lisa DeVries and Randy Marfield were those from ECU English who attended the reading.
Dr. Michael A. Gomez of New York University spoke on the African Diaspora at East Carolina University on April 18. His visit was sponsored by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, and the Dept. of History. Gomez spoke about issues of identity and identity formation -- how all peoples have multifaceted identities and how to combat the notion that one's identity is based solely on one's ethnicity, which is an effect of colonialism. "Ethnicity was not formed by the Transatlantic slave trade," said Gomez. He urged Africans and African descendants to develop a healthy perspective of self image. He also discussed the Don Imus controversy. "What's wrong with nappy?" said Gomez. "My hair is very nappy? I'm proud of it. Whatever we decide to call ourselves, let them be positive representations of ourselves." Gomez is the director of ASWAD, Association for the Study of Worldwide African Diaspora. He is the author of Black Crescent: The Experience and Legacy of African Muslims in the Americas (2005) and Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora (2005).
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