Bernice Johnson Reagon will be in residence at Stanford University from March 5-8, 2007 to deliver the 29th in the Raymond F. West Memorial Lecture series, jointly presented by the Stanford Humanities Center and the Institute for Diversity in the Arts. On March 8, Dr. Reagon will lead a discussion of a pre-circulated work in an event that is part of the RICSRE Faculty Seminar series.
For over four decades, Bernice Johnson Reagon has been a major cultural voice for freedom and justice. An African American woman's voice, a child of Southwest Georgia, a voice raised in song, born in the struggle against racism in America during the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s, she is a composer, songleader, scholar, and producer. Dr. Reagon is Professor Emerita of History at American University and Curator Emerita at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. Her work has been recognized with the Heinz Award for the Arts and Humanities, the Presidential Medal for contribution to public undestanding of the Humanities, and MacArthur Fellowship.
Dr. Reagon's publications and productions include "If You Don't Go, Don't Hinder Me: The African American Sacred Song Tradition (2001) and "Voices of the Civil Rights Movement, Black American Freedom Songs (1980, 1994). In 2004, Reagon retired after thirty years from performing with Sweet Honey in the Rock, the internationally renowned a capella ensemble she founded in 1973. Perhaps no individual today better illustrates the transformative power and instruction of traditional African American music and cultural history than Bernice Johnson Reagon, who has excelled equally in the realms of scholarship, composition, teaching, and performance.