Civil Rights, Liberation, and Music... An Evening with Bernice Johnson Reagon

March 1, 2006

Tacoma, Wash. – The public is invited to attend Civil Rights, Liberation & Music…An evening with Bernice Johnson Reagon at the University of Puget Sound. The event is free, and open to the public. It will take place at Schneebeck Concert Hall on Thursday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. Part of the ongoing Swope lecture series, the event is co-sponsored by the Black Student Union, Gender Studies, and African - American Studies programs.  Reagon will sign copies of her book and music after her performance.

For more than four decades, Bernice Johnson Reagon's multifaceted career has taken her from the front lines of the civil rights movement to her pioneering work as a scholar, teacher, and artist in the history and evolution of African - American culture.  Her unique performance will combine both song and spoken word.

In 1973 Reagon founded Sweet Honey In The Rock, the internationally renowned
a cappella ensemble, and led the group until her retirement after 30 years of performing and recording. In addition to her highly acclaimed publications and recordings, Reagon has received numerous honors in recognition of her work, including the MacArthur Fellowship in 1989, the 1995 Presidential Medal for her contribution to public understanding of the humanities, and the Heinz Award for the Arts and Humanities in 2003.
Reagon's contributions as a scholar and composer are reflected in her numerous publications and productions on African - American culture and history, as well as in her academic service as professor emeritus of history at the American University in Washington, D.C. and as the Cosby Professor of Fine Arts at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga.

As founder of the Smithsonian Institution's Program in African - American Culture, she served as principal scholar, conceptual producer, and host of the path-breaking and Peabody Award-winning radio series “Wade In The Water: African American Sacred Music Traditions.” Currently, Reagon holds the position of curator emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. A high resolution photograph of Johnson Reagon is available at

The Swope Endowed Lectureship was established at Puget Sound through a gift from Major Ianthe Swope in honor of her mother, Jane Hammer Swope. The lectureship is intended to promote broad discussions, critical thinking, and ethical inquiry about matters of religion, such as its role in public life, issues in contemporary spirituality, ethics, and world religions. Past speakers in the series have included; Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Oscar Arias, author James Carroll, Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, and Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

For more information on this event contact the Puget Sound Center for Spirituality and Justice at 253. 879.3374 or the Wheelock Information Center at 253.879.3419.