During the black arts movement of the 1960s, avant-garde music, poetry and drama depicted the everyday struggles of blacks against racism and inspired artists to perform at political meetings and rallies across the country.

Today, those leaders have paved the way for black institutions, art galleries, theaters and publishers and encouraged creativity.

Mike Sell , an associate professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania , will speak about the black arts movement at noon Thursday, Oct. 16, in 130 Colson Hall on West Virginia University s Downtown Campus.

An expert on the subject, Sell will discuss how artist-activists challenged racism and dramatically altered peoples understandings of art and politics during the movement.

His talkBlackness, the Body and Politics in 1960s Drama and Performancewill launch the 2008 Eberly Family Distinguished Lecture Series. The event, presented by the Department of English in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences , is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

Sell will examine the work of playwrights such as Ed Bullins, Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez to talk about the creation of blackbody politics.These playwrights explored the black bodys ability to move, its position in space and time, its sensory abilities and its deeply embedded memories.

He will address the historical, cultural, theoretical, political and aesthetic significance of these dramatistsplays and their continuing relevance to modern theater.

Sell earned his doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1997. He specializes in modern drama, avant-garde, theater history, performance studies and the black arts movement.

He is also author ofAvant-Garde Performance and the Limits of Criticism: Approaching the Living Theatre, Happenings/Fluxus, and the Black Arts Movement.

For more information, contact John Ernest , Eberly Family Distinguished Professor of American Literature, at 304-293-9714 or ” John.Ernest@mail.wvu.edu rel=nofollow> John.Ernest@mail.wvu.edu .