The University Record, January 31, 2000

MLK 2K: Shattering Barriers, Transcending Borders

Dentistry honors Robinson

The importance of diversity to the University and to the School of Dentistry were stressed by Dean William E. Kotowicz at last week’s program on ‘Redefining Leadership and Activism in the 21st Century.’

The program also included Todd Ester’s reading of a portion of the speech Martin Luther King gave the night before his assassination and the presentation of the Ida Gray Award to Emerson Robinson (shown here with his wife, Barbara), the first African American to become a professor at the School.

Gray was the first Black woman to graduate from the School of Dentistry, earn a D.D.S. and practice dentistry in Chicago. The award honors those who have contributed to the advancement of diversity and the improvement of climate for work, learning, research and patient care.

Robinson, who was the interim director of minority affairs at the School of Dentistry in 1997–99, enrolled at the U-M in the late 1960s, received a master’s in public health in 1970 and earned a certificate in dental public health a year later.

He is the co-author, with Prof. Michael Razzoog, of ‘Black Dentistry in the 21st Century.’

Photo by Per Kjeldsen, School of Dentistry

'Colored People's Time' offers look at Black history

School of Music actors and director Darryl Jones, assistant professor of music and of theatre and drama, transformed a practice room in the Frieze Building into a secret meeting place in the woods during the time of slavery for the open rehearsal of 'Colored People's Time' Jan. 21. Here, Cahtherine (Courtney White) question's Samson's (Boyd White) telling of the biblical story of Jonah and the whale. Issac (Jesse Nager) remains seated.

In the rehearsal introduction, Jones called the play 'a history play of the African American experience told through vignettes of the average African American.' The work includes 15 scenes depicting life from 1859 with story of slaves escaping antebellum Mississippi, to a 1919 riot in Chicago, to the 1956 bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala.

'It is very important to me to focus on the music and dance,' Jones said. 'The spirits of the people come to life as he [the narrator looking back] is in the attic.'

'Colored Peoples Time,' written by Leslie Lee, will be performed at 8 p.m. Feb. 10-12 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. Tickets are $18 and $14, $7 for students with ID. For more information, call 764-0450. Photo by Paul Jaronski, U-M Photo Services