Reading campaign culminates with panel discussion

April 19, 2004

Centre College will sponsor a panel discussion on Frank X Walker's book "Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York" 4 p.m. April 25 in Newlin Hall at the Norton Center for the Arts.

"Buffalo Dance" is a collection of poems written from the voice of York, a slave to William Clark, who accompanied him on the Lewis and Clark expedition. York was the only African-American member of the expedition, and he served as an equal member of the team. York, however, received no money or land for his efforts because he was a slave. Eventually York came to Kentucky and was granted his freedom.

Walker will open the event by reading some of his poetry. Bill Goodman, host of Kentucky Educational Television's Bookclub, will serve as moderator for the panel. The panelists include: James Holmberg, J. Blaine Hudson, Elizabeth Perkins and Lisa Williams. Each of the panelists will frame the book in terms of his/her academic specialty.


James Holmberg is curator of special collections at the Filson Historical Society. His edition of the letters of William Clark was released in 2002.

J. Blaine Hudson is the acting dean of Arts and Sciences for the department of pan-African studies at the University of Louisville. One of his special interest areas is the history of African-Americans in this region.

Elizabeth Perkins, Gordon B. Davidson associate professor of history at Centre, is published widely on 19-century American and Kentucky history, and is a former curator for the Kentucky Historical Society.

Lisa Williams, assistant professor of English at Centre, is a poet whose first published volume, "The Hammered Dulcimer," received wide critical praise and won the May Swenson prize.

The panel discussion is the culminating event in the "What if all Danville-Boyle County reads the same book?" campaign that began in February. The campaign included readings and workshops in Danville and throughout central Kentucky.

James H. Atkins, director of diversity at Centre, says, "Frank X Walker, a native of Danville, has brought the life and words of York to life. This book affords both children and adults the opportunity to learn the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the eyes of an African-American.

"Frank has done a superb job of letting York speak to us through his poetry - what a powerful message."|4/18/04|***

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