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Academy Launches New Relationship with City of Cambridge; Cultural Critic Gerald Early to Discuss African-Americans in Film


Press Release

Wednesday, February 12, 2003 – The American Academy of Arts and Sciences launched a new relationship with the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, at an event on February 12, 2003. The Academy plans to invite individuals from neighboring schools on an annual basis to participate in scholarly exchange programs. Working with mayor Michael A. Sullivan (D-Cambridge), the Academy anticipates a new level of interaction with the schools in Cambridge.

"We have an extraordinary institution of international fame in our backyard. This new relationship between the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Cambridge Public Schools will provide the faculty and students of Cambridge with wonderful opportunities and I am grateful for this collaboration," said Mayor Michael A. Sullivan.

"The Academy enjoys existing relationships with such universities and institutions as Boston University, Tufts University, Harvard University, Brandeis University, Wellesley College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Boston Public Library and the Boston Athenaeum. We welcome this opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the schools of Cambridge," said Patricia Meyer Spacks, President of the American Academy.

Education has long been a focus of attention and research for the Academy. Following the lead of its founder John Adams, who said, "Wisdom and knowledge…diffused generally among the body of the people [is] necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties," the Academy has engaged in pioneering work on education – from primary schooling to post-graduate study – throughout its history.

The American Academy was founded in 1780 "to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people." The current membership of over 3,700 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members includes more than 150 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners. Drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of its membership, the Academy conducts thoughtful, innovative, non-partisan studies on international security, social policy, education, and the humanities.

The event, the American Academy's 1867th Stated Meeting, featured cultural critic Gerald Early, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters at Washington University in St. Louis, discussing "Art, Race, and the Coldest War: The Image of the African American Soldier in Three Hollywood Korean War Films."

Early is the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, a professor of English and of African and Afro-American studies, and the director of the International Writers Center at Washington University in St. Louis. One of the most distinguished writers on American culture, he is editor of several volumes, including The Sammy Davis, Jr., Reader (2001) and The Muhammad Ali Reader (1998). He is also the author of The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature, and Modern American Culture, which won the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. A consultant for the Ken Burns baseball and jazz documentaries aired on PBS, Early's work also has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Hungry Mind Review, the New Republic, and Harper's and he has been a frequent commentator for National Public Radio's "Fresh Air." A Fellow of the American Academy since 1997, he currently serves as a Councilor and as a member of the Committee on the Academy's Initiative for Humanities and Culture.


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