Update 5 p.m. Jan. 24: UofL officials have canceled the Saturday Academy session this Saturday because of winter weather concerns. They hope to reschedule it.
Earlier: A longtime endeavor of the late University of Louisville dean J. Blaine Hudson is set to resume later this month.
For years, Hudson led the Saturday Academy—a free lecture and discussion series focused on African-American issues.
Hudson died a year ago this month. The program has been renamed for the longtime Louisville academic (now the J. Blaine Hudson Saturday Academy) and will return on Jan. 25 with a discussion on the evolution of African-American politics since 1964.
The Saturday Academy is now part of UofL’s Project Progress, which focuses on the last five years of the Civil Rights Movement 50 years later.
Before, Hudson began Saturday Academy sessions with a lecture that led into a discussion. With Hudson gone, the program will now focus more on the discussions. But attendees shouldn’t expect other major changes, said Ricky Jones, chair of UofL’s Pan-African Studies department, which is organizing the program.
“It’s the best opportunity for socio-political intellectual exchange offered this city by very, very strong scholars and professionals,” Jones said. “So if you want to engage in something that is truthful, that is deeply political, that has some type of social impact—if you’re concerned about those things—then you want to visit Saturday Academy.”
Other tweaks may come in the form of topics—Hudson’s academic focus was history and education; Jones is a political science professor, Jones noted.
This month’s discussion includes Jones, Sadiqa Reynolds from Mayor Greg Fischer’s office, Roger Wilson from the Jefferson County clerk’s office and WFPL political editor Phillip Bailey.
The session will be at 11 a.m. Jan. 25 at the DuValle Education Center, 3610 Bohne Ave in the Park DuValle neighborhood.
Saturday Academy’s will be held on Feb. 22, March 22 and April 26.
Topics haven’t been chosen for those sessions—Jones said organizers want to be flexible with topics so they can react to current issues.
Jones said he’ll be watching interest level in this semester’s Saturday Academy; he’s interested in if attendees were coming for the program or for Hudson himself.
Academic and professional ideas are useful for a community, but they’re usually inaccessible to many people because of a cost barrier, such as tuition, Jones noted. The Saturday Academy is a way to bring those ideas to people without a financial barrier.
“What Saturday Academy does, it brings some of the best minds that we have off the campus, and from professional environments in the community, to the community at large free of charge,” Jones said. “It gives the community access to discuss very important topics.”
In a related event, Project Progress on Jan. 23 will host the CRI Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Lecture. The speaker will be Arizona State professor Matthew Whitaker, author of “Peace Be Still: Modern Black America from World War II to Barack Obama.” More information can be found here.