For most of the past two decades, African-American history and issues were the focus of a regular series of free Saturday classes in Louisville. The driving force of the Saturday Academy was J. Blaine Hudson, the longtime University of Louisville professor who died in January.
“That was his pride and joy,” said Theresa Rajack-Talley, chair of the UofL Pan-African studies department. “Dean Hudson always invited me to come and hang out at the Saturday Academy. It was something totally enjoyable for him. He did not see it as work; he saw it as something important.”
The classes drew anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred attendees, depending on the issues being discussed and the people doing the discussing, Rajack-Talley said.
And they will go on.
Now the J. Blaine Hudson Saturday Academy, the program will have a special installment on Saturday focused on its new namesake. And UofL’s Pan-African studies department is taking over the program and will resume regular classes in September and run through May.
(Related: J. Blaine Hudson: In His Own Words)
The program this Saturday is called “Blaine Hudson: Back in the Day — 1969 May” and feature journalist Bety Baye and Bob Martin, a physician and longtime friend of Hudson’s. The program will then have a light meal open mic for attendees to discuss Hudson and the Saturday Academy.
When the Saturday Academy resumes regular sessions in the fall, the sessions will be held on the first and last Saturdays of each month, Rajack-Talley said.
In past years, Hudson would lead the first half of the classes on African-American history and the second half would focus on issues. The history element will remain—and so will the rest.
“Social or culture issues that are current and put together a panel—sometimes it’s related to gender issues, sometimes it’s related to racial profiling, sometimes it’s related to crime and justice, sometimes it’s just related to black heritage issues,” Rajack-Talley said.
The topics can also be adapted when arise community issues that must be discussed.
The J. Blaine Hudson Saturday Academy is seeking ways to increase its resources, Rajack-Talley said. It’s mostly funded through the University of Louisville. It also has an agreement with Jefferson County Public Schools to use the DuValle Education Center, 3610 Bohne Ave., in western Louisville.
The “Blaine Hudson: Back in the Day —1969 May” program will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the DuValle Education Center.