Monday, November 16, 2015




Kean University’s Department of Africana Studies is celebrating its 29th anniversary with a series of lectures and screenings recognizing the significant contributions of African Americans in film

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m., Oscar-nominated film and television editor Sam Pollard will present Editing: The Art of Storytelling.

Film pioneer Jessie Maple will give a lecture on her documentary Will on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 12:30 p.m

On Thursday, Nov.19, at 12:30 p.m., Lawrence E. Walker will discuss the African American experience in New Jersey. All events will be held in the Little Theater in Kean University’s Miron Student Center.  Each program in the series is free and open to the public. 

Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated film and television editor Sam Pollard will kick off the series with a discussion of film editing as a creative process. Pollard’s work spans more than 30 years and includes If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise, a Spike Lee-directed follow-up to When The Levees Broke.  Best known for his work on the Spike Lee features Clockers, Girl 6, and Bamboozled, Pollard recently completed his first feature-length documentary, Venus and Serena.

Lawrence E. Walker has spent the last seven years researching African American historic sites in New Jersey and neighboring states.  Journey to Freedom: The African American Experience in New Jersey, 1638-1931, a project which includes a book, an educational CD-Rom, and an inspirational music CD, is a compilation of his findings. Walker is president of Bull’s Eye Production, Inc. in Somerset. His most recent work highlights the experiences of black women enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) during WWII. 

Following her education at WNET Channel 13 Training School and Third World Cinema in New York, Jessie Maple became the first African American woman to join the International Photographers of Motion Picture & Television (IATSE) union in New York in 1974. Her lecture will focus on her documentary, Will. Written, produced, and directed by Maple, Will depicts a former All-American basketball player’s struggle to kick his drug habit. The first independent feature film to be directed by a black woman, Will delivers a positive message in the face of poignant tragedy.

Kean University’s Office of Africana Studies takes an interdisciplinary approach to the experiences of African people throughout the world. Through an African-centric perspective, the program endeavors to foster awareness and understanding of the economies, history, culture, education, politics, philosophies, aspirations and achievements of people of African descent throughout the world. 

Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, boasting a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers three doctorate degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. The University’s six undergraduate colleges offer 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. With campuses in Union and Toms River, NJ, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University provides a world-class education. Visit Kean online at