ATHENS, GA – The Georgia Museum of Art will host Traditions, a patrons’ dinner in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the University of Georgia’s desegregation and in honor of Michael Thurmond on Feb. 28. The evening, organized by the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art, will include dinner catered by the National, a performance by the East Athens Educational Dance Center and a gallery talk by Brenda Thompson.
Festivities begin with cocktails at 6 p.m. in the M. Smith Griffith Grand Hall of the Georgia Museum of Art. Brenda Thompson will speak about the exhibition Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art at 6:30 p.m. in the museum’s galleries.
An annual event at the Georgia Museum of Art, this year’s Black History Month celebration honors Thurmond, the former Commissioner of Labor for the state of Georgia and the Democratic Party’s nominee for the United States Senate in 2010, as well as a Clarke County native. In 1986, he became the first African American from Clarke County to be elected to the Georgia General Assembly since Reconstruction. After three terms in the legislature, Thurmond was selected by Gov. Zell Miller to direct Georgia’s Work First program, an initiative that transitioned more than 90,000 welfare-dependent families into the workforce.
Thurmond became a distinguished lecturer at the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government in 1997. He is currently on the Board of Curators of the Georgia Historical Society and has written two books, A Story Untold: Black Men and Women in Athens History and Freedom: An African-American History of Georgia. The latter received the Georgia Historical Society’s Lilla Hawes Award and was listed by the Georgia Center for the Book as one of the 25 Books All Georgians Should Read.
At 3 p.m., also on Feb. 28, artist and scholar David C. Driskell will deliver a lecture on Tradition Redefined. The exhibition was organized by the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland. This event is free and open to the public.