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Oct. 18 , 2006
CONTACT: Ward Mullens

Emmy award-winning director to open Fleming Lecture Series Oct. 20

YPSILANTI — Madison Davis Lacy, an Emmy award-winning documentary film director and producer, will screen his latest work, “Richard Wright - Black Boy,” and be the guest speaker for the inaugural Kellogg-Fleming Lecture Series at Eastern Michigan University.

Lacy, who wrote, produced and directed the documentary, “Black Boy,” about author Richard Wright, will screen his work Thursday, Oct. 19, 4-6 p.m., in the Halle Library Auditorium. He will be the guest speaker for the first Kellogg-Fleming Lecture Friday, Oct. 20, 9 a.m. at Halle Library. Both events are free and open to the public. For additional information, call 487-3045.

Wright was among the first African American writers to achieve literary fame and fiction.  Among his best-known works are the novel “Native Son” (1940) and the autobiography “Black Boy” (1945).

Lacy is credited with framing the original concept for “Eyes on the Prize.” He also wrote two episodes of “Eyes on the Prize II,” which chronicled the American civil rights struggle.

Helped by a $50,000 W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant, Eastern Michigan University is in the process of creating the Thomas A. Fleming African American History and Literature Collection at the Bruce T. Halle Library. The 3,000-volume collection is expected to be available to scholars this spring (none of the books will be circulated). A companion Web site is being built and is expected to go live this fall. While the books are being processed and Web site built, the University is launching a community lecture series, also funded by the grant, focusing on the theme, “Become a Person Who Reads.”

“This is a black man that knows what he’s talking about,” said Thomas A. Fleming. “I read everything by Richard Wright I could get my hands on.”

Fleming, the 1992 “National Teacher of the Year” and an EMU alumnus (master of arts in special education in 1968), spent 30-plus years as an educator. Most of his career was spent teaching at the Washtenaw County juvenile detention center. Fleming, 73, retired from EMU in 2003, after serving nine years as an assistant to the provost.

Scheduled to introduce Fleming at the inaugural Lecture will be A. Whitney Brown, a comedian and social commentator who was part of the “Saturday Night Live” cast from 1985-91. Brown, a Michigan native, had a troubled youth, and credits the teaching and commitment of Fleming and his colleague, Anne Klein, with giving his life purpose and focus. Brown dedicated his 1991 book, “The Big Picture,” to them.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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