from Arkansas State University
For Release: March 24, 2004
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Corinne Sternheimer Greenfield
Lecture Series to feature Ernest Withers
The inaugural Corinne Sternheimer Greenfield Lecture will be presented at Arkansas State University on Sunday, April 4. Sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at ASU, the event will begin at 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Convocation Center, 217 Olympic Dr.
The lecture, "Eyes on Our History," will feature the famed photojournalist Ernest C. Withers of Memphis. Withers will discuss his images of black baseball, the civil rights movement, and the Memphis music scene in a conversation with F. Jack Hurley, professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of Memphis. Hurley is an expert on the history of American photography in general and Withersí career in particular. Together the men will explore the background and meaning of the photographs.
The Corinne Sternheimer Greenfield Lecture Series was established at ASU through an endowment from Drs. Rosalee and Raymond Weiss of Teaneck, N. J., in memory of Rosalee Weiss's mother.
"Drs. Rosalee and Raymond Weiss have expressed a real love and desire to help Arkansas State University," stated Dr. Deborah Turner, director of planned giving in the Division of University Advancement. "By establishing the Corinne Sternheimer Greenfield Lecture Series, the Wiesses believe they are impacting the good of society by sharing knowledge and ideas. This is their way of connecting their family back to the community that is ASU."
Corinne Sternheimer, a graduate of Jonesboro High School, trained as a concert pianist at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, and later at the New York School of Music and Art (now the Juilliard School). She spent most of her adult life in Cleveland, where her husband, Nathan S. Greenfield, owned and operated a pharmacy.
Her parents were Leopold Henry and Rosa Levin Sternheimer, who were prominent Jonesboro citizens and contributed significantly to the cultural development of this area. The Sternheimers were among the first group of citizens who worked together for the establishment of the State Agricultural School, which evolved into present day Arkansas State University.
Following the lecture, a public reception will be held across campus at the ASU Museum, 110 Cooley Dr., where several of Withers's photographs are on exhibit through April 18.
The photographs highlight some of the regionís history from the late 1940s through the 1960s. Among the figures included in the exhibit are baseball greats, prominent musicians, and leaders in the civil rights movement.
Dr. Jack Zibluk, assistant professor of journalism at ASU, commented that Withers's work as a photojournalist is quite significant.
"Ernest is up there with Gordon Parks as a documentary photographer and artist. From the 1940s through the modern era, Withers was part of every news event and cultural event in the region," Zibluk said. "From the back roads and farms to the national stage during the rock 'n' roll and civil rights movements, his work shows where the Delta has been, and maybe gives us some hints about where it's going. Not only is it an honor to have him here, but a great educational opportunity for our students and the community."
Born in August 1922, Withers grew up in Memphis and returned to the Bluff City after serving as a military photographer in the South Pacific during World War II.
Many of his photographs have become emblematic of the civil rights movement, appearing in The New York Times, Jet, Ebony, Newsweek, and Life. Now his work shows up in television documentaries, history books, and in exhibits around the country.
Admission to both the lecture and the reception is free and the public is welcome.
The Convocation Center auditorium may be accessed through the lower red entrance to the building.
The ASU Museum, located in the west end of the Dean B. Ellis Library complex, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday hours are 1-5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call the museum at (870) 972-2074.
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