Charlie Haffner to speak about Amistad slave revolt Nov. 7 at UTPA
Contact: Sandra Faires, Intern 381-2741
Posted: 10/30/2006
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The University of Texas-Pan American invites the public to attend a free presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 7 by Charlie Haffner, a world-renown playwright, oral historian and songwriter from the West African nation Sierra Leone, who will speak about "Sengbe Pieh Comes Home: The Amistad Slave Revolt from an African Perspective."

The presentation coincides with the exhibition "A Slave Ship Speaks: The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie" currently housed at the UTPA Visitors Center. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, recreates the triangular trans-Atlantic slave trade route from London to West Africa to the Americas through the story of the Henrietta Marie, a slave ship which sank off the coast of Florida near Key West in 1700.

- Charlie Haffner
Complementing the exhibit's artifacts and information, Haffner's appearance will provide a unique opportunity for South Texas students and the general public to hear another perspective on the public history of slavery from the engaging playwright and storyteller.

Haffner, who just this week presented at Yale University's "Slavery and Public History Conference," is a descendent of enslaved Africans who returned to freedom in Africa and has devoted his creative life to preserving the history of the trans-Atlantic slavery. His play, "Amistad Kata-Kata," about the 1839 slave rebellion, premiered a decade before Stephen Spielberg's film "Amistad" and has been performed internationally to critical acclaim.

Haffner has also combined West African storytelling traditions with radio drama to help Sierra Leone recover from its recent civil war. Several of these radio plays have been rebroadcast internationally on BBC and he has featured on NPR's nationally syndicated show "Fresh Air." Active in a wide range of cultural activities, Haffner recently worked on the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio film "Blood Diamond" and on a documentary film with Raekwon from the hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan.

The presentation will take place in the Student Union Theater and is free to the public. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and seating is limited, so everyone is encouraged to arrive early.

For more information or if special accommodations are needed, call 956/316-7989.