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Dr. Alvin Poussaint Headlines Newark Public Library’s MLK Tribute
Press Release December 18, 2006
Please contact:
Anthony Clark - (973) 424-1831
Pam Goldstein - (973) 228-4559
Harold Banks - (973) 802-8974 (Prudential)

The Newark Public Library will commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday with a program featuring noted Harvard University professor and psychiatrist, Dr. Alvin Poussaint, who will explore how the media impacts on children and society.

Dr. Poussaint will speak Thursday, January 18 at 6 p.m. in Centennial Hall at the Main Library, 5 Washington Street in Newark.

Dr. Poussaint is an expert in family dynamics and director of the Media Center of the Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston and faculty associate dean for student affairs at Harvard. His most recent book is Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Among African Americans.

"The Library always has showcased important speakers and subjects as part of our yearly tribute to Dr. King," said Library Director Wilma Grey. In one of his last public appearances before his untimely death, she noted that Dr. King came to Newark and spoke to local students, imploring them to stay in school and study hard.

"Dr. Poussaint shares Dr. King’s commitment to creating a positive environment for our children so that they can become tomorrow’s leaders. With the support of The Prudential Foundation, we are able to bring this very famous educator, physician and engaging personality to our City to share his views on how media influences children and society and how children cope with violence. These are very timely issues that affect the youngsters growing up in our city," said Grey.

"So many young people in Newark not only view the violence in the media, they survive it day-to-day," said Gabrielle Morris, president of The Prudential Foundation and vice president, Community Resources. "Dr. Poussaint’s focus on family and societal issues will be very informative to parents and administrators from both the public and private sectors. It’s also timely, as we face an alarming increase in violence."

While his scholarly work is widely acclaimed, it is Poussaint’s determination to portray African-Americans as typical American families that has made him a household name to the millions of Americans who watched The Cosby Show through the 1980s and 1990s. Poussaint vetted The Cosby Show scripts for inappropriate humor and cultural references. He worked closely with Bill Cosby to create positive images of African Americans and to expand the cultural context represented by the show.

Poussaint continues to contribute to the common American cultural lexicon through his work with the Nickelodeon series Little Bill and Fatherhood.

All library programs are offered to the general public free of charge. The Poussaint lecture will be followed by a reception. For more information about this and other programs call the Library at 973-733-5411 or visit its Web site, www.npl.org.

 

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