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Bayard Rustin on University at Buffalo Campus – 1961

Posted on: | by Scott Hollander |
Bayard Rustin - August 1963 - Library of Congress photo

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, non-violence, and gay rights. Rustin was a leading strategist of the civil rights movement from 1955 to 1968.

On October 27, 1961, he spoke in Norton Hall (now Squire Hall) on the University at Buffalo’s Main Street campus. (see “Rustin Speaking Today in Norton; Folksongs Will Highlight Program” Spectrum Newspaper, 27 October 1961)

Civil Rights – During the event, Rustin discussed civil rights issues.  He clarified the purpose of CORE, the committee on racial equality. It was established, he said, not to alleviate the problems between “the white man and the black man, rather to do something about man’s injustice to his brother.” (see “Core Program Discussed by Rustin at Rally” Spectrum Newspaper, 3 November 1961)

Cold War – Before the Rustin lecture, the U.B. chapter of SANE (the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy) held a demonstration on the steps of Norton Hall condemning Russian nuclear testing. Mr. Rustin spoke briefly on the problem of disarmament.

Three days later, on October 30, 1961, the Soviet Union detonated a 58-megaton yield hydrogen bomb known as Tsar Bomba over northern Russia, in the largest man-made explosion ever.


Rustin Speaking Today in Norton; Folksongs Will Highlight Program Rustin Speaking Today in Norton; Folksongs Will Highlight Program

Bayard Rustin will sing folk songs and speak on “Civil Rights and Non-Violent Mass Action” today at noon in Norton auditorium. Mr. Rustin is currently executive secretary of the War Registers League.  He will also be available for discussion with students and faculty until 12 at a table in a private dining room in Norton.

An early advocate for non-violent mass action for civil rights, Mr. Rustin studied the Gandhi movement in India in 1948-49.  For five years he was advisor and secretary to Martin Luther King. He has traveled widely in Africa, working with Nkrumah in Ghana, Azikiwe in Nigeria, and was arrested 22 times in race struggles. Mr. Rustin had recently returned from three months in Europe where he did preparatory work on the San Francisco-Moscow Walk for Peace.

Traveling under the auspices of the American Friends Service Committee, Mr. Rustin’s appearance at the University is sponsored by the Student Christian Association. Norman Whitney, national director of the peace education section of the American Friends Service Committee will also be available for conversation that morning in the private dining area.

—The Spectrum, October 27, 1961

Core Program Discussed by Rustin at RallyCore Program Discussed
by Rustin at Rally

by Joan Flory

Bayard Rustin, executive secretary of the War Resisters League, and advocate of non-violent mass action for civil rights, spoke last Friday in Norton.

His appearance was sponsored by the Student Christian Association, and the Student Senate Committee, and the Student Senate Committee on Segregation.  A SANE sponsored demonstration on the steps of Norton preceded the lecture. Mr. Rustin spoke briefly on the problem of disarmament.

Richard Fey, vice-president of the Student Senate, read Senate President Les Foshio’s message condemning the Russian nuclear tests. There was also reference to the Soviet threat to explode a 50 megaton bomb. President Foshio was unable to attend the session.

Carl Zietlow, president of the SANE executive committee also addressed the students before the group entered Norton to hear Mr. Rustin speak on “Civil Rights and Non-Violent Mass Action.”

Initially Mr. Rustin clarified the purpose of Core, committee on racial equality. Core was established, he said, not to alleviate the problems between “the white man and the black man, rather to do something about man’s injustice to his brother.”

Core hopes to do away with injustice wherever it exists. First, said Rustin, man must erase the injustice in himself. The meaning of the Negro sit-ins and freedom rides was also discussed. They exist, the civil-right stated, to “make the nation face the facts…we desire integrated schools or no schools.”

When asked about non-violence as a part of their policy, Mr. Rustin said the “non-violence is important to us, for it is the only method capable of challenging and destroying an institution while simultaneously creating a better one.” This type of action was advocated by Gandhi, the Hebrew prophets, and the religious cults of the east.

Commenting on the plight of the Negro, Mr. Rustin recalled a quote from his boyhood: “Son do not worry about the white man, the hunter, being better off than you are. For keeping a man in the gutter you must sit on him, and you are in the gutter too.”

A question period followed in which the speaker elaborated on the civil rights issue in the south, the outbreak of violence, and the conditions prevalent in Harlem schools.

—The Spectrum, November 3, 1961

Duke Ellington in Buffalo, NY – 1943

Posted on: | by Scott Hollander |

Duke Ellington in Buffalo, NY - 1943On Friday, February 19, 1943, the 22nd annual University of Buffalo Junior Prom took place at the Hotel Statler main ballroom in downtown Buffalo, NY.

Duke Ellington and his orchestra were the musical entertainment for the event.

Duke Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras. In 1943, he was one of the most popular musicians of the day.

At the time, he was considered the most outstanding musical figure to ever appear at the U.B. prom.

Due to war time conditions and a travel ban on pleasure driving, formal dress for the prom was optional.

For details, see “Duke Ellington To Play For Jr Prom” Buffalo Bee, 29 January 1943. and “Memorable Jr. Prom Features Queen, Duke” Buffalo Bee, 26 February 1943.

The Buffalo Bee is a part of the University at Buffalo Student Newspapers, 1921-1950 digital collection.

T.S. Eliot in Buffalo, NY – 1933

Posted on: | by Scott Hollander |
T. S. Eliot in 1934

T. S. Eliot in 1934

Calendar

The Bee newspaper – January 20, 1933

On January 26, 1933, T.S. Eliot, poet and critic, was in Buffalo, N.Y. to appear before an audience for a Fenton Foundation lecture held under the auspices of the University of Buffalo in the Twentieth Century Club at 595 Delaware Avenue. (see “Meaningful, Sonic Poetry Termed Best” Buffalo Courier-Express, 27 January 1933)

Between 1932 and 1933, T.S. Eliot wrote and presented a series of lectures while touring U.S. universities.  His topic while in Buffalo was Edward Lear and Modern Poetry.

Apparently Eliot was not happy with the Lear lecture.  T.S. Eliot was once asked why it was absent in his “Collected Essays.” He replied, “I am flattered that you should retain any interest in the lecture I gave on Edward Lear, and am therefore sorry to say that I destroyed the script of this and of a number of occasional lectures which I delivered in the United States in 1932-33.”

For more information on poetry, visit the Poetry Collection, a part of the University at Buffalo Libraries Special Collections.


MEANINGFUL, SONIC POETRY TERMED BESTMEANINGFUL,
SONIC POETRY
TERMED BEST

T. S. Eliot, poet and critic,
contrasts style of various
writers

There are two types of poetry, one in which the words are used simply to give meaning, the other in which the words are used for their sonic effect, but in great poetry the words do both. T. S. Eliot, English poet and critic, told an audience last night in his Fenton Foundation lecture held under auspices of the University of Buffalo at the Twentieth Century Club.

Mr. Eliot’s subject was Edward Lear and Modern Poetry, and one of his themes was that modern “unintelligible” poetry derives from Lear as one of its sources. Lear, a contemporary of Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, was a writer of light verse, in which there was more nonsense than sense, and in which the words were chosen not to convey ideas, but emotional effects—the emotion being of the whimsical sort.

Compares Carroll, Lear

Mr. Eliot drew this contrast between Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear: Carroll’s whimsy, with its detective story elements, its logical procedure, appeals to the adult element in children, whereas Lear’s poetry, which is more “poetic” and less, logical, appeals to the childish side of adults.

Quoting Walter Pater’s essay which makes the point that all the other arts only approach music which stands above them, Mr. Eliot made a defense for this sonic, musical, somewhat unintelligible poetry, which makes no pretense at sense, but pleases the ear, or creates an emotional effect.

Swinburne, another contemporary of Lear, also was held up for comparison to this effect: that Swinburne was an adolescent who pretended to be writing poetry with much meaning, though it was really meaningless, whereas Lehr didn’t even pretend to be making sense.

Following the lecture, Mr. Eliot, author of The Sacred Wood, and The Waste Land, read from his own poems.

Buffalo Courier-Express, January 27, 1933

The Police with XTC – 35 Years Ago

Posted on: | by Scott Hollander |

The Police with XTC at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980On Sunday, January 20, 1980, The Police began its North American winter tour with a concert in Buffalo, New York in the Clark Gym on the University at Buffalo’s South Campus.

The Police were touring behind their second album “Regatta de Blanc.”  XTC was the opening band. Tickets for the concert were $4.50 for students.

The Police, already popular in the UK at the time, were labeled as “one of the bands to watch in the Eighties” in the United States.

A decent crowd saw the band put on a good show although drummer Stewart Copeland expressed disappointment with the U.B. fans wishing they were a British audience. “They’re louder, and they dance more.” (see “The Police” Spectrum Newspaper, 25 January 1980)

The Police would return to Buffalo, New York on February 22, 1984 as one of the most popular bands in the world playing in front of 17,000 frenzied fans at the old Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. By the end of the decade, The Police were ranked the #1 most played band on U.S. radio in the 1980′s.

The Police/XTC photos are part of the Prominent Visitors to Buffalo digital collection and come from the University Archives. This collection chronicles many of the politicians, musicians and activists that visited Buffalo in the past 50 years. Documentation from the University Archives includes photographs, coverage of events from the UB Spectrum student newspaper, and related ephemera.


Sting and Andy Summers of The Police at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980 Sting of The Police at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980 Sting of The Police at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980

XTC - Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, and Dave Gregory at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980 Colin Moulding and Dave Gregory of XTC at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980 XTC - Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, and Dave Gregory at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980

The Police with XTC at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980


Prodigal Sun / The Spectrum, January 25, 1980Concert Review

The Police

by Pat Carrington

The Police opened their show last Sunday night in Clark Gym with a frantic rocker called “Next to You.” But it was their next number, “So Lonely,” that was more indicative of the style that has made them very well known in such a short time, that earned them status as “one of the bands to watch in the Eighties” -  a pop-flavored reggae group.

Bass guitarist/vocalist Sting’s voice is at its best when he’s singing reggae music. When he sings rock and roll, he sounds just like dozens of other vocalists. With the more soulful reggae, however, his voice gains a lilt and its high, clear tones are used. To someone familiar only with the Police cuts that receive airplay, this white reggae sound identifies the group.

After the show, when I asked drummer Stewart Copeland if he thought the group had in tended to “bring reggae to America,” I was surprised to see him look surprised at the question. “No, not at all. We just do something that turns us on. It feels natural- it’s something we’ve always done. We were surprised that no one else was doing it, actually. Of course, you hear a lot more of it in England. It’s part of the culture there.” (Reggae is primarily Jamaican music, and the reggae music played around London stems from the Jamaican roots of the city’s black population).

“What I like particularly about reggae is that you can experiment with it. I can take something that’s basically reggae (that is, until I get into it, because I change everything when I get into it) and do something different with it. It’s not like, say, jazz. Everything you can do with jazz has been done already.”

Though the Police may have eased into reggae as a style, they now do songs that are very intentionally Jamaican in flavor. The most obvious example of this occurred during their first encore Sunday. In the midst of a bopping-good “Can’t Stand Losing You,” Sting slowed the tempo to sing “Day-O, getting the audience to join in: ‘daylight come and me wan’ go home” . .. it added a nice touch, but since it was a cover song, it could hardly have been something that just crept into their music.

The Police is comprised of Andy Summers on guitar, Copeland and Sting. Their sound was quite intricate for a trio, owing to each member’s skill in playing their respective instrument. The acoustics in Clark Hall, amazingly enough, were excellent with the aid of an echo effect, Sting’s voice resounded through the packed hall, alternately silvery and mystical.

Summers was intent on his music, rarely crossing the stage. Sting was the showman, boogieing with his bass, exuding “Mod” good looks and a happy cProdigal Sun / The Spectrum, January 25, 1980harisma. At times, particularly during snatches of “Bo Diddley,” when instrumental backing was minimal, Sting wove a spell With his singing that hypnotized the audience.

But the people were never too hypnotized to wake up and dance. Where I was standing, jammed in the midst of the crowd a few feet from the stage, it became impossible to make any notes due to the bouncing up and down of everyone near me (not to mention my own movements). Copeland, though, expressed disappointment with the audience: “I wish it had been a British audience. They’re louder, and they dance more. They think less about the words, the nuances, than Americans do, but – well, they pogo over there, you know.” When asked if he really preferred that people didn’t listen to the words, he admitted that “each side has its good points.” In response to a Police quote from a recent magazine that “we can play a small club in the middle of nowhere if we want,” Copeland said that Clark was “just about the right size.”

The audience seemed to be somewhat confused about the identity of the Police. There were punked-out people present, dressed outrageously, complete with safety pins and cheap sunglasses. One screamed, “I was a punk before you were!” There’s very little that can be called punk in either the music or the persona of the Police, however, so if the people were attempting to dress for the occasion, they were a bit off. Many folks just sat in the stands, unwilling to participate, waiting to be entertained. The band performed that function admirably, but would have preferred some feedback in the form of dance.

Generally, live renditions of Police material were more expanded than their album versions, containing extended instrumental jams. This was especially the case with reggae tunes. “Truth Hits Everybody” was slowed down considerably, making it easier to understand the words (but harder to dance). The jams sounded so good that they never became boring, and Copeland put so much feeling into his drumming that he was in pain later. As far as the crowd was concerned, they showed by their spirited encore calls that it was worth it.

Prodigal Sun / The Spectrum, January 25, 1980