In February 2011, the Humanities Research Center and Rice Public Art Program will bring The Black List Project to multiple locations on campus, primarily the Rice Media Center. This project will be the first in a collaborative series between the two groups called HumanArt.
The Black List Project is a photographic exhibit and documentary featuring portraits of prominent African Americans of various professions, disciplines, and backgrounds. Historically, "blacklist" denotes a group of people marginalized and denied work or social approval. In an effort to redefine the word, twenty-five featured African Americans provide insight on the struggles, triumphs, and joys of black life in the United States. These portraits are both pictorial and verbal, representing some of the most dynamic and inspiring personalities in the fields of politics, music, business, civil activism, literature, the arts, and athletics. Featured photographs include those of American political activist and university professor Angela Davis; musician John Legend; Michael Lomax, Chairman and CEO of the United Negro College Fund; artist Kara Walker; and actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, novelist and composer Martin Van Peebles. The Black List Project was conceived of by photographer/filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders with Elvis Mitchell, NPR correspondent and former New York Times film critic.
Rice University will host this exhibit February 3-25, 2011 in honor of Black History Month, and plans to engage both Rice and the Houston community through a variety of media. The Humanities Research Center will also bring in prominent scholars from Rice and other universities to speak on related topics of Black America, including photographer and author Shawn Michele Smith. Building on themes from the documentary vignettes, these speakers will give public lectures in the Rice Media Center, as well as work with Rice professors on supplementing undergraduate courses in the spring semester.