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TransAfrica’s first female president Nicole C. Lee keynotes the 29th Annual MLK Jr. Program on Jan. 14, 2014. Image courtesy of ArtsGroup, Inc.

Media Release

Anacostia Community Museum's 29th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Program Features Nicole Lee

The Anacostia Community Museum will feature Nicole C. Lee, president of TransAfrica, at its 29th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Program Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. The program will be held at the Baird Auditorium in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. Admission is free, but seating is limited. To obtain more information or make reservations, the public may email or call (202) 633-4875.

Lee's topic, "Lifting the Torch: The Legacy of Nelson Mandela," discusses parallels between the lives and work of King and Mandela. Lee's remarks will be followed by a discussion with Sylvia Hill, a criminal justice professor at the University of the District of Columbia.

The event includes a performance by the Lesole's Dance Project founded by South African native Lesole Maine and a reading by Kayla Rosemond of her original poem on Mandela. Rosemond is currently a seventh grader and former student in the Anacostia Community Museum's Academy Program.

"Ms. Lee's perspective on Dr. King and Nelson Mandela will be quite insightful in light of TransAfrica's historic role in the U.S. fight against South Africa's apartheid system and our recent loss of the great South African leader," said Camille Giraud Akeju, director of the museum. "We are pleased to celebrate an emerging South African success story embodied in our current exhibition 'Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence," and look forward to learning some of the backstory as only a women and human rights advocate such as Ms. Lee could offer."

An attorney by training, Lee is a human rights expert and the first female president of TransAfrica, created by the Congressional Black Caucus to coordinate the U.S. movement against apartheid and advocate for human rights worldwide. As such, she has led investigations and U.S. missions documenting human rights abuses worldwide and implemented the organization's initiatives that inform and influence U.S. policy toward Africa and the diaspora. Before joining TransAfrica, Lee coordinated human rights programs with prominent organizations including Partners in Health, Global Justice, Jubilee USA and Oxfam and documented human rights abuses during Haiti's coup d'état period. Lee has been on Ebony magazine's list of 100 Most Influential African Americans among other public recognitions and has been sought by major media for her expertise.

In addition to her position at the University of the District of Columbia, Sylvia Hill is a part-time faculty member of The Union Institute in Cincinnati. Her current research interests focus on the use of research and community organizing techniques to mobilize communities to work in public safety. She is a member of TransAfrica's board of directors.

The Lesole's Dance Project was founded in 2005 by Lesole Z. Maine to present performances highlighting traditional South African, American modern and Afro-fusion dance. Having performed locally and internationally, the Washington, D.C., company has several local outreach programs and sponsors a dance/self–esteem building program in Sebokeng, South Africa.

Currently at Charles Hart Middle School, Rosemond will recite her original poem, "Mandela, a Courageous Soul." The Museum Academy Program is a signature Anacostia Community Museum initiative, established in 2001, offering after-school and summer programs for elementary students in targeted schools and a career awareness day for middle-school youth.

About the Anacostia Community Museum
Established in 1967 as the nation's first federally funded neighborhood museum, the Anacostia Community Museum focuses on examining the impact of social issues on contemporary communities. For more information, the public may call (202) 633-4820, (202) 633-1000; for tours (202) 633-4844.

Media Only:
Marcia Baird Burris (202) 633-4876; (202) 320-1735 (cell)

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