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Author to speak Sunday at Washington County library

April 10, 2008

Dr. Psyche Williams Forson, author of "Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food and Power" will be at Washington County Free Library in downtown Hagerstown on Sunday at 3 p.m. to discuss her work.

Using a recipe of scholarly analysis, personal interviews, film, advertisements, cookbooks and literature, Psyche Williams-Forson examines the complex role of the chicken in African-American life, paying special attention to the connection between chickens and black women. From slavery to the present, families have been fed with chickens raised by these women, who have made their livings cooking and serving in houses, restaurants, on the roadside, at the harbor and in churches.

Although she "acknowledges the negative interpretations of black culture associated with chicken imagery, (she) focuses her analysis on the ways black women have forged their own self-definitions and relationships ... The traditions and practices of feminism, Williams-Forson argues, are inherent in the foods women prepare and serve."

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Williams-Forson is assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her book won the American Folklore Society's Elli Kngs-Maranda Prize. She holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in American Studies from University of Maryland, College Park, where she also co-founded the Material Culture/Visual Culture Working Group.

This presentation is a Maryland Humanities Council sponsored program, part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Remembrance and Reconciliation Program

Call the library at 301-739-3250, ext 136, to reserve a free ticket.

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