Park to have 17th annual Spencer Cave lecture

Carin Bublitz, Reporter

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For the past 16 years Park University has put on the Spencer Cave Black History Month Lecture Series during Black History Month in February. This year is the 17th lecture in this series, and Michael Dinwiddie, associate professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, will be discussing James Reese Europe and the influence he had on bringing jazz to the European continent.
The title of the lecture is “From ‘Bandana Land’ to ‘No Man’s Land:’ James Reese Europe’s Musical Journey.” Dinwiddie will be at the Gem Theater, 1615 East 18th street in Kansas City, at 7 p.m. on Monday February 26. The lecture is free, but reservations are suggested if you plan to attend. Individuals interested can make reservations at
The lecture this year is unique. It focuses on James Reese Europe, a ragtime bandleader who influenced the spread of jazz across the European continent.
“This lecture is only the second time in 17 years that music has been a focus. In addition, the lecture continues our commemoration of the World War I centennial,” said Timothy Westcott, Ph.D., associate professor of history.
Another unique aspect is that there will be live jazz band performing a few selections from Europe’s compositions.
According to the James Reese Europe biography in the Library of Congress, “James Europe signed up and was commissioned a lieutenant for the 15th Regiment under Colonel Hayward. He was ordered to put together the best band he could muster, and he did so, going as far afield as Puerto Rico to find the musicians he wanted. His friend Nobel Sissle served as his drum major. This regiment became the 369th Regiment, known as the Hell Fighters, and proceeded to amaze continental Europe – especially France, with its brilliant and original music.”
Students, faculty and community members attending should plan “to engage in an expression of music and how that expression of American culture influenced greatly the European music scene,” Westcott said.
This lecture is sponsored by Park University’s History Program which has partnered with the American Jazz Museum, the National Archives at Kansas City, The National World War I Museum and Memorial, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Greater Kansas City Black History Study Group.

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Student newspaper of Park University
Park to have 17th annual Spencer Cave lecture