Thomas Allen Harris, who created the acclaimed documentary "Through a Lens Darkly," will deliver the Paul R. Jones Lecture on March 2.

March 2: Paul R. Jones Lecture

Award-winning filmmaker to discuss African American photographers


3:08 p.m., Feb. 20, 2015--Thomas Allen Harris, an award-winning filmmaker whose recent documentary chronicles the history of African American photographers, will present the University of Delaware’s 2015 Paul R. Jones Lecture at 7 p.m., Monday, March 2, in Trabant University Center Theatre.

The lecture, titled “The Book of the Family Tree,” is free and open to the public.

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Harris is the founder and president of Chimpanzee Productions. His acclaimed 2014 documentary, Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, explores the work of African American photographers and their role in projecting and shaping the identity, aspirations and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to the present.

The film features photography by P.H. Polk, whose work is included in the University Museums collection.

Harris, who grew up in the Bronx, New York, and in Tanzania, has created documentary films, installations and experimental videos that have been featured on television, at festivals and in museums and galleries. For several years, he produced for public television, earning two Emmy nominations, and has also produced both documentary and artistic feature films.

He also has developed the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow, a project that focuses on family photographic collections of African Americans and facilitates the collection and digitization of family photos.

The Paul R. Jones Lecture is named in honor of the late benefactor who donated a large portion of his art collection to the University. Founded in conjunction with the gift, the Paul R. Jones Initiative fosters educational inquiry, interdisciplinary engagement and critical thinking with and through African American art.

The initiative, supported by the College of Arts and Sciences and University Museums, includes a broad range of programming, as well as faculty and student teaching and research related to the collection, and curricular outreach related to American art and culture in dialogue with Africa and its diaspora. 

Harris’ lecture coincides with an exhibition drawn from University Museums’ African American art collection, “Forget Me Not: Photography Between Poetry and Politics,” that is open in Mechanical Hall through May 17.

On Saturday, March 7, UD will host a free, public screening of Through a Lens Darkly, from 2-4 p.m. in Room 006, Kirkbride Lecture Hall.

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