Emory Report
February 2, 2009
Volume 61, Number 18



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February 2, 2009

Bond keynotes King Week
“President Bush said he wanted to unite us. It took him seven years but, boy, did he succeed,” said Julian Bond, chair of the NAACP. The keynote speaker for King Week, Bond discussed the contributions of “untold thousands” of those who struggled for civil rights in the U.S., and how their efforts led up to an African American holding the highest office in the land.

Bond’s grandfather was born a slave, set free at the end of the Civil War. “At the age of 15, barely able to read and write, he walked across Kentucky to Berea College, and Berea College took him in,” Bond said. His grandfather was the commencement speaker at his graduation in 1892.

“We are poised for greater efforts and grander victories,” Bond said. —Carol Clark

Alzheimer’s poses major social threat
Alzheimer’s disease needs to be added to the list of disasters to fear, along with global warming, said Allen Levey in his recent Life of the Mind Lecture. “This is a worldwide crisis, and it’s going to become an epidemic,” said the professor and chair of neurology.

Currently, about 5 million people in the U.S. are afflicted with Alzheimers, but that number is expected to skyrocket as baby boomers age, Levey said. Alzheimer’s currently costs the U.S. $150 billion a year. “Most of that money is, unfortunately, spent after most of the mind has been lost,” he said.

Levey discussed high-level research ongoing at Emory, from methods to detect the early stages of Alzheimer’s, to zeroing in on the causes and treatments. —Carol Clark

On race, class and motherhood
“Prison is no place for a family reunion,” said U.S. District Court judge Vanessa Gilmore. “The truth is that having a parent behind bars is the single largest factor [in creating] juvenile delinquents and adult criminals.”
Reinforcing her words is an image among the Schatten Gallery exhibition “Interrupted Life: Incarcerated Mothers in the United States,” of a baby in the womb, already in shackles.

Gilmore, whose talk publicly opened the exhibition, said that addressing the needs of children of incarcerated parents is key to “stopping the intergenerational cycle of crime and incarceration.”

The exhibition is part of a month-long series of collaborative programs on the theme of motherhood and adversity, presented by the Race and Difference Initiative and the Atlanta Consortium of Colleges and Universities. Information: http://rdi.emory.edu/. —Kim Urquhart