Ferrum News

Emmanuel Jal to Perform at Ferrum College


Emmanuel Jal to Perform at Ferrum College

Musician known for using music to encourage peace and justice.



Ferrum, Va. (March 11, 2011) Emmanuel Jal, a hip hop artist and activist who survived service as a child soldier in Africa will bring his music and ideas to Ferrum College at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16.

 “If there is anybody who understands the need for us to work together for peace it is Emmanuel Jal,” said Assistant Professor of Sociology Susan Mead, who spearheaded efforts to bring Jal to campus.  “It’s hard to even imagine what he has been through.  It makes hearing his story, and his call to action, so much more important,” said Mead.

 Jal was born in war-torn Sudan, and fled to Ethiopia at the age of seven, after his mother was killed by soldiers.  Upon arrival in Ethiopia Jal was recruited by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and forced into combat as a child.  He survived, and at the age of eleven, was rescued by a British aid worker, Emma McCune.

 As he received schooling in Kenya, Jal became an activist, raising money for street children and refugees.  He also became aware of the power of messaging through music and in particular, hip hop.

 Mead said the event at Ferrum College, entitled, From Africa to Appalachia:  Building Peace and Justice, would include “students showcasing poetry and performance art that helps us connect our own Appalachian region to Jal’s homeland in Africa.  As we become aware of the history, current political situation, and social needs in the newest nation of the world, the Republic of Southern Sudan, we can learn to use our strengths of creativity and diversity in the struggle to end oppression, here and abroad.”

 According to Mead, literally hundreds of students on the Ferrum campus have already learned about Jal’s music and message and are excited about the fact that a man who performed at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday concert in London will be visiting Ferrum College.  Students and faculty in Teacher Education, Social Work, Sociology, Political Science, Criminal Justice and other majors have been working directly with projects involving the Southern Sudan, Mead said.

This event, sponsored by a coalition of organizations including the Ferrum College Boone Honors Program and Office of Student Leadership and Engagement, will be held at Vaughn Chapel on the Ferrum College campus and is free and open to the public.   

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