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Acclaimed Chautauqua historical interpreter Charles Everett Pace will portray American humorist and poet Langston Hughes as part of East Central University’s 17th Annual Literary Arts Festival on Nov. 8.

Pace will be appearing in “On the Road with Langston Hughes” from noon to 1:15 p.m. at the Ataloa Theatre inside the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center on the ECU campus.

Hughes was the first African American writer to make his living exclusively from his writing. He demonstrated how humor can be marshaled as an effective tool of education, entertainment and social critique.

Pace, a performance scholar-artist, is one of the nation’s leading solo historical performers. His body of work explores how African American leaders have helped to advance democracy in America.

Through performance, Pace has portrayed Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), Booker T. Washington (1858-1915), W.E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963), Langston Hughes (1902-1967) and Malcolm X (1925-1965). Pace illustrates some of the successful strategies that African American leaders have used to overcome the obstacles of race, caste, class and gender in American society.

Pace and fellow Chautauqua scholar George Frien gave the keynote address at the final Presidential debate between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama at Hofstra University, Long Island, New York in 2008. Pace also performed at the 2000 Vice-Presidential Debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

He will again be one of the featured Chautauqua performers at the second Presidential Debate between President Obama and Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney at Hoftsra on Oct. 15. Pace will appear as W.E.B. Du Bois.

A 17-year veteran of the Great Plains Chautauqua Society, Inc. (1991-2006), Pace has worked as a program advisor/student development specialist for the Texas Union, University of Texas at Austin. He has also taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Purdue University and Centre College (Ky.).

Pace graduated from Texarkana College in Texas with an associate’s degree, University of Texas with a bachelor of science in biology, and Purdue University with a master’s in American studies – history and anthropology.

Seating in front of the orchestra pit area is limited to high school students and teachers, who are paying an advanced fee that covers the entire itinerary, including the breakout sessions and general session with Pace. The mezzanine will be open for campus and community free of charge for the general session at noon.

The event is sponsored by the Department of English and Languages and the Center for Continuing Education at ECU.

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