Campus News

Frank X Walker 'Dedicates This Ride'

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 7, 2010 ) −University of Kentucky English professor Frank X Walker will deliver the first of this year's Carter G. Woodson Lecture Series, sponsored by UK's African American Studies and Research Program.

Walker will read from his newest poetry collection, titled, "I Dedicate This Ride: The Making of Isaac Murphy," from 4:30-6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9, in Room 249 of UK's Student Center.

"I Dedicate This Ride" came about after the Lexington Children’s Theatre asked Walker to write a play about Murphy to coincide with the World Equestrian Games beginning this month.

While at first unsure, Walker utilized poetry exercises as a way to investigate the relationships surrounding the Hall of Fame jockey, who was one of the first high-profile athletes in Kentucky.

According to Walker, Murphy was close to his mother, father and trainer; all of these connections play a role in "I Dedicate This Ride," which will be officially released on Sept. 17. Walker also wrote the play, which makes its worldwide debut on Sept. 26.

"I Dedicate This Ride" is a part of Kentucky's new statewide literacy project as well, aptly titled: the Isaac Murphy Every Body Reads Project (IMEBRP).

"This is a great opportunity for literacy," said Walker. "Through history, diversity and the social sciences, Isaac Murphy's life allows for all types of discussions."

Walker is an author, educator, poet and professor. The co-founding member of the Afrilachian Poets has also written five books examining social justice, family, identity and place.

"African American jockeys like Isaac Murphy dominated horse racing, and then, they just disappeared," said Walker. "There are parts of Lexington history that Lexington residents don’t know about."

The Carter G. Woodson lecture series is named in honor of the noted African American history scholar sponsored each year by the AASRP.

Initially developed as a Faculty Luncheon Forum in 1992, this series has evolved into one of AASRP's cornerstone events, enriching the campus as well as the community's intellectual understanding of various topics and themes relating to issues of race and culture. The series, which includes four speakers throughout the year, also provides faculty and graduate students an academic arena to present research.

Walker's lecture is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information contact AASRP at (859) 257-3593 or Le Datta Grimes at (859) 257-0187.