Q & A Queries and Announcements

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Charles Bethea has been appointed executive director of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center in Richmond, Va. In that role, he will assess the museum's current situation and establish new exhibitions, programs and policies. Before joining the museum, Bethea was the program coordinator for the Virginia Association of Museums, where he supervised the development of public programs and spearheaded the design and layout of its quarterly newsmagazine.

Louis Ramey has been chosen as the recipient of this year's Amstel Light Jury Award for his outstanding performance at the 1999 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. Ramey is noted for a stand-up act that is both clean and funny and for his "shotgun" approach to comedy: In the time that it takes for other comics to tell one joke, he tells three. Ramey has appeared on It's Showtime at the Apollo and Stand and Deliver.

Robert L. Mathews has been named chairman of the board of the International Food Service Executives Association in Margate, Fla. He is the first African American to hold this position in the 98-year history of the hospitality association, which was formed to enhance the professional careers of its members. Mathews plans to increase awareness of the association's programs (which include a project to end hunger, scholarships for hospitality students, and a project supporting excellence in military food service) and to increase involvement of students, members of minority groups, and members of the military. Mathews was previously director of purchasing at the Dearborn Inn in Dearborn, Mich.

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, in Newark, N.J., has announced the winners of its 1999 Literary Awards, which recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by black authors. Gayl Jones is the winning author in the fiction category, for The Healing (Beacon Press). Carolyn Mazloomi is the winning author in the nonfiction category, for Spirits of the Cloth: Contemporary African American Quilts (Clarkson Potter/Publishers). Honor Book winners include See No Evil (fiction), by Eleanor Taylor Bland, and Sacred Bond.: Black Men and Their Mothers (nonfiction), by Keith Michael Brown and Adger W. Cowans (see American Visions, April/May 1999). The awards will be presented at the organization's annual conference in New Orleans in June.

The Ford Foundation has awarded $155,000 to Pennsylvania State University for "Against All Odds: African Languages and Literatures Into the 21st Century," a conference and festival to be held in Asmara, Eritrea, January 11 to 17, 2000. The purpose of the event is to bring together students, scholars, researchers, publishers and political leaders to discuss the achievements of African languages and literatures in the 20th century and to promote their continued growth into the 21st. Charles Cantalupo, a poet and a professor of English at Penn State, is the organizer of this project. He has chosen four conference chairs: Ngugi wa Thiong'o of Kenya (Cantalupo's inspiration for the conference), Mbulelo Mzamane of South Africa, Ama Ata Aidoo of Ghana, and Nawal El Saadawi of Egypt.

The Hurston/Wright Foundation has presented awards for outstanding fiction by minority college writers to Genero Ky Ly Smith (for his semiautobiographical novel excerpt "The Land South of the Clouds"), Phillip Cunningham (for his short story "The Upstairs") and Dokubo Goodhead (for his novel excerpt "Musca the Fly"). Also honored were novelists Walter Mosley and E. Lynn Harris for their excellence in service to the black literary community. Established in 1990 by writer Marita Golden, the foundation was formed to continue the legacy of literary achievement exemplified by its namesakes, Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright. …