Thursday, January 15, 2009

PETE SEEGER joins panel at Arab American National Museum


Contact: Kim Silarski



Dearborn, MI (January 15, 2009) – Folk music legend and political activist Pete Seeger is set to take part in a panel discussion on the practice of profiling at the Arab American National Museum (AANM) from 1-2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 1.

The panel discussion, which is free and open to the public, is presented in conjunction with the current AANM exhibition A Yemeni Community: Photographs from the 1970s by Milton Rogovin, on display through July 5, 2009 in the AANM's Lower Level Gallery.

Entitled Rise-Up: Activism Through the Arts, Profiling from McCarthyism to the Present, the event unites Seeger with Michigan-based activists Ismael Ahmed and Dr. Gloria House and from Chicago, Mark Rogovin; Dr. Francis Shor moderates. Participant biographies appear below.

Profiling refers to the data surveillance technique employed by institutions such as law enforcement in which aspects such as race, ethnic origin or political activism are used to identify potential criminal offenders or security threats, often resulting in the disproportionate investigation of people of color.

There is no charge to attend this event; no RSVP is required. Seating is first-come, first-served; seating capacity in the Museum’s Lower Level Auditorium is 156. Call 313.582.2266 for further information.


Pete Seeger is a musician, singer/songwriter, folklorist, labor activist, environmentalist and peace advocate. He has issued some 100 records, written and collaborated on numerous radical songbooks, articles and banjo manuals. In 1955, Seeger was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee and became one of the few witnesses called that year who did not invoke the Fifth Amendment. In a dramatic appearance before the committee, Seeger claimed that to discuss his political views and associates violated his First Amendment rights. Read more about Seeger HERE.

Ismael Ahmed is a human rights activist, music promoter and the current director of the Michigan Department of Human Services. In 1974, he co-founded the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) and served as its executive director from 1983-2007. Ahmed created the Concert of Colors, the largest free diversity music festival in the U.S., which marked its 16th anniversary in 2008.

Dr. Gloria House is a community activist, educator and poet who is a professor of humanities and African American studies at the University of Michigan - Dearborn. She has been involved in human rights causes since her student days at UC Berkley and her years as field secretary for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in Lowndes County, Alabama in the 1960s.

Mark Rogovin is an artist and community activist who worked with Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros on his last mural, The March of Humanity. In 1981, Rogovin co-founded the Peace Museum and was its director for four years. He now heads the Rogovin Collection with its mission to promote the educational use of the social documentary photography of his father, Milton Rogovin.

Dr. Francis Shor (moderator) is professor of history at Wayne State University and a longtime human rights activist involved with numerous peace and justice groups including the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights.

The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves, celebrates, and educates the public on the history, life, culture, and contributions of Arab Americans. We serve as a resource to enhance knowledge and understanding about Arab Americans and their presence in this country. The Arab American National Museum is a project of ACCESS, a Dearborn, Michigan-based nonprofit human services and cultural organization. Learn more at and

The Arab American National Museum is a proud Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Read about the Affiliations program at

The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI, 48126. Museum hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under, free. Call 313.582.2266 for further information.


Kim Silarski