Galen Abdur-Razzaq

Renowned Flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq to Present 'Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement'


To commemorate the civil rights movement and the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Buffalo State will host flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq on Wednesday, February 5, at 7:00 p.m. in the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s Tower Auditorium.

Abdur-Razzaq, an accomplished musician and spoken-word artist from Montclair, New Jersey, will present the lecture and performance “Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement.” The event is free and open to the public.

An educator, arranger, composer, and director, Abdur-Razzaq studied at the Berklee College of Music and earned a master’s degree in education from Rutgers University. For more than 30 years, he has performed and spoken to college and university students across the country. 

“Our programs are designed with a focus on jazz history, women in jazz, and the elements of jazz, as well as an overall understanding of musicology,” said Fiona Brown, general manager of Flute Juice Productions, Abdur-Razzaq’s production company. “The primary goal is to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of this art form, its cultural background, and historical significance. Notably, jazz was an instrument of expression during some of the most difficult periods in American history and is also considered an important pathway to a greater appreciation of music in general.”

Buffalo State’s Equity and Campus Diversity Office partnered with Student Affairs and Student Leadership and Engagement to support the event and received funding from a Faculty-Student Association (FSA) grant.

“We’ve never celebrated MLK Day with a musical performer,” said Michael Heflin, director of the Equity and Campus Diversity Office. “We thought his presentation and performance would be an excellent way to connect and engage with students, faculty, staff, and the community in a different way. We’re very excited about his visit.”

Abdur-Razzaq’s performance is the highlight of several free campus events recognizing Black History Month in February. Others include:

  • Diaspora Dialogue: Africana Diaspora Project on Tuesday, February 4, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Campbell Student Union Social Hall. Sponsored by the Student Leadership and Engagement Office, the event is designed to introduce students to the topics that surround the African diaspora and how connected they are to a global society. This dialogue provides a platform for students to speak about their proud moments and concerns like equity, colorism, and advancement that occur within the diasporic communities. They will also discuss topics surrounding the New York Times 1619 Project to commemorate 400 years of perseverance.
  • Restorative Justice Community Circles on Wednesday, February 5, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the residence halls. The theme is Grief/Justice. Held monthly, the community circles are sponsored by the Student Conduct and Community Standards Office (SCCS) in collaboration with the Residence Life Office. For more information, call (716) 878-3051 or visit the SCCS website.
  • Screening of The Green Book: Guide to Freedom on Thursday, February 6, at 7:00. p.m. in the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Part of the Beyond Boundaries: Dare to Be Diverse screening and discussion series, this documentary takes a different look at the Green Book presented in the Oscar award–winning movie. Combining archival footage of everyday black life with interviews with contemporary African American scholars and activists, this 51-minute film tells the story of Victor Hugo Green’s guide created by and for black Americans to support safe travel in the United States in the early and mid-twentieth century.  

For more information about any of the events, please contact the Equity and Campus Diversity Office, (716) 878-6210.