"The Boondocks" Cartoonist To Speak At Va Tech During Black History Month

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 3, 2003 – Aaron McGruder, "The Boondocks" cartoonist, will be the keynote speaker for Virginia Tech's Black History Month observances. McGruder will deliver his address, "What's the Color of Funny? Race, Society, and the Comics,"on Thursday, February 6, at 7 p.m. in the Commonwealth Ballroom, Squires Student Center. A reception will follow in the Black Student Center, also in Squires.

While a college student, McGruder decided to create a comic strip that reflected the reality of life for African-Americans. He mixed his love of hip hop culture and the complexities of racial diversity to paint an amusing picture of African-American city kids adjusting to life in white suburbia. "The Boondocks" first appeared in print in the University of Maryland's student newspaper, then moved to the music magazine, The Source, when McGruder graduated.

The strip has garnered considerable national and international media attention since Universal Press Syndicate began syndicating it to newspapers in 1999. Stories about "The Boondocks" have appeared in Time, Newsweek, People, National Journal, The Washington Post, London's The Guardian, and many other newspapers and magazines. McGruder has been profiled on all three major U.S. television networks and on PBS's "The Charlie Rose Show."

McGruder has compiled past comics into the book The Boondocks: Because I Know You Don't Read the Newspaper, which was published by Andrews McMeel.

Other Black History Month events will take place, almost on a daily basis, through the end of February. For more information, go to http://www.mcp.vt.edu/calendars/bhm2003.shtml.

Virginia Tech is also observing the 50th anniversary of the enrollment of its first black student this year. The highlight of the celebration will be the dedication of Peddrew-Yates Hall on March 29 and a black alumni reunion on campus the same weekend. The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors named the building, formerly known as Residence Hall West, in honor of Tech's first black student, Irving L. Peddrew III, who was enrolled from 1953-1956, and the university's first black graduate, Charlie L. Yates, who graduated with honors in 1958. Other 50th anniversary events will be scheduled throughout the year.