EMBCA Presents “The Life and Times of Dan Georgakas” on April 10

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NEW YORK — The Eastern Mediterranean Business Culture Alliance (EMBCA) presents the Life and Times of Dan Georgakas Zoom webinar panel discussion on Sunday, April 10, 2 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. Athens.

The panel will be introduced and moderated by Lou Katsos, President of EMBCA. The distinguished jury, in training, will include Professor Alexander Kitroeff of Haverford College; author, historian and activist Herb Boyd, professor of the Black Studies Program at City College of New York, CUNY; author and poet Nicholas Alexiou, professor of sociology and director of the Hellenic American Project at Queens College; and historian, educator and author Constantine Hatzidimitriou.

“The passing of Dan Georgakas on November 23, 2021 was a tremendous loss to the Hellenic community as well as the greater American community,” Katsos said via email. “At the EMBCA, we were honored to have him on our panel discussion last year titled The Hellenic Revolution, Its Effects on the American Abolitionist Movement and Beyond.”

The video of this panel is available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/JTtPiZ9wmiU.

“While it is impossible to fully describe his accomplishments in so many areas as an author, editor, historian, journalist, university professor, organizer of film festivals and so much more, our panelists who knew him well on a personal level and in different ways, will discuss this great man from their perspective,” Katsos said.

“Dan Georgakas (1938-2021) was an American anarchist, poet, and historian, specializing in oral history and the American labor movement,” he continued. “He is best known to some for the publication Detroit: I Do Mind Dying: A Study in Urban Revolution (1975), which documented radical African-American groups in Detroit during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1966, he and the painter Ben Morea helped found the well-known anarchist group Up Against the Wall MF affiliated with New York’s Lower East Side. In the late 1980s, Dan began co-authoring Encyclopedia of the American Left (1990, 1998) with Mari Jo Buhle and her husband Paul Buhle. Dan was a long-time member of the editorial board of Cineaste magazine and specialized in Latin American cinema.

“He was director of the American Greek Studies Project at the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College, editor of the Journal of Contemporary Hellenic Issues, and bi-weekly columnist for The National Herald,” Katsos noted. “His most recent book was My Detroit: Growing Up Greek and American in Motor City. It was a loving but critical memoir of Detroit in the 1950s-60s when it had the highest level of any American metropolis. My Detroit proceeds from the industrial east side to explore the complex racial, artistic, economic and political life of Detroit – a subjective companion to his Detroit: I Do Mind Dying, a historical account of the city’s turbulent 1960s.

Georgakas “wrote, edited, or co-wrote about a dozen titles,” Katsos continued. “He had spoken about cinema and mass media on MTV, History Channel, Canadian Broadcasting System, Pacifica Radio, Voice of America, and Greek National Television, among other radio and television stations. Dan has taught at New York University, Columbia University, University of Oklahoma, UMass-Amherst, and Queens College. Many of his books have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish and Greek and have been published in the UK.

“He was also the subject of a documentary film called Dan Georgakas: A Diaspora Rebel by filmmaker Kostas Vakkas,” Katsos noted. “The film was screened at the 17th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in 2015. In this film, Georgakas tells the story of his life and his experiences growing up in Detroit. He will be missed by many members of the University community, by the hundreds of students who have had the honor of attending his classes and lectures, and by our Hellenic community around the world. It should be noted that on the 100th anniversary of the Smyrna fire, his mother and aunt were among the children who were rescued by the Japanese ship the Tokei Maru (something he discovered decades later) during the fire of Smyrna in 1922.”

More information is available online: https://embca.com/.

The webinar will be available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/895WISF4pHA.

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