For Immediate Release —Jan. 12, 2009
David Irwin
Media Relations Manager
(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo to Commemorate Life of Martin Luther King Jr.

GENESEO, N.Y. – The State University of New York at Geneseo is celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. with a concert this month by a well-known African-American women’s gospel choir and a sponsored lecture in March.

AKOMA, the women’s gospel and spoken choir based in Rochester, will perform Jan 27 at 8 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium.  The program is sponsored by the college’s Women’s Studies program, School of the Arts and the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Programs.   Charles Cobb Jr., a college professor and senior analyst for, will present a commemorative lecture March 10 at 7 p.m. in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom.  His address is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Xerox Center for Multicultural Teacher Education and the Africana/Black Studies Programs.   Both events are open to the public without charge.

AKOMA was founded in 1995 as an African-American women’s gospel choir and since then has performed often at both local and regional events with the group’s ministry of song and spoken word.   Choir members vary widely in age and represent numerous Rochester-area churches.   Choir members chose AKOMA for its name because it symbolizes their African-American heritage, strong spiritual roots and service to the community.

Cobb reports for, a leading online source of news from and about Africa.  He also is a visiting professor at Brown University, where he conducts an undergraduate seminar titled, “The Organizing Tradition of the Southern Civil Rights Movement.”  Cobb lived two years in the East African nation of Tanzania and later was a foreign affairs reporter for National Public Radio, bringing to that network its first regular coverage of Africa.  He also served as a staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa.