Local Theater Director/Playwright is the Recipient of the Carter G. Woodson Award of Merit

Ekundayo Bandele, founder and executive/artistic director of Hattiloo Theatre, playwright, actor, and community activist, was honored with the Southwest Tennessee Community College Carter Godwin Woodson Award of Merit during the annual award ceremony on February 7 at the Union Avenue Campus Theater.

The award was created in 1988 to recognize individuals, groups, or agencies who have contributed to, preserved, or promoted the African-American experience and who support Dr. Woodson's legacy of "historical accuracy through inclusion." A linguist and historian, he is considered "the father of Black history." The recipient of the award must work or live within Southwest's service area or be connected with the college in a significant way.

Reared in New York, Bandele, the 2012 Woodson award recipient, attended Southwest and Tennessee State University. Later, he settled in Memphis, immersing himself in the arts; writing and self-producing plays, and writing a novel. His writings comprise the novel, Tales Go Around, and several stage-plays – Judas' Hands and If Scrooge Was A Brother. He has directed numerous plays, most notably August Wilson's Fences. He also portrayed the character Booth in Suzan- Lori Park's Pulitzer Prize winning play, Topdog/Underdog. Bandele sees himself standing on the middle ground, connecting black people and white people through the art of theatre.

His civic involvement includes serving on the boards of the Benjamin Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is a graduate of Leadership Memphis' Executive Class of 2010. For his contributions to Memphis, he has received visionary awards from the Center City Commission, the United Way of the Midsouth, J.U.G.S, and Impact Memphis, in addition to a Congressional Certificate of Honor. Memphis Business Quarterly named him a "Power Player" in 2011, and in 2008, he was voted one of "12 Who Made a Difference" by The Commercial Appeal. He was also recently named one of the Tri-State Defender's "Men of Excellence."

The awards ceremony honoring Bandele included participation by Willie Berry - a musical prelude, Associate Director, Honors Academy MaLinda F. Wade - the welcome and occasion, Executive Director of Library Services Carolyn Head - poetry reading, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Barbara Roseborough - presentation of the award, and President Nathan Essex - remarks.


Photo caption: Ekundayo Bandele (Left) receives the Carter G. Woodson Award of Merit as presented by Barbara Roseborough.