University News

Social Activist Stephen Shames Brings Project L.E.A.D. Uganda to WIU March 28

March 24, 2011

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL – Photojournalist and social activist Stephen Shames is perhaps best known for his black and white photography of the Black Panther Panther Party, with which he was closely associated from 1966 into the 1970s. Since then, he has turned his camera and his attention to children in poverty in the United States and abroad.

Shames will present "Project L.E.A.D. Uganda" at 6 p.m. Monday, March 28 in Morgan Hall 109 on the Western Illinois University campus. The lecture is open free to the public.

"Project L.E.A.D. Uganda" is a philanthropic organization Shames founded that is an educational leadership program that transforms AIDS orphans, former child soldiers, child laborers and other forgotten children into leaders by offering them education and entrepreneurial skills.

For his work as founder of L.E.A.D. Uganda, Shames was named a 2010 Purpose Prize Fellow. He also received a Pollie award from the American Association of Political Consultants for his 2008 bus shelter and subway ads for the "NYC Dads" campaign in New York City; and Shames has been awarded a Kodak Crystal Eagle for "Impact in Photojournalism."

He is the author of four monographs: "Outside the Dream" (1991), "Pursuing the Dream" (1991), "The Black Panthers" (2006) and "Transforming Lives" (2009). Shames also has written and directed two videos: "Friends of the Children" and "Children of Northern Uganda."

Shames has been profiled by People magazine, CBS Sunday Morning, Esquire, U.S. News, Ford Foundation Report, Photo District News and American Photo. The Ford, Charles Stewart Mott, Robert Wood Johnson and Annie E. Casey foundations have underwritten his work; and his recent solo shows at the Steven Kasher Gallery (New York) was reviewed by the New Yorker. He has lectured and testified about child poverty, and PBS has named Shames as a photographer whose work promotes social change. His recent projects include "Interrupted Lives," an installation about an incarcerated woman and her daughter.

Shames' images are in the permanent collections of many prestigious galleries and museums, including the National Portrait Gallery; International Center of Photography; University of California at Berkeley; the Corcoran Gallery of Art; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Ford Foundation; Smithsonian National Museum of American History; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Elton John Foundation; and the Honickman Foundation.

Shames' visit to Western Illinois is part of the University's Theme Speaker Series. This year's Universitywide theme is "Teaching and Learning for a New Era." Co-sponsors for this event are the Visiting Lectures Committee, The Performing Arts Society and the Office of the Provost.

For more information about Shames, visit his website at

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing