FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 23, 2015 (revised)
Clarence V. Reynolds, Center for Black Literature
April R. Silver, AKILA WORKSONGS, Inc.
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National Black Writers Conference 2015
Biennial Symposium Welcomes DANNY GLOVER.
Danny Glover Tribute, Dr. Greg Carr Keynote Are Select Highlights for 2015 Symposium: Saturday, March 28 at Medgar Evers College (Brooklyn)
The rich tradition of literary activism among Black writers dates back to the work of Phillis Wheatley, the first recognized African-American poet in American literature; and it is represented in the works of such iconic writers Amiri Baraka, Jayne Cortez, and Langston Hughes among many others. This tradition has continued to the present and includes the fiction, poetry and prose produced by Black writers during the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movements. Focusing on activism, liberation, and resistance in literature and the arts, the 2015 National Black Writers Conference “Voices of Liberation and Resistance” will be held Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the campus Medgar Evers College (1650 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY). Keynote speakers for the Symposium are DR. GREG CARR of Howard University and actor and activist DANNY GLOVER.
Focusing on activism, liberation, and resistance in the arts, the 2015 NBWC Biennial Symposium explores this subject from different perspectives and offers an intergenerational perspective on the legacy of resistance and activism in the arts, with a special emphasis on how novelists, poets, playwrights, and screenwriters have addressed these themes through their work and through the roles they play. “There is a proverb that says as long as we tell the stories of our ancestors and repeat their names, we keep them alive. We have to create venues and forums that enable us to keep the legacy, experiences and stories of those who came before us alive. And we have to ensure that the present generation understands the basis for carrying forward this tradition and is poised to do so. Through exploring the legacy of activism and resistance from varying perspectives, the 2015 NBWC can help to make this happen,” says Dr. Brenda Greene, Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature.
The goal of the 2015 NBWC Biennial Symposium is to bring together an intergenerational group of writers and artists from various genres and include RASHIDAH ISMAILI ABUBAKR, BRIDGETT M. DAVIS, THOMAS SAYERS ELLIS, JAMAL JOSEPH, SAM POLLARD, DR. HAKI MADHUBUTI, DAVID HENDERSON, SAPPHIRE, and JACQUELINE WOODSON.
With a special focus on film and literature, the program will honor Danny Glover. Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Glover has dedicated himself to the development and production of films of historical relevance, social purpose, commercial value and artistic integrity, and he has a record of addressing issues of economic development and poverty in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. We applaud his legacy of paving the way for Black actors and filmmakers to create a presence in the film industry and of supporting a tradition of social consciousness and resistance among fellow artists and writers.
Through panel discussions, readings, and a film presentation, the participants will engage the public in deep discussions of the legacy of activism and its impact on contemporary writers and artists and will examine the ways in which writers and artists use their work to raise public awareness of these issues.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The program will begin with a keynote by cultural and sociopolitical actor, activist, humanitarian, and producer Danny Glover.
Glover’s discussion will be followed by a viewing of the film The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975, which is compiled from the footage of Swedish journalist Goran Hugo Olsson. The film samples very powerful voices from the 1960s and 1970s and injects contemporary commentary from older people who were involved with the movement and younger people (including Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, and Questlove [Ahmir Khalib Thompson] from The Roots) whose lives were changed by it. Sam Pollard, television video editor, documentary producer/director, and educator and Jamal Joseph, writer, director, producer, poet, activist, and educator, will provide a critical response to the film; the audience will then participate in a Q and A with Pollard and Joseph. The post-discussion will be followed by a panel of writers whose work examines the intersection of literature, politics, culture and activism. Panelists include writers Rashidah Ismaili AbuBakr Touré from the Black Arts Movement, poet and activist David Henderson from the Umbra and Black Arts Movements, novelist and educator Bridgett M. Davis, and poet Thomas Sayers Ellis. Following the discussion will be a keynote by Dr. Greg Carr, who is associate professor of Africana Studies, Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, Adjunct Faculty at the Howard School of Law. The keynote will be followed by select readings representing voices of liberation and resistance from National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson, Sapphire, and Thomas Sayers Ellis. The program will close with a musical tribute to Amiri Baraka.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL BLACK WRITERS CONFERENCE
The National Black Writers Conference is hosted every two years by the Center for Black Literature and our NBWC Biennial Symposium is hosted on alternate years. The symposium honors the life and work of a specific writer or artist. In the past, we have paid tribute to Toni Cade Bambara, Gwendolyn Brooks, Octavia Butler, August Wilson, John Oliver Killens, and Bob Marley. We believe strongly in educating the general public and students about the contributions of Black artists throughout the African diaspora. This work greatly ensures that our students will study and gain knowledge of the contributions of writers and artists. We are pleased this year that our symposium theme is “Voices of Liberation and Resistance” and that we will have panel discussions, readings and a film discussion on the topics of literature, the arts, and activism. The 2015 NBWC Biennial Symposium will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2015.
About the Center for Black Literature
The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College was established in 2003 to institutionalize the National Black Writers Conference (NBWC). In addition to hosting the NBWC, the Center has a mission to provide a forum for the dissemination of knowledge about Black literature and to support Black writers and Black literature through author readings, workshops, retreats, and conferences. To achieve its mission, the Center partners with high schools, the college, and community and cultural organizations to provide literary arts to youth, college students, and the general public. The mission of the Center for Black Literature is to expand, broaden, and enrich the public’s knowledge and aesthetic appreciation of the value of Black literature. The Center for Black Literature serves as a voice, mecca, and resource for Black writers and the general public to study the literature of people from the African Diaspora. It is the only center devoted to this in the country.
The Center for Black Literature
Celebrating 10 Years of Honoring the Literature of People of the African Diaspora. For more information, visit us online at www.centerforblackliterature.org. Search “Center for Black Literature” on Facebook. Phone: 718-804-8883. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org