New England Identities
Black New England Conference 2008: Lecture Summaries
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Thursday, June 12: MUB Theatre 1
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Movie & Discussion
This film tells the story of the first company of black soldiers in the Federal Army during the American Civil War; the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw volunteered to lead this company of men. The regiment, despite facing prejudices from both their enemy and their allies, persists even when met with heavy losses.
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Matthew Broderick.
Discussion Facilitated by: Delia Konzett, Assistant Professor of English and Cinema/American/ Women's Studies at UNH, and Reginald Wilburn, Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies.
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Friday, June 13: UNH Holloway Commons
9:00 - 10:10 am
Session #1: Opening Address
“Looking for Lucy Terry and Abijah Prince”
This presentation will describe the author's search for the true story of the first known African American poet, Lucy Terry, her husband Abijah Prince and their family.
Gretchen Holbrook Gerzin is the Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor in Biography at Dartmouth College, where she is the first woman ever to chair the English department, and the first African American woman to chair an Ivy League English department. She has held two fellowships from the National Endowment for Humanities, been Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to Great Britain, and has been selected by the Rhodes Trust and Oxford University to be the George Eastman Visiting Professor to Oxford in 2009-10, and a fellow at Balliol College. In the media, Gerzina is the host of the nationally-syndicated program "The Book Show," on which she interviews, every week, some of the finest writers working today. She has appeared frequently on British television and radio documentaries.
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10:15 - 11:45 pm
Session #2: Black, White, & in Color: New England Stories in Art & Film
“Epic Tales from New England: Race, Film Genre, and History in GLORY and HAWAII”
This paper explores two examples from film that stage the history of race relations in New England in the film genre of the historical epic. While both films revisit seminal historical moments, they clearly address the present context of race in America and New England via the past. In other words, how is the traditional race uplift discourse and colonial missionary discourse underlying the historical events in both films, infused with a multicultural and postcolonial message for the present? More specifically, how do both films re-contextualize the legacy of race discourse in New England in their respective eras?
Delia Konzett is Assistant Professor of English and Cinema/American/ Women's Studies at UNH. She is the author of Ethnic Modernisms and is currently working on WWII film and Orientalism.
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“The Black Box: Stories from A New England Artist”
Paul Goodnight born in Chicago on December 31, 1946 was raised in Boston and Connecticut. After serving a stint in the Army during the Vietnam War, he returned to Boston where he decided to professionally pursue art as a career. He received his BFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 1975 and an honorable MFA in 1987. His work is held in scores of private & institutional collections, including The Smithsonian Institute and Hampton University Museum. Goodnight's work has also been featured on the sets of The Cosby Show, Seinfeld, ER and The Fresh Prince of Belair to name a few. He was commissioned to design the stained glass window for the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the official commemorative poster for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, the 1998 World Cup Soccer poster and he is currently working on the triathlon triptych for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games commemorative art. His work has been featured in publications such as Ebony, Architectural Digest, Essence, People, Boston Globe and Décor. Bishop Desmond Tutu, Maya Angelou and Samuel L. Jackson are among the many notables who collect Mr. Goodnight's work.
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RACHEL TALBOT ROSS
“Anchor of the Soul: Documenting an African-American Community in Maine”
The national award-winning documentary Anchor of the Soul is a film that provides an in-depth look at African-American history and race relations from the colonial period through the 1990s in Maine, the least diverse state in the country. It tells the story of African-Americans struggling to create and sustain a community situated around the Abyssinian Church, founded in the early 1800s, and then later the Green Memorial AME Zion Church. Facing discrimination in their daily lives, African-Americans turned to the church as a spiritual home and community center. The Abyssinian Church continues to this day as a leader in the struggle for racial equality in Maine.
Rachel Talbot Ross is the director of Equal Opportunity & Multicultural Affairs for the city of Portland and current president of the NAACP Portland Branch. She serves as the chair for the Maine advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and is on several boards including Tengo Voz (I Have Voice), Maine Haiti Solidarity, Peace and Justice in Israel/Palestine, and the African American Collection of Maine for the University of Southern Maine. As a ninth generation Mainer, she comes from a legacy that is committed to preserving African American history in Maine. Rachel is leading efforts to create the "Portland (Underground Railroad) Freedom Trail" and, in conjunction with ecological preservation efforts, to produce public awareness materials and curriculum on Malaga Island, an African American settlement of the 1860's located off the coast of Phippsburg in Maine.
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12:00 - 1:00 pm
“Lifting the Veil: Crafting Black Stories for the Stage”
Reading excerpts from a selection of some of her work, Kirsten Greenidge will discuss how she creates unconventional African American characters for the stage, as well as how she develops theme and story to celebrate the voices of black individuals who are not often represented in American Theatre.
Kirstin Greenidge is a Huntington Theatre Playwrighting Fellow who is currently working on commissions for Boston Theatre Works, La Jolla Theatre Company, and the Kennedy Center/White House Historical Society. Kirsten attended Wesleyan University and The Playwright’s Workshop at the University of Iowa, and is a member of New Dramatists. Her latest play to grace the boards was THE GIBSON GIRL, produced at the Boston Center for the Arts by CompanyOne. She was the NEA/TCG playwright-in-residence at Woolly Mammoth where she wrote THE CURIOUS WALK OF THE SALAMANDER. Her work includes, RUST, PROCLIVITIES, BOSSA NOVA, 103 WITHIN THE VEIL, and SANS-CULOTTES IN THE PROMISED LAND.
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1:15 - 2:45 pm
Session #3: Preaching & Teaching
“Fredrick Douglass in Northern Massachusetts & New Hampshire”
This talk is about Frederick Douglass activities in the 1840s after he had recently escaped slavery and was a resident of Lynn, MA. The focus is Douglass' experiences traveling and speaking in northern Massachusetts and New Hampshire
Barbara A. White is Professor Emerita and former coordinator of the Women's Studies Program at the University of New Hampshire. She has written or edited several books on American women writers in the nineteenth century. The latest, a biography of the Beecher sisters, was published by Yale University Press in 2003. White also serves as the historian on the board of the Harriet Wilson Project.
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“W. E. B. Du Bois & New England’s Contributions to the Harlem Renaissance”
The Harlem Renaissance, a name given to the period from the end of World War I through the middle of the 1930s, was more of a movement than a place. The activities took place in many urban areas of the time including, New York, St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit. What is little known is that many African Americans in New England were involved in the Renaissance, least among them W.E.B. Du Bois. I will talk about some of these people and their contributions to the Renaissance.
Frances Jones-Sneed is professor of history (PhD, University of Missouri) at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts. Jones-Sneed has taught and researched local history for over twenty years. She is co-director of the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail Advisory Council and is an editor of the book, African Americans in the Upper Housatinic Valley, 1619-1968. She also co-directed a National Endowment for the Humanities grant entitled "The Shaping Role of Place in African American Biography" and spearheaded a national conference on African American biography in September 2006. She is presently directing an NEH faculty workshop on "Renaissance(s) and Migration(s): Harlem, NY and Southside Chicago, 1919-1975." She is also working on a monograph about W.E.B. Du Bois.
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REV. JEFF McILWAIN
“Oratory in the 21st Century: Who is being influenced?”
Orators throughout history have moved nations to overthrow governments, secure civil rights and right the evils confronted in their day. Yet in current events religion is on the forefront as the Oratory from the pulpit, has been the Bane of political candidates.
Rev. McIlwain was ordained in 1997 in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Hartford, Connecticut before becoming the Associate Minister of Green Memorial AME Zion Church in Portland, Maine. In 2003 he was commissioned to start a mission church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where there were no AME Zion Churches. Rev. McIlwain works with the Portsmouth NAACP and continues to serve as Pastor of “North Star AME Zion Church" which holds services at the historic “Pearl of Portsmouth". In addition, Rev. McIlwain serves as the Chaplain of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office in Portland, Maine. Appointed in June 2001 Rev. McIlwain is responsible for over 50 volunteers who minister to the inmates at the jail.
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3:00 - 4:30 pm
Session #4: Roots & Resources: The Black New England Story in Archives
KATHLEEN BARKER & NANCY HEYWOOD
“Treasures from the Archives: Black New England Stories from Massachusetts Historical Society’s Collections”
What stories do we tell in the documents we create everyday? What stories will others tell about us from the documents that we leave behind? Using the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, staff members will discuss the role of archives in preserving and making available primary sources that shed light on Black life and culture. This presentation will include demonstrations of online resources developed by the Society, including: African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts and Images of the Antislavery Movement in Massachusetts.
Kathleen Barker is the Education Coordinator at the Massachusetts Historical Society where she manages professional development programs including workshops and summer fellowships for K-12 educators. She is also coordinating an NEH-funded project to develop a web-based documentary history of the coming of the American Revolution, which will be available on the MHS’s website in the summer of 2008.
Nancy Heywood has been the Digital Projects Coordinator for the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) since 2000. She coordinated the production, development, and delivery of many websites that present highlights from the MHS's manuscript collections including: the Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive (www.thomasjeffersonpapers.org), and the Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive (www.masshist.org/digitaladams). She also contributes towards the production of MHS's ongoing web projects, the development of grants with digital components, and she assists with educational efforts involving online resources. Prior to her current position, she worked as a Manuscript Processor at the MHS. Previously, she was a Project Archivist at the MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections. She received a BA from Wesleyan University and an MSLS from Simmons College.
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“A Flavor of Life in the Nutmeg State”
Citizens All: African Americans in Connecticut, 1700-1850
Ask yourself why familiar things in the daily life of your community are the way they are...and then ask how they came to be that way. The answers may surprise you. That simple act of questioning might lead you to undiscovered and informative stories of your town’s past. That’s the message behind the Gilder Lehrman Center’s newest website addition, Citizens All. Developed in collaboration with Yale’s Center for Media and Innovative Instruction, Citizens All provides you with stories, primary documents, embedded video briefs, bibliographies, and referred scholarship of the African-American presence in small Connecticut towns spanning the last two centuries. As a site visitor you’ll piece together the road to citizenship traveled by New England people of color entangled in the transatlantic slave trade. Why should this history matter to you? That road to citizenship leads to broader, more complex, discussions of current news stories. Find these connections to our global issues and contemporary headlines that often have roots intertwined with local hometown stories.
Affiliated with the Gilder Lehrman Center since 2001, Angela Keiser currently serves as the Center's Special Projects Coordinator with primary responsibility for design, growth and expansion of its major education outreach program — the UNESCO Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project. As the TST Project New England Regional Coordinator, Angela works directly with education policy makers, university leaders, and school-system administrators, as well as middle and upper grade teachers to elevate the quality of instruction in the origins, evolution, and legacy of the transatlantic slave trade and to promote intercultural student dialogue around this topic.
Affiliated with the Gilder Lehrman Center since 2001, Angela Keiser currently serves as the Center's Special Projects Coordinator with primary responsibility for design, growth and expansion of its major education outreach program — the UNESCO Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project. As the TST Project New England Regional Coordinator, Angela works directly with education policy makers, university leaders, school system administrators, middle and upper grade teachers to elevate the quality of instruction in the origins, evolution and legacy of the transatlantic slave trade and to promote intercultural student dialogue around this topic.
Beginning her professional career as Teacher, Guidance Counselor and Administrator in New York City public schools and the District of Columbia school system, she played an instrumental role in the development of new instructional approaches within a variety of school settings. Selected as an Education Policy Fellow (funded by the Rockefeller Foundation through George Washington University), Ms. Keiser was assigned to the Office of Legislation, U.S. Department of Education. Subsequently recruited by the Office of University Affairs (U.S. Department of Agriculture), Angela played an active role in this special unit, handling requests for technical assistance from a national network of land grant institutions of higher education. As an officer responsible for program development, refinement and logistics in one of Connecticut's six state-mandated regional public education resource centers, she worked in unison with K-12 school superintendents, district leaders and building staffs to create innovative curriculum and nurture 'real world' partnerships. Recruited by Amistad America, Inc. as Vice-President for Education, Ms. Keiser provided strong leadership and technical assistance in the shaping of the organization's educational mission. Both B.S. degree in French and M.S. in Counseling Psychology were awarded by St. John's University. Ms. Keiser has completed coursework for the Connecticut State Certificate of Administration.
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“From Abolition to Racial Equality: The Activist Impulse in Boston 1830 - 1900”
From the publication of David Walker's Appeal in 1829 to the foundation of the Woman's Era magazine in 1894, Black Bostonians had a long legacy of radical activism in the fight for racial equality. What made the Black community in Boston so significant in the nineteenth century journey from slavery to freedom? What was it about New England specifically that made Black Bostonians so radical in their racial and political ideology? "From Abolition to Racial Equality" will challenge the idea that Black Bostonians were a conservative community that was politically and ideologically distant from the culture and concerns of Black America by analyzing the abolitionist roots of post-bellum militancy.
Kerri Greenidge worked for eight years as a park ranger and historian for Boston African-American Historic Site, a branch of the National Park Service. Her most recent book, Boston's Abolitionists, provides an overview of the anti-slavery movement in Boston during the first half of the nineteenth century.
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7:00 - 9:30 pm
Keynote Address & Opening Reception (MUB Theatre 1)
“Resurrecting Necessary Breath”
Utilizing original images of 19th century black New Englanders (from her extensive private collection), Smith will explore the unyielding spiritual linkage of ancestry and family in a presentation that mixes memoir, poetry and the history connecting us all.
Patricia Smith is four-time national individual champion of the National Poetry Slam and appeared on the award-winning HBO series "Def Poetry Jam" as well as a former Bruce McEver Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech University. In October of 2006, Patricia was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent. She is currently writing a young adult novel, The Journey of Willie J. and Fixed on a Furious Star, a biography of Harriet Tubman. Her works include Teahouse of the Almighty (Coffee House Press), Close to Death (Zoland Books), Big Towns, Big Talk (Z land) and Life According to Motown (Tia Chucha). Previously she authored Africans in America (Harcourt Brace), a companion volume to the groundbreaking four-part PBS history series. Her first children’s book, Janna and the Kings, was a New Voices Award winner and her second, Mahina, the Mad Mad Moon was just completed.
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Saturday, June 14: UNH Holloway Commons
9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Session #5: Representin': The Black Image in New England Art
“Hidden Bonds: Revealing the Legacy of Slavery in American Art through the Collection of the Yale University Art Gallery”
Established in 1832, the Yale University Art Gallery is among the oldest museums in the United States. While Yale's collection of American art is considered one of the finest and most comprehensive in the country, evidence of the African-American experience, particularly the history of slavery, is not always readily apparent. Through a discussion of masterworks by John Smibert, Samuel King, Hiram Powers, and Henry O. Tanner, among others, Dr. Boettcher will reveal the "hidden" legacy of slavery in Yale's collection.
Graham C. Boettcher is the Luce Foundation Curatorial Fellow of American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama. He holds a doctorate in the History of Art from Yale University, where his dissertation focused on domestic violence in antebellum American art. Among the exhibitions he has curated are "Framing a Nation: Portraits of the Founding Fathers from the Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art" (2006), Pražské noci / Prague Nights: Czech Modern Art from the Hascoe Collection (2007), and Sea Fever: American Art and the Aquatic Imagination (2007). He has contributed to the exhibition catalogues American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States, 1820-1880 (Tate Britain, 2002); Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and His Worlds (Yale Center for British Art, 2007); and Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Art and the American Experience (Yale University Art Gallery, 2008).
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“Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller- An African American Sculptor far Ahead of Her Time”
Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller- An African American Female Sculptor far Ahead Of Her Time
I plan to present a full background on the life of Meta Warrick Fuller as a sculptor and as wife to Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller. Her travels to Paris, where she studied with Rodin, will be discussed as will a series of her sculptures, culminating with the casting of her monumental piece, "Emancipation", which stands in bronze in The Harriet Tubman Park, Boston. I will discuss my involvement, posthumously, with her as a sculptor, as I worked to create the companion piece to her work, the Harriet Tubman Memorial, "Step On Board."
Fern Cunningham was born in New York City and moved to Alaska when she was four where she was influenced and inspired by the local and native art. After high school Cunningham went to Fontainebleau in France, where she studied sculpture. She then moved on to Boston University where she earned her BFA in sculpture. Cunningham creates her sculptures in the classical traditions of Michelangelo and Rodin, capturing their artistic emotion and strength in her own work. These qualities are evidenced in her Harriet Tubman piece, Step On Board, which resides in a park at Boston's South End and in her Harriet E. Wilson Memorial located in Milford, New Hampshire.
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“Peace Be Still: The Power of Visual Language”
This discussion will ferret out the narratives ensconced in plain view. The Image Maker (artist) has placed in plain sight a narrative that is meant to move the viewer to a more elevated or illuminated place. Some are simply everyday narratives of encouragement and others move/dance between the philosophical and revolutionary. The artist’s chosen symbol(s) utilized to communicate the narrative and embolden the soul are both "universal" as well as sacred. But sometimes secular, if not profane, but always charged with meaning beyond the seemingly "just beautiful". Peace Be Still!
Napoleon Jones Henderson attended the Sorbonne in Paris , received a B.A. of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago and did his graduate studies at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He is a founding member of Africobra, one of the most important visual arts collectives to come out of the Chicago Black Arts Movement. He received the Mayor of Boston "Award of Recognition for Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit," the Massachusetts State Senate "Omical Citation for Cultural Excellence," and an "Award of Excellence" from the National Conference of Artists.
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10:45 - 12:15 p.m.
Session #6: Telling a Story Freely: Myths & Reality
“Tituba’s Stairway—Making Myth Up, Breaking it Down”
A woman known as Tituba Indian—thought to be from the Caribbean (Barbados)—was the first person to confess to having practiced witchcraft in what would be a series of witchcraft trials in Salem, Massachusetts, during 1692. Much attention has been paid by historians, scholars, and literary artists to the backgrounds of most of the accused, their families, the judges, magistrates and ministers involved in these trials. Very few contemporary documents exist, however, that tell us about Tituba’s background. My essay (and talk) is an exploration of the process by which Tituba has emerged in the historical and literary imagination as a key figure in the Salem witchcraft crisis of 1692, given the fact that so little is known about her. This process by which Tituba became known to the 20th-century reader, is a process that vilified and rendered her a metaphor for the troubles in Salem in 1692. By the late 20th-century she had become a nexus from which to enter a discussion of the witchcraft crisis. This essay will show that it is Tituba’s status as a woman of color in the 17th-century America—in essence, a position in which she had little control over her contemporary representation—that allowed her to be so manipulated, assigned mythical and imaginary qualities, in the subsequent historiographical record and literary imagination.
Danielle Legros Georges is a writer and educator, with research and teaching interests in contemporary American poetry, Caribbean literature, post-colonial literature, translation, and historiography. She is the author of a book of poems, Maroon (Curbstone Press, 2001). Her poems have also appeared in anthologies including Beyond the Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century; Bum Rush the Page; and The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States. Her poetry has also been in many literary journals including Agni, The American Poetry Review, and The Caribbean Writer, and Callaloo. She is an Associate Professor in the Creative Arts in Learning Division of Lesley University.
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“Speaking Black to New England: The Early Voices”
Tucked away in town histories, printed in small pamphlets, or hawked as broadsides at executions, the earliest printed texts by African Americans demonstrate the complications of speaking to Black experience in a region that from its inception defined itself as white. Often under extraordinary circumstances, Black authors used the available forms of discourse offered or, in the case of criminal confession narratives, demanded of them in order to craft the beginnings of a literary tradition. Some of these stories are well-known, such as the writings of Venture Smith and now the newly printed and edited autobiography of Jeffrey Brace, The Blind African Slave, whose stories may have been readable by some New England whites as conforming to narratives of New England freedom. Other times the stories are painful revelations. Before his execution in Haverhill, New Hampshire in 1796, Thomas Powers, the first African American in New Hampshire to record his life story, sold his body to "a number of doctors, and, following the dissection, a Hopkinton physician allegedly had Powers's skin tanned and made into a pair of boots." By examining this range of narratives, a revised and deeply contested story of the meaning of New England emerges.
David Watters is Director of the Center for New England Culture and Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire. He is co-editor of The Encyclopedia of New England and the author of books and articles on New England literature, culture, history, and gravestone art. He serves as a trustee of the New Hampshire Historical Society, the Robert Frost Homestead Foundation, and the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail.
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“Henry Box Brown in New England”
This talk will be directed towards a very simple purpose: the importance of regional approaches to African American literature and history. I will talk about what is known about Henry Box Brown’s experiences in New England, and the questions those experiences raise about identity, community, and history. I will talk as well about lingering questions and missing information, and draw from the examples of other nineteenth-century African American writers and activists to explain why these questions are important and why we need region-based scholars to continue research on Box Brown’s life.
John Ernest is the author of various publications on nineteenth-century African American and white American literature, and on contemporary poet William Bronk. In addition to several editions of nineteenth-century African American texts, he has published two books, Resistance and Reformation in Nineteenth-Century African-American Literature: Brown, Wilson, Jacobs, Delany, Douglass, and Harper (University Press of Mississippi, 1995) and Liberation Historiography: African American Writers and the Challenge of History, 1794-1861 (The University of North Carolina Press, 2004). Before arriving at WVU in 2005, he taught for twelve years at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), where he served as Director of Undergraduate Composition, Co-Director of the Discovery Program, and Director of African American Studies. At UNH, he received the Outstanding Assistant Professor Award (1997), the UNH Diversity Support Coalition’s Positive Change Award (1998), the Jean Brierley Award for Excellence in Teaching (2003-2004), and the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Award for Higher Education (2004). His current work focuses on race theory, constructions of American literary history, and African American historical writing from 1861-1900.
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12:30 - 1:00 pm
“Frances Harper: The Bronze Muse of the 19th Century”
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, America’s fearless champion of human rights, garnered national acclaim as an outstanding lecturer, writer, and activist. Today, few Americans know her name. This presentation will bring her story to life.
Dorothy Mains Prince is the founder of Sojourns LLC, an enterprise designed to bring the lives of outstanding African American women to students and community organizations across the country. Prince holds BA and MA degrees from Emerson College and a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. For more than twenty years, she has been teaching, directing, and performing throughout the New England area. Prince began her study and performance of the women appearing in the African American Women of Distinction series as a Chautauqua Scholar for the Tulsa Humanities Council in 1995. She first appeared as Mary McLeod Bethune in 1998, for the New Hampshire Humanities Council. The other women Included in the series are Phillis Wheatley, Frances E.W. Harper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Zora Neale Hurston, and Gwendolyn Brooks.
In addition to performing as Bethune, Prince is also touring the country performing as Frances E.W. Harper: The Bronze Muse of the 19th Century... and Beyond. In 1893, Harper had her finger on the pulse of the Nation; and as we approach the November 2008 Presidential Elections, her message remains as pertinent as ever, shining as a beacon of light for us all.
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1:45 - 3:30 pm
Session #7: Black New England Voices: Poets & Authors
“Navigating New England: One African-American Poet's Journey”
Poet Charles Coe will read selections from his work and of other African-American New England poets and discuss the role that cultural, social and political forces of the region can play in the development of a poetic voice.
Poet and writer Charles Coe is Coordinator for the Massachusetts Cultural Council's Organizational Support Program, overseeing the grant programs for non-profit literature and music organizations. He is author of Picnic on the Moon, published by Leapfrog Press of Wellfleet, Massachusetts .Charles' poetry has published in numerous magazines and newspapers, including the Boston Phoenix, the Boston Globe, and Poesis, His poems also appear on two spoken-word CDs: Get Ready for Boston, a collection of stories and songs about Boston neighborhoods, and on One Side of the River, an anthology of Cambridge and Somerville poets featuring former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, In addition to poetry, Charles writes book reviews and feature articles that have appeared in publications such as Harvard Magazine, Northeastern University Law Review, and the New England Quarterly.
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“Musings by the Boston Shore”
Askia Toure’s presentation will include a performance of his recent work and a talk on his experiences as a poet in Boston.
Askia M.Touré was born in the USA; poet, editor and activist. A Vietnam era veteran, he spent his ‘60s youth in New York City in the company of masters, such as Langston Hughes,John Oliver Killens, and John Henrik Clarke. His colleague, and fellow Black Arts/Black Studies pioneer Amiri Baraka once said that many poets of the sixties and seventies (including the famous Last Poets) were influenced by Askia Touré’s poetic rhythm and tone of voice. Some of his published volumes include JuJu, 1969, Songhai, 1973, From the Pyramids to the Projects, winner of The 1989 American Book Award for literature, and Dawnsong!, 2000, winner of The Stephen Henderson Award for Poetry. In October, 2006, Askia was inducted into the Chicago-based International Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent.
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