The program will be hybrid – you can join in person at Black Table Arts or if you prefer, you can participate virtually on Zoom or FB Live.
Description: After the uprisings for George Floyd and Daunte Wright, sharing knowledge inter-generationally is more important than ever. Join us for monthly Friday evening conversations where our elders will be gifting their insights into their histories of organizing, and also taking questions from our young people on how to move forward and stay fortified in the movement.
In the Spirit of Sankofa, this speaker series reaches back into the history of the Black literary arts in Minnesota in order to pass this knowledge on to the new generation of ascending as leaders in our Black literary arts. The series features Black Literary Elders and Culture Bearers who will discuss significant milestones in Minnesota’s Black literary history and will engage audience members in conversation around the impact that both the writers and the movements have had on our present-day capacity to survive the storms and keep creating.
The series will run from September 2021-February 22. Speakers will include Louis Alemayehu, Pamela Fletcher Bush, Carolyn Holbrook, Arleta Little and Ellena Schoop, Alexs Pate, and John S. Wright. The program will culminate with a tour of the Givens Collection of African American Literature based at the University of Minnesota.
Sept. 10, 2021: Louis Alemayehu
Elder Alemayehu moved to the Twin Cities from Chicago in the late l960s. There was a lot going on in the arts community back then. Elder Louis will share some of his vast knowledge, including the first African American bookstore, radio programs about politics and arts, The Way Unlimited, and the African American Cultural Arts Center.
Oct. 8, 2021: Arleta Little and Ellena Schoop
The women will talk about the Givens Foundation with special emphasis on the Givens Black Writers Collaborative Retreat Program which engaged ten emerging African American writers from diverse genres in an eight-month program providing mentoring and peer support, building literary community, honing literary craft, and producing new works.
Nov. 19, 2021: Pamela Fletcher Bush
Ms. Fletcher Bush will give her recollections of the 80s Twin Cities Black literary scene which includes Wonders of the Wind (WOW), Guild Press, and The Butterfly Tree, among other points of convergence. We served as a necessary literary movement, sustaining hope and joy in the word.
Dec. 10, 2021: Alexs Pate
Alexs will talk about the Givens Foundation with special emphasis on the Givens Foundation’s Nommo African American Author Series which he hosted, interviewing nationally and internationally renowned African American authors including Lucille Clifton, Ntozake Shange, John Edgar Wideman and many more.
Jan. 14, 2022: Carolyn Holbrook
Carolyn will discuss her work from the 1980s when she founded the Whittier Writers’ Workshop through her tenure as the first BIPOC program director at the Loft Literary Center. She will also discuss SASE: The Write Place (1993-2006) and her current position of founder/director of More Than a Single Story.
Feb. 11, 2022: John S. Wright
Dr. Wright will give a performative history of the traveling multimedia “Langston Hughes Project — Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz” that he created and toured the country with beginning in the 1990s. He will also discuss the Archie Givens, Sr. Collection of African American Literature which he spearheaded in 1995. The Givens Collection, located at the U of M, consists of over 10,000 books, magazines, and pamphlets by or about African Americans.
Sometime between mid-Feb & mid-March. Tour of Givens Collection of African American Literature. The Givens Collection, located at the U of M, consists of over 10,000 books, magazines, and pamphlets by or about African Americans.