>Readings
Christopher John Farley has two upcoming readings for Kingston by Starlight – check him out if you can.

July 19, 7 p.m.
McNally Robinson
52 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012
212-274-1160

July 25, 7 p.m.
Pirate Soul Museum
524 Front Street
Key West, FL 33040
305-292-1113

Sapphire was a master artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (New Smyrna Beach, FL) this summer and there was a good article about her and the associate artists in the Orlando Sentinel last week. One of the associate artists is Glenis Redmond from N.C. The closing event for the residency – open to the public, is Inside/Out at the ACA tonight. Begins at 7:30 p.m.

Beware the Reading List
The president at Prairie View A&M is handing out a list of 19 must-read works by Black authors so that students, regardless of race, know the Black experience. That is the lead-in in a Houston Chronicle story about concerns that the Black university is losing it’s historic and Black identity. That caught my eye because I also read this story in the St. Pete Times earlier this month about a teacher who is accused of forcing students to read Black authors.

I remember other stories about non-Black teachers doing things that might be read as culturally sensitive and progressive or racially inappropriate, depending on your viewpoint. And a story about African American parents who had a problem with their child having to read a novel about a lynching in class. They didn’t want him to be embarrassed in his predominantly white classroom. This kind of attitude makes my head spin – and not in a good way. I can’t believe that parents are worried their child will be embarrassed by his history and would actually ask to have a book pulled. Or that they would accuse a teacher of bias for introducing titles by Black authors. But of course, I don’t know the whole story in either instance.

Obituary

Professor and poet Lorenzo Thomas of Texas has passed away. Here’s the Houston Chronicle obit. Here’s a graph from the obit that gives some idea of his influence:

During his years at Queens College, Thomas joined the Umbra Workshop, a collective that met on the Lower East Side and served as a crucible for emerging black poets, among them Ishmael Reed, David Henderson and Calvin Hernton. The workshop was one of the currents that fed the Black Arts Movement of the ’60s and ’70s, the first major African-American artistic movement after the Harlem Renaissance.

Black Author Summer
The LA Times did a nice piece on Black women authors and the six who have new titles out now (Terry McMillan, Pearl Cleage, Valerie Wilson Wesley, Benild Little, Connie Briscoe and Bebe Moore Campbell). I glad to see they way they give one another props.

Campbell’s book, 72 Hold, deals with mental illness and family issues. I thought is was interesting to see on Kyra Davis’ (Sex, Murder and a Double Latte) blog, that she is “coming out” about her experience with a family member with bipolar disorder. It’s wonderful that they’re talking about mental health issues – and hopefully helpful to someone out there.

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