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In the presence of great energy! Dr. Cheryl Horsey and Bro. R. Hampton Farrar. Top tier committed educators and Friends of the BWM.
The mighty volunteer crew and Friends of the Black Writers Museum: The Fairmount Park Conservancy, Friends of Vernon Park, and Girls Trek gathered today to clean the rear of the historic Vernon House, home of the Black Writers Museum. We thank Zambia Greene, Nicole and Ed of the Conservancy, and Angela Miles, president of FOVP. The work of all of these commuted volunteers is exactly how we keep our doors open and exhibits on display. THANK YOU!
As one of several site visits, the Black Writers Museum is excited to welcome Sawari Tours () and The Black Journey Walking Tour () as they tour Philadelphia Black cultural institutions on November 19th. For more information, visit sawaritourshouston.com.
Today we honor several literary giants and their dedication to narrating the Black experience. Legendary writers, poets, and authors N. H. Pritchard, Lerone Bennett Jr., Ntozake Shange, and Terry McMillan were born in October.
Eecchhooeess (1971) by N. H. Pritchard
The Matrix: Poems, 1960-1970 (1970) by N. H. Pritchard
The shaping of Black America (1991) by Lerone Bennett Jr.
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Su***de / When the Rainbow Is Enuf (1975) by Ntozake Shange
Waiting to Exhale (1992) by Terry McMillan
was born on this day in 1934. She is a poet, writer, professor, and leading voice of empowerment in the Black Arts Movement. She is also a longtime Germantown resident and original Philadelphia poet laureate.
Home coming: Poems by Sonia Sanchez; introduction by Don L. Lee. Detroit: Broadside Press, c1969.
Guests from Trenton, NJ. Thank you to Cee Universal and his twins, Cee Supreme and Mila Star for making the trip and spending quality time with us….
James Baldwin. 8/02/1924 - 12/1/1987
Today we celebrate the life and impact of James Baldwin. The original ‘drop the mic’ literally genius.
“The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin was published in 1963.
Took view rare and signed James Baldwin texts visit the Black Writers Museum.
Today’s focuses on novelist, essayist, book editor, and college professor Toni Morrison. Her first novel, “The Bluest Eye,” was published in 1970.
“The Bluest Eye,” (1970) by Toni Morrison
continued with “If We Must Die” (1919) by Jamaican-American writer Claude McKay.
From the Pyramids to the Projects; from the Projects to the Stars: An African American Saga from the collection Dawnsong! (1999) Askia M. Touré (1938-), poet and one the the founding architects of the Black Arts Movement (1963-1983) reads. Link in bio for full video.
This clip is a from conversation with poet and writer Askia M. Toure at the Black Writers' Museum on August 23, 2014 with Museum Director Supreme Dow.
Moving forward with Gwendolyn Brooks’ powerful classic poem “We Real Cool” (1959). Brooks, a poet, author, and teacher, was the first Black woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her collection of poems, "Annie Allen," in 1950.
“We Real Cool” (1956) by Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)
On the first day of Jazz Appreciation Month, we celebrate and honor Gil Scott Heron, born in 1949. We also look back on our October 2020 exhibit, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” spotlighting a glimpse into the genius of the poet, jazz, and bluesman. This image features Gil’s “Pieces of a Man” (1971), with the opening track “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”
Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgement (1970) with Truth Is On Its Way (1971) Nikki Giovanni. Can’t wait!
Roberta Flack, one of a long list of phenomenal Black women singers, contributing to the Golden Era of Black music during the 60s and 70s.
Quiet Fire (1971) by Roberta Flack
When visiting the Black Writers Museum, you’ll find a wealth of African artifacts that provide cultural depth and perspective accompanying the literary veracity of our exhibits. Schedule a time to stop by!
Lorraine Hansberry b. May 19, 1930 - January 12, 1965
To Be Young, Gifted, and Black: Lorraine Hansberry In Her Own Words (1970). Adapted by Robert Nemirof; with original drawings and art by Miss Hansberry; and an introduction by James Baldwin.
For World Poetry Day, we look back on Sonia Sanchez’s commitment to and through her lifetime of producing poetry that challenges, commands, inspires and uplifts the Black community.
“We A BaddDDD People” by Sonia Sanchez (1970) Introd. by Dudley Randall. Detroit, Broadside Press
Langston Hughes's portrait and the words of his first published poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," adorn the second-floor library entrance at BWM.
“The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (1920)
Today we’re celebrating by highlighting prolific writer and playwright Joan Cooper, also known as J. California Cooper. She was honored as the Black Playwright of the Year in 1978 for her play Strangers and her book, Homemade Love, won the American Book Award in 1986.
Homemade Love (1986) by J. California Cooper
In celebration of , we honor Dorothy West, Harlem Renaissance writer. Her notable works include novels, The Living is Easy, The Wedding, and was publisher of the Magazine “Challenge” from 1934-1937.
Today we honor author and academic, Harold Cruse. Born March 8, 1916, Cruse is widely known for his acclaimed work, "The Crisis of the Intellectual Negro." As a professor of Af/Am studies, he held a unique criticism of integration and expounded upon Black Power.
Harlem Renaissance writers for Black History Month continued. Today we honor Arna Bontemps.
Lonesome Boy, Arna Bontemps, illustrated by Feliks Topolski, 1955.
Writing is revolutionary. Be sure to write your story.
For more on Margaret Walker, visit the Black Writers Museum.
We’re celebrating today by featuring Zora Neale Hurston, a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance.
Zora Neale Hurston, Mules and Men (1935)
Art has been a significant element of the Black aesthetic and a vital accompaniment of our literary tradition.
Visit the Black Writers Museum.
View this piece on exhibit at the BWM.
Today's features notable early Harlem Renaissance poet, journalist, and political activist Alice Dunbar Nelson (July 19, 1875-September 18, 1935).
The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories (1899) by Alice Dunbar Nelson
In the words of the late Amiri Baraka, it’s Nation Time...Time...Time!
Visit the Black Writers Museum today.
. To read, write, and contemplate... Visit the Black Writers Museum.
Novelist, short story writer, poet, and social activist Alice Walker was born , Feb. 9, 1944.
Her literary work is legendary! Author of The Color Purple (1982), released as an award-winning film. She became the first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
The Color Purple (1982) by Alice Walker → Image Courtesy of Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This , we highlight Jean Toomer (December 26, 1894-March 30, 1967) the Harlem Renaissance novelist and poet. Toomer’s acclaimed work, Cane (pictured above), is an early HR classic published in 1923.
Cane (1923) by Jean Toomer; with a foreword by Waldo Frank
For more on Jean Toomer visit the Black Writers Museum
During , we will highlight the works of our Harlem Renaissance writers.
Today we honor Arna Bontemps (October 13, 1902- June 4, 1973). As a prominent poet and novelist, Bontemps wrote collaborative works with many HR writers, including Langston Hughes. He also served as the librarian at Black historic Fisk University for over 20 years.
Featured work and images:
The Harlem Renaissance Remembered: Essays Edited with a Memoir by Arna Bontemps (1972)
Photo of Arna Bontemps courtesy of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
Visit the Black Writers Museum to explore more about the work and life of Arna Bontemps.
When we speak of Black Literature, we are reminded of novelist and poet Jessie Redmon Faucet. Known as the “Midwife" of the Harlem Renaissance, she is distinguished for being the most published novelist during the era. Her published works include There is Confusion (1924), Plum Bun (1928), The Chinaberry Tree (1931) pictured above, and Comedy: American Style (1933).
The works of Khalil Gibran and Gerald Massey. Black Writers Museum.
Happy ! in 1901, Langston Hughes, poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist, was born. Langston Hughes is one of the most prolific and celebrated writers in American history.
"One-Way Ticket," shown above, collaborates with two icons: poems by Langston Hughes and illustrations by Jacob Lawrence published in 1949.
Looking forward to Spring. Schedule a visit today.
Today we honor political revolutionary, academic, and author Angela Davis who was born in 1944.
Featured image from a Life magazine cover story feature of Angela Davis. September 11, 1970; Vol. 69, No. 11 - WANTED BY THE FBI: ANGELA DAVIS (COVER) housed at the Black Writers Museum. The photo (left) is of a young Angela Davis.
The works of Alexander Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, and his other classics at the Black Writers Museum.
Books are great friends. Let our youth develop friendships with them to create a generation of dreamers, visionary book-lovers, who have an appreciation for libraries, writers, poets, intellectuals, and the culture of books!
Invisible Man (1952)
The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)
Native Son (1940)
In celebration of prolific author Walter Mosely who was born in 1952, we’ve highlighted two of his books housed at the Black Writers Museum (listed below). Mosley has written under many genres such as science fiction, non-fiction, and young adult fiction.
Featured books and images:
Down the River Unto the Sea (2018)
Trouble Is What I Do (2020)
Walter Mosley. Photo © 1993 Marion Ettlinger
Vernon Park, 5800 Germantown Avenue
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Black Writers Museum Historic Germantown
Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate 19th century African American restauranteur and caterer, John S. Trower.
Working with our partners on this was incredible!
Thank you Black Writers Museum Germantown United CDC Keeping Society of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Trails of History
And thank you to the descendants of John Trower for traveling to be with us on this very special day!
Saturday 10/2 at 2:00pm - Space is Limited; Tour is FREE; get more info and tickets here: https://bit.ly/3hMthgb
In partnership with Germantown United CDC, Keeping Society of Philadelphia, Black Writers Museum and Historic Germantown with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
RSVP to [email protected]