Programming & Events

Lift Every Voice: Atlanta's Contribution to the Black Poetic Tradition

Presented by Library of America, in partnership with the Auburn Avenue Research Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Center for Studies on Africa and its Diaspora (CSAD) and Department of African American Studies (AAS) at Georgia State University, Lift Every Voice: Atlanta's Contribution to the Black Poetic Tradition is part of a nationwide celebration of 250 years of African American poetry.

Anchored by African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song, a definitive new anthology edited by poet and Schomburg Center Director Kevin Young, this conversation will examine the African American poetic tradition and its imaginative range and richness that is rooted in the lived experience of being Black in the American South, with a particular focus on the region’s mecca, the city of Atlanta.

This event’s principal objective is to explore the emergence and ongoing complex evolution of the Black poetic tradition of the American South in all its various forms, the perspectives it offers on American history within the struggle for racial justice, and its role as the communal reservoir for a peoples' collective memory.

Dr. Elizabeth West, Professor of African-American Studies / English at Georgia State University and the Director of Academics for the College of Arts and Science’s Center for Studies on Africa and its Diaspora (CSAD); and Executive Director of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA), will serve as the events facilitator/moderator. Discussants include Kevin Young, the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Pearl Cleage, renowned playwright, essayist, novelist, poet and political activist; Dr. Lakeyta Bonnette-Bailey, Associate Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Georgia State University; and Dr. Maurice Hobson, Associate Professor of African American Studies at Georgia State University.

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