Monday, January 11, 2016

Black Arts Movement poet Sonia Sanchez at National Conference of Black Studies

NCBS logo

Promoting Academic Excellence and Social Responsibility


Our sincere apologies. In our earlier email, we erroneously misspelled Professor Sonia Sanchez's name as Sonya Sanchez. We deeply regret this and would like to point out the correct spelling - Sonia Sanchez.

NCBS is excited to announce Sonia Sanchez as keynote plenary speaker for it's 40th Conference. Sonia Sanchez is a Poet, Mother, Professor, National and International lecturer on Black Culture and Literature, Women's Liberation, Peace and Racial Justice.  Sonia Sanchez is the author of over 16 books and a contributing editor to The Black Scholar and The Journal of African Studies. She has edited an anthology, SOS-Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader, a landmark anthology of readings from the Black Arts Movement edited together with John H. Bracey Jr. and James Smethurst.


BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez offers unprecedented access to the life, work
and mesmerizing performances of renowned poet and activist Sonia Sanchez
who describes herself as "a woman with razor blades between my teeth." A
leading figure in the Black Arts Movement and inspiration to today's hip hop spoken
word artists, Sanchez for over 60 years has helped to redefine American
culture and politics as an activist in the Black, women's and peace movements.

Maya Angelou called Sanchez "a lion in literature's forest" while spoken word
artist Bryonn Bain credits her with paving the way for his generation, "She not
only opened the door, she blew off the roof." Sanchez revolutionized poetry by
incorporating street language, a unique performance style and collaborations
with jazz musicians.

Sanchez's contemporaries Ruby Dee, Amiri Baraka, John Bracey, Jr., Haki
Madhubuti, Askia Toure, Marvin X and Nikki Giovanni joined by such newer
voices as Talib Kweli, Ayana Mathis, jessica Care moore, Bryonn Bain and
Questlove present impassioned readings of and insightful commentary on
her fearless verse, including her raw love poems.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama Sanchez grew up in Harlem, attended college
in New York and studied with former US poet laureate Louise Bogan who
introduced her to the importance of poetic form. In the early 1960s, Sanchez
was active in the New York City chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality
(CORE) and, inspired by Malcolm X, channeled her heightened political
commitment into her poetry. She joined with Leroi Jones (Amiri Baraka)
in forming the Black Arts Repertory Theatre in Harlem and like many poets
of the Black Arts Movement, wrote her work to be performed on the streets
where it could provoke action.

In 1965, Sanchez moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, teaching some of
the first Black Studies courses in the nation and participated in the San Francisco
State Strike which succeeded in establishing the country's first Ethnic Studies
Department. She supported the programs of the Black Panther Party (BPP)
and contributed articles to its newspaper. When she wrote a critical review of
BPP Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice ("No man practices
rape on Black women in order to rape white women. That's not a revolutionary,
that's a hustler.") the piece was never published and Party representatives
later threatened her.

After leaving the Bay Area she joined the Nation of Islam for the stability and 
protection it offered a single mother but soon left because of its restrictions on
women. Meanwhile tenured faculty positions alluded her because college 
administrations were wary of her steadfast activism. Settling at Temple University 
in Philadelphia – eventually named that city's poet laureate - Sanchez earned a 
reputation as an accessible and generous teacher and mentor to the young, as 
seen in her lively engagement with her students and the broader community.

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, (named after her legendary early collection We a 
BaddDDD People) will be popular with students and faculty as an accessible 
resource for teaching English, Creative Writing, African American and Women's 
Studies, as well as for public programming and deepening public library's video 

Here is an index of poems by Sonia Sanchez that she or others read in BaddDDD 
Sonia Sanchez, the time code for when they occur and the books in which they 
appear. A complete list of Sonia Sanchez's works can be found here.


We are excited to post this audio from an historic dialogue between Birmingham 
natives Sonia Sanchez and Angela Davis which was sponsored by Philadelphia's 
900-AM WURD, the only African-American owned and operated talk radio station
in Pennsylvania, and one of few in the country. The conversation took place in May 
2014 in Oakland and it will be available to listen to through February 29, 2016.

Angela Davis with BAM poets Marvin X and Sonia
Sanchez in Oakland, 2014. 

No comments:

Post a Comment