February is Black History Month, and the 29th Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry at the Oakland Public Library’s West Oakland Branch.
This year’s theme, “Black Migration,” coincides with the 2019 theme of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s Association for the Study of African American Life and History (Established in 1915). ASLAH’s 2019 theme “Black Migration,” emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities. While inclusive of earlier centuries, this theme focuses especially on the twentieth century through today. Beginning in the early decades of the twentieth century, African American migration patterns included relocation from southern farms to southern cities; from the South to the Northeast, Midwest, and West; from the Caribbean to U.S. cities, as well as to migrant labor farms; and the emigration of noted African Americans to Africa, and cities in Europe, such as Paris and London after the end of World War I and II. Such migrations resulted in a more diverse and stratified interracial and intra-racial urban population, amidst a changing social milieu, such as the rise of the Garvey movement in New York, Detroit, and New Orleans; the emergence of both Black industrial workers and Black entrepreneurs; the growing number and variety of urban churches and new religions; new music forms like ragtime, blues, and jazz, white backlash as in the Red Summer of 1919; the blossoming of visual and literary arts, as in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Paris in the 1910s and 1920s. The theme “Black Migration” equally lends itself to the exploration of the century’s later decades from spatial and social perspectives, with attention to “new” African Americans because of the burgeoning African and Caribbean population in the US; Northern African Americans returning to the South; racial suburbanization; inner-city hyperghettoization; health and environment; civil rights and protest activism; electoral politics; mass incarceration; and dynamic cultural production.
The event is free to all, and while featured presenters were selected in mid-January, there will be an open mic for those interested in participating. Artwork displayed by local artists always adds an important, interesting and colorful element to the celebration.
In the 29-years since the events inception, many poets have graced it’s stage. Participants have ranged in ages from 8 to 80, some now adults and in college, others, now parents with children. Music, dance, and costumes have enhanced past performances as each participant shares her or his unique style, including poets performing in ensemble. Published writers, award-winning authors, and brand new poets reading their work in public for the first time have graced the stage. Oftentimes, the most moving recitals, were from poets who had never recited their work in public
before. If anyone has photos or footage from the past 29-years, please contact event founder Ms. Wanda Sabir at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message for Ms. Sabir at (510) 255–5579. She would love to have the opportunity to make copies of your material.
The event, Saturday, February 2nd, 2019, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch’s Multi-Purpose Room is free to all and includes refreshments donated by many local vendors. Besides poetry, event planners would love to incorporate anyone who wants to volunteer, such as help with refreshments, the setting up of chairs, and any other pre or post behind-the-scenes work. If someone from the community knows a TV station that would be interested in broadcasting the event, event planners would be most interested in making this a reality. Also YouTubers, and other social media influencers, are most welcomed to share this event on their platform.
Event: 29th Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry
Date: Saturday, February 2, 2019
Location: Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch, Multi-Purpose Room
Contact: Oakland Public Library, West Oakland Branch; 1801 Adeline Street, Oakland, CA 94607 (510) 238–7352; Ms. Wanda Sabir email@example.com or (510) 255–5579
The Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry is the brainchild of Bay Area community activist, Wanda Ali Batin Sabir. Ms. Wanda Sabir holds a BA in Humanistic Studies from Holy Names College, and a MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Professor Sabir has taught English at various Bay Area colleges and has developed college-level English curriculum for multi-tiered Educational Systems both public and private throughout the Bay Area. She has been the art editor at the San Francisco Bay View for over 20 years, and a freelance journalist for theatre, music, dance, visual arts, as well as giving literary reviews both local and national. She can be heard on her radio show Wanda’s Picks http://wandaspicks.com/radio/ and her awards and activism are far too lengthy to be communicated in a single article.