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Entrusted to Our Keeping: The Legacy of African-American Literary Societies in Newark, the Nation, the World
Guest curator: Sandra L. West

Exhibition  |  Special Programs

Main Library
Second Floor Gallery
January 23 to March 22, 2008

Click here  for a printable brochure.
Photo courtesy of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture/New York Public Library


East_Orange's_Read-up!_Book_ClubThe exhibition for Black History Month celebrates black America’s love affair with books; the fact that African Americans, at one point in their history, were not allowed to read, and that African Americans currently maintain a newsworthy and steadily growing amount of reading organizations/book clubs/literary societies in Greater Newark, around the country, and abroad.

P_Wheatley_Lit_Club_flyerCurated by local author and historian Sandra L. West, Entrusted to Our Keeping: The Legacy of African-American Literary Societies in Newark, the Nation, the World will be installed on the second-floor gallery from January 23 to March 22, 2008. The opening reception will be followed by a community discussion on the impact of the controversial hip-hop generation upon the sanctity of African- American literature.

FEW_Harper_Lit_Society_meetingThere will be memorabilia, current statistics, information about early (1800) literary societies, documentation on Newark groups, Greater Newark groups, national organizations, and reading groups in Africa. Specific items include a photograph of Louis Reyes Rivera, editor of John O. Killens’ Great Black Russian, an original letter from the late Ann Petry (author of The Street) that discusses possible names for what eventually became the Frances E.W. Harper Literary Society, a photo of Susan Robeson talking about her book, and memorabilia from Newark’s Phillis Wheatley Book Club of the early 1900s.

J.Brown,_S.West,_J.Janifer,_L.RodriguezEmphasis will be given to the Frances E.W. Harper Literary Society, which has been in residence at the Library for more than 20 years. The group was founded by Sandra L. West, and encouraged by the late James Brown, former Newark Public Library Black Studies Librarian.


Special Programs
Click here for a printable list.

Wednesday, January 23
What’s Hip Hop Got to Do With It?
A Community Discussion about the Impact of Hip-Hop Upon African-American Literature

Special Guest: Nina Mitchell Wells, New Jersey Secretary of State
Panelists: Ron Kavanaugh,; Herb Boyd, Baldwin’s Harlem: A Biography; Gilda Rogers, Arrested Development: The State of Black Achievement and Education in Hip-Hop America; Irene Daniels, Newark Literacy Campaign; Elyse Smith, student, Bloomfield College; Edna Bailey-Woody, motivational speaker; Moderator: Dr. Margaret Hayes, Bethany Book Club
Centennial Hall, 6:00pm
See photos from the event.

Wednesday, January 30
Author’s Talk: The Harlem Writers Guild
Members of the Guild will read from their works, discuss the writing life, and autograph books. Featuring Grace F. Edwards, E. L. Hobgood, Walter Dean Myers, Gammy L. Singer, K.C. Washington, and Sandra L. West
Centennial Hall, 6:00pm

Monday, February 4
Read-In: Read Your Favorite African-American Author
The public is invited to bring a book by a black author and read a two-minute snippet to keep alive these treasured works. Guest authors will also read and meet with the audience.
Lobby, noon

Saturday, February 9
Author Discussion and Book Signing
Nell Painter will discuss and sign copies of her book, Creating Black Americans.
Centennial Hall, noon

Wednesday, February 13
Rescheduled for
Wednesday, February 20

Conversations With African-American Authors: August Wilson.
A video presentation on August Wilson, followed by a discussion on Wilson. Hosted by Sandra L. West, founder, F.E.W. Harper Literary Society.
James Brown African American Room, 6:00pm

Wednesday, February 20
Conversations With African-American Authors: Alice Walker.
A video presentation on Alice Walker, followed by a discussion on Walker. Hosted by Dorothea M. Moore, chairperson, F.E.W. Harper Literary Society.
James Brown African American Room, 7:00pm

Saturday, March 1
Writing the Marvelous Real: Magical Realism for 21st Century Voices.
Sheree Renée Thomas, editor of the Dark Matter series, is the instructor for this interactive/multimedia speculative fiction-writing workshop.
James Brown African American Room, 10:00am

All programs are free and open to the public. For more information call us at 973-733-5411. In case of inclement weather, please call 973-733-7784 to determine whether the Library is open.

PNC Bank is proud to support
The Newark Public Library’s Black History Month programs.


This exhibition and related programs are funded in part by an operating support grant to The Newark Public Library from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.


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