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‘Hip-Hop Revolution: Photographs’ chronicles the rise of rap music

‘Hip-Hop Revolution: Photographs’ chronicles the rise of rap music

THE EARLY DAYS OF HIP-HOP come alive in all their beautiful, vivid detail at the newly opened “Hip-Hop Revolution: Photographs by Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper.” The exhibition presents captivating images from the early years of a now-global culture rooted in the streets of New York, through the work of three city-based photographers. […]

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Passing Through

Passing Through

THE TENANT IN THE GROUND FLOOR APARTMENT at 315 Second Avenue lived alone. She was long divorced, had no children, and did not see much of anyone. For almost twenty years, starting shortly after the Second World War, she’d worked as a nurse in the hospitals nearby. The last of her employers was the psych […]

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Gregory Pardlo, Pulitzer Winner for Poetry, on His Sudden Fame

Gregory Pardlo, Pulitzer Winner for Poetry, on His Sudden Fame

Digest, by Gregory Pardlo, winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, is a collection that’s both narrative and personal, rooted in Brooklyn and contemporary culture.

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Esmeralda Santiago

Esmeralda Santiago

CONQUISTADORA IS AN HISTORICAL NOVEL that traces the life of a young Ana Larragoity Cubillas who, inspired by the adventures of her ancestors, travels from Spain to Puerto Rico. Ana confronts isolation, poverty, oppressive heat, disease and hard physical labor in Puerto Rico. As she faces each new challenge, Ana becomes stronger, and as she creates a place for herself on the island, she acquires a greater awareness and understanding of her true identity. Ana is a “conquistadora,” a woman who overcomes obstacles in order to reach her goals, and like Ana, Esmeralda Santiago, who immigrated from Puerto Rico to New York, from poverty to the ivory halls of Harvard, has found her place in American society and the literary world, creating a voice through characters that readers can believe in and ultimately see in themselves.

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Kimberly N. Ruffin

Kimberly N. Ruffin

IN THE VAST REALM OF NATURE WRITING — nonfiction writing with a focus on nature and the environment – the contributions of writers of color have been overlooked. However, these points-of-view have the potential to widen the breadth of eco-criticism and environmental writings. With African-American nature writing being such a rarely noticed art form, it has come to the attention of several scholars and organizations that American culture needs to be more informed, open, and accepting of nature writing by African-Americans in the present as well as in the past. Because there have been so many Caucasian writers and poets in the Eco-literature genre, African-Americans have often felt alienated from nature, perceiving an invisible division between their culture and nature.

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James Piatt

James Piatt

A DYNAMIC AND WELL-ROUNDED INDIVIDUALJames Piatt’s ancestry is an intriguing combination of French, Dutch, Pawnee Indian, and English. He spent his early years excelling academically as well as athletically, becoming the youngest Eagle Scout in the history of Santa Barbara County, and spending three years of his high school career as Class President.

Against the advice and criticism of others, Piatt and his wife, Sandy, married at 20 and 18 respectively. They’ve been happily married for 56 years now, and continue to celebrate a wonderful life together. After dropping out of college to support his young family, he became an electro-mechanical draftsman for Aerophysics Development and aided in the design of the Dart Missile System.

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Susan B.A. Somers-Willett

Susan B.A. Somers-Willett

AN ANCIENT TRADITION CARRIED through to present time, ekphrasis is a poetic description of, or commentary on, a visual work of art. While painters and sculptors have been inspired by literary works, writers have continued to translate their interpretation of visual artwork into written form.

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Sharon Dennis Wyeth

Sharon Dennis Wyeth

THE DEMAND FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN children’s and young adult literature has increased steadily over the past four decades. It wasn’t that long ago when African Americans faced few depictions of themselves in American arts and letters, and if they did, it was nothing more than cruel stereotypes. Children’s literature didn’t fare any better. In fact, when one reviews the classics of the late nineteenth century (often referred to as the “Golden Age” of children’s literature), the profusion of books designed specifically for a young audience, including Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Alice in Wonderland, Little Women, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Jungle Book, and the Horatio Alger stories, did little to provide black children stories of self-esteem that honestly depicted their lives. It wasn’t until Amelia E. Johnson (known as Mrs. A.E. Johnson) began publishing her series of children’s and young adult books in 1890, that the genre of African American children’s and young adult books was born.

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Janice Mirikitani

Janice Mirikitani

JANICE MIRIKITANI IS AN IMPORTANT FIGURE in the Asian American community and in the literary world. Her unique trajectory of activism — from her participation in the San Francisco State Third World Student Strike in 1968, to her current work with the Glide Foundation — has unequiviocally informed her literary works.

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Karen Alkalay-Gut

Karen Alkalay-Gut

THERE IS NO ONE REALLY QUITE LIKE KAREN ALKALAY-GUT, the daughter of two Polish Jews who fled from Lida in Lithuania to Danzig, were persecuted for her father’s communist background in Danzig and fled on the proverbial last train on the night before Hitler invaded.

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