May 22, 2022
1:30 PM EST
3:30 PM EST
Suggested Donation: $ 5

Event Description:

As part of our Intersections: African American Voices of Democracy Series, WWBA welcomes creative scholars to discuss the poetry, life, and legacy of Langston Hughes and connections to poetry by Walt Whitman. Presenters include educator, dancer, and singer Peter Brooks and educator and author Ivy Wilson.

Hughes (1901-1967) wrote his famous poem, “I, Too” which demonstrates a yearning for equality through perseverance and which helped define the Harlem Renaissance, a period in the early 1920s and ’30s of newfound cultural identity for the Black community in America who had discovered the power of literature, art, music, and poetry as a means of personal and collective expression in the scope of civil rights. Hughes ties together this sense of the unity of the separate and diverse parts of the American democracy by beginning his poem with a near direct reference to Walt Whitman’s poem, “I Hear America Singing.” At the same time, Hughes makes Walt Whitman – his literary hero – more explicitly political with his assertion, “I, too, sing America.” (

Peter Brooks is an educator, dancer, singer and marketing professional. Cab Calloway’s grandson, Brooks speaks on how African American artists created the Harlem Renaissance and how the “golden age” of culture may help overcome problems and obstacles faced by students in current cultural and political climates, and become active participants in the democratic process.

Ivy Wilson (Ph.D. Yale University) teaches courses on the comparative literatures of the Black diaspora and U.S. literary studies with a particular emphasis on African American culture. Author of Whitman Noir, Wilson “explores the meaning of Black and blackness in Whitman’s imagination and, equally significant, also illuminates the aura of Whitman in African American letters from Langston Hughes to June Jordan, Margaret Walker to Yusef Komunyaka. The essays address questions of literary history, the textual interplay between author and narrator, and race and poetic influence.” (Univ. of Iowa Press). He interrogates how the tropes of blackness were used to regulate the cultural meanings of U.S. citizenship.

This event has a $5 suggested donation:

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Sponsored by HNY SHARP Action Grant