Juneteenth Celebration at the American Writers Museum
Join us at the American Writers Museum for an evening in celebration of Juneteenth and the work of Black writers and artists. The evening includes a reading from Those Who Saw the Sun, Jaha Nailah Avery’s new collection of oral history narratives from the time of Jim Crow in the South. Then, a gallery talk by artists featured in the AWM’s special exhibit Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice. Chicago artists Dorothy Burge, Damon Reed, and Dorian Sylvain will talk about their process, what it meant to them to create representations of America’s legendary Black authors for the exhibit, and how the words and work of those writers affected the artists’ renderings.
Books and prints of the artwork will be available for purchase. Avery will be signing books and the artists will sign prints of their work following the program!
More about Those Who Saw the Sun:
The past is not past. We may think something ancient history, or something that doesn’t affect our present day, but we would be wrong.
Those Who Saw the Sun is a collection of oral histories told by Black people who grew up in the South during the time of Jim Crow. Jaha Nailah Avery is a lawyer, scholar, and reporter whose family has roots in North Carolina stretching back over 300 years. These interviews have been a personal passion project for years as she’s traveled across the South meeting with elders and hearing their stories.
One of the most important things a culture can do is preserve history, truthfully. In Those Who Saw the Sun we have the special experience of hearing this history as it was experienced by those who were really there. The opportunity to read their stories, their similarities and differences, where they agree and disagree, and where they overcame obstacles and found joy — feels truly like a gift.