LAWNSIDE, N.J.--The Lawnside Historical Society will present its second annual Jessie Redmon Fauset Literary Series thanks to a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
Two days of lectures, music and poetry will start at the Lawnside Public School, 426 E. Charleston Ave., on Friday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. with a talk by Lottie Joiner, senior editor of the Crisis Magazine, official publication of the NAACP. Her talk, "In These Times," will be followed by a discussion with the audience.
Ms. Joiner holds master's degrees in journalism and interactive journalism from the Ohio State University and American University in Washington, D.C., respectively. The native of Jackson, Miss., is a magna cum laude graduate of Jackson State University with a degree in communications. She has been a writer and senior editor at the Crisis since 2003. She has reported for the American School Board Journal and Emerge, the now-defunct Black news magazine. Her freelance work has been published by Gannett News Service, Essence Magazine, the Washington Post, TheRoot.com and Patch.com.
Nasir Dickerson and the Renaissance Messengers will perform original jazz compositions and standards reminiscent of the Harlem Renaissance era.
The programs at the Lawnside Public School are free.
Dr. Keith Green, an assistant professor of English at Rutgers University, Camden, will be the keynote speaker on Saturday, April 28 starting at 2 p.m. His talk entitled, "Dead Fires: Resurrecting the Poetry of Jessie Redmon Fauset."
Dr. Green will look at how much of her poetry reflects a complex engagement with race, gender, and the complexities of the human experience.
Dr. Green, a native of Jamaica, is a graduate of Camden High School and Morehouse College who holds a doctorate in English literature from the University of Michigan. His current book project, "Bound to Respect: The Tradition of Black Captivity Writing, 1816-1861," explores neglected and misunderstood narratives of African-American captivity.
Saturday's program will feature Napalm, spoken word artist, who will serve as a judge for the Fifth Spirit of the Renaissance Poetry competition for students in Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties.
Miss Fauset was literary editor of the NAACP's Crisis magazine for seven years during the 1920s, the height of the Harlem Renaissance. She was a novelist, poet and short story writer like her contemporaries Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Zora Neale Hurston. She was born in Lawnside while her father was pastor of Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church on April 26, 1882.
Miss Fauset received her education in Philadelphia, a graduate of Girls High School. She was a 1905 graduate of Cornell University and earned a master's degree in French from the University of Pennsylvania.
Langston Hughes, Harlem's poet laureate, called Miss Fauset the mid-wife of the Harlem Renaissance for nurturing him and others by providing an outlet for their voices and published work. She eventually married, returned to high school teaching and died in 1961 in New Jersey.
The Society began honoring Miss Fauset in 2004.
The Lawnside Historical Society is a non-profit, tax exempt organization dedicated to the preservation of the Peter Mott House and the promotion of Lawnside's heritage as a uniquely African-American town. It is a designated organization of the New Jersey Cultural Trust.
The Camden County Cultural and Heritage Commission is again funding the poetry competition and Jessie Redmon Fauset Day through the local re-grant program of the New Jersey Council on the Arts, Department of State, a partner agency of the National Council on the Arts. The New Jersey Garden City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., is supporting the poetry competition.
The New Jersey Council for the Humanities is a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in the series do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
The Lawnside Historical Society is funded by a general operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, Department of State.