LAWNSIDE, N.J.--The New Jersey Council for the Humanities has awarded the Lawnside Historical Society a $3,907 grant to present the Jessie Redmon Fauset Literary Series in 2011. In keeping with the NJCH theme, two speakers will discuss Miss Fauset's struggle for social justice on April 29 and April 30.
The two-day celebration, expanded from one-day, in large part, because of the NJCH grant, is sponsored by the Lawnside Historical Society in honor of Harlem Renaissance editor, writer and poet, Jessie Redmon Fauset, a native of Lawnside.
Dr. Diane D. Turner, curator of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University, will be the keynote speaker in a poetry- and music-filled program on April 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lawnside Public School, 426 E. Charleston Ave.
Dr. Turner earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Temple University. She has taught African-American studies at Rowan Universit, Brown University, the University of South Florida and Camden County College. She is author of the children's book, My Name is Oney Judge, about a young woman who escaped from the Philadelphia home of President George Washington. Her upcoming work, Feeding the Soul: Black Music, Black Thought, features essays about misconceptions in standard accounts of the evolution of black music.
The April 30 program, which starts at 2 p.m. in the Lawnside Public School, will showcase readings by winners of the fourth annual Spirit of the Renaissance poetry-writing competition for fifth through twelfth graders in Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties. Lawnside native Dr. Cord Whitaker of the University of New Hampshire will be the keynote speaker. Plaques and cash prizes will be awarded.
Dr. Whitaker is an assistant professor of English who specializes in Chaucer, late medieval romance and racial and religious discourses in late medieval English literature. He is a graduate of Haddon Heights High School and Yale University. He earned his master's and doctorate at Duke University.
Jessie Redmon Fauset was a Harlem Renaissance novelist, poet and literary editor for the NAACP's Crisis magazine. She was a protégé of the legendary editor, activist and intellectual W.E.B. DuBois. Miss Fauset was born in Lawnside in 1882 when her father was pastor of Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Cornell University, she studied at the Sorbonne. The Historical Society began honoring her 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 Society has also received support from the Camden County Cultural and Heritage Commission which has funded the poetry competition and Jessie Redmon Fauset Day for the past three years 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 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.