Back Library of America offers grants to libraries to celebrate African American poetry

A new national public humanities program provides $1,200 grants to libraries, museums, and nonprofit cultural institutions in all fifty states to host public programs.

African American poetry is all around us—echoed in hip-hop and R&B, in movies and on television, recited in houses of worship and at presidential inaugurations, in classrooms and on social media. African American poets received two of the past four National Book Awards and Poet Laureateships, one facet of a creative explosion that shows no sign of slowing. How does this renaissance build on the work of earlier generations? How does it relate to the experiences of African Americans today?  What can African American poetry tell us about American history and national identity?

Lift Every Voice is designed to enhance Americans’ understanding and appreciation of the African American poetic tradition and its imaginative range and richness. Its principal objective is to engage participants in a multifaceted exploration of the tradition, the perspectives it offers on American history and the struggle for racial justice and the universality of the power, music, and precision of its language.

Funded with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Emerson Collective, Lift Every Voice is directed by Library of America and principal humanities advisor Kevin Young and is presented in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Academy of American Poets, Cave Canem Foundation, Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, National Book Foundation, Poetry Foundation, Poetry Society of America, and Poets House.

Grant term:
September 2020–March 2021

Application deadline:
February 21, 2020

Notification:
March 6, 2020

For more information and to apply, please visit www.africanamericanpoetry.org.

Lift Every Voice will be complemented by the publication of the Library of America anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song, edited by Kevin Young, in September 2020. Click here for details about the book.

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