Last year, 2013, was a great year, largely due to the long-awaited publication of The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers. This coming year, 2014, promises to be as exciting as I continue to promote the book.
At the MLA conference, this year in Chicago, I was on two panels―one on Red Chicago, and one on Black Chicago. The latter panel was sponsored by the Black American Literature and Culture Division. I talked about the collection of African American folklore by black WPA writers Katherine Dunham, Robert Lucas, and Onah Spencer. I was joined on the panel by two veterans in the field, R. Baxter Miller and John Edgar Tidwell, as well as Lauren Gantz, a grad student at UT Austin. You can see photos from the panel by poet/scholar Aldon Nielsen at his blog Heat String Theory.
I also visited the University of Illinois Press table at the book exhibit where I got a photo with my book in front of a poster for The Negro in Illinois.
Local Book Talks
I have two book talks coming up locally. On January 25, I’ve been invited to an event in Champaign, Hallways Microcinema Vol. 3, called “Alternative Histories of Black Music. I will be giving a presentation titled, “Playing Second Trumpet in the Second City: Black Chicago Jazz.” It will be followed by screening of the documentary film, A Band Called Death.
For Black History Month, I will be giving a book talk at Urbana Free Library on Saturday, February 15 at 2 p.m. Among other things, I will be talking about mention of Champaign-Urbana and the University of Illinois in The Negro in Illinois.
To promote the UFL event, I’ll be appearing on the “Labor Hour,” Saturday, February 1, 11 a.m. to noon, on WEFT 90.1 FM, with David Johnson and crew. On Wednesday, February 12, 2-3 p.m., I will be a guest on “ACCESS Live,” WBCP 1580 AM, with Imani Bazzell.
Stay tuned for other talks at the Illinois State Historical Society symposium in March, and Mather Café at 83rd Street in Chicago in April.