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tv   2016 American Book Awards  CSPAN  December 31, 2016 2:45pm-5:16pm EST

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the cia analysts take the matrix of stuff and actionable intelligence and actionable intelligence, becomes actionable only when placed in the greater context of what you know from everybody. >> you can watch this and other programs online at ♪ >> good afternoon. welcome to the 37th annual american book awards, presented by the before columbus foundation.
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[applause] >> my name is justin desmangles. i am the chair of the before columbus foundation. about eight years ago i proceeded in that position, our founder, ishmael reed, we are very fortunate to have with us joining the program today. there were some very big shoes to fill. of course, i want to thank our friends at the san francisco jazz center who had been so generous in their support of the american book awards for the last several years. also our friend at c-span who continue to support the historical mission of the before columbus foundation and american book awards.
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i will say a few things about our direction that we embarked on recently. over the past several years we have expanded our programming to include a number of partnerships in the bay area and nationally, including those with the san francisco public library who i am very honored to say, one of the representatives, stuart shaw who has been instrumental facilitating the collaboration between the before columbus foundation at the san francisco public library, has been just this year are presented, and waldman, winner of the achievement award and will alexander, the american book award in 2014. we continued those programs at
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the san francisco public library in collaboration with african americans enter the summer. this program focusing on black hollywood unchained, a collection of films not only focusing on the work of tarantino but the relationship between the hollywood and television industries and auxiliary industries in the commercial world and black american history in writing and culture. that included marvin x, myself, as well as jesse allen taylor. our continuing collaboration with the open book festival was last year featuring a number of panels including one of the premier panels of the festival on multiracial american literature in the 21st century which included john keene who we honor this afternoon it is
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present with us today, and one of the great writers in america today, emily robinson also featured, presented by before columbus including a panel on the legacy of malcolm x which included michael eric dyson, winner of the american book award as well as myself. it has been a productive and fertile relationship continuing with oakland book festival and we look forward to expanding the programs into year-round programs. also very excited to share with you, two do members to the board of directors this year. the novelist marvin james and lela waldman. [applause] >> we will begin the ceremony
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this afternoon with the book trace, whom we have the pleasure of its author joining us to talk about race, memory, history, race and the american landscape. she will tell you more about this extraordinary work. but i would like to emphasize too often, certainly the way we articulate our individual identities is restricted to a temporal understanding of history. we are all very sensitive to not just what i am saying and the meaning of these words but also the time and the place in which we exist, what might be described as deep time, the
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formation of the book itself. this also plays a role in our understanding of ourselves and how we relate to one another and our concepts about what is possible to communicate and what is not. this book, trace, perhaps or than any other contemporary work, brings those elements into play. it is a great pleasure to introduce to you the author of trace, lauret savoy. [applause] >> thank you. i never imagined this, to be in
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the company of writers of such power is a great gift. to be chosen and celebrated by the founders and members of the board of before columbus foundation is a great gift. i come from a family that was violent and silenced which it was after my father's death that i learned he was a writer which is novel around racial hatred and passing titled alien land, have been published to some fanfare by ep dutton decades earlier. dutton canceled his contract. the would be second novel concerned a story about a young
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negro artist using the language at the time who has been fighting segregation, my father's home, the possibilities of communism. my father found himself blacklisted. this was 1950s. many years later, the man i knew, were bitter, angry, he didn't write, sometimes he did not be. silence was easy to learn. i long wondered how much the deep, unspoken hunger can touch a child and marked the path to
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follow, trace began in my struggle to reach beyond silence to either answer or come to terms with questions that long hunted me. each of our lives is an incident like a camera shutter opening and closing, there is no place in the world. for that instant we have. over time, over generations, what do accumulated instances mean. personal journeys and historical inquiry across the continent and time, exploring the country unfolding history marked a person, the people and land
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itself. twisted terrain to a south carolina plantation, from an island in lake superior to indian territory in oklahoma. from national parks to burial grounds to the origins the american land wears, the origins of the names and, from the us/mexico border to the capital and the origins of both and in all of these trace tries to grapple with a searing national history, to reveal some of that unvoiced past to present so what i would like to do right now is to read a page and a half the book, and early reflection that
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came on a journey that brought me back to california and a place called the devil's punch bowl and a journey that led to this book. from what do we take our origin? from blood? i am the child of a woman with deep brown skin and dark eyes who married a fair skinned man with bluegray eyes. yet as a little girl in california, i never knew race. skin, eye color, hair color, texture, body type and shape varied greatly among relatives. like the land, we appeared in many forms, some differences felt significant was far beyond me.
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instead i devised a self theory, golden light and deep blue sky, the sun filled my body like it seemed to fill dry california hills and sky low in my veins, to a 5-year-old colored could only mean single things. on that drive east from the punch bowl, i realized how little i knew of my family as an organic unit held together by shared blood, experience or story. i was born to parents already well into middle age. they had come into the world before moving pictures talked, before teamsters drove only horseless trucks and before the iceman had to find a new profession which they lived with elders who could recall life
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before the civil r, their memories lived by lantern light. nearly palpable, their path never spoke to me. dad died long before i had questions and in response, mama said she could remember and she wondered why i wanted to know. from what do we take our origins? from incised memories? one lori, home as many a workweek night, my father sits in an easy chair, the glass of gin or scotch in one hand, cigar or cigarette in the other. the only light is the inhaling burn. what he sees or thinks i don't know. what i remember, smoke, silence.
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another memory, a list in fifth grade social studies, catholic school, washington dc. our textbook describes the unsuitability of indians who waste away and the preference for africans thrived as slaves and by nature love to serve. i asked my teacher, mrs. devlin, if and when i might become a slave. searching for self meaning in such lessons, will i be a slave? the history tossed wasn't the history that made me but i didn't know this. any language, how land and time touched my family remains
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elusive. in the 1960s, i learned to understand how race cut our lives, black, negro, came out and hard after the 1968 riots. words for love spit showed that i could be hated for being colored. .. and by the age of 8, about i wondered if i should hate in return. the book goes on and many journeys to explore the history. and to reveal so many of the damaging public silences that often go unknowsed such as the link between the siding of the nation's capitolling and the economic motive of slavery and
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what is important to remember is that none of these links is coincidental to feel them appear in public history yet they all touched us. i want to give my heart felt thanks to my family and friends who kept me from throwing away my words yet again. and i give my thanks to my father and to those who struggled to negotiate the indetermined terrain of heritage towards understanding and survival. i give thanks to my editor jack is schumaker and counterpress for taking a chance with me. of course i give thanks to american land and to many travel people for which this is homeland.
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and my deep, deep gratitude goes to the before columbus that finally i am learning how to speak. [applause] >> that was beautiful. thank you. this next writer is a poet and a public school teacher if only public school teachers would be so brilliant and truthful we would all be in good hands. she's a lifetime resident of the pacific northwest da is enrolled
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member laura da is enrolled member of the eastern shaunny tribe of oklahoma she lives seattle with her husband and son. of her work are national photoof the united states juan -- says tributary of raven have conjure home lanked to conjured home land of name words of removal history of bloodstream and birds and now generations through anthropologist gay, textbook disconnection and beings of deep rivers and night face galaxies. and da's happedz painting reimagining. sash is a sheaing the bore between each line. breath and duty, the truth pollen dust still mooing. moving -- about with her blessing presence
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with knowledge, and dream and vision insight in full are all human systems in harmony. this book abun dangt with body call it a people's generations. long time and now a deep strong voice luminous. the book is tributaries. survey shani history along side personal identity and memory with the eye of a story teller day creates ark that flows from the personal to the universal and back again. in her first book length collection da employees into woven narrative and perpghtive
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perspective and leaves rich image to create a shifting vision of the past and present. it's my honor to present laura with the american book award. [applause] the work is -- [inaudible] thank you. good afternoon. how to tell -- i'm so honored by this company all by this award i'm a little bit overwhelm by how beautiful the words have been and it is just beginning. so of course my deep gratitude
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to the before columbus foundation, i, you know, have is thought about all of my most loved and deerest book on my book shelves to many of them, award winners from this particularward so it's an amazing feeling to join it shall [inaudible] so thank you. an thanks, of course, to the board and to all of my fellow writers here it is really an honor. i worked on this book for about 15 years so this is a very sweet punctuation mark -- basically my entire adult life. i want to tick a particular moment it thank my family. my husband is here today. and he's actually the artist who created the cover so i look the book that is family affair.
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and i also want to just give thanks to my the tribal community shani tribe as more importantly as a human, you know as a daughter, child, mother, a sister. so thanks to my tribe certainly. also thanks to the professors that the institute of american indian art first people who have encouraged me to write also people who ever put a book in any hands written by a native art if i haven't been educated try believing. i'm not sure what would happened to me but i knew i wanted to be a writer and i want to give thanks to my stowngt. identify been teaching middle school for last 13 years and i find they are deeply inspooring to me, and they're very -- excited about this this award as well.
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so i for many of us as writers, there's a -- a creative obsession or spark that kind of propels you forward because sometime running can be a bit of aluminating endeavor and i thought i'd share just a small story of what i believe has driven me as a writer. sos a teenager, you hear the first thing i do the very first manager that i meet my students who are middle the skewest 11 to 13. they greet me in their home language and then talk about how many languages we have and vast engine that we're bringing into the classroom. i'll say how did he do which was informal to say hello to shani and ask them to gses what language did i say hi to you in? and i want to note i have great rpght for my students incredibly
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intelligent and citizens of the world, however, i'll let them guess for ten minutes. not wonings -- does it come to north american continent not once when i guess you see this awakening that they may be maybe didn't think of having land on it or language or culture, and so that share has haunted me for a long time and i think e-i feel like that propels some of my creative obsession as a writer particularly the history of the shani people. so my dad was actually born here in california.
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he was born in wpa liver camp. my grandparents were migrants from overwhelm from the shani reservation. they were i try tolings escape difficulty of the dust bowl and i'm so gladeful to them because it is easy to lose who you are and lose your indigenous that ties you to -- you your family is living in poverty your generations and generations so my deep gratitude to them for the sacrifices theyed made as well. i'd like to -- read something i think speaks to that concept america land oask as was so eloquently mentioned we're on native indigenous land right now so i'll read a poem from this collection.
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that looks closely at the shani land and how it has changed from generation to generation. so this poem is called american town. seneca, missouri seeps through cracked window. the map flutters on the dashboard one corner grits soaked. sparse oh disark wash of to inny green. i heard of buffalo loring in the sad patture. here is the voyage conjured homeland to conjured homeland. no, not that trajectory of the past -- but it scrapes just the same. the drive to ohio will take 11
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hours and 48 minutes. cost $195 in gas. in the systemic and name and principle city all human systems lives in harmony. of corn tassel along the byway historic marketers plunge an arm into the they foal how second, about no rock to bend the plow share. what heirloom field of shiny corn hum under the crest, beside carbon of burned counsel house. august we of bad act creek jarred throughout boulders jetting up waste high and drag
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corn. what is owed grit this corner of the mouth, the plaque on the museum's door in zinnia has revolutionary rei war hero the ground on which this con sewel hands stains is unwith so much as pets and brotherly love. some are school kids around the museum, the teacher introduces the panel of tribal counsel members as remnant of the once great shawnny tribe. of pencils across paper. in the front room a volunteer curator leans over a story of a revolutionary war red steeple red pant on to sandy ground
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simulating the american flogging points with the paint brush to next room. where 50 street levels from 1783 broke her captive trade with the delaware in shani. of the from blagged or or to the sway of longhand gun. each one made the promise of whiskey. leaving zinnia that evening on an old shaunny trade route retrace and concrete. the town -- blue jackets town, woptomica influence of the pollen upon the forrem of the fruit. imght my ink to bellow. where is this ground? i'm staying with blood. thank you very much.
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[applause] [silence] jesus is award-winning filmmaker known for his pioneering documentary ares and features fills about the experience. he's the author of the fabulous sinkhole and other stories the sky scraper that flew at a critically anamed memoir eyewitness the filmmaker memoir of the chicago business. of this work and his book return toe royal grandi -- it is private in his prier life jesus made movies and directed television drama.
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in this work most scenes had to be shot two or three times base theory that repeating seen might lead actors to return in time from the previous scene a time of going and running and coming back from a future they have just created. elle yoat nailed image in a line in a room the common and the goal. did all of those years behind the camera tribune to write speck willtive fiction and all stories speck la story. thought about going and coming of the dreams like we the old people already knew that memory registers time space. well we've been there, and here -- time shifting in alternate dimensions appear or disper in to the book but fabulous sinkhole and ska scraper that
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flew and interesting segue to earlier stories focus on the word return in the title. of course, the characters can -- can return because they have already been there. here and there, a time, space -- but don't let my wild speculations keep you from reading this most interesting book. the stories that grounded in reality although a reality that shifts depending on what page you're on. plot goes look this. new characters are young men and women who had left a royal began day to pursue careers but now return hometown from greedy developers to videos plot in just the same time, space, and parallel universe in which characters life. who movers writers hand, god, free will, imagine theation, soul -- or gravitational wifes arrived
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in earth when two black holes exploded in disapt distant galaxy two billion years ago and reveal at his desk challenging conception of fiction or a collection of stories just a continue womb to surprise and fulfill or senses of hablty jesus -- [applause] laura, you forgot -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> thank you. glasses on -- trying them out. thank you justin and, of course,
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the before columbus foundation and its members for the vision to see what was needed an the follow through so claim what is truly ours. to make events like today a reality. it's indeed an honor to be with a distinguished group of writer and activist and story tellers, and isn't that afterall what we all are. story tellers? i began my story telling career in 1968 as a student activist on a ticket line in east los angeles brandishing supereight camera. it was the hay day of the e mernlgt civil rights movement and i didn't know ide make a lifetime of it, but i did i learned how to use television to tell our stories and these were
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stories that as you might imagine mainstream society didn't really want to hear. stories of our presentation. stories of our struggle. stories of overcoming and story of victory in face of defeat i was a documentary filmmaker and then i shifted. i became a narrative story tellinger directing episodes of prime time television show like and others -- all during had time i was writing. iftion a writer. i was a story teller. throughout, i struggled to find a balance. a balance between documenting and telling the dark side of our troubled past.
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and we all know it sadly too well. the discrimination of the rape of the leechings of the murders of the genocide that have been committed against people of color. but i also wrestled to find near the back drop of these horrible events for to relegate our storying telling only to atrocity ignore the past but also filled with steadfast resistance with fierce struggles. with repress cial victories but perhaps most devaluate change to me has been to fox i do the immediate. it is easy to pox our story telling on the political say, when the times demand it. it is harder to find a quiet time to write especially when we
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know that sisters is the for example, and many others today taking a stand or we confront sorted reality of what a potential trump variation might be. harder to find the moment to reflect, to ponder, to muse, but it is only whom we do this this woman we transcend our anger allow our creativity to simmer to distill. to nurture deeper insight into who we are. our craft as story tellers are truly cool to the floor. i live in a world of alternate realities some of my doing and
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some that happen to happen. in my latest shore return to our grandi i have a character falling at a construction site and the way to define indisputable memory of living in ominous terrible world a world where there's only suffer and a friends and kneel and despair is the order of the day. she's so convinced this path with what doctors are calling also memories that she can't accept the possibility that another more positive of the world might exist. due to reflection that happened when she fell that is what's going on they're false memories but what if you saw memory took place she questioned. aren't i cheating, i mean, aren't i the vapidity having
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things actually happened. doctorate replies, sandy the point is must not allow the bad memory of a terrible past to cripple you. and your future -- as simple as that. so a as story tellers let's not allow ourselves to be paralyzed let's go forward. let's break barrier and tell stories of purpose stories of resilience, stories of hope. and i'm for one not afraid to use that word. hope. thank you very much for the honor, your time, and your word.
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[inaudible] not too long ago i received a article from the baltimore sun and they wanted to ask me about the american book award they wanted to ask me about -- a curious land suzanne's collection of short stories. and the journalist on the other side of the country said why. why the american book award why this honor? and i said well -- suzanne hasn't and the easy way out so what do you mean by that? well part of what i mean by that is that the empathy that she chiefed was her character in story that she tells --
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offers them in the complexity of their own contradictions without judging them or encouraging leader to amend as explanation for their own moral or ethical or unethical actions. this is a real mother kl in literature and something that even great writers are unable to do present their characters in full complexity, and still hold them close as human beings. particularly, when dealing with the groups that constitute an oppressed class where we're always already encouraged particularly by the commercial and market driven media to employ cashes to allow that
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oppression to continue. and be talking more about that as we progress to awards this afternoon. but but that was my answer and that's only a frag m of this story, and we are very honored that suzanne is with us this afternoon to share more of her inso i thought and discovery rei about this very unique book winning american book award for 2016. [applause] [silence] thank you. >> i'm still so moved by the voice and awards and really powerful words.
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thank you so much to the before columbus foundation for this honor. this book took me eight years to write. not 15 years. eight years not as long. but -- [laughter] and writing is such a solitary act and i feel so grateful that my amendment to celebrate voices of palestinian and palestinian americans is being recognized with this award. palestinian american literature is growing at the jean are and i'm very happy about that. broking up i had a hard time discussing my palestinian hair age mostly because people, you know, easily equated palestine with terrible things like terrorism. you can see it on their voices they say palestine, trch, you know. you could see progression will, that was it. i had a college profess told me once there wasn't a such thing
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as palestinian people but they conveniently invented it in 1938 and my answer is many years later. i was 19 then. i know better now. of course as a child i couldn't explain where my parents were from you still can't find it on a map. but i didn't is a place i could point to and say that's palestine that's where my parents came from right there and that hurt in many ways as if it were really something that was made the up. being a palestinian christian is also challenging and still is. we get painted with the same terrorism, shah rei law. ignorance is astounding to me, there's a weird disconnect from history on the part of western
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christian peemg people who want to stereotype christians, this ancient community people who come from places like nazareth -- bethlehem -- they don't understand our community but they're ready to stereotype us. i had a woman ask me once if i was muslim and i said i was palestinian no -- actually my family is christian. and she look surprised and said did they convert? and i said no. you did. [laughter] and said elections are away and breathing in toxic air of this climate. we're seeing more than ever that the denigration of arab and muslims is efficient for muslim and media penalty to get noticed an get a boost in the polls so they do it.
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it improves their ratings so they do it. of course, for some candidates the denigration of our people is their entire platform. ... >> i look to african-american writers as role models. the time of my book comes from a quote by w.e.b. dubois in an
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essay he said about the deep south, what a curious land is this, so full of untold stories and tragedies. i have that quote in the introduction to my book. and i'm very grateful to that quote because i think of palestine in the same way. thank you to the associated writing programs, awp, which awarded my book the grace paley award which led to its publication, and i thank my writers' group, my wonderful writers group. they edited we've word, reviewed every -- every word, reviewed every word. thank you to my parents who reminded me that you can love your culture but also question it. to my children, who are part of the reason why i took eight years to write the book -- [laughter] but who are my source of joy, who are my home. and to my husband, he supported my writing for the last 16 years before i ever published a single word, before i ever won
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anything. and thank you to the foundation once again and congratulations to my fellow award winners. s it is truly my honor to bell here with all of you with. thank you very much. ms. -- [applause] >> as citizen were is pointing out some of the most back words and chemical elements of politics are poisoning the atmosphere with of toxic rhetoric that is creating an environment in which extraordinary levels of violence are becoming commonplace.
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indeed they are nazi as they trace their lineage. just this year alone over 820 american citizens shot down by police, an average of three per day. since trump announced his candidacy hate crimes against the islamic faith or perceived to become a have risen over 60 percent. these are the ones that are reported. this is par to of what is happening but that to you is just part of a wave processing the west. steering many of the country's white grease and france and poland.
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so in framing that, and i want to emphasize the extraordinary courage in the works harry had a honor of being with us today and to share more of the substance. we choosing america they shape and the most time crucial pitcher. >> ahab the great to and indeed it was one of the most vivacious and in civil and eliminating conversations that i have had in a year's.
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i will be grateful of the come rescission of links to and he used action and that was an answer paul to holman said winter which led to suffering in polls and polls so and to bring her the book award. [applause] >> good afternoon.
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end i ms of deeply appreciative introducing this to the writers to reflect on the nazi experiments known as america and on a personal level i am so grateful to the board of directors for this recognition is it is an honor to be among the cadres of writers. because of the beloved community bike came to this book from the perspective of a movement activist organizers and community members that i have learned with the most from throughout my work prior unfortunate to have my comrades here to support me this afternoon. [applause] in particular to acknowledgement three women who are here. they have incurred a and
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influence the community building in the years since then 11 in your a big part of the book and if you cannot be here today i sent my gratitude to my colleagues and to a chance on me in my editors to shepherd the move plan activist to become a writer and to my family especially my sexual son who helped give my most important book talk to his first grade classroom and my activist community who inspired me to show up every single day this award exist because of all of you. paquette to returning to a memory related to the first time i got an award for a book in seventh grade we had just when emigrated to the
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united states just before to kentucky. i taped a purple cover ironically not only entitled belonging adult remember about the of plot but i know would had something to do with my own experiences of feeling like a constant outsider at my elementary school with my immigrant status i stood out in contrast. the immigrant experience as many bad expressed can be of pain and separation and loss of self through community. in many ways this book also reflects the immigrant struggle with the time of tremendous strife in the nation to document the
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experiences of immigrants who are surviving post 9/11 america. a period rife with his llama phobia and xenophobia and racial anxiety. in order to sharpen our understanding of the domestic or on terror and nichol direction with the salvation communities for of all racial identities during bi work with post 9/11 america and this book by the voices and actions of courageous people from the "frontline" are called into action. like one who lost his mother in a hate massacre in wisconsin. or a muslim kurdish refugee
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pdf who endured the daily barrage of rhetoric in a place she was longing to make her new home. or undocumented immigrants like when the home was raided by immigration authorities and his father was deported. one egyptian american in st. louis on the ground in ferguson and co-founded muslims for ferguson. when i wrote this book and was published last year in november i was hoping and some level it would be a historic text or a documentation unfortunately that backlash of our communities is only increased and exacerbated by the current political cycle. reports of violence and profiling have reached unprecedented levels the likes we have not seen since then 11. because venice summer of
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thing bush millions of people like a woman killed in queens. four rap pakistan the american first grader who stepped off his school bus with bruises. or an american not far from here driving home while assaults it's your car window. these are our stories coming in a big stories of people who try to shape the american landscape the while on the front lines of pain and so many others continue to find their voice and challenge systematic injustice. bridge builders and called into action from a mosque in
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tennessee in the streets of baltimore with sacred ground at standing rock people of all backgrounds and faiths and history and status call upon all of us to join the movements for liberation from oppression for freedom and equity and justice. books can play a role to support these movements by importing lessons with policy and institutional changes to inspire a whole new generation i am glad that we play a role in social change movements especially in this moment with a fierce urgency of now. above book is a springboard for messy conversations at the family dinner table for
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more equitable spaces in our country. i and deeply grateful to recognize and knowledge the experiences of the immigrants of post and 11 america and thank all of you for being on a journey for social change together. [applause] >> before welcoming our founder to the stage come my want to say a few words about knick who received the american book awards this year for tomorrows battlefield u.s. property wars in africa.
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he is unable to be here today. he is hard at work. we regard his efforts as a journalist to be heroic and to put that into context in the waning months of the of bush/cheney american in politics, a danish of policy papers from the think tanks began to flood with recommendations that the emerging war on terror would be on the continent of africa so with that in mind the united states government formed after com on the continent of africa and as
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the ceding to the presidency the united states military has expanded across the entire continent with the largest military presence in our nation's history. but this story has almost gone completely unreported. you can search through the database of the papers of record and will find barely a peep of anything having to do with the of military operations in africa. but to be clear it is the largest military presence we have going for contract recently the so called more on isis that department of defense calls inherent resolve, the factory's central $.9 million per day fighting just that campaign.
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the deity's says we spend $174 million per day in afghanistan. that is the above-ground number that has nothing to do with the secret operations that only sign: negative dianne feinstein can sign-off. despite all this, almost zero attention other than the work of nick on this issue. so i want to congratulate neck but also urged you to look into this to find out what this is about. the late ted jones one of the tight ends and among the first generation used to frequently lamented the lack of interest on the part of black america on the african
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continent. wofford there and the last month for the last year of malcolm x life and he made is principal point that the struggle of african american within the borders of the united states would not be addressed and less elevated to international human-rights and this would be achieved in through alignment with the struggle on the african continent. martin luther king at the end of his life also advocating similar programs. with that in mind again i urge you to discover this book and follow-up on what is happening. 170 million per day? but you cannot get clean water in flint? or funding for public schools? tuition relief but
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$12 million per day for the fight with isis into libya? okay. congratulations to neck. [applause] for his extraordinary work with that in mind i would like to introduce our founder of the before columbus foundation. [applause] we'll be speaking to you about the criticism award
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thank you producing of program today sitting back there. [applause] justin comes down on the amtrak every week to watch the office. and runs the best jazz program in the united states at the university of davis california. and our host is the second poet laureate in the beautiful $40 million building which is the center
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of west coast jazz. likely armstrong has of matter-of-fact we had a fund-raising party in pacific heights where you could look out over the bay to see alcatraz and but of the great patrons of jazz was incarcerated at alcatraz. al capone who brought louis armstrong up. thirty-eight board members have made the news recently recently, a great writer who is been with us for decades presented with a presidential medal and even though he is not a review in the new york times book review, they spend more
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hours having dinner parties. but the president said he would read his books we have a very hip president and i think we will miss him. the best since kennedy i think in the whitehouse. because the hamptons kennedy said this is the party. we have an organization that "the new york times" calls us all the working class over here will have an awards ceremony december
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december 2nd, december 3 r d in oakland and the recipients wilson received the award made for the late poet and civic leader. and the judge declared stop and frisk unconstitutional. and mayor bloomberg and the commissioner stop and frisk received a lot of danger but they apologized to her because of the crime were 1. they would stop a hundred thousand hispanics or blacks . so they just apologized. >> we published that in our
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magazine. but now when i was 14 years old received an award coming in third in a speaking contest. and my wife just wrote a great book about it about to student architects in the turn of 1900. but my prize was a key upon to buy a book. i bought a book about stalin [laughter] and is scared me to death. and with all of these weird characters like head of the chief of the secret police and stalin was a thug and in jail. [laughter]
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and he was served by a scary head of the government and they were lionized by historians and if somebody else they have problems. because those mandates were official. the only difference between those in and clean up the reputation like alexander hamilton and the indian movers like jackson is their creations were never made into musicals. [laughter] the promise of of musical hamilton is that he was an abolitionist and a progressive. this was the abolitionist to accuse the british from stealing the negro's from is
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owners. hugh lefty smoking gun and on behalf of his sister-in-law he deducted $225 from the account for the purchase for the purchase of a negro woman and child. this was a transaction whether they are groupie historians as the founder politician he is book, he was also a monarchist and test. and those whose poor jackets
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their attitudes prevail and not until i left it as a learned of presence of the 5,000 black troops during the revolutionary war. been noticing the omission of blacks were the musical takes place one of these exponents of what is called founder's sheik and it was the basis of the musical hamilton. he just had a weird moment
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she writes others, including the president of first lady like to the musical because of the history of harvard. [laughter] she writes others describe the cast as obama as america and the musical is now in contrast and is misleading to race of presence and the role of black people in revolutionary america before and since. i am quoting her. america and then did look-alike if you like outside the halls of government. this is deborah been a white nation. the irish you know, john
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adams that they praise like of miniseries on pbs he would complain about the irish and the blacks in boston. because of the boston massacre. the new whites they were the irish how they became white. to say they were irish but they left chicago. but up here at the peloria to tear the place up. [laughter] as a matter of fact joe williamses since the 1850's like brazil and the idea
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that to was representing newcomers to the country as a result and the return is puerto rican prime buddies african actors fights in the same revolutionary war and also for the enslaved people and more likely .. for the great white men in the air in the united states and it was excluded from the freedoms. >> my second but over this
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historical live negative hamilton is th >> they would do hip-hop songs, r&b rhythms and multiracial cast. and for many a critic just a sing-along offers a historical drama. she writes, these are the words of jody rosen in the new york times and he is not alone. as an academic was spent years studying scholarly biography i can say that the rules do not apply to hamilton. ", hamilton may be a delight to watch but let's not convince ourselves that it be history. rd we interviewed a lake show host stephen colbert, i did not have to read the bible because i saw jesus christ superstar. la [laughter]
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that pretty much says it all. the musical hamlet is al hami historical hamilton would child -- is moses. i think it's ironic that they took poems that were actuallyt t created by urban blacks, hip-hop, rap and everything to honor the oppression of slaves. it's incredible. i also i also mentioned it was like having minorities in nazi germany and people like that we don't think th about that mostly known >> with how europe is with the overseas colony make a romantic or fantasize about it.
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the combination of those in whih europe which covers up atrocities committed by those -- the combination of two powerfuln media produces generation after generation which are self loving among those students who don't see their histories represented. it's amazing that the nextext president brought to us by television. with $2 million worth of free publicity.all i watched wall-to-wall coverage of his speeches and his rants yesterday area even when secretary clinton is making her speeches they quoted him. the fact that the rockefeller foundation will provide schoolchildren with free tickets to a musical that would honor his slave trade is a disgrace.
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i know a lot of people like this but remember castro kept those women captive for 30 years? why don't don't they read musical about him? i mean hamilton sold people, he sold women they said well it's because hamilton was smart, that's what it comes down to. well castro was smart too. he was able to evade his social workers and relatives for 30 years. that's the analogy i would give. is not surprising that david duke, the the clan leader was a history major. we honor nancy eisenberg who, and i might add michelle darius, university at albany state university of new york would challenge other historians who betrayed hamilton in a rags to riches manner. in a day of academic cowardice s
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they have risk retaliation because they demand that history be on us. while the biggest glass ceiling might be broken or shattered on november 8, these brave scholars show that glass ceilings are being broken elsewhere.lause] [applause] thank you very much. >> it is such an honor to be here. i must say i feel like a bit ofe a realtor at the ceremony where all of you have written books and being honored for lifetimes of work and for 15 years and
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eight years on a book and i wrote an article and i'm getting a prize. at the same time i know my recognition with this award is because of the timeliness of my create a drink critique of my review of hamilton. my article appeared in the academic journal, the public historian at a time when everyone from the other critics to president obama were lavishing praise on the musical and on its creator. however, my own own immediate reaction when i saw the play was that for all of the brilliance of the writing, the performances, the production, there was something seriously disturbing that was happening on stage. when i look for a reflection of this perspective among the reviews and articles that were written about the show i was not entirely surprised to find wall-to-wall approval of every aspect of the production. because of this i was extremely relieved to locate reits peace,
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the subtitle which is timely given today's date, it was subtitle, black actors dress up like slave traders and it's notr halloween. [laughter] reads critique which echoed my own concerns about the play gave me the confidence to turn my own early thoughts about the plate into a journal article. tuts so in a real way the piece for which i'm being given this award came about in part because of the founder of the american book awards. , so, thank you. in addition to thinking is small for his direct assistance i want to thank my editors at the public historian for excepting my unconditional review essay. a muscle grateful to my husband, my sister, and my colleagues at rutgers newark and elsewhere for reading drafts or otherwise discussing the play with me. i also want to thank the committee for the american book
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award for validating the importance of criticallylyvali interrogating the stories thatt popular culture tells us about our past. c i wasn't trained as a historian but rather as an anthropological archaeologist. my job as a history professor where i teach survey courses on u.s. history, in addition to courses on public history, i'm concerned about what i have come to call historical politics. by this i mean not necessarily the explicitly political history by state politician instead, i propose an analysis offered by racial politics or gender politics. one that can be applied to a
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product. in each case we can and should ask what aspect of the past is being evoked and why. to what ends. what does this imply about who did what in the past and who matters in the present? in other words, what does this use of the past suggest about who has the right to power in the present. because either seeking access to or justify possession of power in the present is, i would argue the most important and prominent function of history in the public sphere. it is essential that we interrogate not only the historical accuracy in the historical politics of the show is popular's hamilton. the stories it tells can have an impact on how we perceive ourselves and each other in the present. i find it concerning that so many people are excited by the way that the musical makes history accessible. to be frank, i don't i don't want stories that glorify the foundingri fathers to be accessible. i want them to be dull, stodgy, and to feel as old-fashioned as they are.
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i sure don't want them to be made interesting and exciting by appropriating the talent to labor of black artists to betray slaveowning founding fathers as rappers. in effect, effect, black washing this serious history to make it seem cool. i'm also bothered by the rhetoric stranded byco the musil just that the play is generous in allowing black and brown people to identify with the history they are not technicallh entitled to. on some level because their ancestors supposedly were not a part of it. this is the idea of the musical being as mentioned in my introduction and as the tagline put it, the story of america then told by america now. as i argue in my article, america then america then did look like the people in this play.lution new york city where the play is set was 14% plaque during the revolutionary era. there are slaves in nearly every wealthy household. this means that in every scene of the play contains an
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opportunity for a black character to appear. one of the most egregious omissions as the song in the room where it happened where aaron burr says, thomas jefferson gave madison and "alexander hamilton" were alone at dinner and sings that quote, no, no one else was in the room where it happens. thus completely erasing the slaves who certainly would havet been in that very room serving dinner. similarly, the musical life the role of thousands of black soldiers who fought the revolutionary war including a man named kato who is enslaved by hercules mulligan, one of the characters in hamilton and who perform some of the acts of the spine on that mulligan takes credit for the musical. not to mention the fact that alexander hamilton's financial system which is described in the musical is a work of genius was built on the bodies and labors of enslaved people of color. it is easy to miss the fact there's not a single black character in the show because
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there so many black and brown bodies on the stage. however, the effect of this white supremacist account of the past is to reinforce the idea that only white men have a rightful claim to the history of the united states. and that everyone else came onto the scene later.o has every journalist was interviewed me about hamilton has asked mewe what i would do e well, my answer to this question really makes it into the final piece i would like to make clear what i would change about hamilton. i would change everything. if they had asked for my opinion when they started to write the show i would've suggested that he find a way to work in the black or native character or two, or or that he tried to address slavery more explicitly. instead, i would've encouraged him to pick an entirely different story to tell.
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rather than one that glorifies the experiences and perspectives of our founding fathers who were literal white supremacists and literal male chauvinists. perhaps it could a total story that center people of color such as krista's advocate a man of african and native american dissent who is a leader of the protest of the boston massacre. or perhaps he could've chosen a story that would challenge our popular profession altogether. and presented more truthful and more liberatory version of what revolution can and should be. these are the stories i wish the considerable talent and genius could've been applied to. i sincere so sincerely hope that he will break free in the future and return to the form of his first broadway hit, the musical in the heights which tell the story first and second generation latina immigrants in the washington heights neighborhood of new york city.
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it featured a brown young woman as its protagonists. in closing, i would like to reiterate my thanks for this award for criticism and add on a very personal note that it could not have come at a better time in my own life. when i learned that i had received this award i was in the midst of dealing with a very serious illness. as is my capacity to contribute meaningfully both within and beyond the academy. this award has help me recognize how necessary my voices in the public sphere as a worm and of color writing criticism about popular culture. it has inspired me to continue doing what i now believe i was put on this planet to do. so so for that, i thank you. [applause] [inaudible] >> before welcoming john king up
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to the stage, i want to say a few words about matt johnson and his novel, loving day. which matt was unable to join us this afternoon to accept the award he sends his greetings ann says the great meaning that this was coming from his peers and he wanted to thank all of you on the compass foundation in particular. the philosopher once said that the most treacherous and difficult issues in life can really only be discussed in terms of jokes. if that is true, true, then matt johnson is aokei very serious dude. for a black folk who appear to some of the world as objectively white, one of the most terrorizing experiences is to be found in the company of allizinx
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whites who think that they are you are one of them as they embark on to discussions about us colored folks. it is a pretty ugly business but, eventually as you grow through that you realize this is going to continue to happen thousands of times. so, as you grow a little bit older he realize that part of that terror is going to be not just being regarded as white and privy to those conversations which are very threatening tonv your very existence, not just your family. it is also enhance as your status as an object in the imagination of this projection,t let's let's say. not very funny stuff, well matt johnson in this extraordinarily insightful, boy ends, to use it just him, swinging, very funny
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description of this treacherous labyrinth which very few of us actually survived. in fact, i believe in the autobiography of her father said this is what actually killed him. it was his inability to deal with this. so i would just say very quickly that we've all heard of a laugh to keep from crying with tedd jones i mentioned early laughing to keep from lying, but if you want to become a lying crier, i suggest, i suggest you get with matt johnson.nd a you can dig 11 day which is a beautiful and vivacious, hilarious, buoyant, novel and a brilliant take on race relations and color relations within the so-called race here in america.
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with that said, we are deeplydey gratified that john king's it could be so generous with his time and join us this afternoon to accept the award for his collection of short stories and counter narratives. i've said before in writing, but i will continue i believe that john can accurately be thought of as a cartographer, a a mapmaker of the unconscious of the americas. it produces a unique literary experience because of the deep sensuality of his music and language which excepts all of the joys and pains and satisfactions and refusals of even going there as we say, that is to say to look at the
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possibility there is a deep and lasting conflict within your own body, mind, generating. again, if the embrace of those pains enjoys that makes his work so unique in such a unique pleasure to read. i could go on, i'm not going to. i'm going to give you the master himself. again, john king, a tremendous one of the most innovative and exciting writers in america today. [applause] >> thank you so much justin for those beautiful remarks. all o congratulations to all my fellow on a race.
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it is an extra ordinary honor to be in your company and of course in the company of all of the people who have received this award before us. thank you so much to the before columbus foundation, to to the board for this extraordinary award. ficti it is hard to put in words even though i am someone who writes poetry, fiction, essays, everything, just to express how moved i was to learn that i receive this award. it sort sort of took the words away. so i will say more in a minute. i'd also also like to thank my publisher directions publishingo corporation and my editor barbara for taking a chance on this book. sometimes only see books in the world we imagine
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and i've had people say this, it must've been easy to get that book into print. this was a book that actually received discouragement.ank yo so i am very gratified that it is in the world and that new directions published it. and thanks to my agent who is a part of that process. many thanks to all of my colleagues and myir students and to my fellow writers, some of whom are heres today for support as i was writing this book. writing is a solitary, often a solitary pursuit. as we have heard again and again from the people of god appear, it is alsi a collaborative effort. we don't write in isolation, but we are always in conversation and communication with those around us. the people around us help make and bring works of literature into life. thanks to my parents including my late father my mother, both of whom encouraged me from
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childhood and my various artistic pursuits. above all, thank you to my partner curtis who is here who has been with me all along the journey from not just this book's conception but every book's conception. through its completion and he would periodically ask if i would finish a story about the hot air balloons. one of the best writing prompts of all because of someone is asking you did you finish that story about the hot air balloons? you have to finish the story about it and that's one of my favorite stories in the book. just. just as the inception in 1976, 40 years this is really impressive anniversary and in ten years it will be 50 years and will be able to celebrate the before columbus foundation has promoted and disseminated multicultural literature, whichy is to say to champion and affirf literature that reflects the richness and diversity of the society. i think when we think of
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diversity we think of multiculturalism, with think of it in a soft and easy terms. but i was think of the poet, critic and essay of elizabeth alexander who talks about hard multiculturalism that is often antagonistic. it requires and reflects the struggles that we go through. i think this is one of the things that the before columbus foundation is making clear. as we have heard many times today this is central to the work that it does.y so to champion it reflects the richness of the society and it shows us a way forward to our common future. this is crucial. crucial. as our current election season reminds all of us again, i just want to say it is easy to reflect on this election season when i go online i see people talking and they say this is the
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craziest election they've upperu lifter. i think i've lived through like six or seven crazy elections. i mean and people say oh my gosh, this emergence of this horrible race in white supremacy and i'm like, what did it ever leave? it's always been your people, come on. the one candidate is not the first one to mutter crazy racist things. it reminds us yet when again that we have made tremendous advancements over the years, we still have ways to go.poetry literature, again literature including all the other things in the world but literature, poetry, fiction, drama, creative and critical non- fiction which representatives talk about today
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and forms that we haven't really fully conceptualize, all possess the power, significant power that we should never fail to acknowledge to shape our voyage to a better, more better, more equal future for all of us. this is when you talk about storytelling. stories are so powerful. they are not simply these things that are frivolous, that have no value, that, that carry no weight in the world. they shape how we think aboutow the world. this is what they're just telling us the stories about the past and the stories about the present. that may be clear, literature alone cannot dispel the fear, the anger, the hate, anger, the hate, and the distrust. it cannot, by itself heal histories differing it cannot
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transform us overnight into kinder people, make us love one another, lead us on a path of goodness and righteousness. yet, it can and often does help usr understand each other and ourselves. c o it can and often does places in the minds and bodies of other people, very different from us. he can help us see them more fully, more clearly, more empathetically. but literature often shines light on not just our individual cells but on our collective experiences on how they are similar and different, and only systems and structures in a by which we live and how they can oppress or liberate us. literature also can show us how to transform this world, our world for the better. literature often plants a seed or seeds for the future. i love the comment about how you are reading african-americandi literature and it inspires you, some times things that may not
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seem to have any director election to us, but they do, they can empower us in ways we don't fully understand.ature is this is why literature is so important. literature can also show us how we can transform the world for the better. as a great poet said, speaking in the language of our ancestors and family members,. [inaudible] , it will get better. k literature has always played and will play a key part in makingha this happen. this parallels one of before clone the before club is foundation founder and whom i want to think in particular for having been a wonderful visionary teacher for so many others, and me. and for having set me on a crucial time in my life on the path that i'm on. he is really a remarkable
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writer, activist, but he's a really an ordinary teacher. one teacher. one of the best teachers i have ever had. i thank god every day that i had you as a teacher. particularly at that critical time. ishmael's work that my fellow honorees embodies the freedom dreams of our ancestors.justice in our own he produces an expansive literature of social engagements and justice, social and political consciousness, resistance revision name, resene train and reconstructing rarely shine away from the difficult conversations we must participated to create an experience of new and inclusive possibilities for our world.
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if you don't shy away from confronting the realities of the world were living inches the matter what it is. it's really quite powerful, moving and inspiring. one of the things that i carried with me always led me to write this book. for that reason i consider the sore not just the highest honor i could receive, but a tribute to my former teacher. thank you ishmael and thank you to the before columbus [applause] >> one of the distinguishing characteristics of american i literature and african-american literature in particular is that it emerges from a time in whichb our literacy was punishable by death. law this law, capital punishment for
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literature c was taken so seriously that even the person who is teaching the person was also killed. now, did that ever really stop? what is the contemporary animation of that long? was there a point when it completely evaporated? most certainly not. but it has sculpted is shaped the literature itself. this relationship with the literate word, now, our next honoree william, who did thet excavation, who did the homework, who did the difficult job that many of us had that programs of counterintelligence
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that were focused on black writers had sought to not only negley their expression but to leave to extraordinary levels oe self censorship. when you see this time in american history in which african-american writing is emerging from a time in which it was punishable by death, then you see coming into the 20th century will begin with the red summer. 1919. mckay and the poem if we must die which alerted the u.s.t they government to what they described reading the records of congress is a new attitude among our negroes. now, the intensity of that focus the to over a century which i believe continues to this day,
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it modest because the scope of the writers that are engaged ino this book, fbi's, how j edgarthe hoover's ghost readers framed african-american literature. the scope of these writers is one that describes the entire trajectory toward freedom. what i mean by that is we all know that all over the world and throughout the planet that african-american art and music has inspired liberation struggles globally all over the world. it is contained within this literature and that is what the fbi took so much assiduous care and analyzing it. it and in disrupting it. and destabilizing it. eventually along the way with some version of literary
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blackface, writing it themselves. it is a shame this book has not received more attention here in the united states. i suspect that part of that lack of critical reception has to do not only that these programs continue to go on, but the stark mirror image of what is taking place in terms of surveillance of martyrs and writers that are taking place now. one of the revelations that arrived out of the book is that one time several dozen black americaner writers including ishmael run a list of those to be arrested in the case of national emergency. they're going to put you in prison right away. i'm sure sure that list still exists today. had the writers who are talkedab about within this extraordinary
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book, have these been black mountain folks are new york school folks you never would've heard the end of it. but it is not. so that is the difficulty we will have to face. i urge you to do the hard work and to honor the example and find your way to read this book. it is a great pleasure to introduce you to william j maxwell who did the very difficult hard work of dealing with the bureaucratic apparatus that keeps most of this information hidden. he excavated it and brought us this gift. it is a great pleasure to present you this book award. you [applause] >> sans beginning to think i'm in a hotbed of leftist here. it's a bit terrifying but it
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feels like coming home. i'm an english professor which means if i stand before one of these things i deliver long, boring lectures. boring lectures. but i want to do. i will just think people. i want to think before columbus foundation for helping with the book in many ways. this gentleman here from be in an ideal reader. and one of the subjects of the book for plus in the book which was a fantastic blessing. i heard from a number of contemporary african-american writers and that's the greatest honor of all. one thing i would like to praise in the before columbus foundation is one way in which it breaks down segregated walls and one way is to take seriously critical and historical writing is writing. tremendously honored by that hor fact. i like to thank my publisher, princeton university press actually thought it could sell
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is in the macbook. a and so it sold a few copies and on here speaking with you. i sat down and wrote a book which academics do, occasionally. there's a few people i would like to think. i will not give you the foreign half hour lecture had planned. want to thank my family, that's a shock. but i want to thank jules, my partner, my wife, i want to thank mike kidd, bics and i hope you leaves the midwest too, though i love st. louis.nk want to thank my sister stephanie, carolyn, i, i want to thank my parents who are working-class kids make good through the burke. and all that they gave me. i wish there here today. so think it's my family. my family teaches me is that every time out, life trumps arts. so i use that word, trump. so i would like to also thank the freedom of information act
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which is one of the sometimes under emphasized successes of the 1960s in this country. and achievement of the american left that is still bearing fruie is an important tool of ournf democracy. so let's have a hand for the freedom of information act. [applause]impo without which this book would be impossible. i'd i would actually like to think some of thee employees of the fbi, the people who processes request, who work with some diligence. many of whom are people of color. i don't want to thank james call me in any way shape or form, but you should right away for your fbi file you should right away for your figures file. there they are easier to come by than you might think. they're often disturbing, their evidence of crimes but alsolookm
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surprisingly insightful documents at moments. it turns out police are good readers in certain ways. i like to thank the african-american writers in the book. some of whom are here today. for giving me a life. for saving my life in various ways.fe in i say that quite seriously. for giving us an example of something we will all have to live within the 21st century which is how to live withce wit surveillance. with grace and creativity, the fbi broke people, but it also strangely enough inspired a lot of very fine black writers. they have been dealing with this scourge that we all now have in our pockets. and, again, i just want to thank you all. i'm honored to be here. [applause]king
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>> how is everybody doing? hanging in there? is so wonderful to hear all of these wonderful voices speaking up. i want to echo all of the acolytes that ishmael reed has received and he deserves muche. more. if not for ishmael reed we wouli not have established the critics award. he fought for that. we'll realize what a missionary he is. ray young there is a lifetime resident of the muskoka settlement in central iowa. his phones have appeared in numerous magazines and have beeo collected into three books.ts ry the recipient of a grant from the national endowment for the arts, rate young bear has taught creative writing and nativee american literature at numerous schools across the united states including the university of iowa
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and the institute of american indian arts. we are are said he was not able to join us today. of his work, sherman sherman alexi says, i am not exaggerating when i tell you that ray young bear is the best poets in indian country and in the top 46 in the whole dang world. sacred and profound, profound and reverent, his poetry pushes you into a corner, roughs you up a bit, maybe takes your wallet and that gives you a long kiss goodbye. that's him all right. manifestation will very is the collected poetry of ray young bear, the definitive collection of a ground breaking native american poet whose work traces the fault line between past and
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present, real and surreal, comedy and tragedy, to, to unveil a transcendent new vision of the world. hailed by bloomsbury review as the most contemporary native american poet, rate young bear trust the nation was lucky tradition a popular tradition to create poems that provoke us down to and heal.en it's a new volume which i looking for to reading. especially now with the standoff at standing rock.hers and we really need to support our brothers and sisters out there in that long struggle. they will stand their ground and so i am very afraid of what is going to happen because pipeline people are just as determined to profit from that land and stolen ground. so again, i am so happy to know that ray young bear will be
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getting this award. next award is for the book, the american slave coast. a history of the slave breedingy industry. it seems to be the theme today looking back at the slave past. hamilton et cetera, letting constant sublet the authors is the author the world that made new orleans in the year before the flood. they have published constant ash, she has three novels and edited the anthology, not of women born. unfortunately they were unfortunately they were not able to join us today. of the book counterpunch says
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they have provided the world with one of the best history books ever written about the united states. nominally about the slave breeding industry in the usf, the american slave coast is actually sweeping in depth survey of the nation known as the united states. here today it is our honor to have roxanne dunbar ortiz speak on their behalf. [applause] [inaudible]
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[inaudible] >> i just brought the cover because the book weighs 3 pounds. it is nearly 800 pages. every word is important. so it is my honor to accept the american book award for authors ned and constance sublet for their extraordinary book, the american slave coast. i will read the acceptance. the authors wish to thank justin and before the and the before columbus foundation sing, we salute the foundation on the longevity of the american book award's roster of recipients of the years takes on a historical perspective all in its own and his magnificent playlist we are now thrilled to reside.
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i also share that sentiment. i wasn't awarded last year with the american book awards. so i am very happy to be here the sublet continue perhaps because of the stimulating names before columbus and because the american slave coast is squarely in the genre of american history it took a while for it to sink in for us that this was not a history award, but a literary award. which is particularly gratifying because we have long red history as literature and vice versa. creating historical narratives is inevitably a literary act and it is a never ending task because people interrogate history differently over time.
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different moments have different urgent questions. different reference reference points, different techniques and sources, different taboos. our publisher, chicago review press published all three of ned's a book prior to the american slave coast. our four were edited creating for us a long-term continuity of editor, publisher and writer that is unusual. the solid editorial support has allowed us to create large historical structures which goes against the grain of the publishing industry and focus on short books and more narrow topics. our book is 265,000 words and weighs 3 pounds in hardback. at first we are apologetic for its length and have to, but in new orleans a woman said to us, it takes a book that big to tell our story.
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they continue, the american slave coast is a history of the united states. it takes into account something that everyone in slavery days understood. the workings of the slave breeding industry. it was a unique creation of anglo-american entrepreneurship. it was central to american politics and economics as long as it existed. all of american history looks different, once the slave breeding industry is taken into account. indeed, key, key event like the annexation of texas and california are inexplicable without reference to it. this is the history of the slave breeding industry which we define as a complex of businesses and individuals in i the united states who profited from the enslavement of african-american children at
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birth. at the heart of our account's intricate intricate connection between the legal factor peoplee as property, that is the chattel principal and national expansion. our narrative doubles as the history of the making of the united states as seen from a point of view of the domestic slave trade. it also traces the history of money in america, in the southern united states slavery was inexplicably associated with its own economy, interconnectedo with that of the north. e one of the two principal products of the anti- bell and slave economy was staple crops which provided the cash flow, primarily contin which was united states major exports. the other, remember he is talking about products and
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money, the other was enslaved people who counted as capital and functioned as well in the south. african-american bodies and childbearing potential collateralized massive amounts of credit. the use of which made slave owners the wealthiest people in the country.av when the southern states seceded to form the confederacy they partitioned off and declared independence for their economict system in which people were money. the conflict between north andro south is a fundamental trope of american history. in our narrative it is interests other. the commercial antagonism between virginia, the great slave breeder colony and state in south carolina, the great slave importer for control of the market that supplied slave
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labor to the cotton the power struggle between the two essential to the constitutional convention in philadelphia in 1787. and to secession in 1861.861. what has prevented our presence today is associated with this weekend's performance and new york city symphony space of the american slave coast live. a to our reading of the book with multiple voices and alive score. for two hours a theater full of people listen and responded to historical discourse. it was cathartic and we hope to present it in other cities. at the top of the show flyer we probably set a banner, american book award winner. so many people have congratulated us on the award
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and our publishers very happy. v we send a profound thank you to the before columbus foundation, and we feel down for not not being there to celebrate withd you today. thank you. that that is the end of their statement. and i want to say congratulations to all of the awardees today. it's it's been a wonderful afternoon listening. thank's b [applause] >> we're getting there. in the autumn of 2015, -- johnson, a student california state university sacramento challenge the
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mischaracterization and distortions of the history of the so-called new world a stop by one of her professors. the veracity of her arguments were backed by voluminous documentation provided over decades by accredited historians throughout the west. documentation that she offered encountered distinctions to the buy she understood as dismissive as genocide and the americas americas and slavery in europe and africa. she understood her culture and what was at stake and not defending it.e path she chose the path of integrity and great honor. then professor retell rate by just enrolling her from the classroom. in response she pursued justice to the filing op official complaints with university garnering national and international attention to her struggle. her extraordinary act of courage and challenging the backwardness of california state university status quo on the question of
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genocide and slavery eventually led to the establishment of anda new faculty and new curriculum at the university. more than this, her example has nourished the hopes of countless others in bringing healing to the ones of too long neglected and violently suppressed history. we, at before columbus foundation honor mr. johnson's bravery, her example, and above all her intellectual integrity with the inauguration of our first andrew hope award, named for longtime board member, poet, educator, activists, andrew hope the third passed away in 2008. [applause]
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>> hello everyone. unfortunately my sister cannot make it but i am her younger sister. [speaking in native language] i will read the first section of my sister speech. i would first like to start by saying thank you. thank you to every hard-working individual who made this event possible and thank
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you to the kind and brilliant people at the before columbus foundation for choosing to recognize me here today. it is nothing short of an absolute honor to be here, even if only in spirit and thought. i am both incredibly thankful and humbled to be among such amazing, inspiring, hard-working individuals. i'm quite honestly unsure of what to say in the space of so many brilliant people. i will keep it as honest and simple as i can. who wan i'm just a girl who wants to do the right thing. my people and my parents taught me that we have always been responsible for more than just ourselves. that would come from a land with a deep history into an ancient sacred circle. we are responsible for recognizing that we come from something much larger than our self. my parents taught me and havear always told me the truth about the hurt done on tour people. they understood the heartbreak in the power of history. so they told me gradually, p
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spice piece, story of ourr families survival until i was old old enough to hold the weight of the truth. every year in elementary school we celebrated columbus day with reverence and without mention of the violence or domination, we celebrated thanksgiving with crafts and turkey cut outs and indian feathers and headbands. in fourth grade is mandated that we all visit the california mission and fashion 3d model after learning about history.fow the middle school we learned the updated versions of the same tracks we followed as elementary students. it wasn't until highwa school that are lesson plans contained in a truth about any real violence that occurred during the invasion of native land and people. it was my parents, not school teachers were the ones to teach me about the truth of columbus. my parents are the ones who taught me about the aftermath of those first thanksgivings.
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it was my parents who held my hand when we visited the mission and warmed me of the evils that took place inside those walls. it was my parents who taught me the truth about the united states and it was my parents who made me unafraid to speak the truth. >> my name is martina johnson. [speaking in native language] i am navajo, i'm from arizona from the navajo reservation. my husband is my due and he is from northern california. we have two girls and one is pursuing a degree in theater in english and right now she got a part in one of the place that is going on at the capitol theater in sacramento. she cannot be here today. so i will read the part where,
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this is a poem she wrote about her experiences. when my professor at sacramento state university said genocide is not what happened to admit native americans, genesis implies of purposeful dissemination most natives were wiped out by diseases. it was not genocide. silence silence was not an option. genocide is more than bloodshed, it is, in present-day denial of the truth, repression of those, it is the denial of truth and the repression of those who fought for. genocide is undoubtedly the fight that is taking place right now is sacred stone camp in north dakota. genocide is a reason natives have been fighting for the right
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to exist for the past 500 years. it is the reason we existthe re invisibly. but also the reason we live so resiliently. we survive,rv survive, we laugh, we love, and we listen. though we are outnumbered we are far from being a defeated people. matthias we're here there will always be worse who will take the stand for what is right and true. there are millions of blank spaces in this places where the faces of our people should be. there are billions of blank spaces in the earth where a tree once stood. i river once flowed, and the green of the earth saying a sweet song. gon we look to the land and so many are gone. we look to what survives and hope is alive.
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we look to the sky, say a prayer and hello because they are not here, but there and we are not here but there in the sky. writing dreams with the smoke of a star sacred memory, sing in life back into the spaces that we lost.nt we are resilient, hopeful, and alive. has first people, as first nations people we neither hadstt nor needed a constitution or bill of rights. we already already had the elements in our cultures by which to treat our people, children, are women, and our elders. we have paid elders. we have paid a staggering price for a 1924 citizenship in a 1948 right to vote that no other americans will ever have. with a staggering price that we
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have paid times the reaffirmation that the ideals that driver people forward, whether whether in the pastor now are based on truth. speaking against the denial of native genocide that this nation built its foundation upon is not an attack on the united states, the united states of america is my country. the united states of america is your country, the united stateso of america is our speaking up does does not attack or diminish the united states. she spoke up year before standing rock. ameri the strategies and tactics being used against american citizens is standing rock are adaptations of what russia is employing against its related slavicga people of georgia and ukraine.
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the beatings of elders and women, the use of plainclothes, infiltrators plainclothes, infiltrators and instigators, the use of military communications, equipment to deny broadcast of the ongoing human and civil rights violations. the use of pleas to deny constitutional guaranteed right by peaceful assembly. the seizure of land and continuing persecution of unarmed citizens are grueling. there are chapters in the greater story. speaking up is speaking the truth. in th defending the truth that the united states must reconcile to avoid history. speaking up was and is having faith in all americans to havens intellectual and moral strength to deal with the truth, heal from the truth, learn from the truth, and become stronger american people. thank you. thank you for the award. [applause]
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. . >> before concluding this afternoon's award ceremonies and bringing up and welcoming our fellow board member who will be accepting the lifetime achievement award for luis meriwether, i just want to make a couple short announcements. also, i really implore everyone here to join us around the corner for our reception, celebrating our winners this afternoon.
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it's very close by, just around the corner >> i don't have the address in front of me, but i can tell you it's about a three minute walk. they will definitely be a guide group heading over there. again, in all seriousness, the before columbus foundation operates on a shoestring budget and every once in a while that shoestring stamps and i don't want to see that and i know you don't want to see that. at the beginning of the program, i had mentioned a number of different things that we are cultivating in our relationships with our partners at the san francisco public library in the oakland book festival, but i would also urge all of you to contribute to sustaining the before columbus foundation. as a matter of fact, i brought receipts so you can write it off on your taxes. i have a folder of them here so
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you can come see me here or at the jazz center or around the corner when we gather at the reception. again, we are very happy that margaret porter troupe could make the trip across country to join us this afternoon to accept the lifetime achievement award for luis meriwether, and i will say just a few words of introduction for those of you who are not familiar with her work, you you are in for some big beautiful surprises. within the arkin panorama of american literal literature, she she holds a unique and hallowed position, many positions actually. as a pioneer of women's letters and a pioneer of african-american art, she staked out new territories, uncharted, untaken down in words, but not entirely unknown to the
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inter-lives of of black women, their sisters, husbands, brothers, sons and daughters, old old and young. the emotional complexity of her characters revealing the agility of her own imagination and intelligence discloses a consistent empathy to hold her people close. despite whatever contradictions may exist, despite the terrors and terminal engine turmoil, there is always, at come at the center, a deep and abiding sense of their own shared humanity. it is this immense quality of dignity, of trust, of belief in humans. that we honor and bestow on the book award for life time achievement and with that please welcome to the stage margaret porter troupe. [applause] >> thank you
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>> good evening, good afternoon, it is it is my pleasure to be here today. i am a relatively new member of the board and i am very proud privilege to be able to serve in a very small way as a member of the board of before columbus foundation. thank you ishmael reed for asking me to join the board, thank you for your support, and thank you for the great legacy that you have left, that you leave for us, the model that you present for me personally as someone who is committed, as a wonderful writer, but also as an activist. that is the same way that i feel about luis meriwether who spent her entire life, not only as a writer, a creative writer but also has an activist and committed to human rights and committed to helping to lead the world and leave you a better
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place than she found it. luis meriwether and i have known each other perhaps 40 years, but only now my really beginning to get to know her, both as a writer and as a human being. she enjoyed her 93rd birthday on may 8 this year. my birthday is may 9 so we are sisters and twins in a way, sharing almost the same birthday. i feel privileged to have met her and to know her and to know her unrelenting energy. she is finishing her fourth novel, she has just finished the fourth draft of it and she also is the most up-to-date person i know on contemporary movies, film, and she knows and goes to see every film every day.
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she is extraordinarily active and beautiful. the manhattan borough president just declared may 8, 2016 luis meriwether celebration day memorializing her contribution to the arts as well as too civil rights and human rights, etc. on her on her behalf, i am so privileged to accept this award. she sends her thanks and her gratitude. thank you all for having me. [applause] >> so once more, i will point out, if you walk down to this corner here and then you walk up this way, you got the address, just, just right around the
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corner. thank you steve. you will be seeing some of us walking there. i'm going with them. >> 398 hayes. it's about a three minute walk. so if we could have the winners ishmael, do do you want to come up? do you want to say something about joyce? >> joyce carol thomas was one of our long term members of the before columbus foundation. she began her life picking
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cotton, like this old 19th century stuff, in the cotton fields and was the fifth member, she had a big family, nine children and she worked her way out of the cotton fields through literacy and she began writing books. her hispanic coworkers, david murray said black people (fields [inaudible] she received from the university, what i wanted to say to her fellow hispanic workers who taught her spanish so she received in spanish at san jose university. her most famous book is called
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marked by fire, and she has received a national book award and wrote a number of children's books and i was a contributor to her book about brown versus board of education, the decision that came down ending school segregation. she was very valued member of our organization and lived a long and productive life and produced a number of books. we are really going to miss her. we have lost three members of our organization since it's inception. we mentioned andrew hope who was a very valued member i wrote a
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novel [inaudible] this, needed with my wife and i being admitted to the tribe because of callahan. and george carol thomas. we have lost members and we are admitting new members. i also wanted to mention that our president who wrote the first major american play which began in my classroom at the university of california berkeley with 20 pages, when he graduated they said were not finished with you. he said i don't know anything about
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[inaudible] he is the president of the organization, and now he is a regular at huffington post and he just did a piece on islam for huffington post. we have a very good group. we will miss joyce and we will be sure to protect her, or preserve her legacy. [applause] >> before we depart for the reception, i just want to thank everyone for being so generous to bring yourself to the space and celebration of the american book award. thank you for sharing your time with us this afternoon.
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for the winners of the award, if if you could please join me on stage, tennessee reed would like to take some photographs with you. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> well, good evening, everyone.


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