The mission of the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College is to expand, broaden, and enrich the public’s knowledge and aesthetic appreciation of the value of Black literature and the literary works produced by people of the African Diaspora. Through a series of programs that build an audience for the reading, discussion, and critical analysis of contemporary Black literature and that serve as a forum for the research and study of Black literature, the Center convenes and supports various literary programs and events such as author readings and book signings, conferences, panel discussions, symposia, and writing workshops. Its intellectual approach to programs and activities is an integrative one that focuses on the ways in which the literary arts and cultural values inform the work of Black writers and the ways in which these works influence the culture at large.
Through its collaborations with public schools and organizations such as Brooklyn Public Library, The Center for Arts & Culture at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp., the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Brooklyn Literary Council, the Center for Black Literature serves as a vehicle for nurturing and cultivating the critical reading and writing habits of a cross-generation of readers and writers and provides university, community and public institutions with various literary programs. Funding and support for Center programs have been provided by the public and private sector and include organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Council for the Humanities, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the New-York Historical Society, Poets & Writers, and the Brooklyn Community Foundation, as well as support from local and state elected officials.
Executive Director’s Message
Welcome to the Center for Black Literature
Institutions representing and supporting the literature created by Black writers are disappearing in this country. In what some deem as a post-racial society, the question of the need for a Center for Black Literature arises, that is do we need a Center for Black Literature in a post-civil rights era and in a society that some have labeled as “post-racial?” I posit that we do.
Despite the increasing diversity of people and ethnic groups in our society and the blurred boundaries around race and ethnicity, conversations about race still remain charged. The notion of what it means to write as a Black writer is complicated. Hence there is still a need for “spaces” in which to document the writing and work of Black writers, to study the craft of writing, and to expose a cross-generation of students and the general public to a range of writers throughout the African Diaspora.
The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College creates this “space “by providing a series of programs that expand, broaden and enrich the public’s knowledge and aesthetic appreciation of Black literature. I encourage you to support the programming of the Center for Black Literature. It is one of only two centers in the country dedicated to doing this work.
Brenda M. Greene, Ph.D., Professor
Executive Director, Center for Black Literature