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May 2022
Monthly news from the Billie Holiday Center

What's New at BHCLA?

An Evening to Remember: BHCLA's 2nd Annual Donald Bentley Distinguished Memorial Lecture
Actress, playwright, teacher, and author Anna Deavere Smith headlined our 2022 Donald Bentley Distinguished Memorial Lecture at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Special thanks to our event partners and community co-sponsors: BMA, Beloved Community Services, Alexander Grass Humanities Institute, JHU Center for Africana Studies, and the Departments of English and History. Following the keynote, BHCLA Founding Director Lawrence Jackson engaged Ms. Smith in a lively dialogue about growing up Black in Baltimore.


Billie Holiday Center presents the 2022 Helena Hicks Emancipation School: Spring Series May 4th & 11th
In case you've missed our mini-courses, we will post videos soon to our YouTube channel. Up Next: Professors Sasha Turner and Richard Lofton join this Black Studies webinar series, relaying critical information on historical and contemporary issues affecting Black freedoms. The mini-course format involves a 40-minute presentation, followed by 20 minutes of Q+A. Register

Exhibit Opening at the Eisenhower Library
"Community Archives: Preserving Black Baltimore"

View the rich histories that lie within non-traditional archives in Black Baltimore in this exhibition on the Milton S. Eisenhower library's main level. Curated by staff of our JHU-UB Community Archives Program, the exhibit contains items loaned from community partners, such as the Eubie Blake Cultural Arts Center, The Afro Newspaper, and three historic Black churches of Old West Baltimore: Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Union Baptist Church, and St. James Episcopal Church. Now on display through June 30th. Learn more 

Save the Date! Juneteenth at Homewood: June 17th
Coming this June: Take a mid-day break from 12 - 2pm to celebrate Juneteenth with the Billie Holiday Center for Liberation Arts, in partnership with the Krieger School Office of the Dean, Homewood Museum and Center for Africana Studies. Enjoy FREE food, history and fellowship, honoring the freedom dreams, struggles, and triumphs of Baltimore's Black ancestors. Stay tuned for more to come.

"Art & Social Justice" Community Arts Exhibition
Students in BHCLA's "Arts & Social Justice Practicum" held an exhibition on the Main Quad of the JHU Homewood campus, giving passers-by the opportunity to explore the history and legacies of the Black Arts Movement, and contemporary intersections of art and social justice in Baltimore City. Learn more about the projects involved and exhibition

Community Outreach in Maryland's Eastern Shore: May 13th
As part of our public engagement beyond Baltimore, BHCLA has an emerging partnership with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to help train the next generation of black archivists and cultural heritage workers in one of Maryland's oldest centers of African American heritage. The upcoming workshops will be lead by Angela Koukoui and Tonika Berkley, Co-Directors of the JHU-UB Community Archives Program.

Doing Oral History with "Baltimore Speaks"
As an institutional member of the Baltimore Speaks oral history collective, BHCLA affiliates facilitated a series of three public workshops entitled, "Doing Oral History in Baltimore" this past month. Featuring Kelly E. Navies, Oral History Specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and attended by representatives of over ten community-based organizations in Baltimore, the series aimed to provide a working knowledge of oral history: a field of study and a method of recording, preserving, and interpreting people’s experiences of the past through the prism of the present.

Graduate Student Opportunities: Paid Assistantships available for 2022-2023 with BHCLA
Are you seeking a paid assistantship for next year? Do you have strengths in Project Management and an interest in Black History? View the list of available opportunities here. For more information, contact Dr. Shawntay Stocks, BHCLA's Assistant Director of Fellowships and Community Engagement at

Special Feature: Launch of BHCLA Founding Director's New Book, SHELTER

Community members came together April 24th to celebrate the release of Lawrence Jackson's new book. SHELTER: A Black Tale of Homeland Baltimore is "an extraordinary biography of a city and a celebration of our capacity for domestic thriving. Jackson's story leans on the essay to contain the raging absurdity of Black American life, establishing himself as a maverick, essential writer." Read more & purchase your own copy here. 

Upcoming Black Humanities Events at JHU
Reckoning with Race & Racism in Academic Medicine Conference
May 5th-6th, 10:00am: The legacies of race and racism cast a long shadow on academic medical institutions today. The Molina Symposium in the History of Medicine presences a conference dedicated to working towards a more inclusive version of structural violence. Learn more here.

School to Prison Pipeline in Baltimore: What can be done?
May 11th, 7:00pm: Join BHCLA for the fourth and final mini-course in the Helena Hicks Emancipation School Spring 2022 Speaker Series. Assistant Professor of Education at JHU., Richard Lofton will discuss the struggle of keeping youth out of prison after leaving school. Register here.

Jazz: America's Secret Sonic Weapon
May 12th, 6:00pm: Experience an evening of jazz on the terrace at Evergreen Museum & Library. Featuring music by Peabody jazz sextet Kenyatta and narration by Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars Professor Anna Harwell Celenza, the program will illustrate the power of jazz to seduce the world even as it remained a source of cultural dissonance for some Americans. Get tickets here.
Events Around Town and Online
Exploring Presence: African American Artists in the Upper South
May 5th, 5:00pm: Join UBMC for a virtual program that includes a screening of the short documentary film Exploring Presence: Ed Love, followed by a conversation with filmmaker and curator Angela N. Carroll and and Scott Love. The film is about the legacy of their father, esteemed sculptor Ed Love. Learn more here.

The African American Experience in Chinese Depictions of Global Socialism
May 12th, 5:30pm: In postwar era, the People's Republic of China has had a significant presence in the international socialist movement. This lecture will focus on examining depictions of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement produced in China in the 1960s and explore the complexity of their historical and visual context. See more here.

Voices of a Black Butterfly Film Premiere
May 13th, 5:30pm: What is it to survive and thrive in a city that doesn't always acknowledge your presence and history? Voices of a Black Butterfly, the latest documentary produced by The Baltimore National Heritage Area, explores the cult

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Billie Holiday Center for Liberation Arts

Johns Hopkins University
Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
3400 North Charles Street, Gilman 90A, Baltimore, MD 21218 

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Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts · Johns Hopkins University · 3400 N. Charles St. Wyman, Gilman 90 · Baltimore, Md 21218 · USA

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