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February 2021
Monthly news from the Billie Holiday Project

Lawrence JacksonDear Friends of the Billie Holiday Project,

Despite the many challenges of 2020, we see a bright year ahead for Black arts and heritage preservation in Baltimore. Through critical intellectual and artistic exchange between Johns Hopkins and the historic African American corridors of Baltimore, we will press onward in celebrating Black thinkers and arts creators who have made and are making this city.
We will press
onward with collaborative efforts to preserve the rare print materials and oral histories of Black life that must be found, recorded, and kept. We will press onward with our educational mandate to disseminate Black knowledge -- deeply and broadly, within and without the academy. 

With a roster of virtual events and programs on our agenda this season, we are excited to engage and build community with you, as we have since 2017. The pandemic may have slowed our strut, but it did not dampen our resolve. We hope you enjoy our first newsletter of 2021.


Lawrence P. Jackson
Founding Director

What's New at BHPLA?
BHPLA and Partners win Mellon Foundation Grant
The Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts is proud to announce that they have been awarded a three-year grant in collaboration with the Program in Racism, Immigration and Citizenship; and the Sheridan Libraries and University Museums. The project, "Inheritance Baltimore: Humanities and Arts Education for Black Liberation," will focus on documenting the racist making of the academic disciplines, pioneering new methods of Black-centered research and pedagogy, and expanding ongoing efforts to rescue Black archival resources in Maryland.

BHPLA's Visiting Artist for Spring 2021, Noah Silas
An actor, director, and writer for the stage and screen, Noah Silas has a broad list of film and theatre credits as a leader and collaborator on projects throughout the greater Baltimore Arts Community. Noah Silas will be working on an original short-film production entitled, "Blessed Are the Charmed".
Donald Bentley Distinguished Memorial Lecture with D. Watkins 
The Holiday Project is pleased to announce our upcoming Donald Bentley Distinguished Memorial Lecture, featuring Baltimore native and Founder of the BMORE Writers Project, D. Watkins. A current editor-at-large for Salon, Watkins' work has been published in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, and many more outlets. Stay tuned for dates and more information about this Spring virtual event.
Holiday Project hires Archivist to support Community Partners
We are pleased to continue our work with several of Baltimore's historic African American churches and the Eubie Blake Jazz Cultural Center through the appointment of archival specialist, Megan McShea. Over the next 9 months, McShea will work closely with our community partners to provide technical assistance and strategic planning support toward the preservation of treasured collections from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries.
Have you seen the Billie Holiday Project in your neighborhood?

"Never Let Anyone Define You"

Community Mural in West Baltimore by BHPLA Visiting Artist 2020 Adam Stab. This artistic tribute to the Hon. Elijah Cummings was developed in partnership with the historic Union Baptist Church. Learn more about the project here.
Upcoming Black Humanities Events at JHU
Women, Gender, & Sexuality Visiting Distinguished Professor: Fred Moten
Every spring, the Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality invites a prominent scholar to be a visiting distinguished professor at Johns Hopkins. This year's Women, Gender and Sexuality Visiting Distinguished Professor is Fred Moten. Attend his talk on February 18th from 4:15 - 6:00pm. Email for more information.

Heritage 365 Speaker Series - Black Heritage Celebration featuring Jonathan Blanchard
The Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Black Faculty Staff Association are excited to present musician Jonathan Blanchard and his presentation: "From Spirituals to Hip Hop: A Musical Journey Celebrating African American Music from its Inception." For more information, contact

#BlackLivesMatter, Pandemics, & Poetics
The Master of Liberal Arts program invites you to join Advanced Academic Programs Alumni and poet E. Doyle Gillespie to discuss his new book Gentrifying the Plague House. In this online discussion, E. Doyle Gillespie will discuss #BlackLivesMatter, the COVID-19 pandemic, and political and social shifts in Baltimore and nationwide, as they relate to his poetics and creative process.
Events Around Town and Online
Make Good Trouble: Marching for Change
On view now at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Make Good Trouble: Marching for Change
is an exhibition that tells the stories of Maryland artists and citizen protestors who took to the streets and raised awareness about social injustices in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Reminiscent of the 1995 Million Man March, the recent Black Lives Matter protests call for action to address the economic and social issues that have adversely affected Black people for centuries. For more information visit:
Explore the Story of Billie Holiday
Coming to Hulu on February 26th, United States vs Billie Holiday starring Andrea Day is a biopic of Billie Holiday. The film was nominated for Best Original Song for their work, "Tigress & Tweed" for the 78th Golden Globe Awards & Andrea Day was nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her portrayal of Billie Holiday.

This monthly newsletter was sent on behalf of the
Billie Holiday Project 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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