Released: Jan. 7, 2000
Centre College to host poet Sonia Sanchez for King Day celebration
DANVILLE, KY -- Poet and activist Sonia Sanchez will serve as featured speaker for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration at Centre College, set for Sunday, Jan. 16. The program will begin at 6 p.m. in Newlin Hall of the Norton Center for the Arts and is open to the public no cost.
Immediately following the program, Centre President John Roush and his wife Susie will host a reception at Craik House.
Sanchez is the author of fourteen books including Does Your House Have Lions? and Wounded in the House of a Friend. She won the 1995 American Book Award for Homegirls and Handgrenades. She has received other honors including the Lucretia Mott Award, the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Humanities and a community service award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
Publishers Weekly lauded Does Your House Have Lions? as evidence of Sanchez's ability to "craft public poetry out of social issues and familial relationships." The volume explored the death of the author's brother from AIDS and the rippling effect on other family members. In other works, she takes on issues including racism, sexism and poverty.
Sanchez most recently has resided in Philadelphia, where she has taught at Temple University. In a 1995 feature story, the Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine described her as "the poet who never blinks," a reference to her willingness to look directly at trouble and pain, then incorporate it into her work. She was considered a pioneer among African-American poets in the 1960s and gave many of her earliest public readings in bars in Harlem. Sanchez frequently incorporates street language and black dialect into her work.
Now in her mid-60s, Sanchez is sought to give lectures and public readings. One of her works, "Letter to Dr. Martin Luther King," has been adapted as a song, and she has received a Pew Fellowship.
The annual King holiday celebration commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Born in Georgia in 1929, he rose to prominence as the leader of the U.S. civil rights movement. Educated to become a minister and theologian, he advocated nonviolent resistance as a way of ending legal segregation in the United States.
King rose to prominence during the 1955-56 Birmingham bus boycott and subsequently traveled and spoke extensively throughout the country. His efforts set the stage for Congressional passage of the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act, and King received the Nobel Peace Prize that year in honor of his work. He continued to speak out for human rights and was assassinated in 1968, leading to the designation of his birthday as a national holiday and memorial.
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