Nikki Giovanni
November 20, 2019

Nikki Giovanni to keynote MLK Day celebration

CAMD to present a full day of programming for 30th anniversary
by LaShawn Springer

CAMD is pleased to announce that our MLK Day speaker this year is world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator Nikki Giovanni.

Over the past 30 years, her outspokenness—in her writing and in lectures—has brought the eyes of the world upon her. One of the most widely read American poets, she prides herself on being, as she says, a black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English. Giovanni remains as determined and committed as ever to the fight for civil rights and equality. She has maintained a prominent place as a strong voice of the black community. Her focus is on the individual, specifically on the power one has to make a difference in oneself, and thus in the lives of others.

Giovanni published her first book of poetry, Black Feeling, Black Talk, in 1968 and within the next year published a second book, thus launching her career as a writer. Early in her career she was dubbed the “Princess of Black Poetry,” and over the course of more than three decades of publishing and lecturing she has been called both a “national treasure” and, most recently, one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 “Living Legends.”

Giovanni is the author of some 30 books for both adults and children, many of which earned her honors and awards. Her autobiography, Gemini (1974), was a finalist for the National Book Award; Love Poems, Blues: For All the Changes, Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, Acolytes, and Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat were all honored with NAACP Image Awards.

Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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