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'TIL

WE

FREE

presented by
The Schomburg Center
Junior Scholars

‘Til We Free is a multimedia project that reflects the Junior Scholars' yearlong exploration of African diasporic history, politics, literature, and art. 

 

This year’s virtual showcase features youth-led projects in video production, theater, spoken word, visual arts, and playwriting that stretch our imagination towards Black liberation. 

Saturday, June 12 

11:00 AM - 2: 45 PM

'TIL WE FREE PROJECTS

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MEDIA

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ACTING

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PLAYWRITING

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POETRY

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VISUAL ARTS

PROGRAM SCHEDULE

OPENING REMARKS

Saturday, June 12

11:00 AM (ET)

PART I

 

FOR US, BY US

11:15 AM (ET)

This year our media group focused on African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) to rediscover the beauty of our language and inform those who may not understand its significance. Using digital media, they will provide a glimpse at what AAVE is, what it’s not, and its importance in Black history and culture. The presentation will feature a live discussion with Dr. April Baker-Bell, Associate Professor of Language, Literacy, and English Education in the Department of English and Department of African American and African Studies.

A CELEBRATION OF BLACK AMERICAN THEATER

12:00 PM (ET)

The JSP Acting Ensemble celebrates Black playwrights and Black characters with a performance of scenes and monologues from the works of Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson, Lydia R. Diamond from the Schomburg Collections. Explore with our young people why these works stand the test of time and will move, educate, and entertain us for years to come!

FREEDOM IS FOR EVERYONE

12:30 PM (ET)

Inspired by James Baldwin’s Who is the N*****, JSP Scholars personify “Freedom” and “America” to give flesh and voice to abstract ideas, and create a dialogue between the two. This project is presented by our playwriting scholars and guest cast: Alexis Myles, Anthony Washington, Massiel Armengot, Michael Penn II, Ninel Nekay, Taylor Scott, and Zhalarina Sanders.

PART II

BETWEEN THE WORD AND ME

1:15 PM (ET)

Original poems and performances presented by our spoken word students.

 

Words were our glue. We were bonded through a series of reflections, testimonies, and explorations. Simultaneously cultivating joy while creating a space where we could grieve. Grieving the seemingly perennial state of loss magnified by our melanin. The laughter led us to see that even in our virtual cypher, we had common pet peeves, food faves, and shows. We wrote of our evolutions birthed from embarrassing moments, self-realization, trauma, and familial struggles. We reflected on what it means to live in a Black body in 2021 after taking a deep dive into Richard Wright’s poem, “Between the World and Me”. This project is a beautiful collection of voices and experiences of young people who are sharing their words for us to marvel and affirm.

Nommo: Neo deities of the African Diaspora

11:00 AM (ET)

Through a year of great conflict, sacrifice, and survival, the Junior Scholars Program Visual Art Cohort decided to create a new pantheon of deities that reflect this moment and time for Black people. Born of conversational folklore from Africa and its diaspora, these deities were fashioned in a spirit of syncretism. Several texts acted as a guidepost for inspiration: Characteristics of Negro Expression By Zora Neal Hurston and THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY BLACK PEOPLE: Black Folk Heroes in the Age of Steam! By Balogun.