Arkansas State University
fax (870) 972-3693
Links to News Releases
Public activities at ASU
Renowned author Nikki Giovanni to
speak Feb. 11 during Black History Month
Renowned author, poet and professor
Nikki Giovanni will be a special
guest speaker as part of Arkansas State University's 2010 Black History
celebration. Giovanni will appear at the Reng Student Services
Center/Student Union's Centennial Ballroom, on Thursday, Feb. 11,
at 7 p.m. The event is free, and the public is welcome.
Student Services Center/Student Union is located at 101 N. Caraway Road,
This event will allow the faculty, staff, students, and community to
hear from the
writer, poet, commentator,
activist and educator who is famed for lending her voice and vision in
looking at the world. Giovanni's
focus is on the individual, and specifically on the power of people to
make a difference in themselves and in the lives of others.
author of some 30 books for both adults and children, Giovanni is a
University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
Over the past thirty years, Giovanni's 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 "a Black
American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English." Giovanni
remains determined and committed to the fight for civil rights and
equality. Always insisting on presenting the truth as she sees it, she
has maintained a prominent place as a strong voice in the African
Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Lincoln
Heights, an all-black suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated with
honors from Fisk University, her grandfather's alma mater, in 1968.
After graduating from Fisk, she attended the University of Pennsylvania
and Columbia University. She published her first book of poetry, “Black
Feeling Black Talk,” in 1968, and within the next year published her
second. 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 come to be called both a "National Treasure" and
most recently, one of Oprah Winfrey's 25 "Living Legends."
Many of Giovanni's books have received honors and awards. Her
autobiography, “Gemini,” 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. “Blues:
For All the Changes” reached #4 on the Los Angeles Times
bestseller list, a rare achievement for a book of poems. Most recently,
her children's picture book “Rosa,” about the civil rights legend Rosa
Parks, became a Caldecott Honors Book. “Rosa” also reached #3 on The
New York Times bestseller list. Shortly after its release,
“Bicycles: Love Poems” reached #1 for poetry on Amazon.com.
Giovanni's spoken word recordings have also achieved widespread
recognition and honors. Her album “Truth Is on Its Way,” on which she
reads her poetry against a background of gospel music, was a Top 100
album and received the Best Spoken Word Album award given by the
National Association of Radio and Television Announcers. Her “Nikki
Giovanni Poetry Collection,” on which she reads and talks about her
poetry, was one of five finalists for a Grammy Award.
Giovanni's honors and awards have been steady and plentiful throughout
her career. The recipient of some twenty-five honorary degrees, she has
been named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle Magazine, The Ladies
Home Journal, and Ebony Magazine. She was tapped for the Ohio
Women's Hall of Fame and named an Outstanding Woman of Tennessee.
Giovanni has also received Governor's Awards from both Tennessee and
She was the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award,
and she has also been awarded the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry. She
is an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and has received
Life Membership and Scroll from the National Council of Negro Women. A
member of PEN, she was honored for her life and career by the History
Makers. She has received the keys to more than two dozen cities.
Black Enterprise honored her with a Women of Power Legacy Award for
work that expands opportunities for other women of color. Learn more
about Nikki Giovanni online
Giovanni's speech comes as part of ASU's
Black History Month 2010 celebration, with the theme "Rethinking
America’s Identity." Other activities include
“When Having It All Is Just Not Enough” in the Student Union auditorium
on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. On Thursday, Feb. 4,
Annual Soul Food Day, sponsored by the Strong-Turner Alumni Chapter of
the ASU Alumni Association,
will provide a potluck dinner in the National Guard Armory on the ASU
campus at 5:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Feb. 6, storyteller and drummer Zinse Agginie appears in
the ASU Museum Main Gallery on the second floor of the Dean B. Ellis
Library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Sunday, Feb. 7, there will be a World
Aids Day lecture sponsored by the National Association of Black Social
Workers in ASU's Student Union auditorium at 6 p.m.
Dr. Gauri Bhattacharya,
professor in the
Department of Social Work,
will distinguish “equality” and “equity,” while establishing the
importance both of these concepts in social progress in the
presentation, "Equity vs. Equality Diversity Dialogue" in the Student
Union Mockingbird Room on Monday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m.
Bhattacharya will review historic, social, cultural, economic and
political challenges, as well as some of the challenges and actions
necessary for addressing them.
Comedian Chris Rock’s popular documentary film, “Good Hair,” will be
presented with a discussion to follow in the Student Union Mockingbird
Room on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 6 p.m. The program will address issues of
self-esteem, identity, and more.
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the “Tunnel of
Oppression” event takes place in the Student Union Centennial Ballroom
at 7 p.m. The program is designed to create an awareness of different
types of oppression and its effects within society and the campus
Guest speaker Safisha Hill presents a lecture titled “Stepping Back Into
Time” in the Student Union Centennial Ballroom on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7
p.m. The Third Annual Fashion Expo takes place in the Student Union
Centennial Ballroom on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. The Black Student
Association offers a chance for participants and audience to test their
knowledge in the Black History Quiz Bowl, taking place in the Student
Union Mockingbird Room on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m.
Black History Month 2010 concludes with the “All-Black Affair Gala” at
the Fowler Center on Friday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. The formal event allows
students to come together in a relaxed atmosphere and mingle with
faculty and staff while enjoying food and live entertainment.
For more information on Black History Month at Arkansas State
University-Jonesboro, contact the ASU Leadership Center at (870)
--by Dr. Nancy Hendricks, director, Alumni Communications
# # #