GODFREY – The Lewis and Clark Community College Diversity Council will welcome poet, educator and entrepreneur Treasure Shields Redmond to campus at noon, Thursday, March 28, in the Ringhausen Atrium.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Redmond will share the interactive presentation “What Would Fannie Lou Do? Digging Up the Roots of Intersectionality.” Hamer was an African-American civil rights activist who led voting drives and co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
“Mrs. Hamer joined the movement for civil rights without so much as a second thought, at the age of 44,” Redmond said. “She was known to reply to those who thought she should worry about being killed, that ‘[Jim Crow] had been killing [her] a little bit every day’ [of her life].”
Redmond will infuse poetry with southern dialect, spirituals and gospel to tell the story of the oft-forgotten civil rights leader. Hamer’s story, of rising from the sharecropper’s fields of Mississippi to confronting President Lyndon B. Johnson about his record on civil rights, is guaranteed to engage and uplift all who witness it.
Redmond will also be reading from her book “chop: a collection of Kwansabas for fannie lou hamer.”
“These poems are my love letter to Mrs. Hamer, and every black woman like her who raised me in Mississippi, and who, for me, were not exceptional,” Redmond said. “With these poems I am exposing to the world that genocide is overwhelming, but it is not total. Beneath the shrapnel of Jim Crow lay undetonated intellects – working, serving and keeping time, until they explode.”
Published in 2015, the award-winning book of poetry weaves together verse and biography to create a compelling portrait of one of America’s most important civil rights icons.
“I can’t think of a collection of poems dedicated to a form that exhibits both the nimbleness of voice and the depth of subject of Treasure Shields Redmond’s ‘chop,’” said A. Van Jordan, author of ‘M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A’ and professor at Rutgers University. “Redmond’s nuanced treatment of the civil rights movement and the spirit behind it holds a wisdom that belies the seven-word lines that make up these poems. Freedom rings true in every line, and Hamer’s testimony can be heard again here – at a time when we need her spirit the most.”
A Mississippi native, Redmond was raised in the federal housing projects and went on to be signed to M.C. Hammer’s label as a hip-hop artist and writer. Her doctoral research focuses on the recorded performances of foundational black women poets and the ways they deployed sound to impact the canon and justice movements.
Redmond centers collaboration in her personal arts practice and as an organizing principle. As such, she has co-founded a funding collective for black artists – The Black Skillet – and a podcast that centers on voices of color – Who Raised You? Treasure is the founder of Feminine Pronoun Consultants, LLC, and Get The Acceptance Letter Academy. Those interested can learn more at www.FemininePronoun.com.
This L&C Diversity Council event is presented by the Mannie Jackson Endowment and Center for the Humanities with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information visit www.lc.edu/diversity.