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Join us for NAAM's virtual King Day program "The Poetics of Hope" featuring Keynote speaker Nikki G

Join us for NAAM's virtual King Day program

"The Poetics of Hope" featuring Keynote speaker Nikki Giovanni.

About this event

In honor of King Day, the birthdate of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., NAAM is honored to present a line-up of civil rights children's stories read by local community leaders along with powerful musical, dance, and spoken word poetry performances. Internationally renowned poet Nikki Giovanni will join us and provide inspiring remarks on the significance of cultural expression and hope in reflection of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. We hope you enjoy this fun and artistic celebration of King Day!


Yolanda Cornelia “Nikki” Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7, 1943, and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1960, she entered Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she worked with the school’s Writer’s Workshop and edited the literary magazine. After receiving her bachelor of arts degree in 1967, she organized the Black Arts Festival in Cincinnati before entering graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.

Giovanni is the author of numerous children books and poetry collections, including Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid (William Morrow, 2013), Bicycles: Love Poems (William Morrow, 2009); and Acolytes (HarperCollins, 2007), among others. A lung cancer survivor, Giovanni also contributed an introduction to the anthology Breaking the Silence: Inspirational Stories of Black Cancer Survivors (Hilton Publishing, 2005).

Her honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1970, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Dedication and Commitment to Service in 2009, three NAACP Image Awards for Literature in 1998, the Langston Hughes award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters in 1996, as well as more than twenty honorary degrees from national colleges and universities. She has been given keys to more than a dozen cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, and New Orleans.

Several magazines have named Giovanni Woman of the Year, including Essence, Mademoiselle, Ebony, and Ladies Home Journal. She was the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award. She has served as poetry judge for the National Book Awards and was a finalist for a Grammy Award in the category of Spoken Word.

She is currently University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, where she has taught since 1987.

Thank you to NAAM's generous King Day sponsors Boeing, Public Health King County, Seattle Sounders Rave Foundation, and Swire Coca Cola.



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