Hop off The Bronx Trolley at the Bronx Museum for a very special reading of Voices Beyond Bondage: An Anthology of Verse by African Americans of the 19th Century with co-editor Erika DeSimone. The celebration of Black History continues with BRONX:AFRICA, a multi-disciplinary arts exhibition at the Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos Community College.
Free admission and refreshments (donations suggested)
Location: North Wing Lobby
About the book
Slaves in chains, toiling on master’s plantation. Beatings, bloodied whips. This is what many of us envision when we think of 19th century African Americans; source materials penned by those who suffered in bondage validate this picture. Yet slavery was not the only identity of 19th century African Americans. Whether they were freeborn, self-liberated, or born in the years after the Emancipation, African Americans had a rich cultural heritage all their own, a heritage largely subsumed in popular history and collective memory by the atrocity of slavery.
The early 19th century birthed the nation’s first black-owned periodicals, the first media spaces to provide primary outlets for the empowerment of African American voices. For many, poetry became this empowerment. Almost every black-owned periodical featured an open call for poetry, and African Americans, both free and enslaved, responded by submitting droves of poems for publication. Yet until now, these poems -- and an entire literary movement -- have been lost to modern readers.
The poems in Voices Beyond Bondage address the horrific and the mundane, the humorous and the ordinary and the extraordinary. Authors wrote about slavery, but also about love, morality, politics, perseverance, nature, and God. These poems evidence authors who were passionate, dedicated, vocal, and above all resolute in a bravery which was both weapon and shield against a world of prejudice and inequity. These authors wrote to be heard; more than 150 years later it is at last time for us to listen.
Public and Community Engagement Programs are made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation. Beer has been donated by Bronx Brewery.
WHAT IS THE BRONX TROLLEY?
THE BRONX TROLLEY is a project of the South Bronx Cultural Corridor. Making a cultural loop through the lower Grand Concourse and in other sections of the Bronx, it provides an innovative way to travel free while giving Bronxites and tourists alike the opportunity to sample several of the area’s hottest cultural attractions, dining establishments and entertainment venues. For more information or to get details on riding the FREE Bronx Trolley click here.
WHERE DO YOU PICK UP THE TROLLEY?
First Wednesdays Trolley begins at 5:00pm with a meet and greet reception with wine, soft drinks and hors d’oeurves at the Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos which is located at Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse & 149th Street (easily accessible by the 2, 4 & 5 trains and the BX1 & BX19 buses). The trolley departs from Hostos at 5:30pm, 6:30pm and 7:30pm, making a cultural loop through the lower Grand Concourse, dropping off riders at their selected stops and picking them up at the next go-around.