UMKC Black Studies Program sponsors Sonia Sanchez as keynote speaker

Sanchez recently named first poet laureate of the City of Philadelphia

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Black Studies Program will sponsor poet, professor and lecturer Sonia Sanchez as its keynote speaker on Friday, Feb. 17 at 6:45 p.m. at the UMKC School of Education, Room 115, 615 E. 51st St., Kansas City, Mo.

The UMKC Division of Diversity, Access, and Equity, the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences Bernadine Haskell Fund, and the UMKC English Department: Language & Literature are co-sponsoring the event.

Sanchez will be interviewed on stage by KC Currents radio host, Susan Wilson, Ph.D., followed by a reading from her works. The program will conclude with a book signing. Additionally, on Wednesday, Feb. 16, Sanchez will visit the UMKC African American Literature 1 class and later meet with area poets and creative writers.

“Sonia Sanchez emerged as one of the leading poetic innovators and political visionaries of the Black Arts and Black Consciousness Movement of the 1960s and 1970s,” said Clovis E. Semmes, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Black Studies Program. “She has remained an exemplary and fresh creative force to the present.”

An activist, scholar and author of more than 16 books, Sanchez is a national and international lecturer on Black culture and literature, women’s liberation, peace and racial justice. In December 2011, she was named the first poet laureate of the City of Philadelphia and has lectured at more than 500 universities and colleges in the U.S. As an advocate for the introduction of Black Studies courses in California, she was the first to create and teach a course based on Black Women and literature in the U.S.

Sanchez was named the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University where she began working in 1977 and held the Laura Carnell Chair in English. In addition, she is the Poetry Society of America’s 2001 Robert Frost Medalist and received the Langston Hughes Poetry Award for 1999.

About the UMKC Black Studies Program

The Black Studies Program is an academic unit that holistically examines the experience, contributions and condition of African-descent peoples in the formation and evolution of American society and culture. The focus extends to an examination of the active role of Africa and the African Diaspora in global society and human culture. Through both a social scientific and a humanistic orientation, the Black Studies Program provides a unique and rich approach to accessing and comprehending the human experience.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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