Celebrating the Umbra Workshop

NOV 01, 2013 | 6:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


9100: Skylight Room


November 01, 2013: 6:00 PM





Center for the Humanities


Join us for a half century celebration of the Umbra Workshop! Founded on New York’s Lower East Side in 1961 and dispersed in 1964, Umbra’s influence on American literature continues to this day. The Umbra Workshop was comprised of an aesthetically diverse group of young artists, many with “a strong commitment to ‘nonliterary’ black culture.” The Workshop was nurtured by people as disparate as Langston Hughes and Andy Young, actively engaged in the Civil Rights Movement, in questions of diversity in letters, and, later, in the Black Arts Movement.

The first in a series of gatherings, this event brings together several of the founding members, including poets, novelists, and activists Steve Cannon, David Henderson, Rashidah Ismaili, Joe Johnson and Ishmael Reed for readings and conversation and focusing on some of the complex aesthetic, political, social, and literary relationships that informed this legendary Workshop.

Cosponsored by IRADAC and the PhD Program in English, The Graduate Center, CUNY. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.