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Lift Every Voice: Side B

When I was eight years old — you might say octave age — in 1971, I was a DJ playing a record, a single 45, in my bedroom. The song on vinyl I would play was side B of Michael Jackson’s “Got to Be There” — “Maria (You Were the...

Lift Every Voice: Thank You, Gusty

Funny thing is, I have never before shared this experience with anyone. It is most likely the event that had the most impact on the direction of my life. When I was young, my imagination was voracious. In the corner of one of the three rooms of our house (the...

2019 CSK Illustrator Award Acceptance by Ekua Holmes

Ekua Holmes. Photo courtesy of Ekua Holmes.Congratulations to all of the 2019 awardees on the podium today. Along with you, I am deeply honored to receive this award, on its fiftieth anniversary, given in the name of Coretta Scott King — a woman whom I deeply admire for her work...

Profile of 2019 CSK Illustrator Award winner Ekua Holmes

Ekua Holmes is love. I am but one grateful member of an immense and inspired community that cherishes, and is beloved by, Ekua. At its heart, this community is local, centered on the place of Ekua’s birth — Roxbury, Massachusetts — via Arkansas and the U.S. American South, via Africa....

2019 CSK Author Award Acceptance by Claire Hartfield

When I was a young girl, growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was lucky enough to have weekly visits with my grandmother, Thelma Shepherd Rone, whom the adults called Dearest or Day but whom I always knew as Grammie. I was a quiet little girl, but I...

Profile of 2019 CSK Author Award winner Claire Hartfield

Claire Hartfield is a storyteller. It might be fair to say that she is a born storyteller, just-right words flowing through her pen with ease, creating images that allow her readers to see, to hear, even to breathe just as Claire did while writing. This gift might have come to...

Lift Every Voice: Seeing Stars

I’ve been marinating in childhood memories this past year as I worked to complete my upcoming memoir, Ordinary Hazards. Among the memories there were, as you might imagine, many moments that marked my path as a writer: my first poetry reading at Countee Cullen Library in Harlem, receiving my first...

Lift Every Voice: On My Fire Escape

The path leading to Ray Charles began on the fire escape of a rent-controlled apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant. It was here that I discovered Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Little Brown Baby, Shakespeare’s “Et tu, Brute?” and Willard Motley’s Knock on Any Door; scurried down a rabbit hole; and walked on Gwendolyn Brooks’s...

Lift Every Voice: "You Are the Author!"

Photo: Bill McGuinnessI can’t remember a time when I have not been drawing and painting!As a child I loved picture books and memorized Mother Goose poems. I attended public elementary school in the Bronx, New York. In kindergarten, the teacher taught us the alphabet. She asked the students to draw a picture...
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