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Award-Winning Poet Sonia Sanchez to Give Sojourner Truth Lecture on Feb. 10

Book cover of Sonia Sanchez's "Homegirls and Handgrenades"

Acclaimed poet and activist Sonia Sanchez, considered one of the most important writers of the Black Arts Movement, will give the Claremont Colleges’ 2010-2011 Sojourner Truth Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. Her talk, “From the Black Arts to Hip Hop,” is free, open to the public and will be held in the Pomona College Smith Campus Center, Rose Hills Theatre (170 E. Sixth St., Claremont).

Among her numerous awards, Sanchez, who has authored 16 books, is a recipient of the Robert Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime service to American poetry (2001); the Langston Hughes Poetry Award (1999); and winner of the American Book Award for Homegirls and Handgrenades (1985). Her latest work, Morning Haiku (2010), is a collection of haikus about revered African American musicians, writers, artists and activists.

Maya Angelou hails her as a “lion in literature’s forest. When she writes she roars, and when she sleeps other creatures walk gingerly.” According to Chinua Achebe, her poetry is “full of power and yet always clean and uncluttered. It makes you wish you had thought those thoughts, felt those emotions, and, above all, expressed them so effortlessly and so well.”

She is currently one of 20 African American women featured in “Freedom Sisters,” an interactive exhibition created by the Cincinnati Museum Center and Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition.

Sanchez is the Laura Carnell Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. She has lectured at over 500 universities and colleges in the United States and has traveled the globe, reading her work in Africa, Cuba, England, the Caribbean, Australia, Europe, Nicaragua, the People’s Republic of China, Norway and Canada.

The Sojourner Truth Lectureship, established in 1983, honors the achievements and contributions of outstanding African-American women in the United States. Conceived and administered by faculty in the Intercollegiate Department of Africana Studies, the lectureship is sponsored by The Claremont Colleges: Pomona, Scripps, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer Colleges and Claremont Graduate University. Past recipients of the Sojourner Truth Lectureship have included Maya Angelou, Octavia Butler, Elizabeth Catlett, Samella Lewis, Agnes Moreland Jackson, Mae Jemison, Cynthia McKinney, Constance L. Rice, and Dr. Nawal Nour.

Established in 1969, the Intercollegiate Department of Africana Studies offers a rich program of multidisciplinary teaching and scholarship to all students at The Claremont Colleges. Its mission is to examine through various academic disciplines the experiences of people of African heritage worldwide. For more information on this lecture, call the Claremont Colleges Intercollegiate Department of Africana Studies at (909) 607-3070.