"You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don't live the only life you have, you won't live some other life,
you won't live any life at all."
- James Baldwin
My work explores historical erasures and recovers lives historical records omit in their telling of the way things were.
“Plant the story in a place where you know the smell of the dirt," a mentor once said. That advice led me to explore the questions history books didn’t answer. Through writing and collaging verses, I draw on my experiences in historic preservation, cultural archiving, faith, politics, art, and the legacies handed down from porch-talk storytellers to create stories. These stories engage conflict, belonging, home, faith, safety, and urges from the past that we continue to carry with us.
Residencies, Fellowships, and Published Works
As the inaugural Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Writer in Residence at the Columbus Museum of Art, I explore the ways textiles and written texts preserve memory and map a history of Black life, culture, and traditions. I have been honored with fellowships at the American Antiquarian Society, Kimbilio, Kweli, Community of Writers, Callaloo, A Room of Her Own, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Roothbert Foundation. Workshops and master classes at the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation and support from the American Association of University Women and the D.C. Commission on Arts and the Humanities.
My work appears in anthologies, Kweli Journal, Public History Commons, Portland Monthly, Feminist Studies, and This is What America Looks Like. I write about traveling the east coast in LA Parents. It was amazing to see my essay "Pretty Brown Girl With Big Brown Eyes" reimagined to music and performed by a dance company at the Firehouse Theatre in Newburyport, MA.
I believe in the power of books to inspire. Reading feeds my creativity and sense of purpose.
I am a lecturer at Howard University and serve on the founding board of The Clifton House. I collect book donations for youth in DC public schools and libraries.
Inaugural Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Writer-in-Residence at the Columbus Museum of Art.
History mapping my way into visual stories.
WOMANIST 1. From womanish. (Opp. of “girlish,” i.e., frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.) A black feminist or feminist of color. From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “you acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman. Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered “good” for one. Interested in grown up doings. Acting grown up. Being grown up. Interchangeable with another black folk expression: “You trying to be grown.” Responsible. In charge. Serious.
Excerpt from Alice Walker's In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens published by Harcourt in 1983.