Schwerner Special Event – Baraka/Ellison

The year 2014 marked the centennial of the birth of Ralph Ellison and the 50th anniversary of Amiri Baraka’s Blues People. Writers Greg Tate and Greg Thomas will present an epistolary exchange on Thursday, Mar. 5 in the Center for the Arts (Building 1P) Screening Room (Room 223) from 2:30pm to 4:15pm on the individual and mutual legacies of two of the most important Black American literary men of the 20th century, and relate the heated cultural politics (or the politics of culture) between them with regard to blues and jazz, art as political statement, the polarities that the two men represented, and the contemporary relevance of their debate.

Greg Tate is a writer, cultural producer, and musician who has lived in Harlem since 1984. Tate has taught seminar classes for Yale’s Graduate Art Program, Columbia University’s Jazz Studies module, and at Williams College as their Sterling Brown Visiting Professor.  He was recently acknowledged by The Source magazine as one of the “Godfathers of Hip-hop Journalism” for his groundbreaking work on the genre’s social, political, economic, and cultural implications in the period when most pundits considered it a fad. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Brown University, where he teaches the course “The History of AfroFuturism and Black Science Fiction.” Next year, Duke University Press will publish Flyboy2: The Greg Tate Reader.

Gregory Thomas is a native of Staten Island, NY. As a freelance print journalist since the early 1990s, Thomas has been published in The Village Voice, Salon, The Guardian Observer, The Root, American Legacy, Savoy, and Uptown, among others, including the New York Daily News, for which he was Jazz Columnist. As an editor, he worked with Forbes Media’s American Legacy Woman magazine, and was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Harlem World magazine. Thomas is an expert on the work and thought of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray.