The Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room provides an immersive space for members of the campus community and visitors to interact with each other locally and with people and places around the world.
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are celebrating, Mary Frances Berry, the first Black woman to lead a major research university in the United States!
Mary Frances Berry is an American historian, writer, lawyer, activist, and professor who focuses on U.S. constitutional and legal, African-American history.
Berry is the first Black woman to lead a major research university in the United States when she was appointed Chancellor of the University of Colorado Boulder in 1976.
In recognition of her scholarship and public service, Professor Berry has received 35 honorary doctoral degrees and many awards, including the NAACP’s Roy Wilkins Award, the Rosa Parks Award of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Ebony Magazine Black Achievement Award. She is one of 75 women featured in I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America. Sienna College Research Institute and the Women’s Hall of Fame designated her as one of “America’s Women of the Century.”
Today, she is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are celebrating Kwame Anthony Appiah, a British-Ghanaian researcher known for his work in Philosophy, Critical Theory, and Africana Studies!
Kwame Akroma-Ampim Kusi Anthony Appiah is a British-Ghanaian philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist whose interests include political and moral theory, the philosophy of language and mind, and African intellectual history.
In addition to the 35-odd academic books he has authored, co-authored, or edited, Appiah is the author or co-author of hundreds of journals, magazines, newspaper articles, and book chapters aimed at both the academic world and popular audiences. Today, he is a professor of philosophy and law at New York University. Appiah is married to New Yorker editorial director Henry Finder.
In light of the recent increases in violence and harassment against Asian Americans, including the March 16 shootings in Atlanta, GA, the Asian Studies Center is hosting a Teach-In on the history and context of anti-Asian prejudice in the United States, as well as current events. Please advertise widely and join us Friday, April 9, at 2 p.m. EST.
Register here: tinyurl.com/StopAsianHatePitt
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are celebrating, Wifredo Lam, an artist known for his portrayal of the Afro-Cuban spirit and culture.
The internationally renowned Cuban painter Wifredo Lam (1902-1982) was a precursor of a cross-cultural style of painting, infusing Western modernism with African and Caribbean symbolism. He was a Cuban artist of mixed-race ancestry. His Cuban mother was born to a former Congolese and a mixed-race father; his father was a Chinese immigrant to Cuba. Lam grew up surrounded by people of African descent. In fact, his godmother was a Santería priestess and healer, Thus, he sought to both represent and recover the enduring Afro-Cuban spirit and culture he witnessed and lived. He was inspired by other 20th-century, famous artists with whom he was in contact, e.g., Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera, to name a few. His blend of all his influences allowed him to create a unique style. Hybrid figures feature prominently in his work.
Lam never lost sight of the world around him and like his friend Aimé Césaire took on the struggle “to paint the drama of his country, the cause and spirit of the blacks.” He invented a highly original voice that speaks in the name of “defending human dignity” and “saluting freedom.”
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are celebrating Maryse Condé @maryseconde, an iconic author of over ten novels, short stories, essays, and articles on African and Caribbean literature.
Maryse Boucolon (later Condé) was born in Guadeloupe in 1937. Her parents were among the first black instructors in Guadeloupe. Her mother, Jeanne Quidal, directed her own school for girls, and her father, who had been an educator, founded the small bank “Le Caisse Coopérative des prêts” which was later renamed as “La Banque Antillaise.”
Condé began writing at an early age. Before the age of 12 she had written a one-act, one-person play, as a gift for her mother’s birthday.
She did not publish her first novel, Hérémakhonon until she was nearly 40 because, as she said: “I didn’t have confidence in myself and did not dare present my writing to the outside world.” Condé would not reach her current prominence as a contemporary Caribbean writer until the publication of her third novel, Ségou (1984). Following the success of Ségou, in 1985 Condé was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach in the US and became a professor of French and Francophone literature at Columbia University in New York City in 1995. Condé has taught at various universities, including the University of California, Berkeley; UCLA, the Sorbonne, The University of Virginia, and the University of Nanterre. She retired from teaching in 2005.
Condé’s novels explore racial, gender, and cultural issues in a variety of historical eras and locales, including the Salem witch trials in I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem (1986); the 19th-century Bambara Empire of Mali in Ségou (1984-1985); and the 20th-century building of the Panama Canal and its influence on increasing the West Indian middle class in Tree of Life (1987). Her novels trace the relationships between African peoples and the diaspora, especially the Caribbean. Her first novel Hérémakhonon, was published in 1976.
A radical activist in her work as well as in her personal life, Condé has admitted: “I could not write anything… unless it has a certain political significance. I have nothing else to offer that remains important.”
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are celebrating Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, one of the best antidotes to the erasure of Afro-Latinx figures from African American and “mainstream” American history.
Arturo Alfonso Schomburg co-founded the Negro Society for Historical Research and became president of the American Negro Academy in D.C. He was also active in the Harlem Renaissance and is known for his publication of the inspirational essay “The Negro Digs Up His Past.”
Arturo Alfonso Schomburg researched and raised awareness of the great contributions that Afro-Latin Americans and African Americans have made to society and Schomburg was the curator of the Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature and Art at the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library. Schomburg used the money from the sale of his collection to add more artifacts of African history to the collection and traveled to Spain, France, Germany, England, and Cuba.
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are celebrating the legendary Kobe Bryant, one of the best basketball players in the history of the NBA!
Kobe Bean Bryant was an American professional basketball player. A shooting guard, he spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association
Kobe Bryant earned his Oscar in 2018 for “Dear Basketball,” a nearly five-and-a-half-minute short illustrating the poem that the Los Angeles Laker wrote for “The Players’ Tribune” to announce his retirement in November 2015.
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Larry Amponsah, an iconic Ghanian artist who lives in London.
Larry Amponsah (b. 1989, Accra-Ghana) is a multi-media artist whose practice investigates traditional modes of image-making whilst employing unconventional strategies of production to look at the contemporary politics of imagery.
Larry Amponsah is currently a Trustee of The Kuenyehia Art Trust in Ghana, shortlisted for the 2019 Dentons Art Prize, and recently won the Be Smart About Art Award in 2019.
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Kimberle Crenshaw, the iconic black feminist author who coined the term and concept of “intersectional.”
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw is an American lawyer, civil rights advocate, philosopher, and a leading scholar of critical race theory who developed the theory of intersectionality.
Crenshaw has also worked extensively on a variety of issues pertaining to gender and race in the domestic arena including violence against women, structural racial inequality, and affirmative action.
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Ibram X. Kendi, an American author and historian.
Ibram X. Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist scholars. He is a National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author.
Kendi is also the author of #1 New York Times best sellers, HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST, one of the most famous modern works about racism in today’s society, and describes how to always evaluate and question one’s self.
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing John Murillo, an American poet.
John Murillo is the author of the poetry collections, Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher 2010, Four Way 2020), finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (forthcoming from Four Way Books 2020).
John Murillo’s poetry works to bring awareness to the realities of African American life. His poetry is written in a very accessible and narrative style. The descriptive imagery and passionate writing in his poems are captivating.
We would like to feature a poem by John Murillo, titled Enter the Dragon.
Enter the Dragon
—Los Angeles, California, 1976
For me, the movie starts with a black man Leaping into an orbit of badges, tiny moons
Catching the sheen of his perfect black afro. Arc kicks, karate chops, and thirty cops
On their backs. It starts with the swagger, The cool lean into the leather front seat
Of the black and white he takes off in. Deep hallelujahs of moviegoers drown
Out the wah wah guitar. Salt & butter High-fives, Right on, brother! and Daddy
Glowing so bright he can light the screen All by himself. This is how it goes down.
Friday night and my father drives us Home from the late show, two heroes
Cadillacking across King Boulevard. In the car‟s dark cab, we jab and clutch,
Jim Kelly and Bruce Lee with popcorn Breath, and almost miss the lights flashing
In the cracked side mirror. I know what’s Under the seat, but when the uniforms
Approach from the rear quarter panel, When the fat one leans so far into my father’s
Window I can smell his long day’s work, When my father—this John Henry of a man—
Hides his hammer, doesn’t buck, tucks away His baritone, license and registration shaking as if
Showing a bathroom pass to a grade school Principal, I learn the difference between cinema
And city, between the moviehouse cheers Of old men and the silence that gets us home.
Domingo Edjang Moreno, known by his stage name El Chojin is a Spanish rapper known for his profanity-free music style and tendency to espouse non-violence and antiracism in his lyrics. He also holds a world record for the most syllables wrapped in one minute!
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Desirée Ndjambo, a Spanish journalist and presenter.
Desirée Ndjambo is a Spanish journalist and presenter. She presented the sports section of the morning edition of Telediario on La 1 channel and the Moto GP World Championship for TVE. She now presents La 2 Noticias, which focuses on human rights, the environment, and international issues in addition to other topics.
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Barry Jenkins, an American filmmaker.
Barry Jenkins is a film director, writer, producer, and screenwriter. In 2016, he won the Academy Award for Best Picture for Moonlight as well as the Golden Globe Award. His screen adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk received critical acclaim and won a best-supporting actress award for Regina King at the 2019 89th Academy Awards.
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Sonia Sanchez, a leading figure in the Black Arts movement.
Sonia Sanchez is an American poet, writer, and professor. She was a leading figure in the Black Arts Movement and has authored over a dozen books of poetry, as well as short stories, critical essays, plays, and children’s books. She is also the recipient of both the Robert Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime service to American poetry and the Langston Hughes Poetry Award. Her works aim to educate and advocate for the black community through writing.