Kiki Petrosino, CCHS Faculty Fellow, English

“Writing the Ancestors: Literacy, Family, & the Creative Process”
When Feb 11, 2017
from 03:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Where Kentucky Center for African American Heritage
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“Writing the Ancestors: Literacy, Family, & the Creative Process”

Kiki Petrosino, poet, Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville, and Faculty Fellow at the Commonwealth Center for Humanities & Society, will introduce poems from her latest book-in-progress. She will discuss how researching her African American family's multigenerational journey to literacy has shaped her current artistic practice.

For African Americans, education has always represented a path to freedom and success. But in antebellum Virginia, it was illegal for enslaved people to read and write...and while Kentucky never passed laws prohibiting the literacy of enslaved people, the Commonwealth did not officially ratify the 13th amendment abolishing slavery until 1976. With White Blood: a Lyric, Petrosino contemplates, in poetry, what it means to claim a literate, even literary, African American identity in the Upper South. Given the region's complex racial history, how might we, as African Americans, continue to celebrate and deepen our own literacy? Inspired by research into her free and enslaved ancestors’ origins in the Piedmont region of Virginia, and her current career as a creative writing professor in Louisville, Petrosino’s presentation will explore the intersections of public and private history from Monticello to the Falls of the Ohio. A Q&A will follow the presentation.

Presented by the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage and the Commonwealth Center for Humanities & Society