Harlem’s Schomburg Center Celebrates Juneteenth With The Return Of Its Literary Festival

The center has been a platform for authors of African descent for nearly a century.

On Juneteenth weekend, Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture hosted its first in-person literary festival since 2019.

The day-long celebration of Black authors and culture was held on Saturday (June 18) and featured storytelling workshops, vendors and exhibits, CBS New York reports.

Some of the acclaimed writers who appeared included Mateo Askaripour, debut author of Black Buck, Roxane Gay, the writer of the memoir Hunger, and journalist Linda Villarosa who penned Under the Skin: Racism, Inequality and the Health of a Nation.

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"When we think about emancipation, when we think about freedom in this country, one of the things that I don't want to get lost is the importance of reading and how enslaved people at one time, it was dangerous for them to learn how to read, for them to access information," Novella Ford, the Schomburg’s associate director of exhibitions and public programming, told CBS New York.

"So this idea of reading as a rebellious act, right, like when we're thinking about the banning of books right now in this country, but also it being a joyful act, right, and so that freedom to read whatever it is that you want to get into is most important and what we want to celebrate this year."

Founded in 1925, the Schomburg Center is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. This research division of The New York Public Library was named a National Historic Landmark in 2017.

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