About the event

Join us for a half-century celebration of the Umbra Workshop! Founded on New York’s Lower East Side in 1961 and dispersed in 1964, Umbra’s influence on American literature continues to this day. The Umbra Workshop was comprised of an aesthetically diverse group of young artists, many with “a strong commitment to ‘nonliterary’ black culture.” The Workshop was nurtured by people as disparate as Langston Hughes and Andy Young, actively engaged in the Civil Rights Movement, in questions of diversity in letters, and, later, in the Black Arts Movement. The first in a series of gatherings, this event brings together several of the founding members, including poets, novelists, and activists Steve Cannon, David Henderson, Rashidah Ismaili, Joe Johnson and Ishmael Reed for readings and conversation focusing on some of the complex aesthetic, political, social, as well as literary relationships that informed this legendary Workshop.

3:00pm, Room C201:
Exploring Umbra’s History: a discussion

Umbra’s history is largely unwritten. Join Umbra participants, readers, scholars and fans for an informal discussion about the workshop’s early years.