Presenters for Ida B. Wells

Pam Africa is the coordinator for the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and stands as a contemporary figure in the tradition of the early women’s rights advocates who were also fighters against slavery, for the betterment of the working classes, and for the freedom of political prisoners. She is a world significant freedom and social justice fighter. “We fight for prisoners’ rights, and not just in the US, but also internationally dealing with animal rights, joblessness, Occupy Wall Street, and the wars. We’re on the frontlines. Anything dealing with the ills that black people are facing we are also heavily involved in.”

Marjorie Agosín is an award-winning poet, essayist, fiction writer, activist, and professor. She has written and edited over 80 books. The most unbelievable part is a poet from the collection, An Absence of Shadows, on torture and terror in Chile under the regime of Augusto Pinochet. Her poem will be read by John Lavin and along with it a guide by Rob.

Mia Bay is a professor of history at Rutgers University, where she directs the Rutgers Center for Race and Ethnicity. An intellectual historian who focuses on African American history, she is the author of The White Image in the Black Mind: African-American Ideas About White People 1830-1925 and To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells, and a coauthor, with Waldo Martin and Deborah Gray White, of Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans, with Documents. She is completing a book on African American ideas about Thomas Jefferson and has begun to research a new project on the social history of segregated transportation.

John H. Bracey, Jr. is chair of the Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts. His interests include African American social history, radical ideologies and movements, and the history of African American Women, he was active in the Civil Rights, Black Liberation, and other radical Movements in Chicago. He co-edited Black Nationalism in America, African-American Women and the Vote: 1837-1965, Strangers and Neighbors: Relations Between Blacks and Jews in the United States, and African American Mosaic: A Documentary History from the Slave Trade to the Present, and did editorial work on the Black Studies Research Sources (Papers of the NAACP, A. Philip Randolph, Mary McLeod Bethune, NACW, and Horace Mann Bond.)

Michael Coard is a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with more than 15 years of state and federal trial experience, specializes in murder cases and formerly worked at the Charles W. Bowser Law Center after having served as Legal Counsel for State Senator Hardy Williams. He is an adjunct professor in the African Studies Department and the Urban Studies Department at Temple University as well as a volunteer instructor of Criminal Justice and also Hip Hop in the university’s Pan African Studies Program.

Gregory Djanikian‘s So I Will Till the Ground, his fifth collection of poetry, confronts the horrors of the Armenian genocide of 1915, and the diaspora that ensued, sending survivors to all parts of the world.

Erica Armstrong Dunbar is an Associate Professor of History with joint appointments in Black American Studies and Women’s Studies. Her first book, A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City has positioned her as a scholar of early African American Women’s history. Professor Armstrong Dunbar was appointed the first director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia.

Paula Giddings is chair of Afro-American Studies at Smith College and author of three books: When and Where I Enter: The Impact on Black Women on Race and Sex in America; In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement; and Ida: A Sword among Lions. She is editor of Burning All Illusions, and is a former book editor and journalist who has written extensively on international and national issues published in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jeune Afrique (Paris), The Nation, and the journals Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism and Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, among other publications.

L.V. Gaither is author of Loss of Empire: Legal Lynching, Vigilantism, and African American Intellectualism in the 21st-Century and the Gaither Reporter: Chronicling the African American Experience. “Providing a detailed, scholarly connection among the institutionalization of lynching, capital punishment, the escalation of the imprisonment of Black youth, and the imprisonment of Black political activists, Loss of Empire presents an intellectual and political challenge to Black public intellectuals and political leaders whose political rhetoric unveils their compromisin…moreProviding a detailed, scholarly connection among the institutionalization of lynching, capital punishment, the escalation of the imprisonment of Black youth, and the imprisonment of Black political activists, Loss of Empire presents an intellectual and political challenge to Black public.” –Joyce A. Joyce, Professor, Temple University

Shujaa Graham was born in Lake Providence, Louisiana and grew up on a plantation, moving to South Central Los Angeles in 1961. Shujaa was framed in the 1973 murder of a prison guard and he and his co-defendant Eugene Allen were sent to San Quentin’s death row in 1976. The California Supreme Court overturned the death conviction and he was found innocent by his fourth trial. Shujaa was released in March 1981, and began work in the Bay area building community support for the prison movement and against police brutality. He now gives lectures on the death penalty, the criminal justice system, racism, incarceration and innocence in America.

Lela Aisha Jones is a native of Tallahassee, Florida and is at home when creating. While in movement she found her entry point as an artist, she cannot be defined by one discipline or practice; her experiences have lead to a more nomadic existence. She is the founder of FlyGround—her creative home, co-founder of The Requisite Movers, and the development coordinator for as a well as a member of Mascher Space Co-op. Lela walks with her transitioned as well as living family; she is humbled and so thankful for all those who have nurtured her, especially her grandfather, mom, dad, and sister.

Hanoch Guy Kaner, author of Terra Treblinka, is a third-generation survivor of the holocaust and evokes family members who perished as witnesses to the horrors. Through the poems their memories intensify after more than sixty years.

Lynn Levin is a poet, writer, translator and co-producer of the TV show The Drexel InterView. She has published three collections of poems her work has appeared in journals such as PloughsharesBoulevardWashington Square ReviewArtful DodgeSouthwest ReviewCimarron Review5 A.M.Hunger MountainLilith, and Kerem.

Kierna Mayo is the Editorial Director, Digital for She is the former Editorial Director of, where she developed a cutting-edge, online women’s magazine for Tyra Banks’ Bankable Enterprises. She is former online editor at Kierna has written about culture and lifestyle for over 20 years. Her critically acclaimed writings have appeared in major national magazines including Essence, Marie Claire, Glamour, Seventeen, Vibe and Uptown among others. Kierna’s work has been featured in several books includingAnd It Don’t Stop: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years.

Vernon Odom has been a reporter with WPVI-TV’s Action News for over a quarter of a century. He was also the host of the station’s weekly Public Affairs program, “Visions,” telecast on Saturday evenings. While working for Channel 6, Odom has covered every major story of our time in the Delaware Valley region, plus all the Presidential campaigns dating back to 1976; Ford versus Carter including their debate that fall at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theater.

Ewuare X. Osayande is a political activist, award-winning author, cultural analyst, poet, essayist, publisher and internet radio talk show host. The Quarterly Black Review has called Osayande “one of Black America’s newest insurgent intellectuals coming to the table with enough mental firepower to be a David Walker for our time.” His latest book is Whose America?

Aaren Yeatts Perry has performed his poems at the Nuyorican, Kimmel Center, World Café, Fringe Festival, Kelly Writers House and the Philadelphia Writers Conference along with countless stages and classrooms across America. His collections include Open Fire,Poetry Across the Curriculum: An Action Guide for Elementary Teachers.

Irv Randolph is the managing editor of the Philadelphia Tribune, the nation’s oldest continuously published African-American newspaper, a position he has held since December 1994. Under Randolph’s editorial leadership, the Tribune has been named “Best Newspaper” by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) in seven of the last 14 years. During that time the Tribune has won more than 80 national awards. As managing editor, Randolph oversees the daily operations of the Philadelphia Tribune and its many editorial products, including a weekly educational supplement for Philadelphia public schools, a quarterly lifestyles magazine and Sojourner.

Stephanie Renee is a host (Mid-Morning MOJO -10a to noon) and Program Director on 900 AM WURD. “it has been a great joy to bring news, information and all kinds of music to my audience. I happen to be the only woman with a daily show in the station’s lineup, so it’s also fun to bring my effervescent estrogen onto the airwaves! It seems that it is my destiny to be the “pet girl” in most of the endeavors I undertake, but I don’t mind. There is great flexibility and necessity in being the “only” in such situations, of which I take complete advantage..”

Sonia Sanchez – Poet. Mother. Professor. National and International lecturer on Black Culture and Literature, Women’s Liberation, Peace and Racial Justice. Sonia Sanchez is the author of over 16 books, a contributing editor to Black Scholar and The Journal of African Studies, and editor of We Be Word Sorcerers. Recipient of numerous awards including the NEA, the Lucretia Mott Award,  the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Humanities, a PEW Fellowship in the Arts. She has lectured at over 500 universities and colleges in the United States and has traveled extensively.

Lamont B. Steptoe author of Meditations in “Congo Square” ($11.95 Whirlwind Press) was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author and/or editor of fifteen poetry collections, the latest of which is Meditations in Congo Square, and publisher/founder of Whirlwind Press. He is the winner of an American Book Award and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

Lori L. Tharps is an assistant professor of journalism at Temple University, an award-winning author, freelance journalist and popular speaker. Tharps was a staff reporter at Vibe magazine and a correspondent for Entertainment Weekly, she has written for Ms., Glamour, Suede, Bitch, Caribbean Life, Grid Philadelphia and Essence magazines and for The Philadelphia Inquirer, The and Her work is included in Young Wives Tales: Stories of Love and Partnership, Naked: Black Women Bare All About their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips and Other Parts, Bitchfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine and Women: Images & Realities, A Multicultural Anthology.

Linn Washington, Jr. is an award-winning journalist who writes a weekly column for The Philadelphia Tribune. A graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Fellowship, Washington writes regularly on issues involving law, the criminal justice system, news media and inequities involving race and/or class. Professor Washington is the Director of the News-Editorial sequence and Co- Director of the Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab. He teaches courses in news reporting, investigative reporting, and journalism law at Temple University. He has many years’ experience as an investigative reporter. He is the author of the book Black Judges on Justice: Perspectives from the Bench.

Robert Zaller is a Professor of History at Drexel University and is author of many history texts as well as books of verse including The Year One, Lives of the Poet, Invisible Music, For Empedocles, and Islands. He has served on the editorial board of the Yale Center for Parliamentary History, as President of the Robinson Jeffers Association and is a member of the board of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and of the steering committee of the Friends of the Barnes Foundation.

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