Announcing the Inaugural Baldwin-Emerson Fellows!
In conjunction with the Emerson Collective and Columbia University, Baldwin For The Arts is excited to announce the “I See My Light Shining” Oral History Project.
Over the next year, 10 distinguished writers and storytellers will capture oral histories and artifacts from hundreds of elders from across the country.
The Columbia Center for Oral History Research and the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics is partnering with the Emerson Collective and Baldwin For The Arts to support acclaimed author and 2020 MacArthur Fellow Jacqueline Woodson’s new project. Through Baldwin For The Arts, the group of talented and award-winning writers will be deployed to conduct oral history interviews with people in various regions of the country, capturing unrecorded memories and life experiences before these stories are lost to history.
“From aging Civil Rights activists to Native American tribal leaders, to survivors of Stonewall, many stories remain untold or beyond the grasp of museums and institutions,” Woodson said. “When these elders pass away, their records and accounts may go with them. Our project seeks to fill these gaps before it’s too late.”
Woodson will guide the project creatively.
We are pleased to announce this remarkable group of Baldwin-Emerson fellows:
April practiced law for over 15 years, but her life took an unexpected turn when the lack of people of color in the 2015 Oscars nominations compelled her to tweet a now-famous hashtag: #OscarsSoWhite. April is a sought-after advocate, consultant, and interviewer on the representation of all marginalized communities in the arts, tech and entertainment. Reign capitalizes on her experience, using her voice to spark conversations and help structure ways to turn dialogue into action.
An award-winning journalist and professor at Northeastern University, Caleb Gayle has been a fellow at New America, PEN America, and a visiting scholar at NYU’s Arthur Carter Journalism Institute. Author of forthcoming book, We Refuse to Forget (June 7, 2022), his writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, TNR, among others. Gayle holds degrees from the University of Oxford, Harvard Business School, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Carolina De Robertis
Eve L. Ewing
Natalie Diaz is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press, and her second book, Postcolonial Love Poem, was published by Graywolf Press in March 2020 for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2021. She is a MacArthur Fellow, a Lannan Literary Fellow, a United States Artists Ford Fellow, and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. Diaz is Director of the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands and is the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
Renée Watson is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author of books for young readers. She has received several awards including the Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Award, and an NAACP Image Award nomination. Many of Renée's books are inspired by her childhood growing up in the Pacific Northwest. Her writing explores themes of home, identity, body image, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. Renée splits her time between Portland, Oregon and New York City.
Robin Coste Lewis
Former Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and Winner of the National Book Award, Robin Coste Lewis is Writer-in-Residence at the University of Southern California. Born in Compton, California, her family hails from New Orleans.