In celebration of Black history month, Hood College invited world-renowned author and poet Nikki Giovanni as the keynote speaker and honoree of the Presidential Medal of Democracy at the Rosenstock Hall on Tuesday, February 22nd.
Awarded by Hood President Andrea Chapdelaine, the honor represents and acknowledges Giovanni’s steadfast legacy and dedication to the arts and activism. During her address, the poet highlighted the power and necessity of black storytelling in today’s time and forevermore.
Giovanni is a apart of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Together the ladies in red fellowshipped while the poet signed copies of her latest release: “Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose” and interacted with fellow Hood students. Asiayonna Jones, a first-year student described her “amazing” experience with the legend. “She is such a genuine, down to earth soul and her speech was beautiful beyond anything I could describe,” Jones said.
The program is apart of the college Lecture Series through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. It has featured past speakers like Dr. Danielle Allen, 2021; Tara Westover, 2020, and Gina Kolata, 2018.
Who is Nikki Giovanni?
A gem to the African- American community and beyond, Giovanni started her writing career 50 years ago and has since climbed the upper echelon of global arts as one of the most popular and recognizable poets in the history of black art. Recognized by Oprah as a living legend, the poet and author has won the first Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award; the Langston Hughes Medal for Poetry; the Carl Sandburg Literary Award and the Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award. With almost 20 published books and many poems, her most notable works like “Knoxville,Tennessee,” and “Nikki-Rosa” have granted her recognition and accolades worldwide.
We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained.
~ Nikki Giovanni
Photo Credit: Hood College; Asiayonna Jones