Baltimore's Chicory Magazine & Making a Poetry Public Sphere
Spring Public Humanities Speaker Series
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 · 4 PM - 5:30 PM
"'The Most Authentic Microphone of Black Folks Talking Ever Devised'": Baltimore's Chicory Magazine and Making a Poetry Public Sphere
Called the “most authentic microphone of black folks talking ever devised” by the Baltimore Afro-American Newspapers, the African American poetry magazine Chicory published 10 issues per year from 1966-1983 in Baltimore. Thanks to War on Poverty funding and its ideal of maximum feasible participation of the poor, people living in Baltimore’s working-class neighborhoods used the magazine as a public sphere to discuss local politics, black nationalism, spirituality, women’s roles, and romance. Chicory was digitized in 2015, bringing these voices into a new kind of public sphere. In this talk, Mary Rizzo explores how Chicory was used as a public sphere in its time, examines how the process of digitization helps return it to the public sphere, and discusses the benefits and challenges of decolonizing the literary canon through digital archives.
Mary Rizzo is an assistant professor of history and director of the Graduate Program in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. Through projects like the Telling Untold Histories Unconference, Queer Newark Oral History Project, and the Chicory digital archive of African American poetry, she has created inclusive public and digital history that centers stories that are often marginalized in traditional narratives. Her book "Class Acts: Young Men and the Rise of Lifestyle" was published in 2015. Her forthcoming book examines battles over cultural representations of Baltimore by writers, artists, and policy makers from 1953 to the early twenty-first century.
Sponsored by the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Public Humanities Minor; the Orser Center in the UMBC Department of American Studies; the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the English Department; and the Media and Communication Studies Department.