Virtual event

42nd Annual MTW Virtual Event Set for Saturday, February 19

The 42nd Annual Marion Thompson Wright (MTW) ​​Lecture Series will be held Feb. 19 in Newark. This year’s virtual event will again be hosted by the Clement Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture & the Modern Experience.

Jack Chen is the first Clement A. Price Professor of Public History and Humanities at Rutgers University in Newark and Director of the Price Institute. He has held the position since 2018. Tchen says this year’s conference is being held in partnership with Black Portraits VIIan academic conference devoted to the study of the art and culture of the African diaspora.

“As Clement Price would say, it’s that time of year, the third Saturday of every February, people come together for this tradition. It’s the 42nd year, so it’s really remarkable that a such an old series continues and flourishes. The theme and exhibits we are presenting this year really build on the work of our dear colleague, photographer, curator Deb Willis, who is a former colleague of NYU and has in some way so formulated this concept of Black Portraitures.”

This year’s MTW theme is “Game and performance.” Salamishah TilletAssociate Director of the Clement Price Institute, Founding Director of the New Arts Justice Initiative, and Henry Rutgers Professor of African American Studies and Creative Writing, is thrilled with the focus of this year’s virtual event.

“In African American culture and Afrodiasporic traditions, gambling is always a deeply political act, whether it’s Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago or Mardi Gras in New Orleans and so we wanted to embrace the idea whether the game is a place of performance, a game of subversion It’s often used against people of color, whether it’s separate pools that people don’t have access to or pantomime or minstrel, we wanted so to really cover the range of what is embodied in the word “play” both as a practice of liberation and also to acknowledge how it has been used against black people historically here in the United States and around the world whole. “

Tillet says speakers include jazz violinist Regina Carter, photographer Tyler Mitchell who is best known for being the first African American to have his work on the cover of vogueNew Jersey hero and well-known visual artist Bisa Butler as well as Broadway playwright Dominique Morisseau.

Tillet, Jack Tchen and renowned historian and author Graham Russell Gao Hodges joined WBGO Journal host and news director Doug Doyle to talk about this year’s three-day MTW event (the conference takes place on Saturday).

Graham Russell Gao Hodges (top left), jack Tchen (bottom left) and Salamishah Tillet (bottom right) join WBGO Journal host Doug Doyle

Hodges, professor of history and African and Latin American studies at Colgate University, is the author of the new book The Reader by Marion Thompson Wright. In this book, Hodges provides a scholarly and accessible introduction to a modern edition of Marion Thompson Wright’s classic book, The Education of Negroes in New Jersey and all of his scientific work.

Hodges says MTW would be delighted to know that the lecture series named in his honor has thrived for 42 years.

“She absolutely enjoyed black culture, lived in it, studied it, wrote about it, it was all about her life. The terrific programming would really be things she would want to participate in and be there.”

Rutgers University of Newark and the Newark Museum of Art are also involved in two events leading up to Saturday’s MTW conference.

Thursday, February 17 is Imagining the Black Girl: Moments of Possibility at Express Newark, an international exhibit that features more than 180 works by more than 72 black women, girls, and genderqueer artists ages 8 to 94 who work in the mediums of photography and film.

On Friday, February 18, Scheherazade Tillet: black girl game will be displayed at the Project for Empty Space gallery in Newark. This is the culmination of Tillet’s Artist-in-Residence at Shine Portrait Studio and New Arts Justice at Express Newark. This exhibition is a joint exploration of the ways in which coming of age, community traditions, and radical play converge at various points in the lives of black girls.

You can find out more about all MTW-related events on the Institute’s website.

You can SEE the entire conversation on MTW here.