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HAIKU TRAIL TO FREEDOM with Poet Sonia Sanchez

Saturday, March 12, 2016 10am-12pm
at Johnson House Historic Site, 6306 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19144

Using the haiku poetic form, participants will explore what it means to be "free" while learning about Germantown's historic Johnson House, Philadelphia's only accessible and intact stop on the Underground Railroad. In the first half of the workshop, participants with read and discuss period poets such as abolitionist and author Francis E. W. Harper and engage in sensory writing exercises to evoke historic and poetic insight. In the second half, small groups will break out into the the preserved rooms of Johnson House to dwell in spaces that hold memories of enslaved Africans on a mission to be free as well as those who labored for their freedom. Participants will be given prompts to write in these sacred spaces that carry the "breath" of liberty and liberation from the past into the future. All attendees will receive an autographed copy of Sonia Sanchez's Morning Haiku, a poetry journal and a haiku mantra notebook to inspire further creation and brave steps forward toward justice and equality. This workshop is a safe space to share thoughts, questions and original poetry around race and class with local artists and fellow community members. Poet Sonia Sanchez collaborates with Historian Thomas Shugrue.

SONIA SANCHEZ, a long time resident of Germantown, has lectured at over 500 universities and colleges in the United States. She has read internationally, including Africa, Cuba, and England. She was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University and she held the Laura Carnell Chair in English at Temple University. Ms. Sanchez is a poet, mother, professor, and the author of over 20 books includingBeen a Woman, A Sound InvestmentHomecoming, We a BaddDDD People, Love Poems, I've Been a Woman, A Sound Investment and Other Stories, Homegirls and Hand Grenades, Under a Soprano Sky, Wounded in the House of a Friend (Beacon Press, 1995), Does Your House Have Lions? (Beacon Press, 1997), Like the Singing Coming off the Drums (Beacon Press, 1998), Shake Loose My Skin (Beacon Press, 1999), a most recently, Morning Haiku (Beacon Press, 2010).

DR. THOMAS SHUGRUE is a professor at New York University and a longtime resident of Philadelphia. He writes about cities, civil rights, and racial politics and is the author of Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North.


Art + History + Engagement: Workshop Series
Join Historic Germantown on a 2-year exploration of RACE, CLASS & COMMUNITY with noted artists and historians in freedom's backyard.

Historic Germantown's ELEPHANTS ON THE AVENUE will offer several free special events and artist-led workshops exploring themes of race and class in Germantown. All public engagement activities and original works by artists will be informed by the research of leading historians in the field and the narratives of HG member sites. Community members are invited to join the dialogue and share past and present-day stories that continue to shape the German Township and Philadelphia's diverse history and culture.

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