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Award Winning Authors Appearing at TULISOMA

The 15th Tulisoma:  South Dallas Book Fair returns August 24-25, 2018 at The African American Museum in Fair Park.  The Fair kicks off with the Sutton E. Griggs Lifetime Achievement Awards Dinner on Friday, August 24 at 7:00 p.m. Dinner tickets are $50 each.

The Griggs Award Dinner will be held on Friday, August 24, 2018 at 7:00 pm. at the African American Museum.  Wade and Cheryl Hudson will receive the Sutton E. Griggs Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature and Emma Rodgers will receive the Sutton E. Griggs Literacy Champion Award.

The Fair on Saturday, August 25, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. will feature more than 25 authors/illustrators for readings and signings which will include the Griggs Awardees; multiple award winning children’s book author Derrick Barnes; Victor McGlothin; New York Times Bestseller Denene Millner; Antonia Williams-Gary and Alexis Yancy and Paula Drew Fleming.  Workshops and seminars will be presented on: “How to start a book club”; “How to publicize and market your book”; “Self-Publishing”; “Vision Bookmaking: children and youth”; “Encouraging Our Sons to Read: A Community Call to Action”; “Story of Self”; “How to Organize a Youth Book Club”; and a special feature will be GAME CHANGERS – Hip Hop Gospel Extravaganza.

Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair

Over the course of his career Sutton Griggs wrote more than a dozen books, including five novels, five social tracts, his autobiography, a short biography of John L. Webb, and The Kingdom Builder’s Manual (1924), a booklet of biblical quotations. At his expense he published and distributed these works, which were generally written for “the aspiring classes of the black south.” Although virtually unknown among whites, his writings were generally read by African Americans. Griggs wrote in a very direct style that was somewhat stiff and formal.

He was one of the few Southern members of the Niagara Movement, a civil rights group which had an outspoken platform based on the issue of racial and social justice and which eventually evolved into the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Although he has often been characterized as a black nationalist based on the plot of his first novel, this may be an overgeneralization since his subsequent novels do not contain this theme. In Imperium in Imperio Griggs chronicles the social and political injustice to which blacks are subjected. He describes the meeting of the Imperium in Imperio, a secret political organization  in Waco, Texas, composed of blacks who are frustrated with the social and political status of blacks in America. In the novel the leader of the organization argues for the violent           takeover of the state of Texas. Neither this work nor any subsequent novel by Griggs         received widespread distribution. Although succeeding Griggs novels, Overshadowed (1901), Unfettered (1902), The Hindered Hand (1905), and Pointing the Way (1908), are deemed “less militant” by some scholars, they received poor circulation. One reason may be that many of Griggs’s philosophies on race relations were in direct conflict with the philosophies espoused by Booker T. Washington and other popular black leaders of the day. Griggs’s views on improving the status of blacks were influenced by several contemporary social theorists, including Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and Benjamin Kidd. Griggs felt that society evolved from lower to higher forms by adopting “Christian virtues.” In his later view blacks needed only to practice Christian virtues (love, honesty, patience, etc.) in order to improve their socioeconomic status. Members and organizations of the black community would have to work together in order to instill these traits in the race. Griggs outlined these views in the social tracts that he wrote and in lectures he made in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas.

Tulisoma, Swahili for “we read”, is a community-based festival promoting literacy in the South Dallas/Fair Park area. Founded in 2003, by the late Leo V. Chaney, Jr., and Dr. Harry Robinson Jr., President/ CEO of the African American Museum, the goal of Tulisoma is to create a dynamic event tailored to engage local families, avid readers, aspiring writers and visitors to the city. The African American Museum serves as the lead partner along with The Dallas Public Library and many community supporters and sponsors to continue the tradition of celebrating reading and the importance of literacy. Special thanks to Councilmember Kevin D. Felder for his dedication and support of this event.

For information: www.tulisomabookfair.org or 214-565-9026, ext. 304.

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