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"The Souls of Free Folk" Reading and Release Party - February 2, 2018 at Association for Visual Arts, Chattanooga, TN

Nearly 200 souls celebrated the start of Black History Month together at the Association for Visual Arts for Josiah Golson's debut reading and release of "The Souls of Free Folk," an 'Illustrated Ode to Black Joy.'

Officially published on MLK Day, January 15th, 2018,  “The Souls of Free Folk” is an illustrated poem celebrating the African American experience through the trials and triumphs of an artist’s coming-of-age story. The book’s title and themes are in part inspired by “The Souls of Black Folk,” a 1903 series of essays by sociologist and scholar W.E.B. DuBois. The book, comprising of over 100 original drawings and original text, is a tribute to the power of culture, family, and community in the struggle for personal growth. The work was written and illustrated between in the fall of 2016 and December 2017. 

For the standing-room only event, Golson brought his book to life through a reading and art performance, which included the unveiling of an art installation inspired by the book's drawings. "All this time, we were technicolor children, trying to fit in a static black and white world," Golson read while standing next to life-sized replicas of his "technicolor children" on the stage. In light of the overwhelming response and reception of the work and reading, publisher Polyphemus Press sold out of the books available for the night. 

The event itself was in part sponsored by support from Chattanooga's Sankofa Fund for Civic Engagement. A book tour for "The Souls of Free Folk" is in development, with dates to be announced soon. Purchase your copy of "Souls" here

 

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"What WOKE Looks Like" - January 12, 2018 at The Camp House, Chattanooga, TN

Artists, musicians, poets, and citizens gathered to begin the 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend with "What WOKE Looks Like," a creative dialogue featuring Josiah Golson, the 800 Collective, and Jazzanooga. 

Inspired by his trip to the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit this past fall and its evocation of the Civil Rights Movement, 800 Collective founder Josiah Golson shared his experiences as an opportunity for a community conversation. 

Through talk, visual art, and musical performance, Josiah and Jazzanooga facilitated a dialogue and design session on creating a culture where citizens can grow in awareness and connectedness to bring positive change to our communities. 

The event featured powerful performances from Poet Olivia Bradley, Independent Music Artist, Seaux Chill, and Spoken Word Artist Christian Collier. 

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