NEW ORLEANS - Poet and activist Nikki Giovanni will be the featured speaker for the 25th annual Martin Luther King Week for Peace January 17-21, 2011. The Week for Peace is sponsored by a collaboration of four local universities, Xavier, Tulane, Loyola and Dillard. This year’s theme is Unity + Diversity= Universities for the Dream. In addition to the speaker on Wednesday, January 19, at 6pm at Loyola’s Danna Center, where Student Community Service awards and a community Lifetime Achievement award will be presented, other activities for the week include: A day of service, starting at Xavier’s University Center, the Expressions of Unity Performance at Dillard’s Fine Arts center and a “Stepping for the Dream” Step Off at Tulane’s McAlister Auditorium. Nikki Giovanni is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator.
One of the most widely-read American poets, she prides herself on being "a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English." The author of some 30 books for both adults and children, Nikki Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Early in her career she was dubbed the "Princess of Black Poetry," and over the course of more than three decades of publishing and lecturing she has come to be called both a "National Treasure" and, most recently, one of Oprah Winfrey's twenty-five "Living Legends."
Many of Giovanni's books have received honors and awards. Her autobiography, Gemini, was a finalist for the National Book Award; Love Poems, Blues: For All the Changes, Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, Acolytes, and Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat were all honored with NAACP Image Awards. Blues: For All the Changes reached #4 on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller list, a rare achievement for a book of poems. Most recently, her children's picture book Rosa, about the civil rights legend Rosa Parks, became a Caldecott Honors Book, and Bryan Collier, the illustrator, was given the Coretta Scott King award for best illustration. Rosa also reached #3 on
The New York Times Bestseller list. Shortly after its release, Bicycles: Love Poems reached #1 on Amazon.com for Poetry. Giovanni's spoken word recordings have also achieved widespread recognition and honors. Her album Truth Is On Its Way, on which she reads her poetry against a background of gospel music, was a top 100 album and received the Best Spoken Word Album given by the National Association of Radio and Television Announcers. Her Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, on which she reads and talks about her poetry, was one of five finalists for a Grammy Award.
Among her many honors, Giovanni is the recipient of some twenty-five honorary degrees, she has been named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle Magazine, The Ladies Home Journal, and Ebony Magazine.
She was tapped for the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame and named an Outstanding Woman of Tennessee. Giovanni has also received Governor's Awards from both Tennessee and Virginia. She was the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, and she has also been awarded the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry. She is an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and has received Life Membership and Scroll from The National Council of Negro Women
2011 Martin Luther King Week for Peace Schedule
Unity + Diversity = Universities for the Dream
Monday, January 17, 2010- Community Service Day- ‘A Day on Not a Day Off’- Xavier University,
University Center 8am-3pm
Wednesday, January 19, 2010- Convocation- Loyola University, Danna Center @6:00pm
- Reception prior to convocation @ 5:00pm
Thursday, January 20, 2010- Expressions of Unity- Dillard University, Cook Theatre @ 7pm
Friday, January 21, 2010- Step Off- Tulane University @7pm
- After Party –Loyola University, St. Charles Room, Danna Center