Museum of the African Diaspora

“I’ve Known Rivers: The MoAD African Diaspora Stories Project” is up and running.

My poem “Poor People” can be seen here: http://www.iveknownrivers.org/stories/adaptation.htm.

Here’s a little background on the project from the website:

SAN FRANCISCO (September 12, 2005) – In Africa it is said that when a griot, or oral historian, dies, “a library has burned to the ground.” In recognition of the fabled tradition of the griot and in an effort to document stories of the African Diaspora, San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) has embarked on a landmark project.

I’ve Known Rivers: The MoAD Story Project is an unprecedented effort by an international museum to collect, publish, and archive “first voice” narratives about people of African descent. In light of the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and its effect on the lives of thousands of African Americans, this project’s story-collecting mission takes on an even greater significance.

An international museum based in San Francisco, California USA, MoAD is scheduled to open in December 2005 and is poised to become one of the world’s pre-eminent cultural institutions. Unlike anything ever offered by a modern museum, I’ve Known Rivers: The MoAD Story Project will be similar in vision to the historic WPA Federal Writers’ Project (1936 -1940), which archived thousands of items, including essays, oral testimony, folklore, and authentic narratives of ex-slaves about life during slavery.

“We are excited about people everywhere sharing inspiring stories which explore our African roots,” said Emmy award winning journalist and MoAD Board President, Belva Davis. “These stories will create an international conversation about what it means for us as a global community to be connected to Africa.” International Call for Stories

MoAD has issued a global Call for Stories in an effort to collect, publish and archive authentic stories from throughout the African Diaspora. Stories should be submitted in the form of first-person essay, short fiction, and poem by published and unpublished writers as well as authentic voices from across the African Diaspora. Additionally, the stories must be related to MoAD’s four founding themes: origin, movement, adaptation, and transformation.

In partnership with User Logic and funded by the ATT Excelerator Grant, MoAD will begin publishing these selected stories on the museum web site starting Fall 2005 and continue leading up to MoAD’s grand opening in December 2005.

The most highly distinguished twenty-five stories from the entries submitted will be published online and considered for an inaugural hard cover book for the museum.

After the opening, the project will continue to collect and archive stories, creating one of the first international virtual archives of African Diaspora Stories by a modern museum. In addition, the I’ve Known Rivers: The MoAD Stories Project web site will serve as an online writer’s lab, providing the newest applications in instructional media to assist those in the general public to write their own African Diaspora stories.

It’s a great way to start the new year.

There will be more exciting times to come.

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