Events at PDCCC help celebrate Black History Month

Published 9:05 am Friday, February 6, 2009

This week, in recognition of Black History Month, Paul D. Camp Community College kicked off a film series for students on both campuses. On Monday, a documentary focusing on the lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C., (February 1, 1960, was featured throughout the day at the Franklin Campus. On Tuesday, the film entitled “The Black Press: Soldiers without Swords,” a discussion on the history of the black press and its central role in the construction of modern African- American identity was shown at the Hobbs Suffolk Campus. The film “A Raisin in the Sun” was shown at the Franklin Campus on Wednesday, followed by “Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed” (underscoring lesser known significant contributions made by African Americans) on Thursday at the Hobbs Suffolk Campus.

Poetry Readings by Suffolk Native

In addition to the film series, poetry readings by Suffolk native Nathan Richardson are scheduled at both campuses: 7 p.m. on Feb. 16 in the Library at the Franklin campus; and 3 p.m. on Feb. 17 in the Student Center at the Hobbs Suffolk Campus. The public is invited to both poetry readings.

A poet, author, and spoken-word performer, Richardson is also the founder of Spiritual Concepts Publishing, editor in chief of the popular E-newsletter “Something to Do/about nothing” and publisher of “Prototype Magazine.”

According to his Web site, the diverse themes throughout his poetic prose have earned him critical literary acclaim, including nominations for the prestigious Alli Award from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads and the 2005 Book of the Year from NUSPA, the National Underground Spoken Word/Poetry Awards.

His first collection of poetry entitled Likeness of Being received the 2006 Literary Award from the Southeastern Virginia Arts Association during the 23rd Annual Hampton Roads AFR’AM Festival.

Richardson’s poetry has also been adapted to film and stage. One of his best known poems, “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” was commissioned by Old Dominion University’s Governors’ School of the Arts as part of the play: Walking with Walker. The multi-faceted play about the life of civil right activist Wyatt T. Walker debuted at The Roper Theater on the Norfolk campus of Tidewater Community College. The play has toured stages throughout Virginia and is also available on DVD.Another poem from Likeness of Being, “Aggie Graduation Pride,” was adopted by North Carolina A & T University as the anthem poem of pride during graduation week at the university.

Richardson performed the poem before more than 800 students at their 2006 Graduates’ Breakfast.

He started his professional poetry career in 2004 with a spoken word CD entitled “Nathan Live at Langley.” The popularity of the CD helped him gain a regional audience.

Poetry organizations such as Chesapeake Bay Poets, Diversity Poetry Educators and the famous Oya Xclusive have helped create a renaissance of poetry in the Mid-Atlantic. The region is host to more than 100 poetry open-mike readings held in coffee shops, night clubs, book stores and libraries.

Born April 18, 1960, in Suffolk, Richardson’s early influences come from many sources, including jazz music greats John Coltrane and Ronnie Laws; poets Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Billy Collins and Baxter Black. Many women who have influenced Richardson include his mother (Della Mea Richardson), grandmother (Theresa Hollimon), Corretta Scott King and Congresswoman Elenor Holmes Norton.

Richardson is a retired veteran of the Army and Virginia Army National Guard and is also affiliated with several artistic organizations, including the JUNETEENTH Festival of Virginia, Young Audiences of Virginia, the Southeastern Virginia Arts Association (SEVAA), The Poetry Society of Virginia, The Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads and The Suffolk Arts League.

For more information on student activities scheduled this month, call Kira Christenhusz at 925-6337.