Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Grassroots Arts Organizing

Just received the latest issue of Black Magnolias, a Mississippi-based, African American literary journal produced by Monica Taylor-McInnis and poet C. Liegh McInnis. I refer to him as a poet, but really, that single description conceals the larger story about C. Liegh’s efforts as a teacher, essayist, publisher, and organizer.

I imagine if we had more artist-organizers like him, then a larger number of aspiring writers would have tangible publishing experiences. He’s done considerable work creating important publishing platforms in locations with few or no outlets for showcasing African American literary art.

Early on, when I was an undergraduate at Touglaoo College in Mississippi, C. Liegh was across town at Jackson State and served as a model for me on what it might mean to become actively engaged in grassroots arts organizing. After all these years, he remains a stimulating model.

Monica Taylor-McInnis and C. Liegh McInnis’s publication “uses poetry, fiction, and prose to examine and celebrate the social, political, and aesthetic accomplishments of African Americans with an emphasis on Afro-Mississippians and Afro-Southerners.”

The regional and thematic interests of Black Magnolias translates into vital alternatives and opportunities for numerous writers and readers.

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