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Monday, July 17, 2023

'This is who we are and what we must do'


“I try for a poetic language that says, This is who we are, where we have been, where we are. This is where we must go. And this is what we must do” – Mari Evans
Evans, born on July 16, 1919  not only authored poetry but also children’s literature and plays.  And perhaps her biggest mark was made through editing countless works of others and serving as editor of the award-winning Black Women Writers (1950–1980): A Critical Evaluation.

Her first poetry collection, Where Is All the Music? established her as a serious poetic writer, and her second, I Am a Black Woman gained her worldwide acclaim. Her definitive poem “Who Can Be Born Black” has often been anthologized.
    Evans also wrote and produced a 6-year weekly award-winning television program, “The Black Experience" in her adopted hometown of Indianapolis, where she lived for 70 years until her death in 2017.
I Am A Black Woman resonated with the power and beauty of Black women and set the bar for many of her fellow female Black writers in the latter part of the 20th century.  
 “I am a black woman,” Evans wrote, “tall as a cypress, strong beyond all definition, still defying place and time and circumstance, assailed, impervious, indestructible.”   

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