Noted artist, scholar, lecturer and alumnus Dr. Michael Simanga delivered the keynote at the 2017 January Residency’s MLK Legacy Dinner, held at the Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center on January 7. His presentation was titled, “Social Justice and the 21st Century: Neither Automatic or Inevitable”. The event was celebrated by doctoral program students, staff, and faculty from across the nation.
Dr. Simanga is a noted educator and writer on African American and African Diaspora history, art and culture. He is also a visiting lecturer in the Department of African American Studies at Georgia State University. He has designed over 200 artistic projects and he is the former Executive Director of the National Black Arts Festival and Director of Fulton County Arts and Culture and the Southwest Arts Center.
His music accomplishments include partnerships with Grammy winner Cassandra Wilson; co-producer of Sonia Sanchez’ recording Full Moon of Sonia and executive producer of Dionne Farris’ album, Wild Seed Wild Flower. His poetry has been included in several anthologies. He is the author of Amiri Baraka and the Congress of African People: History and Memory; In the Shadow of the Son and co-editor (with Sonia Sanchez and Lita Hooper) of the anthology, 44 on 44: forty-four African American Writers on the Election of the forty-fourth President, Barack Obama. He is also co-editor (with Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez and Woodie King, Jr) of Brilliant Fire: Amiri Baraka, Poetry, Plays and Politics for the People. His future projects include a book on Soul Music and the ‘60s social movement.
In addition to his Ph.D. from Union Institute & University, Dr. Simanga holds an undergraduate degree in history from Oglethorpe University.