6630 Manasota Key Road
On the Beach at Sunset: “Historical Activism in Song and Print”
with poet Melissa Range and musician and storyteller Reggie Harris
Melissa will read from a new collection of poems in progress, “Printer’s Fist,” which explores, among other things, the role of print culture in the abolitionist movement. The poems draw upon archival sources—newspapers, pamphlets, petitions, children’s books, songbooks, and letters—to bring forward historical activist voices that have much to say to us in our current historical moment. Reggie will sing and play songs that catalyzed the 20th-century civil rights movement.
Audience members are welcome to bring blankets and chairs for the beach event. In case of rain, the event will be moved inside. To secure indoor seating in case of inclement weather, reservations are required.
About the artists
Melissa Range’s second book, Scriptorium, won the 2015 National Poetry Series, selected by US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Her first book was Horse and Rider. Recent poems have been published in 32 Poems, Blackbird, Image, and Poetry. Range is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the American Antiquarian Society, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, among others. Originally from East Tennessee, she teaches creative writing and American literature at Lawrence University in Wisconsin.
A consummate musician and storyteller, Reggie Harris combines a strong folk and gospel legacy with a solid background in classical, rock, and pop music. Years of road and stage experience, and interactions with performers such as Pete Seeger and Tom Paxton, have led him to produce music that entertains and inspires. Audiences at venues such as The Kennedy Center, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Smithsonian Institute, as well as international festivals, universities, and schools, have lauded him as an interpreter of history, and cultural advocate. Through his work with the Kennedy Center, Harris has earned wide acclaim for his contributions to the resources and knowledge base—in historical and educational circles—on the Underground Railroad and the modern civil rights movement. In addition to numerous recordings, he is also featured on a number of compilations, films, and educational projects worldwide. Harris continues to write, record, and produce music as a means to promote creativity, education, social responsibility, and understanding in the world community.