Up From Darkness

Queen Calafia: Ruler of California
September 21, 2008, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Come learn about the black queen who gave California its name

Come learn about the black queen who gave California its name

Queen Calafia: Ruler of California

will star the phenomenal singer/songwriter/actress Ajuana Black on Sept. 30, Oct. 1, Oct. 2 in the Buriel Clay Theatre in the African-American Art and Culture Complex at 762 Fulton St.   Tickets are going fast and can be purchased online.

Here’s a clip of this talented performer at the Guerrilla Cafe in Berkeley. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX9EioxFLyI&feature=related     One can listen to her new soulful album at http://ajuanablack.fuzz.com/

The play is a benefit for the reentry program Up From Darkness, a cornerstone of the Western Addition community in San Francisco for 15 years under the leadership of Rev. Regnaldo Woods and his late co-founder Reggie Glover and a ministry of Bethel A.M.E. Church, the city’s oldest black congregation, founded in 1852.  September is Re-entry Month in the City and County of San Francisco, underscoring the importance of breaking the cycle of incarceration and addiction.

It is also a highlight of the second annual Preserving California Black Heritage conference, designed to train educators in effective teaching strategies for black children and to alert homeowners and public policy makers on strategies to protect black historic neighborhoods and sites.     Hundreds of school children are expected for the Oct. 1 matinee showing of Queen Calafia, the allegorical black queen whose 1510 epic was the first use in print of the word California.   In the play, Black’s character, Dr. Wright Now, a Los Angeles anthropologist, is preparing for a major speech in a San Francisco hotel ballroom when the murals of Queen Calafia and her Amazon warriors on the wall beckon her.

Following the matinee, a panel entitled Family Jewels will highlight several new books on other long-overlooked California black pioneers. Authors Regina Mason, The Life of William Grimes (her great-great grandfather and the first black to self-publish a slave narrative), and Sharon McGriff Payne, The John Grider Century: African-Americans in Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties (Grider helped create the first Bear Flag) team with filmmaker Kevin Epps, completing his new film and book The Black Rock: the Dark Side of Alcatraz.   Actress Black will join the panel to discuss her own work as home school educator of nine students in Oakland, including her own four children, to illustrate the power of infusing African-American heritage to erase the achievement gap.

The final presentation is a professional development opportunity for educators Black Heritage as Gap Closer, providing results of a statewide study on educator capacity to provide culturally-responsive teaching in California social science by John William Templeton, who earlier presented the study as keynoter for the California Council on Social Studies in March.


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