Russell L. Goings To Present Two Free Performances of His Ep... | Teachers College Columbia University

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Russell L. Goings To Present Two Free Performances of His Epic Children's Poem

The poet Russell L. Goings will present two live theatrical performances of his new book for children, "The Children of Children Keep Coming: An Epic GriotSong" at Teachers College on February 5 and 6, at 7 p.m., in Milbank Chapel.
The free, public performances will incorporate poetry, live music, song and video to illustrate the complexities celebrations of black life in America.
The performance was written by Goings and Charles Randolph-Wright, and based on the book of the same title by Goings. It was directed by Kamilah Forbes.
Goings' book (Karen Hunter Publishing/Pocket Books, January 2009), which has accompanying pen-and-ink drawings by Romare Bearden, is an epic poem that tells the story of the African American experience in the United States. According to the book's publisher, the "odyssey opens with two anonymous slaves running to catch the Freedom Train," hoping to find liberation.
"Along the way, they encounter fields of laborers sowing seeds, plodding hard under sun high and moon low, working to end slavery-' [T]heir belief that a time of change will come is affirmed by engagements with -'giants' such as Frederick Douglass, Billie Holiday, Hank Aaron, Sojourner Truth, and Rosa Parks.
"The toilers are sustained by work songs that at one moment express the dreams and fears of the downtrodden and at another moment burst forth with unbound faith and optimism." According to the publisher, Children of the Children "is the first American epic that includes elements of the Gospel, Jazz, Spiritual, Folk, and Hymns."
Russell Goings has had a long and extraordinarily diverse career. He played professional football; founded First Harlem Securities, the first African-American brokerage to have its own seat on the New York Stock Exchange; and helped found and became the first chairman of Essence Magazine before turning his full attention to the arts.
The publisher notes that the book contains "never-before-seen original works of Romare Bearden, one of the country's greatest draftsmen. The audacity to present twenty images created by use of a ball-point pen and saturated marker on porous paper, where any indecision would be immediately destructive, is the work of a true master in complete control of his discipline."
The performance is sponsored by Columbia University and the President's Office for Diversity and Community Affairs at Teachers College.

Published Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009