Berea College Welcomes Ntozake Shange

Ntozake ShangeBerea College welcomes the public and campus community to its weekly convocation this Thursday, September 21, 2017, featuring award-winning poet, playwright, performer, novelist and educator Ntozake Shange. In her presentation, Wild Beauty, Shange will explore the many contradictions people of color confront in their daily lives emotionally, psychologically and politically. Through music and language, Shange approaches her material with delicacy and brutal honesty, leaving the audience with a textured mosaic of what it means and how it feels to be a 21st century colored person who speaks English. This convocation is co-sponsored with Theatre.

Shange, born Paulette L. Williams in Trenton, N.J. in 1948, has written 15 plays, six novels and numerous poems. Her most famous work is For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, a unique blend of poetry, music, dance and drama that took the theatre world by storm in 1975, and for which she was nominated for Tony, Grammy and Emmy awards and received countless other awards.

Shange earned a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California, both in American Studies. She taught humanities, women’s studies and Afro-American studies at California colleges from 1972 to 1975.

It was while earning her master’s degree that she took her African name, which means “she who comes with her own things” and she “who walks like a lion.” Since then, her career has drawn heavily on her experiences of being a black female in America. Her individual poems, essays and short stories have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and anthologies, including The Black Scholar, Yardbird, Ms., Essence, The Chicago Tribune, and VIBE.

The convocation events, which are provided to both the campus and public communities, are a significant part of a student’s educational experience at Berea College. For the schedule of all convocations this academic year, visit All convocations are free and open to the public.

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Convocation, Event, Literature, Ntozake Shange, Students

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.