Phillis Wheatley Poetry Festival • November 1-4, 2023

In 1973, Margaret Walker hosted a groundbreaking conference for Black women writers for the bicentennial of Phillis Wheatley’s work Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. Under the Black Studies Institute that Walker had founded five years earlier at Jackson State, thirty of these leading women participated in a series of lectures, roundtable discussions, poetry readings, and other events.

Fifty years later, the Margaret Walker Center has invited the ten living attendees, including the likes of Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni, Paula Giddings, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, and Sonia Sanchez, to serve as honorary co-chairs and participate in intergenerational conversations with writers like Jesmyn Ward and Angie Thomas.

Thanks to support from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the 50th anniversary reconvening of the Phillis Wheatley Poetry Festival will take place on the campus of Jackson State University from November 1-4, 2023.