Black Authors Festival at Sag Harbor Gears Up For Year Two

By: Miya Jones
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After their inaugural year saw over 80 guests, moving panel discussions and lively music, the Black Authors Festival at Sag Harbor is in the works for a second year.

The event, recently named one of USA Today’s top 10 best new festivals, will be held on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the same venue as last year, the scenic seaside Breakwater Yacht Club. The event will begin at 4 p.m. with red carpet welcoming honorees, celebrities and guests alike.

So far this year’s honorees include: Forbes 50 over 50 Powerhouse and Designer Sheila Bridges, First Lady of First Corinthians Baptist Church, and New York Theological Seminary President, Rev. Dr. Lakeesha Walrond, Entrepreneur and Attorney Joseph Holland, Stony Brook University Professor and Historian specializing in recent African American History, Civil Rights, Black Power, Urban History, Mixed Race Biracial Identify, and Hip Hop Studies, Dr. Zebulon Miletsky and NYU Professor and contributor to Netflix’s recent documentary, “Stamped from the Beginning” Dr. Jennifer Morgan.

Last year, honorees included renowned Educator Dr. Steve Perry, celebrity fitness expert to A-listers such as Denzel Washington, Lenny Kravitz and more, Kacy Duke, award-winning entrepreneur and founder of Girls Who Brunch Dr. Ni’Cola Mitchell, Folklorist and UCLA African American Studies and World Arts and Culture Professor Dr. Patricia A. Turner, Communications Consultant and Speaker Vivian L. King, Corporate Executive and Civil Rights Champion Thelma Sias and Business Professional and Community Leader Regina Perry.

The purpose of the festival is to shine a light on and address illiteracy rates particularly within the African-American community. In addition, the festival and its founders aim to empower Black people to share their stories and eliminate book banning.

In 2022, the American Library Association compiled data and reports from libraries across the nation in regards to censorship. There were well over 1,200 demands to censor certain books. This was the highest number of attempted book bans since the association began documenting 20 years ago. There were around 2,571 unique titles targeted. The vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community, Black, Indigenous or people of color.

“As a human, a parent, an educator, an activist, and the beneficiary of what reading has been able to help me accomplish, I would deserve to be stripped of all that I have accomplished if I did not move forward with my God-given mission to do my part to work toward the obliteration of illiteracy, especially within the Black community,” says Darlene Williams, principal founder of the Black Authors Festival. 

“Celebrating the richness of Black voices, the Black Authors Festival illuminates stories that deserve to be heard, voices that deserve to be amplified, and dreams that deserve to be realized,” said Verdel Jones, co-founder of the Black Authors Festival. “We are looking forward to celebrating our shared narratives, inspiring generations, and shaping the literary landscape of tomorrow.” 

A portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to the nonprofit Share Inform Enlighten. For more information about the festival visit their website here. For tickets, click here.

Miya Jones

Miya Jones

Miya Jones is a Long Island native and the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Shades of Long Island. She's been a journalist since the age of 17 and is a diversity advocate. Follow Miya on Instagram and Twitter: @miyajones1996 and on Facebook as Miya Jones.

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