AAMI to open a new exhibit celebrating African American literature

Mightier Than the Sword Grand Opening

African American Museum of Iowa — Friday, Aug. 26 at 6:30 p.m.

The African American Museum of Iowa celebrates the opening of their newest exhibit on Friday, Aug. 26 with a free evening at the museum, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Mightier Than the Sword is an exploration of African American literature from the 18th century forward, touching on slave narratives, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts movement and more. The exhibit traces the evolution of African American literature through currently-active poets, playwrights and novelists, and discusses the ways in which literature can influence and shape public and political discourse.

The public is invited to explore the exhibit and the museum at no charge; light snacks will also be available. Guests are encouraged to dress up as their favorite author or literary character for the event, which runs through 8 p.m. Mightier Than the Sword will be on display at the AAMI until July 29, 2017.

Starting at 7 p.m., the silent films of early 20th-century novelist and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux will run in Celebration Hall. Micheaux wrote, directed and produced more than 40 films, beginning with silent films and carrying over into the era of sound. His first film, 1919’s The Homesteader, is lost; a clip from his second, the 1920 film Within Our Gates, is shown above.

In addition to films, Micheaux is the author of seven novels, including the one that served as the basis for The Homesteader (both book and film were based loosely on his life). A documentary about his early life and work, Oscar Micheaux: The Czar of Black Hollywood, premiered in 2014. Micheaux was married in 1926 to actress Alice B. Russell, who appeared in several of his films.

AAMI will also have a Free Saturday on Aug. 27, the day following the exhibit’s opening. They will be open 10 a.m.–4 p.m. that day. Further events related to the exhibit are planned, including the Sep. 24 kick-off of the Woven Words book discussion group, which will start off by celebrating Banned Books Week with a discussion of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

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