February 03, 2010

Founder of Essence Magazine to speak at ASU Polytechnic

Posted: February 03, 2010
February 10, 2010
6 p.m.

Pro-linebacker, entrepreneur, stockbroker and poet Russell Goings is a modern-day Renaissance man.  He was signed to the Buffalo Bills after graduating college in 1959, but soon left the world of professional sports for Wall Street.

Once there, he started First Harlem Securities, the first black-owned firm to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. He founded the Studio Museum of Harlem, serving as the founding chairman, and established Essence Magazine.

In the 1990s, he returned to school to study poetry and creative writing, beginning the 13-year process of writing The Children of Children Keep Coming: An Epic Griotsong.

In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, birthday and Black History Month, Goings will discuss African-American mythology, history, and his epic poem that weaves both into an allegorical and lyrical representation of three tumultuous centuries, at 6 p.m., Feb. 10, in the Aravaipa Auditorium at Arizona State University Polytechnic campus in Mesa.

“Poetry is a lifelong passion for Goings, and his epic has garnered praise for its originality, passion and power,” says Wadell Blackwell, director of Multicultural Student Services at ASU’s Polytechnic campus. “I met Russell through a mutual friend, and after reading his biography and talking to him on the phone, I knew right away he would be a great fit as we all look to share unique, engaging stories about the historical complexities that make up our country.”

His poem, The Children, was published in January 2009. With roots in African griot songs, the book-length poem traces African-American history from the Middle Passages through slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights movement. Blues, gospel hymns, jazz and prayer link a mythological journey with a celebration of life, heritage, and the larger-than-life heroes of the past – Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Jesse Owens, Ida B. Wells and many others.

The Feb. 10 event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing.  This signature event will be complemented by a Peace Luncheon for all ASU students, faculty and staff the same day, from 12 to 1:30 p.m., Student Union Cooley Ballrooms.

To RSVP for these events or for more information, contact Wadell Blackwell at (480) 727-1165 or wadell.blackwell@asu.edu.

Kari Stallcop
Public Affairs at ASU Polytechnic campus

Media Contact:
Chris Lambrakis, lambrakis@asu.edu
(480) 727-1173
Public Affairs at ASU Polytechnic campus