Writing Hidden Histories of St. Louis - 2021 Summer Writers Institute

Saturday, July 10, 7pm CT
Register for the Zoom Webinar here

Four noted writers passionate about the St. Louis region share their process and insights from recent projects: journalist Sylvester Brown, Jr., memoirist Vivian Gibson, scholar/curator Jasmine Mahmoud, and poet/educator Treasure Shields Redmond. Exploring hidden, forgotten, or still unfolding stories, what challenges has each writer faced? What kinds of creative approaches do writers use to fill in gaps, to bring readers into important but neglected, often painful histories? What techniques of attention, documentation, and imagination can help us capture the history we are living through right now?

This virtual event is presented in collaboration with the American Culture Studies department in celebration of a new anthology of essays on the St. Louis region emerging from the Material World of Modern Segregation initiative, published in a dedicated issue of Washington University’s The Common Reader: A Journal of the Essay (forthcoming May 2021), Iver Bernstein and Heidi Kolk, co-editors. Summer Writers Institute director Sylvia Sukop is one of the publication’s contributing essayists and will moderate the discussion.

Event admission is free, but registration is required.

About the Speakers


Sylvester Brown Jr. is a former award-winning columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Prior to that, he published Take Five Magazine for 15 years. In 2020, he was awarded the Deaconess Foundation Fellowship to chronicle the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of Black St. Louisans for the St. Louis American newspaper. Sylvester has worked as a consultant and researcher for SmileyBooks, owned by public radio and TV commentator Tavis Smiley, on several books including Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority, by Tom Burrell; Too Important to Fail by Smiley; and The Rich & the Rest of ​Us, by Smiley and Dr. Cornel West. In 2012, Brown founded the Sweet Potato Project, a program that taught urban youth entrepreneurism through agriculture. In 2019, he self-published, When We Listen: Recognizing the Potential of Urban Youth. His latest book, White Castles with Jesus & Uncle Ray at the Used Tire Shop, a collection of his short stories and commentaries, came out in 2021. 


Vivian Gibson was raised on Bernard Street in Mill Creek Valley, 454 acres in downtown St. Louis which comprised the nation’s largest urban-renewal project beginning in 1959. She started writing short stories about her childhood memories of the dying community after retiring at age 66. Her memoir, The Last Children of Mill Creek (Belt Publishing, 2020), published when she was 70, won the Missouri Humanities Council 2021 Literary Achievement Award. Her work also appears in St. Louis Anthology (Belt Publishing, 2019) and Plough Quarterly Magazine (2020). In 2020, Gibson was featured in Poets & Writers Magazine’s Annual 5 Over 50. She received an AFA degree in apparel design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Fontbonne University, and a master’s in Nonprofit Management from Washington University in St. Louis. On the web at vivian-gibson.com


Jasmine Jamillah Mahmoud is a curator, arts advocate, and historian of art and performance. In 2020, she curated Abstractions of Black Citizenship: African American Art from Saint Louis at Hedeeen Gallery (Seattle) centering works by five Black artists. Her essay Sighting Segregation: Black aesthetics and the materiality of art in Ferguson/St. Louis appears in a dedicated volume of The Common Reader published this year by Washington University in St. Louis. An essayist, scholar, and arts journalist, her writing also appears in Modern DramaPerformance ResearchTDR: The Drama ReviewWomen & Performance, and in the edited volumes Theater and Cultural Politics for a New World and Postdramatic Theatre and Form, as well as in Art Forum, Hyperallergic, and other publications. For the South Seattle Emerald, she writes a monthly column centering BIPOC artists. She is Assistant Professor of Arts Leadership in the Department of Performing Arts and Arts Leadership at Seattle University. 


Treasure Shields Redmond, a Mississippi native, is a published poet, master educator, community arts organizer, and successful entrepreneur. She was raised in the federal housing projects, and went on to be signed to M.C. Hammer’s label as a hip hop artist, and writer. The author of chop: a collection of kwansabas for fannie lou hamer (2015), Dr. Redmond co-founded Fannie Lou Hamer House, a retreat space for Black artists, and is the founder of Feminine Pronoun Consultants, LLC, and Get The Acceptance Letter Academy. Dr. Redmond was recently named a post-doctoral fellow of literary executorship for the estate of Dr. Eugene B. Redmond and the late Henry Dumas.  


Event admission is free, but registration is required.

Saturday, July 10, 2021 - 7:00pm
Virtual Event
White Castles with Jesus & Uncle Ray at the Used Tire Shop: Selected Short Stories by Sylvester Brown, Jr. Cover Image
ISBN: 9798588696630
Availability: On Our Shelves (Note - We update this inventory once per day.)
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Independently Published - December 30th, 2020

The Last Children of Mill Creek Cover Image
ISBN: 9781948742641
Availability: On Our Shelves (Note - We update this inventory once per day.)
Published: Belt Publishing - April 20th, 2020

Makeshift Chicago Stages: A Century of Theater and Performance Cover Image
By Stuart J. Hecht (Editor), Jasmine Jamillah Mahmoud (Editor), Megan E. Geigner (Editor), Rosemarie K. Bank (Contributions by), Aymar Jean Christian (Contributions by), Shannon Epplett (Contributions by), Cat Gleason (Contributions by), Aaron Krall (Contributions by), LaRonika Marie Thomas (Contributions by), Laley Lippard (Contributions by), Laura A. Lodewyck (Contributions by), Meida McNeal (Contributions by), Travis Stern (Contributions by), Irina Zadov (Contributions by)
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780810143814
Availability: Backordered
Published: Northwestern University Press - July 15th, 2021

chop: a collection of kwansabas for fannie lou hamer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781546832119
Availability: Ships quickly (1-7 days)
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform - May 19th, 2017