Sanderia Smith, Jennifer Wallach and Venus Opal Reese @ Chocolate Secrets

Dr. Venus Opal Reese, Sanderia Smith, and Jennifer Wallach
When: Wednesday February 15th 7pm 
Where: Chocolate Secrets, 3926 Oak Lawn Ave.

You are invited to sit, enjoy, and take in all that is Chocolate Secrets with a great event curated especially to honor African-American History Month: a special booksigning event and performance by Venus Opal Reese.

Jennifer Wallach, co-author and editor of Arsnick: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and one of the book’s contributors, Sanderia Smith will be on hand to sign copies of the books and Venus Opal Reese will perform one of her beautiful signature pieces. You may remember the gliterati evening from last year’s booksigning event at Chocolate Secrets that included Rosalyn Story and her new book Wading Home. Expect another memorable evening together.


Arsnick:  The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee  in Arkansas, 1962-1967: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) arrived in Arkansas in October 1962 at the request of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations, the state affiliate of the Southern Regional Council. SNCC efforts began with Bill Hansen, a young white Ohioan–already an early veteran of the civil rights movement–who traveled to Little Rock in the early sixties to help stimulate student sit-in movements promoting desegregation. Thanks in large part to SNCC’s bold initiatives, most of Little Rock’s public and private facilities were desegregated by 1963, and in the years that followed many more SNCC volunteers rushed to the state to set up projects across the Arkansas Delta to help empower local people to take a stand against racial discrimination. In the five short years before it disbanded, the SNCC’s Arkansas Project played a pivotal part in transforming the state, yet this fascinating branch of the national organization has barely garnered a footnote in the history of the civil rights movement. This collection serves as a corrective by bringing articles on SNCC’s activities in Arkansas together for the first time, by providing powerful firsthand testimonies, and by collecting key historical documents from SNCC’s role in the region’s emergence from the slough of southern injustice.

Jennifer Jensen Wallach is an assistant professor of history at the University of North Texas. She is the author of  Closer to the Truth than Any Fact: Memoir, Memory, and Jim Crow (2008) and  Richard Wright: From Black Boy to World Citizen  (2010).  She is also working on an overview of U.S. food history that is to be published by Rowman & Littlefield. In 2010 History News Network named Dr. Wallach a “Top Young Historian.”

SANDERIA FAYE received an MFA in Creative Writing/Fiction from Arizona State University. She has taught Creative Writing for Arizona State University, and Freshman Composition, and Literature for The United States Navy and at Mesa Community College among many others.  An excerpt from her novel Mourning Bench appeared in Mythium Literary Journal and in Jennifer Wallach and John Kirk’s book Arsnick:  The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas, 1962-196.  She moderated the grassroots panel for the Arkansas Civil Rights Symposium during the Freedom Riders 50th Anniversary, July 2011 based on the excerpt from her novel.

Her work was selected for “Best Of” honors at the 2011 Eckerd College Writers’ Conference Dennis Lehane and Sterling Watson Co-Directors, and an excerpt of her work will appear in the forthcoming SABAL Literary Journal.  She received scholarships to Vermont, Writers Studio, The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow and Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency.  She expects to complete her novel this winter.

Venus Opal Reese is a tenured professor of Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, an award winning solo performer, playwright, director, choreographer and poet. She has performed nationally and internationally for over 20 years. Her solo performance work, Split Ends, was featured on the cover of the Palo Alto Weekly, showcased at the Black Repertory Theatre in Rhode Island and ran off-Broadway at La MaMa ETC. Split Ends was nominated for an AUDELCO Award.  Dr. Reese was recently featured on ABC News and in Glamour Magazine and Diversity Inc., as an expert on race, beauty, and culture. Her performance with the Hip-Hop theatre play, Will Power’s The Seven, was featured in the American Theatre Magazine and won 3 Critic Choice Awards.
Venus has presented and performed internationally at the Sorbonne, Paris, France under the auspices of the W.E.B. Dubois Institute at Harvard University, La MaMa Umbria International, Spoleto, Italy, and Universita di Padova, Padova, Italy. Nationally she has performed and directed with Cultural Odyssey, AfroSolo, the LA Women’s Festival, and the Hip-Hop Theatre Festival, NYC.
As a scholar, Dr. Reese’s research links Africa, the Middle Passage, Antebellum Slavery, minstrelsy and popular culture through the stories we tell. She offers and designs courses in Spoken Word, Arts and Performance, Theatre, Movement Theatre, African Dance, Hip-Hop Dance, American Character, Acting, Performativity, Cultural Studies, Womanism/Feminism, Queer Theory, Literary Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Identity and Media. Dr. Reese’s scholarly performative writing has been published in the Women and Performance journal, the Journal for Global Transformation, as well as edited volumes like Recharting the Black Atlantic: Modern Cultures, Local Communities, Global Connections and The Politics of American Actor Training, both with Routledge. Venus serves as WordSpace board Resource Chair. She has turned her artistry as a writer and her research as a scholar into a lucrative business using uncommon strategies to help people around the world to achieve overwhelming success.

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