CAAPP Book Prize winner announced
Pitt’s Center for African American Poetry and poetics has selected Jacqui Germain as the winner of the 2021 CAAPP Book Prize. Germain’s first full-length poetry manuscript was selected by Douglas Kearney and will be published by Autumn House Press in 2022.
Germain is a poet, journalist, and former labor and student organizer living and working in St. Louis, Mo. Her poetry often involves an excavation of history and memory, attempting to challenge linear assumptions of time, progress, power, and experience through an intimate lens.
Germain has received fellowships from the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and the Poetry Foundation’s Emerging Poets Incubator. Her poems and journalism have both been published in numerous literary journals and national outlets, respectively. She is presently the 2021 Economic Security Project Fellow with Teen Vogue.
“Canaan, Dim and Far: Black Reformers and the Pursuit of Citizenship in Pittsburgh, 1915-1945” (University of Georgia Press) by Adam Cilli, assistant professor of history at Pitt– Bradford
“Canaan, Dim and Far” explores Pittsburgh’s Black middle class from 1915 until 1945. It is based on work Cilli began for his doctoral thesis in history at the University of Maine. “I grew up in Beaver County, and when it came time to pick a topic for my dissertation, I knew I wanted to do something about Pittsburgh,” he said. He also wanted to look at how African Americans experienced life in the city during the first half of the 20th century. Beginning with journalists at the Pittsburgh Courier and moving on to social workers with the Urban League and activists with the NAACP, he studied the larger network of middle-class Black activists who formed a lesser-known aspect of the Great Migration.
Members of this Black middle class were often migrants as well, born and raised in the upper South with an education from a historically Black college or a segregated high school, Cilli said. Because Black professionals in the South had fewer avenues for employment, they also migrated to northern cities, often moving from one to another looking for professional opportunities. These Black reformers became important in the formation of racial advancement centers, such as the Urban League, which helped Southern migrants adapt to life in the industrial North. Cilli followed how these reformers formed a bridge between Black steelworkers and the growing steelworkers’ union in Pittsburgh, forced Pittsburgh schools to employ Black teachers, expanded Black political power and reshaped racial discourse.
“A Gift of Belief: Philanthropy and the Forging of Pittsburgh” (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021), edited By Kathleen W. Buechel, senior lecturer in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
Philanthropy has long been associated with images of industrial titans and wealthy families. In Pittsburgh, long a center for industry, the shadows of Carnegie, Mellon, Frick, and others loom especially large, while the stories of working-class citizens who uplifted their neighbors remain untold. “The Gift of Belief” reveals how Pittsburghers from every strata, creed, and circumstance organized their private resources for the public good. The industrialists and their foundations are here but stand alongside lesser known philanthropists equally involved in institution building, civic reform, and community empowerment.
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