Camara BrownCamara is a senior majoring in Urban Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her current research focuses on the memorialization of African American history, specifically slavery, as it intersects with transitional justice theory and national collective memory formation in cities. She has conducted first hand research at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington D.C. and the African Burial Ground in New York City and studied the struggle for the creation of these sites as well as the narratives they portray to visitors. On campus, Camara is a member of the Excelano Project, Penn's Premiere Spoken Word Poetry Collective and works as the Kelly Writer's House Community Outreach Coordinator where she connects Penn students with opportunities to engage, write, and foster connection with communities and populations across Philadelphia.
Liza is a senior studying English Literature and Africana Studies. Her senior honors thesis with the English Department, "Writing through the silences: Queering narrative construction at sites of radical Black art," NARRATIVES: poems in the tradition of black women (1982) and Change of Territory (1983) by black queer poets Cheryl Clarke and Melvin Dixon occupy the Black poetics and aesthetics of the Black Arts Movement, which is typically periodized as spanning 1965-1975. Drawing on queer of color critique, black feminist theory, and black radical thought, she troubles the salience of periodization by revealing the ways in which the creation and maintenance of a movement's narrative is built upon cultural and historical imperatives that seek to categorize and limit the impact of black radical movements. Liza is a general body member of the African American Arts Alliance (4A), Penn's premier black theatre troupe producing shows for and by people of the African Diaspora. During her time in 4A, she has directed two shows, The Bluest Eye (Fall 2014) and She Like Girls (Fall 2016), and served as Board Secretary (Spring 2015).
MatrÃ© is a senior majoring in Music in the College of Arts& Sciences. Her senior honors thesis analyzes the modern usage of blackfacein opera with a focus on Verdi's Otello. Combining interdisciplinarymethods of literature studies, sociology, ethnography, and musicology, MatrÃ©argues that the modern usage of using makeup to darken ones skin to play a roleis a racist practice. On campus, MatrÃ© is a performing member of Penn Singers LightOpera Co. and the African American Arts Alliance (4A). With 4A, she isdirecting and music directing the spring musical, Once on This Island. MatrÃ© also regularly performs with Penn's Music Department ensembles:University Choir, Choral Society, and Rodin Opera Scenes. She is also avolunteer choir member of St. Mary's Episcopal Church at Penn.
Kassidi is a junior majoring in Africana Studies and English. Her research focuses on poetry written by black women in America during Reconstruction, from 1866 to 1877. She is working on identifying black feminist themes as defined by mainstream scholars in the late 20th century, such as Patricia Hill Collins, bell hooks, and Audre Lorde, and hoping to connect black women's creative literary works in the late 19th century to the framework constructed by women in the next century. Her intention is to create an analysis similar to Angela Davis' work in Blues Legacies and Black Feminism, using poetry instead of the blues to ascribe black feminism to black women who predate "black feminism" as a term.. Kassidi currently serves as the President of the Excelano Project, Penn's premier spoken word poetry group, President of Penn's chapter of the NAACP, Chair of the Undergraduate Advisory Board for the Center for Africana Studies, and is a Program Coordinator for Sister Sister, a support group for black women on campus.
Amari MitchellAmari is a junior majoring in Africana Studies and English. Her research centers on the period immediately following the decision of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka and looks at the experience of African Americans in racially integrated schools. She plans to explore how these schools prepared or didn't prepare for the arrival of black students.