Coming Soon: “Speak, So You Can Speak Again!”


On Tuesday, September 27, 2011, Dr. Gillian Johns visited Cleveland State University and led two excellent discussions on “African American Autobiography as Humor,”  with an emphasis on Zora Neale Hurston’s Dust Tracks on a Road. We are especially grateful to Dr. Charlie Pratt and the Title III Learning Communities office for making this program possible.


Please know that we are planning to host several follow-up book discussions for this title and other Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners this year.   Details for the series, “Speak, So You Can Speak Again,” will be announced in October.  The title for the series is taken from a book by Lucy Anne Hurston, the niece of Zora Neale Hurston.


Regennia N. Williams



Writing Workshop for Teens

Saturday, September 17, 2011

10 a.m.  – 3:30 p.m.

Cleveland Public Library

325 Superior Avenue, N.E.

Cleveland, Ohio 44114

Free Admission — Advance Registration Required

Performance and Publication Opportunities Available!


To register, call (216) 523-7182, or email

*Name, age, school, telephone number and/or email address required at time of registration.

* This workshop is part of Cleveland Chautauqua’s 2011-2012 celebration of the life, art, and legacy of Zora Neale Hurston.


“1943: A Requiem”

Duke Ellington leading his big band, Lena Horne on the silver screen, Billy Strayhorn composing “America’s classical music,” Zora Neale Hurston taking the literary scene by storm, World War II, the Great Migration, and the social and economic transformation of the nation.  These and other topics are explored in “1943,” a new work for musical theatre that will have its world premiere on the evening of Saturday, August 13, 2011, in the ballroom of Cleveland State University’s Student Center Building, 2121 Euclid Avenue. Proceeds will benefit student and community outreach programs. Reservations are required.


Activities for the evening include the following:
5:30 p.m.  Cocktail Hour (cash bar)
6:30 p.m.  Elegant Buffet Dinner ($25)
7:30 p.m.  Seating Begins for FREE Performance
* Art Exhibit throughout Evening!

For reservations and other information, please visit or contact Dr. Regennia N. Williams (CSU, Department of History) at (216) 523-7182 or


Written and directed by Nathaniel Rhodes, this work is inspired, in part, by the life and times of Lena Horne (1917 – 2010). The cast for this staged reading with live vocal and instrumental music includes: Christopher B. Baptiste Jr., Robin Bradley, Wilhelmenia Glenn (Me’Na), Shenee King, Nathaniel Rhodes, Theresa Ann Scott (Mama T), and Jessie Champion Sims.


This event is made possible with support from the Office of the Vice President for Institutional Diversity, the STARS Program, the Department of History, the Cleveland Chautauqua Planning Committee, and RASHAD’s “Staging African American History and Culture” Project.

All Eyes on Zora!

During the month of July, you are invited to join me in viewing  four films on Zora Neale Hurston and discussing her most famous novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God.  All sessions will be held on Tuesdays from 1 – 2:30 p.m. and  6 – 7:30 p.m. in Cleveland State University’s Michael Schwartz Library, 1860 East 22nd Street, Rhodes Tower, Room 325.  *Same program day and evening.  Each session begins with the film screening, and the book discussion will follow.  Admission is free and open to the public.



July 5, 2011       “Zora Is My Name”        Chapters 1 – 5 

July 12, 2011     “A Heart With Room for Every Joy”   Chapters 6 – 10

July 19, 2011     “Jump at the Sun”    Chapters 11 – 15

July 26, 2011    “The Life, Art, and Legacy of Zora Neale Hurston”   Chapters 16 – 20

Zora Neale Hurston


For more information, call (216) 523-7182 or write to me at

Save the Date: Black Music Month Program on June 11, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011, 1 – 3 p.m.

Black Music Month Workshop

Greater Cleveland Choral Chapter of the

National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses

Trinity Cathedral, Cathedral Hall

Euclid Avenue at East 22nd Street

Free Admission (Includes workshop packet)

*Additional Music and Other Materials Available for Purchase

*Advance Registration Requested.  Call (216) 523-7182.

Preview May 21st C-SPAN Lecture Today

Hello!  We are all looking forward to the C-SPAN / American History TV Viewing Party on Saturday, May 21, 2011.  Hopefully, you can join us in the ballroom of CSU’s Fenn Tower from 7 until 9:30 p.m.  (See my previous post for more information.)  In the meantime, you can preview the lecture by clicking on this link:

— Regennia


Lectures in History: Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music  
Sat. 8 pm, Midnight; Sun. 1 pm ET

Cleveland State University Professor Regennia Williams teaches a course on the history of African American music. Today’s class focuses on the music of Duke Ellington, including the significance of his “Sacred Concert” in 1965

New Location for May 21st Jazz Reception and C-SPAN Viewing Party


Duke Ellington (c.1933)

We are having a C-SPAN / Ellington viewing party, and you are invited!  The party begins on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 7:00 p.m., and the television program will air at 8:00 p.m.  Please join me in CSU’s elegant Fenn Tower Ballroom, Room 303, for live jazz, refreshments, and the world premiere of my “American History TV” lecture on Duke Ellington on C-SPAN 3. Our special guests include the students in my Spring and Summer 2011 history classes.  Admission is free!

Fenn Tower is located on Euclid Avenue at East 24th Street, and there is convenient / affordable parking nearby.  

Keep checking C-SPAN’s “American History TV” website for additional program details. The web address is   Here is what I found the last time that I checked:

8:00:30 PM – 9:18:49 PM, May 21, 2011

Duke Ellington’s Liturgical Jazz
Public Affairs Event
Lectures in History: Regennia Williams Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH 12:15pm-1:20pm History professor Regennia Williams teaches a class on African American History through Sacred Music. Today s lecture will focus on Duke Ellington s liturgical jazz, including his 1965 sacred concert. CREW HIRE / HOLD FOR HISTORY
1 hours, 18 minutes |

I hope to see you on the evening of Saturday, May 21, 2011. –Regennia


Jazz Reception and C-SPAN Viewing Party on May 21, 2011

Save the Date!  On the evening of Saturday, May 21, 2011, I am planning to welcome the summer semester with a jazz reception and viewing party for my debut on C-SPAN’s “American History TV” program.  During the spring semester, the C-SPAN crew visited my “African American History Through Sacred Music” class to tape a session on Duke Ellington’s liturgical music.  The program will air for the first time at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2011, and you are invited to enjoy live jazz with Mena and Therron (our guest artists for the class session), good food, and good company in the CSU Student Center.  I would also like to use the occasion to share more information on the plans for Cleveland Chautauqua 2011.  More details to be announced, so visit our site again after May 1st, call me at (216) 523-7182, or send an email message to

Pictured here (left to right) are Mena, Therron, and Regennia.

The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell Will Lecture at CSU on April 25th at 12:15 p.m.

You are cordially invited to attend a lecture by the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, Director of Religion at New York’s Chautauqua Institution, on Monday, April 25, 2011, at 12:15 p.m. The lecture will be held in Room 303 of Cleveland State University’s Fenn Tower (Euclid Avenue at East 24th Street). Our program theme is “Engaged Learning in Times of War and Peace.” This event is free and open to the public. Please see flyer for more information.


For more information, contact Regennia N. Williams at (216) 523-7182 or

Zora Neale Hurston Activities for Spring Semester 2011

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston

Last year, members of the Cleveland Chautauqua planning committee agreed to formulate plans for a community-wide celebration of the life, art, and legacy of Zora Neale Hurston in 2011-2012.  The celebration has already begun at Cleveland State University!  Be sure to see “Zora Neale Hurston in the History of American Arts and Letters,” an exhibit on the first floor of the Michael Schwartz Library through Sunday, April 3, 2011.  For more information, visit:


As part of CSU’s Open House activities, Dr. Regennia N. Williams will deliver a lecture on Hurston.  The presentation, “Zora Neale Hurston in the History of American Arts and Letters,” is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Rhodes Tower 502 (inside the Michael Schwartz Library).  For the complete schedule of Open House lectures by faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, please visit, or see the attached flyer.

(Open House Flyer)


Finally, the student book discussions of  Zora Neale Hurston’s  “Their Eyes Were Watching God” continue on March 31, April 7, and April 14, 2011, from noon until 12:50 p.m. in Room 304 of the Michael Schwartz Library.  For more information, please see the attached flyer.

(Hurston Book and Film Discussions for Students Flyer)