The Indianapolis Public Library’s African American History Committee, in support of the Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC), presents Fall Fest 2022 and Slammin’ Rhymes Challenge XVI. The celebration takes place Saturday, Nov. 19 from noon - 4 p.m. at Central Library.
The family-friendly festival will include an inspirational speech from special guest Kevin Richardson of the Exonerated Five, a group of Black and Latino youths who served sentences ranging from six to twelve years after being falsely convicted of the assault of a white woman in 1989. Richardson was an eighth-grade student when he was arrested and faced a nightmarish journey through the criminal justice system.
In addition to Richardson’s talk, local youth will perform their winning entries from this year’s Slammin' Rhymes Challenge, a contest for poets, rappers, and spoken word artists in grades 6-12. The event will also feature performances by Indianapolis Breakdancer Pep-C, Headbangers Kickboxing Academy LLC, Natural Measures Trampoline Super Sessions, Deckademics DJ School, and a poetry performance by Eric Saunders, the Green Eyed Bandit.
“Our African American History Committee along with the CBLC continues to work with marginalized communities by producing programs like Meet the Artists and Fall Fest to expose the youth in our community to positive role models,” said Cordia Watkins, event organizer and Circulation Manager at The Indianapolis Public Library. “Local students need an opportunity and a venue to express themselves by sharing their written words. With this presentation, they get a chance to be heard by the public which can assist with teaching them the art and fundamentals of oral speaking, presentation, and reading skills while building their confidence and character.”
Fall Fest was founded by The Indianapolis Public Library’s African American History Committee as a celebration of African American culture through interactive programming. In previous years Fall Fest has included face paintings, local school choirs, fashion shows, youth crafts, live entertainment, and interactive storytelling. In 2006, the Slammin’ Rhymes Challenge for high school students was added. In recent years 6th, 7th, and 8th graders were invited to participate in the Slammin’ Rhymes Challenge as well.
The Indianapolis Public Library’s African American History Committee was formed in November 1979 to increase awareness of the contributions made by African Americans to our society, to encourage more African American programming throughout the Library system, and to present the diverse accomplishments and heritage of African Americans to the general public.