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Black Life: Tongo Eisen-Martin

Programmed by Chika Okoye and David Brazil

The Black Life series is excited to welcome Tongo Eisen-Martin, a movement worker, educator, and one of America’s most important and vital poets, to perform his work. Author of the eagerly anticipated Heaven Is All Goodbyes, Eisen-Martin uses his work—which Claudia Rankine has called “resistance as sound”—to create liberated territory wherever he performs and teaches.

Born in San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin has organized against mass incarceration and extrajudicial killing of black people throughout the United States. He has educated in detention centers from New York’s Rikers Island to California's San Quentin State Prison; his work in Rikers Island was featured in the New York Times. He was also adjunct faculty at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University in New York. Subscribing to the Freirian model of education, Eisen-Martin has designed curricula for oppressed people’s education projects from San Francisco to South Africa. He recently lived and organized around issues of human rights and self-determination in Jackson, Mississippi.