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Most Recent or Upcoming Live Event

Please note: All livestream content is recorded, edited, and published to our playlist here within a week of the live program.

The 2021 Donald Bentley Memorial Lecture, Co-hosted by the Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts

Thursday, April 22 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM ET

About the program

Each year, the Billie Holiday Project invites a distinguished arts practitioner and intellectual to address topical, historical or philosophical issues connecting the work of the arts to the renewal and revitalization of civic life in West Baltimore.The Donald Bentley Memorial Lecture is the Billie Holiday Project’s capstone annual public event. This program honors the life of one of Baltimore’s promising young leaders who lost his life more than thirty years ago to Baltimore’s endemic violence crisis.

The Donald Bentley Annual Memorial Lecture is a unique platform to drive debate and critical reflection on the role of the arts in our everyday lives and in our imagining of a future just world. This year’s inaugural speaker, Baltimore native D. Watkins, is a celebrated author, social critic and Editor-at-Large at SalonLawrence P. Jackson, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and Director of the Billie Holiday Project, will host a conversation with D. Watkins following the lecture.

About the presenters

D. Watkins is Editor at Large for Salon.  His work has been published in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and other publications.  He holds a Master’s in Education from Johns Hopkins University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Baltimore. He is a college lecturer at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project, and has also been the recipient of numerous awards including the BMe Genius Grant, and the Ford’s Men of Courage. Watkins was also a finalist for the Hurston Wright Legacy Award and Books for A Better Life.  He has lectured at countless universities, and events, around the world. Watkins has been featured as a guest and commentator on NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN’s The Erin Burnett Show, Democracy Now and NPR’s Monday Morning, among other shows.Watkins is from and lives in Baltimore. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Beast Side:  Living (and Dying) While Black in America and The Cook Up:  A Crack Rock Memoir and We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America.

Lawrence Jackson is the author of the award-winning books Chester B. Himes: A Biography (W.W. Norton 2017) and The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics (Princeton 2010).  In 2002, he published Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius, 1913-1952 (Wiley), and he has written a memoir on race and family history called My Father’s Name: A Black Virginia Family after the Civil War (Chicago 2012).  Professor Jackson earned a PhD in English and American literature at Stanford University, and he is a 2019 Guggenheim fellowship awardee. A Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of English and History at Johns Hopkins University, he is the founder and director of the Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts to create opportunities for enhanced intellectual and artistic relations between Hopkins and Baltimore City, his hometown. He is completing a book about his return called Job’s Labyrinth, or, Shelter (Grey Wolf 2021).