The Pan-African Festival of Algiers
William Klein, 90 minutes
The first Pan-African Cultural Festival (PANAF) was a historic gathering that brought together musicians, performers, activists, luminaries and revolutionaries to Algiers in 1969. It was a moment to celebrate post-colonial liberation and imagine futures free from oppressive systems. The festival, steeped in freedom movements and anti-colonialism, featured greats like Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone and Archie Shepp as well as Guinea-Bissau’s Amilcar Cabral and Algiers resident Eldridge Cleaver. The official documentary for the festival captures this jubilant, defiant and pivotal moment in history.
As part of HotHouse’s Convocation/Consecration series, we will revisit this moment, over 50 years later, through William Klein’s documentary, followed by a post film-discussion with two scholars and activists who attended the festival, Dr. Haki Madhubuti and Dr. Abdul Alkalimat. Dr. Lynette Jackson moderates.
Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti
Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti is a best-selling poet, author, publisher, and educator, and is widely regarded as one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement and is founder and publisher of Chicago’s Third World Press. Madhubuti has published more than 37 books, four albums/CDs with music, and his poetry and essays have been selected for more than 100 anthologies. His first four Black Arts poetry books, Think Black (1967), Black Pride, (with an introduction by Dudley Randall (1968), Don’t Cry, Scream! with an introduction by Gwendolyn Brooks (1969), and We Walk the Way of the New World (1970), sold over 140,000 copies making him one of the best-selling poets in the world. His book, Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous? The African American Family in Transition (1991) was a national bestseller of over 100,000 copies. His poetry has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he has won the American Book Award, Illinois Arts Council Award, Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Prize in poetry for his book, Liberation Narratives
Dr. Abdul Alkalimat
Dr. Abdul Alkalimat is an American professor of African-American studies and library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He is the author of several books, including Introduction to Afro-American Studies (1984), The African American Experience in Cyberspace (2004), Malcolm X for Beginners (1990), and The History of Black Studies (2021). He curates two websites related to African-American history, “Malcolm X: A Research Site” and “eBlack Studies”. During the late 1960s, he helped create the Institute of the Black World (IBW) in Atlanta with professors Vincent Harding and Stephen Henderson and other student activists, including Howard Dodson, A. B. Spellman, William Strickland, and Council Taylor. In the early 1970s, Alkalimat established Peoples College, a black nationalist think tank. Acknowledged as a founder of Black Studies, he wrote Introduction to Afro-American Studies: A Peoples College Primer, first published in 1984, which has become a popular text and gone through several editions.
Dr. Lynette Jackson
Dr. Lynette Jackson is an associate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Black Studies at UIC. She received her PhD in African History from Columbia University in 1997. Dr. Jackson is the author of Surfacing Up: Psychiatry and Social Order in Colonial Zimbabwe (Cornell 2005) and numerous other articles and book chapters on topics relating to women, the state and medical and public health discourses in colonial and postcolonial Africa, particularly having to do with the regulation of African women’s sexuality. Dr. Jackson’s current research explores the history of child refugee diasporas from Southern Sudan, particularly focusing on two streams of unaccompanied children: The Lost Boys and Girls and the Cuban 600. She has also begun conducting research for a critical biography of Winnie Mandela.