Black Lives Matter/Poet’s Bookstore Set To Reopen – Poetry News Roundup June 10th

Today on My Poetic Side we take a look at a couple of stories linked to the Black Lives Matter protests and also a bookstore with links to a poet that is due to reopen shortly.

Montgomery Calls for School Name Changes

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that have gripped the United States, activists in Montgomery are now renewing their calls for a number of schools in the area to be renamed. They are also demanding that a statue of Robert E Lee is removed from outside the front of the school of the same name.

The meeting, which is being held virtually, has gained a lot of support in the last couple of days with people calling for immediate action. The schools in question are Jefferson Davis – named for the president of the Confederate States of America, Robert E Lee – named for the Confederate military leader and the Sidney Lanier named after the Confederate private who later became a poet of note.

There is however some conflict as to whether Lanier’s name should be included on the list as it is believed that his exploits during the unrest may have been significantly exaggerated.

Lanier was mostly forgotten about following his death. However, in the 1920s his reputation was posthumously enhanced and until the 1960s many of his poems formed part of the required curriculum in schools in the South. Lanier High was opened in 1910, just before his name became much more well-known again.

If the schools are to be renamed, then a waiver will need to be submitted to the Memorial Preservation Act Committee as the buildings in question are over 40 years old and their names protected by a law passed in 2017.

Bookstore with Link to HomePlace to Open Following Lockdown

An independent bookstore in Belfast, one of the best known, will be opening on Friday following social distancing renovations.

The store No Alibis, which is described by the owner as “beautifully cluttered” has seen some changes, with open spaces being created to allow shoppers to move around without getting too close.

The shop specialises in crime genre books and regularly hosts all types of events. However, it has been closed since 23rd March and the staff have been on furlough.

The shop has previously collaborated with the visitor centre that is dedicated to the late Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney; Heaney HomePlace and is located close to Queens University.

Poet Performs Tribute to Black Lives Matter

10 years ago Miles Chambers, who served as the first poet Laureate of Bristol from 2016 to 2018, wrote a poem called “Hoodwinked And Bamboozled”. The poem was a tribute to the bus boycott of 1963.

The boycott was successful in ridding the Bristol Omnibus Company of the “colour bar” that they had in place, which meant that Asian and Black drivers were not employed by the company.

The poem paved the way for the first Race Relations Act in the UK.

Miles performed his poem once again, this time as the Black Lives Matter protests were taking place all over the world. He said it was a sad reflection on society that the message in the poem was as relevant today as it was all those years ago.

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