These readings took place April 3-5 as part of the 1998 North Carolina Literary Festival. Sponsored by the Center for the Study of the American South, the festival featured a variety of writers ranging from established poets, novelists, playwrights, historians, and other disciplines.
As part of the festival, The George Moses Horton Society sponsored readings from Margaret Walker and Yusef Komunyakaa. The George Moses Horton Society for the Study of African American Poetry was founded by Dr. Trudier Harris, J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in 1996. Named in honor of George Moses Horton, an enslaved poet in the Chatham County and Chapel Hill areas of North Carolina from his birth in the late eighteenth century until well after Emancipation, the Society seeks to encourage sustained scholarly focus on the works of African American poets and to foster presentation and publishing opportunities for that scholarship. In April 1997, the University of North Carolina Press published a collection of Horton's works, entitled The Black Bard of North Carolina: George Moses Horton and His Poetry, edited by Joan R. Sherman. This seminal work, like the Society, celebrates the long-standing tradition of African American poetry of which George Moses Horton was truly an exemplar. The Horton Society is an affiliate organization of the American Literature Association.
The digital recordings of Margaret Walker and Yusef Komunyakaa were made possible by UNC Press. Paul Jones, Mark McCarthy, and Clark McCabe oversaw the digital recordings.