COVINGTON, Ga. – The 2020 Daffodil Festival and Symposium at Georgia State University’s Newton Campus Feb. 11-12 will feature a prominent Atlanta civil rights historian, the winner of the Georgia Author of the Year in poetry and an Atlanta photographer of black culture and history, among other presentations.
The two-day event, which is sponsored by Georgia State University’s Perimeter College and open to the public, kicks off Tuesday, Feb. 11, with a 10 a.m. poetry reading and reception with Mario Chard, winner of the 2019 Georgia Author of the Year award in poetry. At 11:30 a.m., a walk and talk through the campus’s historic daffodil fields is planned, weather permitting. The Tuesday program also features remarks at 1 p.m. by Dr. Nancy P. Kropf, dean of Perimeter College, and the announcement of the 2020 Daffodil Scholar.
On Wednesday, Feb. 12, the program centers on the struggle for black freedom during the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. Susan Ross, Atlanta photographer, will present “Then and Now Artists” at 10:30 a.m. Her program will feature the work of “Sistagraphy,” a collective of black women photographers who, through a camera’s lens, examine contemporary and historical issues that affect society. Ross’s photography has been exhibited at the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Chastain Gallery, Spelman College, Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, and the Rush Arts Gallery in New York City, among others.
Dr. Karcheik Sims-Alvarado, an Atlanta civil rights historian and author of “Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968” will give the keynote address, “Reconstructing Reconstruction” at 1 p.m. Sims-Alvarado is CEO of Preserve Black Atlanta, a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying and recording African American history and culture and using historical and cultural assets as catalysts for economic and community development. She is the recipient of several National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute fellowships with the Georgia Historical Society and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University.
The symposium is in honor of the late Mario Bennekin, former chair of the history and political science department at Perimeter College. Bennekin had a passion for examining Reconstruction and its impact on African Americans after the Civil War.
“This is the 13th year of our Daffodil Festival,” said Dr. Laurent Ditmann, associate dean of the Newton Campus. “Daffodils, which have been blooming since the 1860s on this plot of land that is now our campus home, perfectly symbolize the beauty and growth that are the heart of our social, cultural, and educational identity.”
Ditmann said the annual observance is the Newton Campus’s way of honoring the past, present and future and an opportunity to welcome friends from the seven counties the campus serves.
“From poetry and science to history and art, all disciplines are well represented in our program and on our campus, where the pursuit of excellence guides both faculty and students,” he said.