2021 CASE Festival

The Margaret Walker Center is pleased to announce the schedule of events for the 15th Annual Creative Arts & Scholarly Engagement (CASE) Festival, featuring writer and scholar Kiese Laymon, scheduled to be held virtually on Friday and Saturday, April 9 & 102021.

All plenary events will be livestreamed on the Margaret Walker Center Facebook page, but, if you would like to watch the student presentations, please register here. You can see the full schedule of student presentations here.

Taking a cue from Laymon’s work, the theme for the 2021 CASE is Bearing/Baring the Weight/Wait: The Struggle for Self-Actualization & Change in Mississippi.”

The CASE Festival will open on Friday with a plenary discussion on the recently released for the first time full-edition of Richard Wright’s The Man Who Lived Underground with Laymon, Kevin Powell, C. Liegh McInnis, Charlie Braxton, Jerry Ward, and Julia Wright, daughter of Richard Wright. There will also be a musical reception, led by Amanda Furdge-Shelby, featuring spoken word artists.

On Saturday, the Festival will feature Kiese Laymon’s keynote, student concurrent sessions, a closing conversation with Prof. C. Liegh McInnis and Dr. Anita DeRouen, and the presentation of the $1,000 Margaret Walker Award as well as the $500 Doris Derby Visual Arts and Social Justice Award.

All events are free and open to the public.

This project is supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency; the Greater Jackson Arts Council; and in part, from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Schedule of Events


Friday, April 9, 2021

The Man Who Lived Underground by Richard Wright
Featuring Julia Wright, Kiese Laymon, Kevin Powell,
Jerry Ward, Charlie Braxton, C. Liegh McInnis
Zoom Plenary: MWC Facebook
2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.

Spoken Word and Visual Art Reception
Music with Amanda Furdge-Shelby
Zoom Plenary: MWC Facebook
4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 10, 2021
Welcome and Q&A Zoom Plenary
Register here for all concurrent sessions.
8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Concurrent Session I Student Presentations
Zoom Breakout Rooms
9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Concurrent Session II Student Presentations
Zoom Breakout Rooms
10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Kiese Laymon
Keynote Conversation
Zoom Plenary: MWC Facebook
12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

The Debate for Democracy
A Play, written by Sharon Miles
Featuring: Ashia Benford, Devin Hunter,
and Sharon Miles
Zoom Plenary: MWC Facebook
1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Prof. C. Liegh McInnis and Dr. Anita DeRouen
Closing Conversation and Awards Program
Zoom Plenary: MWC Facebook
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions – Student Presentations Schedule
Saturday, April 10, 2021
Register here.

Panel 1: Historical Writing
9:00-10:15 a.m. Zoom Breakout Room

Banana Peels
David Camper, Jackson State University

The Evolution of Lynching
Crystal Scott, Jackson State University

Moderator: C. Sade Turnipseed, Jackson State University


Panel 2: Literary Analysis and Historical Writing
9:00-10:15 a.m. Zoom Breakout Room

Sounding the Unsovereign: Addressing the Question
of History in Eudora Welty and William Faulkner

Patrick Gregory, University of Mississippi

Murder in a Small Town: Lynching, Violence,
& Complacency in Mississippi’s Blueberry Capital

Alan Wheat, Jackson State University

Moderator: Robert Luckett, Jackson State University


Panel 3: Poetry
9:00-10:15 a.m. Zoom Breakout Room

Rat Race
As Above, So Below

Maya McWilliams, Jackson State University

Tell Them My Name
Shelia Malone, Jackson State University

The Confederate Flag
Children A Piece of Clay
Hatred of My Existence
The African Continent, I Know Not
Rhoda A. McGee-Edwards-Geren, Jackson State University

Self-Portrait of *Monte
Ode to Niples
Michael Montgomery, Millsaps College

Moderator: helen crump, Jackson State University


Panel 4: Creative Writing, Poetry, and Performing Arts
10:30-11:45 a.m. Zoom Breakout Room

Black Queer Existence and Resistance in the South
Tyler Hurley, Jackson State University

Blaxploitnation: Abridged
Blaxploitnation: The Visualizer
Trevian Strong, Jackson State University

My Story, My Life, My Way
Janeth Jackson, University of Mississippi

Moderator: Prince Duren, Jackson State University


Panel 5: Poetry
10:30-11:45 a.m. Zoom Breakout Room

Contemporary Is Still Contemporary:
Gen Z and the Poetry of the Recent Past

“Alone (Jacob Lattimore)”
“Latch (Disclosure)”
“Firefly (Mura Mura)”
Moecha Williams, Allen University

“next gen”
“we play to escape”
“hunted”
Haley Dixon, Allen University

“The Osmium Rose”
Alexander Hampshire, Allen University

“Blue Crabs”
“My Life of Being Successful”
Shadell Frasier, Allen University

Moderator: Fayaz Kabani, Allen University


Panel 6: Visual Arts
10:30-11:45 a.m. Zoom Breakout Room

Physical Exhaustion – Mental Exhaustion – Emotional Exhaustion
A Focus on Alcohol Consumption
Consensual Manipulation

Michael Montgomery, Millsaps College

In the Blue Light
“Don’t Shoot”
“Screaming for Justice”
“I Died in the Blue Light”
“Still Fierce”
“I Still Dream”
Shelia Malone, Jackson State University

Dee
Ashton Gage

Carnell Payne, Jackson State University

Moderator: Doris Derby, Georgia State University