posted December 5, 2011

“Spoken Word” Contest to Culminate Course on Revolutionary America

America's Revolutionary era produced some of the most iconic and enduring words of the nation's history, inspiring others worldwide. On Wednesday, Dec. 7, Hope students will share their words reflecting on the events, ideals and aftermath of the period through a "Spoken Word Slam Poetry Contest."

The event will take place at 7 p.m. in the Fried/Hemenway Auditorium of the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.  The public is invited, and admission is free.

The participating students have been enrolled this semester in the college's "History 251" course, "Revolutionary America: Visionaries, Rebels, and Ruffians."  The course examines the forces, people, philosophies and events that characterized colonial American society and led to the Revolution of 1776, also considering how the ideals and necessities of winning the struggle for independence imposed realities that later affected the nation and continue affecting it down to present day.

The course's instructor, Dr. Fred Johnson, associate professor of history, devised the competition as an off-beat way for the students to process the serious concepts they've been exploring since the start of the semester in August. Dec. 5-9 is the last week of classes at the college, with final exams running the following week.

"Students realize that the American Revolution was not confined to just one era but it has been ongoing. Its influence helped energize and shape the fight against slavery, the battle for women's suffrage, Civil Rights, and, more recently, the rise of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street protests," Johnson said.

Within the general framework of presenting their messages within a spoken-word format, the students have been free to develop their own presentations, and Johnson anticipates a mix of rhyme, rhythm and rap for the contest. Judging for the contest will be according to criteria like creativity, instructional value, and contemporary relevance. Supporting cheers from the audience are certainly welcome.

The Martha Miller Center for Global Communication is located at 257 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 10th Street.