News & Announcements

Symposium II: Africana Collections and Cultural Programs in Baltimore

two girls looking at a museum collection

June 3 – 4, 2021, Online: The Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts and the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University will host a two-day symposium to define the collections, collecting efforts, and needs of Baltimore City’s key institutions devoted to the preservation of black culture. Click here for program and registration information.

D. Watkins Writes Baltimore

Author, editor, East Baltimore native, and Johns Hopkins School of Education alum D. Watkins talks about his evolution as a writer, learning to interview celebrities, and why he’s probably not cool enough to get a shoe deal. This is a preview of his talk at tomorrow’s Donald Bentley Memorial Lecture.

D. Watkins to speak at inaugural Donald Bentley Memorial Lecture

D Watkins

This year’s inaugural speaker, Baltimore native D. Watkins, is a celebrated author, social critic and editor-at-large at Salon. His speech will center on “Writing Baltimore: A Personal Journey of Lived Experience and Narrative Control.” Lawrence P. Jackson, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and Director of the Billie Holiday Project, will host a conversation with D. Watkins following […]

BHPLA and other programs win $4.4 Million Mellon Grant

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently awarded a $4.4 million grant to a team of scholars at Johns Hopkins University that is investigating the history of academic racism in higher education and building a citywide network to preserve Baltimore’s Black history, culture, and arts. The project, Inheritance Baltimore: Humanities and Arts Education for Black Liberation, will pioneer […]

Billie Holiday Project supports Kwanzaa celebration with local museums

BHPLA supported the 2020 Kwanzaa holiday with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, and the Eubie Blake Cultural Center. One day of events included Storytime with Dr. Connolly and family, cooperative economics for kids, Black businesses and COVID-19, poetry, author readings, dance and more. This was the first time […]

Baltimore Lives: A Discussion with John Mayden

The Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum hosted a virtual program with award-winning photographer John Clark Mayden, who has been documenting life in Baltimore ’s African American neighborhoods since the 1970s. The event was a discussion between Mr. Mayden and Bloomberg Distinguished Lawrence Jackson about Mr. Mayden’s photos and […]

Billie Holiday Project Mural Celebrates Legacy of Elijah Cummings

Colorful Elijah Cummings mural on the side of a building

“Never let anyone define you.” It was a favorite phrase of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died a year ago, and it is now immortalized in a mural celebrating the longtime congressman in West Baltimore. The Upton Planning Community—a consortium of seven nearby neighborhood associations—endorsed the project and its creator, Adam Stab. Graffiti writer and […]

Professor Larry Jackson joins JHU committee on naming buildings and programs

Professor and BHPLA founder Larry Jackson has been named a co-chair to the Johns Hopkins Committee to Establish Principles on Naming. The committee is working to develop institutional-level procedures for evaluating renaming requests, which could then be applied to specific cases by decision-makers at the divisional level. The committee’s creation was announced this summer alongside several initiatives aimed […]

2nd Annual Billie Holiday Tribute Jazz Concert: A Livestream Event | Saturday, September 19, 2020 | 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.


Join us for a live concert honoring the life and musical legacy of jazz legend Billie Holiday. The 60-minute performance will feature renowned vocalist Maimouna Youssef a.k.a “Mumu Fresh”, accompanied by a world-class acoustic quartet from the Peabody Institute Jazz Studies department. Band members include Nasar Abadey (drums), who serves as Artistic Director of the concert, alongside Sean Jones […]

Billie Holiday Project featured in Wesleyan University Magazine

Larry Jackson

The fall issue of Wesleyan University Magazine featured the Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts and Professor Lawrence Jackson in “Transforming the ‘Black Butterfly’.” In the article, Dr. Jackson discusses the roots of the project and its progress, the history of racism and segregation in Baltimore, and specific challenges of growing up in Baltimore and […]