Acclaimed Poet Speaks at Upper School Black History Month Assembly

By Hannah Garcia February 12, 2024

Dr. Joshua Bennett performs his works across the world, from the White House and the Sundance Film Festival to MIT lecture halls and BB&N gymnasiums. Organized by the newly-formed Black Student Union to celebrate Black History Month, students had the opportunity to engage with the award-winning Dr. Bennett through his poems and experiences.

Co-presidents of the BSU Avery Hart ’25 and Ekram Shemsu ’25 invited Dr. Bennett as part of the theme of “changemakers” that echoes in each of the affinity assemblies. The poet and MIT professor resides nearby and has connections with Upper School history teacher Jack Hill, so he was the clear choice to invite.

Dr. Bennett performed three spoken-word poems for the crowd of students, encompassing themes of youth, identity, love, and sacrifice. He urged the students through his tales of triumph and family, to remember that the heroes of the Civil Rights movement and countless others were often the same age as they are now, so they have the power to make a difference.

BSU and Dr. Bennett created the perfect atmosphere to kick off a month of honoring the sacrifices, resilience, and joy of Black people in America.

Dr. Bennett’s presentation was funded in part by the Hodder Fund, which supports bringing outside speakers to the BB&N community and is named for former Dean of Students and Faculty Emerita Lissa Hodder.