01 Mar

Kentucky Humanities to Celebrate 50th Anniversary at NKU

As part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ A More Perfect Union initiative and to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Kentucky Humanities, in partnership with Northern Kentucky University, will host U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo and Kentucky Poet Laureate, Crystal Wilkinson on Saturday, April 23rd at 7 p.m. (EDT) at Northern Kentucky University. Harjo and Wilkinson will discuss social justice, inclusion, and storytelling through poetry. The discussion will be moderated by Eric H. Kearney.

The event will be held at Greaves Concert Hall, 1 Louis B. Nunn Drive in Highland Heights on the campus of Northern Kentucky University, and with reservation is free to the public. 

Joy Harjo, the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, is a member of the Mvskoke Nation and belongs to Oce Vpofv (Hickory Ground). She is the author of nine books including her most recent Poet Warrior: A Memoir and the highly acclaimed An American Sunrise and has received numerous awards and accolades for poetry. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, has produced seven award-winning musical albums and her poetry has been included on a plaque on NASA’s Lucy spacecraft on reconnaissance of the Jupiter Trojans.

Crystal Wilkinson, an African American feminist writer, is the Poet Laureate of Kentucky and proponent of the Affrilachian Poet movement. She is a 2020 USA Fellow of Creative Writing and a 2021 O. Henry Prize winner. She teaches at the University of Kentucky and is the acclaimed author of Perfect BlackThe Birds of OpulenceBlackberries, and Water Street.

Eric H. Kearney, the moderator, is the President/CEO of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce and President of the Northern Kentucky University Foundation. He has had a distinguished career in law, business, and politics. As a state senator, Eric served as Ohio Senate Minority Leader and championed a number of causes including creating Ohio’s Poet Laureate. He founded and built one of the largest African American owned publishing companies, Sesh Communications, which publishes The Cincinnati Herald, The Northern Kentucky Herald, The Dayton Defender, and other publications. 

This event is a collaboration between Kentucky Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Northern Kentucky University, and the NKU Department of English.

“Northern Kentucky University and the surrounding community have always been supportive and welcoming to Kentucky Humanities and its programs,” said Kentucky Humanities Executive Director Bill Goodman. “We are excited to bring our 50th Anniversary celebration to the area and we are thrilled to partner with the National Endowment for the Humanities and Northern Kentucky University for our 50th Anniversary celebration.”

Since 1972, Kentucky Humanities has provided the Commonwealth with programs and services that create a legacy of pride in the wealth of Kentucky culture, build civic engagement and support local humanities events. Kentucky Humanities has invested more than $16 million in public programs for Kentuckians and the organization has provided funding for more than 18,000 public humanities programs that are held in familiar community settings and reach every corner of the Commonwealth.

Kentucky Humanities programs and services include Kentucky Chautauqua®, PRIME TIME Family Reading®, grants for community events/projects, Museum on Main Street, Kentucky Reads, Kentucky Humanities magazine, Speakers Bureau, Think Humanities podcast, Think History radio segments, the Kentucky Book Festival®, and School Days.

A year-long celebration is planned to commemorate Kentucky Humanities’ 50th Anniversary including six regional public events, 50 Faces of the Humanities videos revealed each week, special issues of Kentucky Humanities magazine, and Instagram takeovers by humanities students at Kentucky colleges and universities.

This event, and all Kentucky Humanities’ 50th Anniversary events, are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Visit to register.

Kentucky Humanities is a non-profit Kentucky corporation affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities.Kentucky Humanities is not a state agency, but is a proud partner with Kentucky's cultural, heritage, arts, and tourism agencies. For information about Kentucky Humanities’ programs and services, including details about the year-long 50th Anniversary celebration, and to register for the 50th Anniversary events, visit You can follow Kentucky Humanities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @KYHumanities.