Hidden Voices Celebrates Local
Black History at Local Libraries
No Longer Hidden
Poet Fabu (l-r) and authors Katrina Sparkman and Sherry Lucille
Studies Department and was a prolific writer at University of Wisconsin-Madison Afro-American Studies. She also taught Toomer and
Hansberry, the other featured writers.”

Fabio also mixed her prose with music, as has Fabu who co-hosted “Sunday Speaking,” a poetry and music program with local hip-hop artist
Rob Dz. Much of Fabio’s work can be found on vinyl, including Boss Soul, set to drum talk, rhythms and images. Her eclectic songs can also
be found on YouTube, where they have found a new life, allowing listeners to relive her eclectic vibe.

Catrina Sparkman’s literary “Shero” is fellow author and playwright Lorraine Hansberry, best known for Raisin in the Sun, which tells the story
of a Black family who move to the Washington Park subdivision of Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood. The story is semi-autobiographical as
Hansberry’s family was involved in a lawsuit, Hansberry vs Lee, in 1940 due to racially motivated restrictive covenants. While a student at UW-
Madison, Hansberry was politically active and integrated a dormitory. She is remembered by classmate Bob Teague"...the only girl I knew who
could whip together a fresh picket sign with her own hands, at a moment's notice, for any cause or occasion,”

Sparkman reflected that Hansberry “wasn’t just a writer, she was an activist. Her family was steeped in political activism. When they
integrated their neighborhood, they did so as a political act. It informs who she is as a political person in the world.”

As to their connection, Sparkman noted that “we are both playwrights and one of the things she does well is that she really builds characters.
The reason Raisin in the Sun did so well is we remember the characters, they come alive. That is a testament to the writer. Character building
is important and one of the things that I seek to do. The characters will live with you long after you have read the last page.”

Author Sheri Lucille, tells the story of Jean Toomer, a literary giant associated with the Harlem Renaissance who spent much of his life
resisting being known as an African American writer and was known to pass upon occasion. He attended UW-Madison between 1914-1917 and
returned in 1930’s to Portage, Wisconsin where he married author Margery Latimer, a white woman. Toomer is best known for the High
Modernist novel Cane, an "analysis of class and caste with secrecy and miscegenation as major themes of the first section." Lucille’s books
nod to Toomer in that she explores these same issues, weaving mystery, interracial romance and history in her novels.

Each author will share the history of their chosen inspiration and will also showcase their most recent literary contributions including;
Sparkman’s third book The Fire this Time, Lucille’s Red Light, Green Light and Fabu’s Remember Me, Mary Lou Williams in Poetry and Sacred
Mary Lou. The trio will have copies for sale at their upcoming Hidden Voices presentations.

Lucille noted “At our last presentation, the audience was mostly Caucasian and a woman came up and said thank you so much for speaking on
Jean Toomer. When she was a freshman she was introduced to his writing in college and she felt he should be discussed. She was thankful
that he was being highlighted now.”

Another woman shared that she went to Marquette University and studied Jean Toomer and was never made aware that he had a Wisconsin
connection.

Describing the trio’s presentation, she shared, “It feels wonderful to be a part of this lively group of women, bringing to life people who should
be in the same standing as Gertrude Stein, Hemingway and others.”

You can attend the following Hidden Voices presentations:
•        February 10, 10:00 a.m., at Deforest Public Library
•        February 24 2:00 p.m., at Madison Pinney Branch Library
•        February 27 6:30 p.m., at Middleton Public Library

Hidden Voices’ sponsors include: Beyond the Page, the Madison Public Library, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Afro-
American Studies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Madison Community Foundation.
By Hedi Rudd

No longer Hidden Voices, our very own Black female literary trio —
Poet Fabu and Authors Catrina J. Sparkman and Sherry Lucille —
offer an opportunity for the Madison area to learn about literary
luminaries of our past, while celebrating their present-day
contributions. The Hidden Voices traveling presentation — being
offered at area libraries — offers each author the opportunity to shine
a light on African-American writers who have local connections;
Jean Toomer, Lorraine Hansberry and Sarah Webster Fabio.

“We as contemporary authors are part of the literary landscape and
deserve to be acknowledged as such. If you look up past
contemporary writers in Wisconsin, you will also see no African
American authors,” Fabu expressed. “Thanks to Beyond the Page and
our other sponsors, we are able to correct those omissions.”

Fabu shares her literary spirit with Sarah Webster Fabio whom she
describes as “the least known, but she was the Mother of the Black