Present Tense: Black Lives Matter(ed) - 27 East

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Present Tense: Black Lives Matter(ed)

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"Africaville" by Jeffrey Colvin.

Author Jeffrey Colvin.

Author Jeffrey Colvin.

DJ Potts

DJ Potts

Eric R. Williams

Eric R. Williams

Mental health professional Allanah Evans.

Mental health professional Allanah Evans.

Bridgehampton-based activist Willie Jenkins.

Bridgehampton-based activist Willie Jenkins.

authorStaff Writer on Aug 10, 2020

“Africaville,” a powerful debut novel by Jeffrey Colvin, tells the story of the black experience in parts of Canada and the United States and offers insights into the outrage against racism and oppression that has sparked protests not only in America but around the world.

On August 15 and 16, a series of events that offer a unique opportunity to experience many of these insights. “Present Tense: Black Lives Matter(ed)” is a weekend of theater, art, literature, history and activism education centered around Colvin’s novel. Co-hosted by Guild Hall in East Hampton, The Church in Sag Harbor, and the Arts Center at Duck Creek in Springs.

A small Nova Scotia town settled in the waning years of the 18th century by formerly enslaved people is the inspiration for Colvin’s rich and unforgettable debut novel, which chronicles three generations of the Sebolt family — Kath Ella, her son Etienne, and her grandson Warner — whose lives unfold against the tumultuous events of the 20th century.

The sweeping, lyrical story takes readers from Nova Scotia to Montreal, New England and the Deep South as it explores notions of identity, passing, cross-racial relationships, the importance of place, and the meaning of home.

“Out of the Loop”

Installation by Jeffrey Colvin with sound design by Colvin and DJ Potts

August 15 and 16, 2 to 6 p.m. Arts Center At Duck Creek 127 Squaw Road, Springs, East Hampton. Free, self-guided walk with Black Lives Matter(ed) representative available to answer questions. This installation, looping audio of media reports about racial injustices along with excerpts of “Africaville,” invites viewers to enter this conversation and carry away their own insights and desires for action.

“Plain Sight Lecture Series”

August 15, 5 p.m. Arts Center At Duck Creek 127 Squaw Rd, Springs, East Hampton. Free outdoor event with Donnamarie Barnes and David Rattray of the Plain Sight Project, who will be joined by author Jeffrey Colvin to discuss how “Africaville” relates to the stories of enslaved people on the East End. Limited to 25 attendees. Reserve via email to Jess Frost

Staged Reading of “Africaville” directed by Andrina Smith

August 15, at 8 p.m. John Drew Backyard Theater, Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. A dramatized reading from Colvin’s novel featuring Eric R. Williams and Regan Lopez, directed and narrated by Andrina Smith, whose unique perspectives as a storyteller, a Shinnecock native, and a member of a multigenerational family legacy uniquely equips her to bring themes and scenes from Colvin’s novel to the stage.

Writing the Past to Right the Future

August 16, at 5 p.m. The Church, 48 Madison Street, Sag Harbor. Panel discussion about action with author Jeffrey Colvin and director/activist Andrina Wekontash Smith, cultural leader Bonnie Michelle Cannon, activist Willie Jenkins, mental health professional Allanah Evans and moderator Sara Cochran to discuss the pressing issues of our time and important themes in “Africaville,” namely social justice and the prison system, police brutality and social protest as well as the specific struggle of Black communities in face of COVID-19. Limited to 35 attendees, reserve via email to Sara Cochran

For more information on all the events, visit

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