J. Chester Johnson returned to the site of the 1919 Elaine Race Massacre, one of the deadliest assaults on African-Americans in our country’s history. The event and its ramifications in Phillips County, Arkansas, where the Massacre actually occurred, were discussed at this presentation. J. Chester Johnson, whose maternal grandfather participated in the Elaine Race Massacre, was joined by Sheila Walker, whose family members, including her great-grandmother and great uncles, were among the victims. Since Sheila and Chester had antecedents representing the two sides of the conflagration, they have, over the last several years, committed to a reconciliation of the inter-racial and generational trauma that has been associated with the massacre.
Video Courtesy of Delta Cultural Center
Johnson’s drama in verse, “For Conduct And Innocents,” about the martyr and 20th century theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was presented as a multi-media event (drama, music, dance, film) on Oct. 18, 2015 at Trinity Wall Street with nearly 50 performers participating.
Courtesy of Trinity Wall Street, New York
J. Chester Johnson gave the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday sermon at Trinity Wall Street on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 11:15AM.
Courtesy of Trinity Wall Street, New York
J. Chester Johnson was the featured poet appearing at the Kairos Poetry Café, St. John’s Lutheran Church in the West Village, on Sunday, November 17th, 2013. Johnson read a number of his shorter poems – some older pieces, some new. He introduced each poem with a short comment on the event or salient motif that inspired the creation of the verse.
Courtesy of Kairos Poetry Café
Remembrance and Reconciliation Through Poetry
Seven leading American poets, including J. Chester Johnson, read poems of remembrance and reconciliation on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at Trinity Wall Street, located only a few yards from Ground Zero; the event was sponsored by Poets House and others.
Courtesy of Trinity Wall Street in the City of New York
Courtesy of Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History
Original poems from his latest book of verse, St. Paul’s Chapel & Selected Shorter Poems.
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- MULTI-MEDIA PERFORMANCE: PERSONA VOICES FROM THE LITERARY WORK, “ELAINE RACE MASSACRE,” WRITTEN BY J. CHESTER JOHNSON
Was Held At Trinity Church: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19TH. Click here for more information.
- Based on multiple requests, the serialized article, Evanescence: The Elaine Race Massacre, published in Green Mountains Review, is being reposted. Click here to access the composite, complete article.
- Moderator for reading/discussion by Reginald Dwayne Betts at Trinity Wall Street, Parish Center, 2 Rector Street, NYC, on Sunday, Feb. 21st, 2016. Click here for commentary on Betts’ poetry by J. Chester Johnson.
- “For Conduct and Innocents” A Multimedia Performance, Based On The Drama In Verse By J. Chester Johnson
(click for more information, performance and text)
Took place on October 18, 2015 at Trinity Church, New York, NY
- Lecture on Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Theologian and Martyr (click for more information and written remarks)
Took place at Trinity Wall Street, Broadway and Wall, NYC, Sunday, June 14, 2015
- Click for info, written remarks and audio of "Poetry: Uniting Commerce and Verse to Enhance Life and Work"
Panel discussion held on March 4th at Poets House, NY, NY sponsored by the Senior Committee of the Harvard Business School Club of New York
- Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. with a sermon at Trinity Wall Street, January 18th, 2015
Click on link above to watch video. Provided by Trinity Wall Street.
- Article in THE EPISCOPAL NEW YORKER (click for more information and full article)
“After Sins of the Fathers, Steps Toward Reconciliation,” written by Lynn Goswick
- Upcoming: J. Chester Johnson will be interviewed by Ann Cefola
in the June, 2015 edition of the literary journal, Illuminations.
- Downtown Panel Will Tackle Legacy of One of Nation's Deadliest Race Riots
By Irene Plagianos on DNAinfo New York
- Symposium on The Elaine Race Massacre: The Racial Conflagration That Changed American History
Held on Saturday, September 20th, 2014, at St. Paul's Chapel, New York, NY (See details on Blog)
- A Massacre in Arkansas: Facing Love and History
Published on Best American Poetry Blog
- Johnson Was Featured Poet at Kairos Poetry Café – November 17, 2013
St. John's Lutheran Church, 81 Christopher Street, New York, NY
- Mogadishu and Verse
Tom Sleigh at the Center for the Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center. Article Published in Literary Matters
- Becoming and Unbecoming Henri Faust, Part I
A four-part series of articles published on Best American Poetry Blog