Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation


Take Care of Your Blessings: Items from the Essex Hemphill/Wayson Jones Collection



Take Care of Your Blessings: Items from the Essex Hemphill/Wayson Jones CollectionNovember 3-13, 2010Black Gay & Lesbian Archive Project

Manuscripts, Archives and Rare BooksDivisionSchomburgCenter for Research in Black CultureNew York Public Library

Essex Hemphill (1957-1995) was a writer, editor and activist. Hemphill is the author of Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry (1992), Conditions: Poems (1986) and Earth Life (1985), and the editor of Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men (1991). Hemphill's poetry and prose have been published widely in anthologies such as In The Life: A Black Gay Anthology (1986) and Tongues Untied (1988), and periodicals such as Thing, Pyramid Periodical, Essence, Gay Community News, and The Advocate. Hemphill's writing and critical commentary were documented in two groundbreaking films by Emmy-award winning director, Marlon Riggs: Tongues Untied (1988) and Black Is...Black Ain't (1994).

The exhibition features rare and unpublished manuscripts of Hemphill's as well as copies of his first two chapbooks, Plums (1982) and Diamonds Was in the Kitty (1983), as well as assorted photographs, fliers, posters and programs. Wayson Jones, a musician who collaborated with Hemphill in Cinque, performance group (along with Larry Duckette) and later as a duo (Hemphill and Jones) in the 1980s, donated the material to the Black Gay & Lesbian Archive.Take Care of Your Blessings forms part of The Audre Lorde/Essex Hemphill Memorial Lecture featuring poet Cheryl Clarke on Monday, November 8, 2010 at The Graduate Center, CUNY and a special screening of the films, Tongues Untied and Black Is...Black Aint at the Anthology Film Archives November 9, 2010.

The program is sponsored by the Africana Studies Concentration and co-sponsored by the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean, the PhD Program in English at CUNY and the Black Gay & Lesbian Archive Project, SchomburgCenter for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.

For more information about the exhibition, contact Steven G Fullwood at 212.491.2226 or


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

My partner has gotten me

My partner has gotten me interested in Essex Hemphill, alas I am too late for this exhibit. Wondering if any of this rare material is still available for viewing.

Post new comment