October 27, 2018
at the Africa International House
Black FolkUs, Revisited was a gathering modeled after an annual symposium and performance festival that was presented by radical organizing group The Catalyst between 1968 and 1981. The Catalyst was a collective of social and cultural workers who strategized around ways to “build and maintain strong Black institutions” in and outside of Chicago. Focused on the ways in which Black social and cultural workers can build, connect, and grow together, Black FolkUs was a way to take the temperature of what the most pressing concerns were in the Black institutional and organizing community while collectively deliberating and developing strategies around topics like funding community education and Black-led schools, maintaining integrity in personal relationships, or the effects of government retrenchment on Black folks.
In the spirit of the original festival, this day-long revival of the symposium focused on the cultural landscape and be a mix of discussion and performance, providing a platform to showcase the groundbreaking artistic production that the South Side is known for while also reserving space for Black cultural workers to come together and ask the hard questions of what are the biggest roadblocks that keep Black cultural institutions from thriving, what are some strategies for breaking down these roadblocks, and how we can build together.
Black FolkUs, Revisited featured a keynote and historical anchoring of the discussion by original founding member of The Catalyst, Dr. Carol Adams and featured performances and readings by Useni Eugene Perkins, Coco Elysses, Ayodele Drum and Dance, and avery r young.
The day was hosted co-facilitated with storyteller Emily Lansana and cultural worker Lauren Williams.
This event was organized as part of The Time Is Now!: Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960 - 1980 at the Smart Museum of Art.
 Design by Kari Sylvain-Blackburn, inspired by original designs of posters for The Catalyst.
 +  Archival material from Dr. Carol Adams’ collection.
[4-8] Photos of Black FolkUs, Revisited on October 27, 2018. Photos by Milo Bosh.