Feb 12, 2024

Poetry Electric: A Special Black History Event

Series Director: William Electric Black

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A celebration of the highly decorated original Tuskegee Airmen - Spann Watson - through stories - photos - videos - and a dialogue with family and friends. During World War II, Spann flew combat missions with the 99th in the P-40 “Warhawk” fighter plane over North Africa, Sicily and Italy, where he was the first Tuskegee Airman to damage (two) enemy aircraft in aerial combat and was awarded the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters. As one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, he was awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal 2007. In 2009, he was part of a group of Tuskegee Airmen invited as honored guests at Barack Obama’s inauguration, was an honorary Grand Marshall of the Indianapolis 500, and a Grand Marshall of the New York City Veterans Day Parade. Spann could not be deterred, a force of nature, a man driven by integrity, love of  family and country!

Poetry Electric 2023–2024 is made possible by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, the Howard Gilman Foundation, The John Golden Fund, and The Shubert Foundation. Additional funding from the Axe-Houghton Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.

Poetry Electric


The Poetry Electric fuses music, movement, sound, and dance with the spoken word and presents artists working in a wide range of styles including beatboxing, jazz and hip-hop theatre. This series has presented over 200 emerging poets from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Special Event