Renowned poet, writer, activist, and educator Nikki Giovanni visited Savannah State University Thursday night to deliver an engaging address about writing and empowerment.
The poet was witty and entertaining as she talked about her reasons for becoming a writer, her passion for poetry, her memories as an activist, and even a joke she made with her close friend Rosa Parks about their different sororities.
“I told her you made one big mistake in your life. She said ‘what was that?’ I told her, becoming an AKA,” the Delta laughed along with the others that filled the room.
One of the most compelling things she talked about was being invited to speak at NASA. She shared her fascination of space, Martians, and human exploration before sharing a poem she wrote for NASA titled “Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea”
“We are going to Mars because whatever is wrong with us will not get right with us until we journey forward”
She went on to discuss how we cannot truly explore space until we examine the middle passage, a portion of the triangular trade where people from Africa were shipped to the New World.
She linked the cramped spaces astronauts have to endure for extended periods of time and being in places with no familiar landmarks, with conditions experienced during the middle passage.
“They don’t know what they send there is what they will get back”
She went on to discuss other major events in her life like her job at Virginia Tech. She talked about her recognition of troubled student Seung-Hui Cho, who later killed 32 people at the school, and her threat to resign if he was not removed from her class.
“I loved Virginia Tech” She stated “ and would have done anything to prevent that from happening”
Afterward, she answered questions from the audience, giving Savannah State and those in attendance words of wisdom, and a voice of encouragement.