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    The New York Times columnist Charles Blow will be the featured speaker at the 15th annual Austin African American Book Festival held June 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will again be virtual and remains free, but attendees must register on Eventbrite.

    A visionary and champion of social justice, Mr. Blow epitomizes the festival theme “I am a Revolutionary: Stories of Resistance and Resilience.” In his best-selling memoir “Fire Shut up in My Bones,” Blow depicts the challenges he has faced and overcome. His recently-published “The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto,” is both a call to action and a path to racial equality.

    Festival favorite Dr. Mark Cunningham will interview Mr. Blow about his life, work and ideals.

    To open the festival, literary and education consultant Patrick Oliver will moderate a panel on the importance of representation in the development of our leaders of tomorrow. Contributing their voices to the discussion will be award-winning children’s authors, poets and illustrators Cheryl Willis-Hudson, Tony Medina and Vanessa Brantley-Newton.

    Dr. Raphael Travis, program director at Texas State University in the school of social work, closes out the festival with a discussion of the Oscar-winning film, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” In his research, Dr. Travis investigates creative arts, especially Hip-Hop culture, as a source of health and well-being for individuals and communities.

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