MLK Library welcomes George McCalman, author of Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and Unseen, in conversation with NATIVE SON creator Emil Wilbekin.
The DC Public Library is excited to bring Native Son, a community created to inspire and empower Black gay and queer men, to Washington, D.C. Founder and Multimedia maverick Emil Wilbekin will sit down with the NAACP award-winning artist George MacCalmanfor a 45-minute conversation about his debut title Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and Unseen.
Following the conversation, the audience can ask the speaker questions and get a copy of the book signed. Thanks to the DC Public Library Foundation, the first 50 registered attendees will receive a free copy of the book. Learn more about the speakers below and register to attend!
For reasonable accommodations, please get in touch with the Center for Accessibility at 202-727-2142 or DCPLaccess@dc.gov. Please allow at least seven (7) days' notice for ASL or tactile interpretation.
Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and Unseen
WINNER OF THE NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Debut Author*
A gorgeous collection of 145 original portraits celebrating Black pioneers—famous and little-known--in politics, science, literature, music, and more—with biographical reflections, all created and curated by an award-winning graphic designer.
Illustrated Black History is a breathtaking collection of original portraits depicting black heroes—both famous and unsung—who made their mark on activism, science, politics, business, medicine, technology, food, arts, entertainment, and more. Each entry includes a lush drawing or painting by artist George McCalman and an insightful essay summarizing the person’s life story.
The 145 entries range from the famous to the little-known, from literary luminary James Baldwin to documentarian Madeline Anderson, who produced “I Am Somebody” about the 1969 strike of mostly female hospital workers; from Aretha Franklin to James and Eloyce Gist, who had a traveling ministry in the early 1900s; from Colin Kaepernick to Guion S. Bluford, the first Black person to travel into space.
Beautifully designed with over 300 unique four-color artworks and accessible to readers of all ages, this eye-opening, educational, dynamic, and timely compendium pays homage to Black Americans and their achievements and showcases the depth and breadth of Black genius.
About George McCalman
George McCalman is an artist and creative director based in San Francisco. His design studio is McCalman.Co collaborates with a wide range of cultural clients. McCalman’s background in the editorial world has been the foundation of his storytelling. His decision to cultivate his fine art practice alongside brand work reframed his perspective and synthesized the importance of design. Rather than racing to the results, he began focusing on process as the catalyst for any initiative. McCalman is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. His ‘Observed’ and ‘First Person columns document Bay Area culture.
His first book ‘Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and Unseen’ was published in Sept 2022 to profound accolades by The New Yorker’s Hilton Als, NPR, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Fast Company, Juxtapoz, Hyperallergic and many others. In 2023, ‘Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and Unseen’ was the recipient of the NAACP Award for Outstanding Literary Work.
About Native Son
Native Son is a movement, community, and platform created to inspire and empower Black gay/queer men. Their mission is to harness collective power and to amplify the voice and visibility of Black gay/queer men. Established in 2016, Native Son is named after James Baldwin’s collection of essays “Notes of a Native Son”. For more information or to support the organization: www.nativeson.us.
About Emil Wilbekin
Emil Wilbekin is a multimedia maverick who contributes to The New York Times T Magazine, Vogue, The Cut, Architectural Digest, and Town & Country. He is the Co-Producer and Writer on the documentary The Remix: Hip Hip X Fashion (Netflix).
He is also the Founder of Native Son, a platform created to inspire and empower Black
gay and queer men with the purpose of amplifying the voice and visibility of this community.
Wilbekin also does public speaking centering conversations about culture, diversity, equity, inclusion, identity, fashion and LGBTQ+ issues.
Wilbekin has appeared on-air discussing pop culture, fashion/style, entertainment and current affairs on The Today Show, NBC Channel 4 News New York, E! VH-1, MTV, BET, CNN, The Insider, Arise 360, Revolt, Fox Soul, and PBS.
Wilbekin has an expertise in editorial creation, content curation and multimedia story telling (print, digital, social, video and live events) having served as Chief Content Officer at Afropunk, Editor-at-Large at Essence, Managing Editor of Essence.com, Editor-in-Chief of Giant and Giantmag.com, Style Guru at Complex Media, VP of Brand Development at Marc Eckō Enterprises, Editorial Director/Vice President of Vibe Ventures and Editor-in-Chief of Vibe Magazine. Under Wilbekin’s leadership, Vibe won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in 2002.
He holds a B.S. in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University, and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. He resides in New York City.
Social Handles: @emilwilbekin on Twitter and IG
The DC Public Library Foundation partners with the DC Public Library to enhance Washington, DC’s public libraries, bringing private philanthropy together with government support to ensure that our libraries deliver the highest quality of service to the District’s residents. With the help of many generous people, the Foundation provides educational programs for children and youth, workforce development training, cultural events, and collection enhancements for DC’s libraries.
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