Stay tuned for announcements on our 2017 Keynote Speaker. BSC 2016 was thrilled to welcome Professor Elizabeth Alexander at last year's keynote event... 



Professor Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, and teacher. She is the author of six books of poems, two collections of essays, a play, and various edited collections.  She was recently named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, as well as the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. She previously served as the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University, where she taught for 15 years and chaired the African American Studies Department. In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Her memoir, The Light of the World, has just been released to great acclaim.

(Bio from


The Jopwell Black Solidarity Conference Essay Contest

last year 5 lucky BSC participants were selected for an award of $3,000 for their original essays.

Essay Prompt:

The Jopwell BSC Essay Contest aims to provide participating students with a platform to paint a larger picture of the unique stories relevant to them and their communities.

Qualifying essays may address at least one of the following questions:

1. Where have you been?: What specific obstacles have you encountered throughout your life to date and what action have you taken to overcome them? 

2. Where are you going?: What does “success” look like to you and what steps will you take to achieve it?

3. What is missing from the current conversation when we talk and read about being Black in America?: What issues are often overlooked? What have you done (or will you do) to change this narrative?

4. What legacy do you want to leave behind?: Describe the impact you hope to leave on your campus and in the world.

All essays must be a minimum of 350 words and a maximum of 750.

The deadline has passed to enter the essay contest.


Last but not least, our 2016 performer was the gifted and flowin Mick Jenkins. 

(Image from Redeye)

(Image from Redeye)

Mick Jenkins is an artist from Southside Chicago, IL. In the spring of 2013 Mick released a mixtape entitled “Trees and Truths” that quickly became a local favorite, buoyed by acid jazz-influenced production, biblical allegory and lacerating lyricism. A few months after its release, a collaboration with Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa came in the form of a single entitled “Crossroads,”which was a summer hit. In August 2014, Mick released “The Water[s]” which garnered national attention and serves as his breakout project while receiving critical acclaim. After wrapping up a summer tour with past BSC Headliner, Joey Bada$$, Jenkins is focusing his attention on his newly released EP "Waves," which was released on August 21, 2015. 



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