Department of English


English Language and Literature

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The Departments of English and Gender Studies Present:


Adrian Matejka

Unforgivable Blackness

JUNE 21, 2021 | 10-11AM

Adrian Matejka poster - text provided in page content

Virtual Webinar: Link in Description

Stay tuned for an upcoming talk on Tuesday, June 22!

This presentation is part of hiring for the Black Studies Program at Queen's University. 

Register in advance for this webinar:

Abstract: This presentation is an introduction to my ongoing creative and critical project about Jack Johnson, the first Black heavyweight champion of the world. Johnson was an American original, the child of enslaved Africans who quit school in third grade to make his fortune. On his way to that fortune, he went from brawling in battles royal and on street corners for meals to being the most famous (or infamous) Black person in the world. 

About the Artist: My collection of persona poems focusing on Johnson’s ascent to the title, The Big Smoke, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. My forthcoming graphic novel, Last On His Feet, picks up where The Big Smoke ends. The novel is illustrated by French artist Youssef Daoudi and will be available in fall 2022. The presentation will include video as well as excerpts from Last On His Feet.