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The Givens Foundation for African American Literature advances cultural understanding and learning through programs that inspire a passion for African American literature and writers.
A world where all people see themselves reflected in the creation and enjoyment of literature and art, where the black experience and communities of color are central and incorporated into teaching, writing, and sharing of story in all its forms.
Our core values are that black literature and creativity is central to contemporary culture, black voices and stories are essential, culturally responsive engagement will lead to equality, and collaboration fuels our success.
In 1972, the Givens Foundation was established to provide scholarships in support of the academic success of African American students who wanted to go on to higher education. Then, in 1985, the Foundation’s mission took on a literary focus when twelve community families partnered with the University of Minnesota to purchase a 3,000 piece-collection of African American Literature from a collector in New York. Now known as the Archie Givens, Sr. Collection of African American Literature at the University of Minnesota, this Collection has grown to have more than 18,000 African American literary works and cultural objects representing more than 230 years of African American literature and life. Today, the Givens Foundation for African American Literature remains the only organization in Minnesota exclusively dedicated to advancing and celebrating black literature and writers. Our literary arts education residencies, African American author series, community reading campaigns, and programs for writers illuminate the cultural resources and creative imagination found within African American literature to enrich cultural understanding for diverse audiences of all ages.
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