Poet Nikki Giovanni caps ECU Anniversary of Desegregation commemoration

East Carolina University will conclude a yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its desegregation with a presentation by acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni. The program is set for 7 p.m. on April 24 in Wright Auditorium.



Outspoken in her writing and lectures, Giovanni prides herself on being “a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English.” During the past 30 years, she has fought for civil rights and equality through her work as poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator.

The 50th anniversary celebration at ECU begin in the fall semester when Laura Marie Leary Elliott returned to campus, attending her first ECU football game and joining in the Homecoming Parade. Elliott was the first African American student of East Carolina College in 1963.

Additional events commemorating the anniversary included a five-part lecture series titled “A Courage to Change,” in which African American leaders and educators spoke on topics related to ECU’s five strategic directions. Those strategic directions are education for a new century, the leadership university, economic prosperity in the East, health care and medical innovation and the arts, culture and the quality of life.

Giovanni’s presentation is free and open to the public. Attendees are required to secure a ticket through the ECU Central Ticket Office in the Mendenhall Student Center.