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Mon, 03.24.1947

Kalamu ya Salaam, Writer born

Kalamu Salaam

*Kalamu ya Salaam was born on this date in 1947. He is a Black writer.

Born Val Ferdinand III in New Orleans, he was inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes and the civil rights movement in his home town.  Salaam became interested in writing and organizing for social change.  After graduating from high school in 1964, he joined the U.S. Army and served in Korea. After service, Salaam attended Carleton College but returned to New Orleans in 1968 to earn an associate's degree from Delgado College.

Salaam is the founder of the NOMMO Literary Society.  NOMMO is a New Orleans-based creative writing workshop whose members are published in national anthologies such as Dark Eros, Kente Cloth, Catch the Fire, and 360° A Revolution of Black Poets.  He is also a founder of Runagate Press, which focuses on New Orleans and African-heritage cultures worldwide.  Salaam is also the leader of the WordBand, a poetry performance ensemble that combines poetry with blues, jazz, and other forms of music.   Salaam's work includes the spoken word CD "My Story, My Song" (AFO Records) and his latest book "What Is Life?" at Third World Press. Salaam's awards include national and regional awards for poetry, play writing, literary criticism, cultural criticism, and radio production.

Salaam has served on numerous panels and boards, including NEA Literature panels.  He has read his poetry and lectured at universities, community programs, and institutions worldwide.  Salaam is also the moderator of CyberDrum, a list/service of Black writers and diverse supporters of literature.

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