In the Sanctuary, sponsored by PECO -- Live during CBW!

Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the Art Sanctuary Gallery at 628 S. 16th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146. Stay tuned for updates of each In the Sanctuary featured author for the entire month!  RSVP is requested, but not required (click here).

Tuesday, May 6th (6pm – 8pm)

Author: Turiya Raheem | Title: Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City: Wash’s and the Northside

Turiya RaheemTuriya was born and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She loves to describe her neighborhood as “the other Atlantic City,” because it was not the casino-resort mecca most people know today. It was a place with a “cozy, down-home feeling” as she describes in her book, Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City: Wash’s and the Northside. Like most members of her large family, she grew up working at Wash’s, the family’s restaurant business, which celebrated 75 years before it closed in 2013.In 2010, after self-publishing Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City, Turiya garnered the attention of HBO and appeared on two (2) of its documentaries in association with the Boardwalk Empire series.


Wednesday, May 7th (6pm – 8pm)

Author: Oni Lasana | Reading / Performance: Various

onilasanaOni is a dynamic multidisciplinary Performing and Teaching artist. She offers her talents as an ARTress, Storyteller, Poet, Theater Director, Radio Producer, Playwright, Musician, Vocalist, Historical Interpreter, Workshop Facilitator, Youth Mentor and Jewellery Artisan. For decades, Oni has served nationally and internationally as acreative conduit & consultant for Performing Arts colleagues & business associates. Her dedication to  coaching and directing youth and adults in the Performing Arts, led her to serve as an enthusiastic advocate of Arts-in-Education & Community Theater. Author Website:



Thursday, May 8th (6pm – 8pm)

Author: Tracey Michae’l Lewis | Title: The Next Thing is Joy: The Gospel According to Vivian Grace

CBWHeadshot-TraceyMichaelLewisAs part of the read-in-any-order “Gospel of Grace Women” trilogy, Tracey Michae’l Lewis reveals the genesis of the generational curses that have plagued the Grace women: Sasha Renee, Crystal Justine and the matriarch, Vivian Grace. This story shows how the struggle to choose courage over fear and forgiveness over bitterness is a real but necessary fight. Tracey Michae’l Lewis is a writer and educator based out of the metro Philadelphia area. She is the author of seven books including The Integrated Church and her newest novel, The Next Thing is Joy: The Gospel According to Vivian Grace. Tracey has written for numerous publications (regional, national, and online) including Circuit Rider, Philadelphia Weekly, and Denene Millner’s She’s also a professor of writing and publishing at Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia University, and Rosemont College. Author Website:

Tuesday, May 13th (6pm – 8pm)

Author: Bishop Steven Walker | Title: 2nd Chronicle 2nd Anointing, The Laws that Govern Success

BWalkerHeadshotOur Featured Author of Faith, Bishop Steven  Walker is a self-published author of 23 books and will share his experience, writing process, and tips/tricks on quality publishing on a “shoestring” budget.  In addition to being a pastor, bishop/overseer of 7 ministries, and author of 20+ books, under the umbrella of his Christian record label— Genuine Productions—he is a singer, songwriter, and producer of 6 CDs and several theatrical stage productions. Bishop Walker has received numerous honors for his active ministry and outreach endeavors, and has received acclaim both nationally and internationally as a college graduate course lecturer and motivational speaker for many leadership conferences.  Author Website:

Wednesday, May 14th (6pm – 8pm)

Henderson profile picAuthor: Mae Henderson | Title: Speaking in Tongues and Dancing Diaspora

The oral tradition has always played an important role in African American literature, ranging from works such as [Zora Neale Hurston’s] Their Eyes Were Watching to [Toni Morrison’s] Beloved. These and countless other novels affirm the power of sonance and sound in the African American literary canon. Considering the wide swath of work in this powerful lineage—in addition to its shared heritage with performance—Mae G. Henderson deploys her trope of “speaking in tongues” to theorize the preeminence of voice and narration in the literary and cultural performances of black women. MAE G. HENDERSON is Professor emerita of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has taught classes and seminars in American, African-American, and Women’s literature, culture, and theory. Author of innumerable articles and essays on African American and feminist literary criticism and theory, pedagogy, theatre, popular and media culture, and Afro-Diasporic and black cultural studies, she is also co-editor of Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology (2005), editor of Borders, Boundaries, and Frames (1995), and co-editor of the five-volume Antislavery Newspapers and Periodicals: An Annotated Index of Letters, 1817-1871 (1980-1984).

Thursday, May 15th (6pm – 8pm)

Poet, Author: Neal Hall | Titles: Nigger For Life, Winter’s A’ Coming Still

Grand Prize Winner Los Angeles Book Festival, Grand Prize Winner Do-it-Yourself Publishing Festival amongst other awards Neal Hall, M.D., a graduate of Cornell and Harvard Universities, is a poet and ophthalmologist. His first international award winning book titled, Nigger For Life, reflects his painful discovery, that in “unspoken America,” race is the one thing by which he is first judged; by which he is first measured; first, against which his life and accomplishments are metered diminished value, dignity, equality and justice. Dr. Hall’s second award winning book titled Winter’s A’ Coming Still  is written from the same deep chasm of despair and pain that is now his literary muse and inspiration. His poetic insights reflect vividly that the more things are said to change, the more things are made to stay the same. Author website:

Tuesday, May 20th (6pm – 8pm)

Author: Charles Kellam | Title: The Book of G.A.M.E.

CharlesKellamCharles Kellam is a humorist, writer, and philanthropist. He is a WCU graduate, and travels the world spreading his original brand of comedy— universal, clean, and edgy. Making numerous television appearances, he is generally known onstage as “The Philly Cat,” nicknamed for his unique sense of style. He channels his voice and savoir-faire to motivate audiences. Brandishing an infectious charm that is felt onstage and off, he is committed to helping people get the edge in their social lives.



Author: Victoria Huggins Peurifoy | Title: A Blade of Grace

VictoriaVictoria Huggins Peurifoy, is a Christian, who is an author, Poet, Spoken word artist, Storyteller, writer, biographer/Ghost Writer, photographer, consultant, facilitator, Voice Talent, Narrator, and Public Speaker. She is a twenty 28 year resident of the Germantown area of Philadelphia and is fondly called “The Axiom” for she speaks the truth. She is a self published author with eight books, three chapbooks and three CD’s to her credit. Her latest book is an autobiography entitled “A Blade of Grace” which was released in November along with her new Album “Run Between the Raindrops.”  She is the facilitator for the Poetry and Discussion group at the Center in the Park’s Senior Citizen Center located in Germantown. Victoria also writes autobiographies for senior citizens. Recently she was featured on “G-Town Radio” and at Warm Daddies.


 Wednesday, May 21st (6pm – 8pm)

Artist: Rahnda Rize | Performance/Workshop: Complex, but Beautiful – Through Our Eyes, Black Beauty Defined

RizeThe issue of the color complex is a hot button issue in the black community. From the time of enslavement, persons of African descent have been subjected to ridicule regarding the color of our skin, texture of our hair, shapes of our bodies, etc. In order to begin the process of freeing ourselves from the shackles of generational self-hatred, we must begin to see ourselves through our own eyes. We must educate ourselves on the greatness of black history and culture. We must create our own standards of beauty and uphold them. We must surround ourselves with positive reflections of ourselves in all its forms in order to overcome these issues of the color complex. This is an issue that we must continue to discuss and examine to serve as a teaching tool, as well as serve as a catalyst for healing and positive change in our community. Through Our Eyes, Black Beauty Defined will focus on the topic of Black Aesthetics and the issue of self-esteem and body image in the black community. The show will feature music, spoken word performances and live art that will serve to uphold the beauty and the brilliance of our blackness. Rahnda Rize is a multidisciplinary performing artist who hails from Philadelphia, PA. She is a student of and lover of black history and culture, an activist, youth advocate and mentor who has worked with various cultural organizations, and youth programs throughout the city of Philadelphia. She is the founder of two programs entitled the Sisterhood of Goddess Queens Girls Rites of Passage Program and the Rise Up, Act Out Performing Arts Program.

Thursday, May 22nd (6pm – 8pm)

Presenter: Kimberly Bonner | Discussion/Workshop: The Righteous Ones: The Emancipatory Power of Conscious Hip-Hop and the Artists that Touch Our Hearts

Kimberly B. BonnerIn the early days of American hip-hop, voices of African American artists in Brooklyn, NY rose to national acclaim. The beats, rhymes, and lyrics provided generations of Americans and eventually members of the global village withmultiple sources of emancipatory inspiration for political, social, and economic change for systematically oppressed members of society. Locally, the artistry of SunnStarrr13, and globally, the artistry of Janelle Monae’ has introduced audiences to styles that some may bill as humanist. However, in a world where people of color, Black people in particular, experience high levels of disadvantage, disenfranchisement, and violence, the power of emancipatory hip-hop and the artists that produce such work must be highlighted and their voices amplified. Their work is more than humanistic; it is also a rich source of hope and encouragement. This discussion explores a critical race/gender/sexuality comparative analysis of how, over the past thirty years since the birth of hip-hop, conscious hip-hop artists have managed to thrive artistically while simultaneously raising the consciousness and spirits of the masses and achieving local and global critical acclaim.


Tuesday, May 27th (6pm – 8pm)

Author: Vanna B | Title: FANCY: Handbags, Heels, and Hard Times


Vanna B. is a native of Philadelphia, PA and received her BA in journalism from Temple University. Writing has been a life-long passion of hers and she always planned on authoring books. Vanna’s books have all become Amazon Kindle best-sellers, and have earned her a Philly Hip Hop award for “Best Author,” as well as nominations for two AAMBC Awards and two Urban Literary Awards. Fancy was also featured in “Source Magazine.”



Wednesday, May 28th (6pm – 8pm)

Author: Hilary Beard | Title: Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and Life

Hillary BeardPhiladelphia star-power author and editor, Hillary Beard is a  New York Times bestselling author, editor, multimedia journalist, and book collaboration expert. In her own words, that means, she “helps people package their nonfiction book ideas into a proposal, find an agent, and land a deal with a publishing company, then [she writes] their book for them. Promises Kept is the companion book to the award-winning documentary “American Promise.” Whether you send your children to school in wealthy suburbs or resource-starved urban schools, it’s tough to know how to raise them in an age that holds the promise of Barack and Michelle Obama and the peril of Trayvon Martin. Should you parent them the same way your parents reared you? What should you tell them about life as a Black person in this so-called post racial era? How can you help them score highly on tests? Hilary Beard will share strategies to address these and other issues by presenting key findings from “Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life,” the companion to the award winning documentary “American Promise”. You will leave the presentation armed with new skills to help Black boys and girls fulfill their potential.


Author: Hannibal Lokumbe | Title: Trilogy Freedom Dance Cycle

Hannibal LokumbeWorld renowned Jazz trumpeter,  composer, and activist, Hannibal Lokumbe, will present and discuss his newest literary work, Trilogy Freedom Dance Cycle. Monotonously known as Hannibal, this musical legend studied with John Coltrane, and performed and recorded with other infamous bandleaders such as Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, and Pharoah Sanders. In 2010, Hannibal performed A Shepherd Among Us, an original piece Art Sanctuary commissioned in celebration of another milestone – our 10th Anniversary. During this equally auspicious milestone year, we are honored to yet again welcome this great friend as a part of the Celebration of Black Writing.