Dallas – Actress Lynn Whitfield and award winning journalist Bob Ray Sanders will join authors, poets and artists at the Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair and Arts Festival Saturday in Fair Park. The free festival promotes literacy and highlights businesses and arts in south Dallas.
The festival kicks off at 2 p.m. Friday with the Heart and Soul Tour of South Dallas historical sites and landmarks. On Saturday book readings, storytelling, writing workshops, children’s programs, spoken word poetry, panel discussions and performances will be held at the African-American Museum in Fair Park.
Cornerstone Baptist Church will host A Taste of Gospel, showcasing some of South Dallas’ finest gospel music voices, including the South Dallas Concert Choir, Seasoned Saints Community Choir of Dallas, Cornerstone Baptist Church Combined Choir, Tabernacle Choir of Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. and the M. L. King Jr. Branch Library’s Voices from the Soul. Words of inspiration will be delivered by Reverend Dr. Michael W. Waters of Joy Tabernacle.
The South Dallas Cultural Center will also host programs and workshops for teens and young adults. More than 30 local and regional authors will be participating, and books and merchandise will also be for sale.
This year’s Tulisoma participants include:
Lynn Whitfield – Since making her film debut in 1983’s Doctor Detroit, the actress has worked consistently in many popular films including A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996) with Martin Lawrence; Silverado; Oprah Winfrey’s historical miniseries The Women of Brewster Place (1989) (TV); The Josephine Baker Story; Eve’s Bayou and Redemption. She received an NAACP Image Award for her role in the television miniseries Stompin’ at the Savoy, and has had a recurring role in the TV series Without a Trace. She is currently starring with Billy Dee Williams in the recently released film The Trace.
Bob Ray Sanders – Sanders’ journalism career spans three decades in newspaper, television and radio. He currently is Associate Editor and Senior Columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he began his professional career. As a young journalist, he served as courthouse reporter and political writer before leaving to begin a distinguished career in broadcasting. He joined KERA-TV in 1972 as a reporter for the station’s innovative Newsroom program and later served as vice president and host/producer of the station’s award-winning program, News Addition.
Diane Ragsdale – Her service as a Dallas City Councilmember from 1984-1991 laid the groundwork for her interest in revitalizing and improving her South Dallas community. After a career as a registered nurse and health administrator, she served as chair of the nonprofit Inner City Community Development Corporation Board from 1999 to 2002 before becoming Managing Director in 2003.
Judge Cheryl Williams – Appointed as a municipal judge in 1999, she serves as a magistrate for the five counties within the City of Dallas boundaries, the South Dallas Community Court and all municipal court juvenile matters. Judge Williams oversaw the City of Dallas Teen Court program, a peer court with teen volunteers participating as Judge, Prosecutor, Defense Attorney, Jurors and Bailiff. Passionate about issues affecting juveniles; she is a regular speaker at bar associations, schools, social and religious groups throughout Dallas/Fort Worth.
Darryl Littleton – He began his comedy career writing sketches for the Tom Joyner Morning Radio Show on CBS, later becoming a Comedy Store regular. His first book, Black Comedians on Black Comedy, chronicled the history of African-American comedy featuring interviews with 125 of the industry’s biggest stars. Littleton and director Robert Townsend produced the book as a documentary, “Why We Laugh,” premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and on Showtime in 2010. His latest book, Comediennes: Laugh Be a Lady” was released last year.
Wanda Bolton-Davis – A teaching pastor and ministry director at St. John Church in Grand Prairie and the wife of St. John Pastor Dr. Denny D. Davis. She has a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Science, a master’s degree in Social Work, and a Master of Divinity degree from Truett Theological Seminary, where she was selected as their Minister of the Year in 2005. She is currently pursuing the Doctor of Ministry degree at Talbot School of Theology.
Vicki Meek – A visual artist and experienced arts administrator, she decided to become a sculptor at age eight after being inspired by the work of the African-American visual artist Elizabeth Catlett. She pursued an artistic career to give back to her community and to a new generation of African-American artists. She has been with the South Dallas Cultural Center for 16 years and has successfully revived it from virtual inactivity into a vibrant community hub.
For a list of tour sites, author information and other festival details visit www.tulisoma.com.