African American history has produced countless exceptional heroes, leaders, and role models. The graphic novel, BLAM! Black Lives Always Mattered!, tells the inspiring stories of 14 important Black Philadelphians, such as opera singer Marian Anderson, civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois, and “Father of the Harlem Renaissance,” Alain Locke. Every profile is vibrantly illustrated with facts and images that emphasize each individual’s life and accomplishments. Taken together the images and history show the lasting contributions and pioneering achievements of these notable Black women and men in Philadelphia.
Eric Battle is an illustrator, curator & art director, whose career has covered the spectrum of comic books and graphic novels, fashion illustration, children’s books, and advertising. He has illustrated many stories of popular icons, from Spider-Man, and The X-Men, to Batman & Godzilla.
Dr. Diane D. Turner is Curator of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries. Dr. Turner holds three Temple University degrees. Her areas of specialization and research include African American Labor, Cultural and Social History, Philadelphia Jazz History, Independent Black Filmmakers, Oral History and Public History. Her dissertation is entitled Organizing and Improvising: A History of Philadelphia’s Black Musicians’ Protective Union Local 274, American Federation of Musician. Dr. Turner has taught African-American history at Brown University, Northeastern University, Rowan University, University of South Florida and other institutions where she mentored many students. She has authored three books published by Third World Press that include My Name is Oney Judge (2010), Feeding the Soul: Black Music, Black Thought (2011) and Our Grand Pop is a Montford Point Marine (2018), co-authored with her father, Corporal Thomas S. Turner Sr. Her writings appear in anthologies and books such as: Philadelphia Jazz Project: Jazz Stories Illustrated, and Black Panther: Paradigm Shift or Not? She is co-author with Suzanne Cloud of Philly Jazz (2022) published by Arcadia Publishing. She serves as a consultant on a number of advisory boards and committees such as Bethel Burial Ground Historic Site Memorial Committee, Scribe Video’s Precious Places, Third World Press Foundation, the Philadelphia Clef Club Artist Advisory Board and others. Dr. Turner is president of the Montford Point Marines Association, Philadelphia Chapter #1 Auxiliary.
This graphic novel is a project produced by the Charles L. Blockson collection at Temple University. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. This event is free, in-person and open to the public.