Our Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

As a precaution to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and care for our community, Just Buffalo Literary Center has postponed a number of events, and we will follow the guidance of Buffalo Public Schools in terms of Just Buffalo Writing Center programming.

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The Civil Writes Project - Just Buffalo Literary Center


CELEBRATES the legacy of prominent Black writers who have called Buffalo home, whose voices shape history, inspire radical change, and influence current and future generations of poets and writers;

DRAWS INSPIRATION from Buffalo’s history as a gateway to freedom along the Underground Railroad; and

CHALLENGES our community to grapple with racism and inequities through literature, to find pathways toward justice in the power of the written word, and to open hearts & minds as we confront our shared past and present in order to shape a more equitable future.


Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Civil Writes Project is a large-scale community engagement project that began in 2017 with a series of interconnected literary arts programs culminating in Toni Morrison’s appearance at Just Buffalo’s BABEL series exactly fifty years to the day after Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic speech on the same stage at Kleinhans Music Hall. Previous BABEL / CIVIL WRITES PROJECT presentations have featured Jesmyn Ward, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Colson Whitehead, and Isabel Wilkerson. The 2024 Civil Writes Project will feature Kiese Laymon on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

Buffalo continues to be at a pivotal moment in its history—benefiting from an exciting renaissance even as the city grapples with persistent racial disparities. As the Civil Writes Project continues, our hope is to see even more engagement throughout WNY and beyond by opening conversations, encouraging reading and writing, and inviting widespread community participation around BABEL visits from the world’s foremost Black & African American writers.

As James Baldwin wrote, “​Not everything that can be faced, can be changed. But nothing can be changed if it cannot be faced.”

Get Involved

Apply for Support

Plan an event and apply for up to $2,500 to help make it happen! Applications are due on Friday, December 15, 2023 at 5:00 pm for programs occurring April through June 2024.

Upcoming Civil Writes Project Events

Reading groups, writing workshops, community events, and BABEL featuring Kiese Laymon.

List Your Event

Have an upcoming event that aligns with the Civil Writes Project? Add it to the calendar!

Upcoming Civil Writes Project Events

Past Civil Writes Project Events

Submit Your Civil Writes Project Event

More Resources for the Civil Writes Project

The 1619 Project

This ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.

National Civil Rights Museum

One of the nation’s premier heritage and cultural museums celebrated #MLK50 in 2018, continuing their mission to share the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement.

“The Case for Reparations”

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s critically acclaimed article, published in The Atlantic in 2014.

THE CIVIL WRITES PROJECT is generously supported by:

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
Erie County Logo

Grant S. Golden & Deborah A. Goldman Philanthropic Fund

Humanities New York
NEA Logo 2022
NYSCA Logo 2022