Spoleto Festival USA will present “Exploring Omar,” a free, eight-part discussion series as part of the Festival’s education and community engagement arm, Spoleto ETC. The hourlong programs, held virtually via YouTube Live, will expand on the historical context and cultural significance of Omar, Spoleto’s upcoming world premiere opera written by Rhiannon Giddens and based on the life of Omar Ibn Said. SC Humanities supported this series with a Major Grant.
Tuesday, November 10, at 6:00pm
Exploring Omar: Between Two Lands
The cultural and environmental ties between Futa Toro (Senegal) and the Lowcountry
Futa Toro and Charleston: The sites of Omar’s birth and enslavement, divided by a vast ocean and much more. But did these water-proximal areas share traits, too? In looking at the intersections of the two lands, panelists will examine the cultures of both regions and the traditions of those who inhabit them today. Former National Park Services specialist Michael Allen—who has been instrumental in telling the stories of African Americans in the region and contextualizing them for exhibitions and historical markers—moderates this fascinating talk. Joining him are College of Charleston Professor John Cropper, Ph.D., who specializes in French West African history; Veronica Gerald, Coastal Carolina University Professor Emeritus and former Director of History and Culture at Penn Center on St. Helena Island; and Dr. Mamarame Seck, who will speak from his post in Senegal at the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar.