Thomas Kneeland: Celebrating Black joy, confronting systemic oppression via poetry
In honor of Juneteenth, we feature Thomas Kneeland, a former All Indiana Artist known for his spoken word poetry that celebrates the black community. As the author of five poetry collections, some reaching the Amazon bestseller list, Kneeland sheds light on the origins of systemic oppression faced by people of African descent. He emerged as a trailblazer in the genre, recognized as a 2022 Global Poetry Prize finalist for Africa.
Kneeland’s journey began in undergraduate studies, where he transitioned from a biology major to creative writing, finding solace in the written word. Inspired by renowned spoken word poet Joshua Bennett, Kneeland has honed his craft for the past decade, inspiring communities nationwide with his powerful performances. Through his poetry, Kneeland uplifts the spirit of Black joy, highlighting the ability to overcome and sustain joy amidst adversity and injustice. His work serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Black community, reaching new heights and envisioning a brighter future.