Re:Generation – ConsenSIS

“We are working to count, gather, and uplift the names, lives, and work of Black women and femme poets in Philadelphia.”
–Yolanda Wisher, ConsenSIS

ConsenSIS summons “sisterly history” to preserve the past and present literary legacy of Black women and femme poets in the Philadelphia area, aiming to spark new traditions that commemorate a vital creative community in a city where Black women’s contributions to history are often buried under cobblestones and colonial landmarks. Inspired by appreciation of Philadelphia luminaries such as Sonia Sanchez and ursula rucker, as well as team leads Trapeta Mason and Yolanda Wisher own experiences as poets laureate for the city, the focus of their Re:Generation project was developing and implementing a survey of Black women and femme poets, convening a community gathering, and creating a musical and poetic score. 

While much of the activity of ConsenSIS was based in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, one of the findings of their study was that many of their participants are no longer living in the city proper. As a result of this effort to learn about Black women and femme poets lives, challenges, and contributions to the city, the ConsenSIS team found new inspiration for their work to build a future where Black women and femme poets are remembered, cared for, resourced, and credited as key contributors to the city’s history. 

Team members include: Yolanda Wisher, Trapeta B. Mayson, Maya Arthur, Mai Eltahir, Nicole Pollard, and Jaléssa Savage.
Local Partner Organization: Philadelphia Contemporary 
Social Media: @ConsenSISPHL (Instagram)


ConsenSIS is a project of Monument Lab's Re:Generation, supported by the Mellon Foundation's Monuments Project. For a full list of credits, see Re:Generation.

1: Team photo (Naomieh Jovin/Monument Lab).
2: Team photo (Naomieh Jovin/Monument Lab).
3: First meeting of full team of Zoom, February 2022. Project leads Trapeta B. Mayson and Yolanda Wisher, project manager Jaléssa Savage, data curator Mai Eltahir, marketing manager Maya Arthur (ConsenSIS).
4: Gatherings of Black Women Writers: On the left: The Sisterhood, 1977. A group of Black women writers who met in New York once a month, kept minutes and collected dues. Members included journalists Margo Jefferson and Phyl Garland; culinary writers Vertamae Grosvenor and Jessica Harris; poets June Jordan, Ntozake Shange and Audre Lorde; and novelists Alice Walker and Toni Morrison. (June Jordan Papers, 1936-2002; MC 513. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass); 
“Sister Love” Black women writers at the inauguration of Sister President Johnnetta B. Cole,” Atlanta, Georgia, 1988. Dr. Cole, Spelman's 7th president, was responsible for bringing Mari Evans to campus as a scholar-in-residence. Top Row: Louise Meriwether, Pinkie Gordon Lane, Johnnetta Cole and Paula Giddings. Middle Row: Pearl Cleage, Gwendolyn Brooks and Toni Cade Bambara. Bottom Row: Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni and Mari Evans (Jim Alexander).
5: Mural Arts Philadelphia's Monuments to Black Women Poets: "Peace is a Haiku Song" mural (2013) in South Philadelphia featuring Sonia Sanchez and friends and "We Still Here" mural (2021) in the Germantown section of Philadelphia featuring ursula rucker (Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Philadelphia).