The fellowship was conceived with the desire to center emerging talented diverse and under served playwrights and screenwriters in an environment that understands the context of their work, thereby providing an inclusive portal to new worlds and the truths therein.
The fellowship will host an annual playwright & screenwriting competition(s) with prize monies, Table Reading Workshop of new scripts, Industry Guest Symposium and an overall improvement program in writing ability that meets the current landscape to launch young writers’ careers. We are highly focused on providing mentorship, practical industry advice, and career guidance that these writers need in today's industry.
Mamie & Jimmie Collier
The Mamie & Jimmie Collier Writing Fellowship is the brainchild of sisters Yasmin Collier-Kenney and Susan-Sojourna Collier in loving memory of their parents. Established in 2022, the Mamie and Jimmie Collier Writing Fellowship was created to honor their legacy as activists and lovers of the arts. The fellowship seeks to provide an opportunity for aspiring writers to hone their craft and receive mentorship from industry professionals with a track record of success.
Jimmie Cola Collier of Zebulon, GA and Mamie Emma Booth Collier of Lumpkin, Georgia were the product of two loving families who prided themselves on the importance of family and sticking together no matter the obstacle.
Mamie, affectionately called Sister, had parents who instilled in her a spirit of adventure and confidence, teaching her to never settle and to pursue her dreams. The 200 acres of fertile farmland amassed by her formerly enslaved grandfather, Ishmael Booth, served as the backdrop to her life story. With a family history steeped in love and rooted in the fertile soil of faith, Mamie’s steps were ordered. After the death of her father, she would continue to honor him through her love of learning. Despite having to travel over 20 miles to school and eventually having to board closer to school, only returning home once a month, she graduated at the top of her high school class. At a time when only 13% of African Americans completed high school, Mamie was preparing for college and went on to attend Fort Valley State College majoring in home economics; however, increasing tuition put a pause to this endeavor. Her next stop was Atlanta.
Jimmie Cola Collier of Zebulon, Georgia was the middle child of 11 siblings. Jimmie grew up in a household full of love and laughter with strong bonds and family ties to both his immediate and extended family. He was curious about the world beyond the stories found in newspapers and eventually found himself drafted towards the end of World War II. Even though he despised the war, experiencing Europe ignited his curiosity about history. After serving his time in the military, he returned home to Georgia and attended Barber College. He would eventually open the Silver Star Barbershop on “Sweet” Auburn Ave in Atlanta, during a time when this iconic street was known as one of the wealthiest streets in America because of the successful black businesses. The Silver Star Barbershop is still in business on Auburn Ave.
Proximity to history in the making, Jimmie quickly joined in the fight for justice as a member of the SCLC and the Democratic Party of Georgia. One fateful day a beautiful young lady walked into his barbershop, and it was in that moment that his life and the life of that young lady would change forever.
Joined in marriage in 1950 Jimmie and Mammie Collier would begin to grow their family, two boys, and two girls: Jeffrey and Greg, Yasmin and SusanSojourna. Their partnership in life led them to become faithful members in discipleship at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church. Feeling the pull of the ministry, Rev. Collier attended Turner Theological Seminary at Interdenominational Theological Center [ITC] on the campus of Atlanta University. He found inspiration from the theology and eastern writers such as Khalil Gibran, Howard Thurman & Williston Walker. Out of the rubble of social unrest and uncertainty following the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., Medgar Evers, and Robert Kennedy, Rev. Collier would eventually establish the New Hope Baptist Church, born of the need to point the way to a better tomorrow through new hope and restored faith. They were loyal members of the Order of the Easter Star and the Pride of Georgia Masonic Order in the early '50s. Rev. Collier quickly rose through the ranks, earning his 33rd degree in the early '70s. Decades later, Rev. Collier received a once in a lifetime honoring as an Honorary Most Puissant Sovereign Grand Commander. Mamie Collier would also continue to pursue her passion allow her gifts to make room for her. A gifted seamstress she would eventually go on to teach sewing and in the mid-'70s, during the inception of Public Access TV, Mamie hosted a popular weekly TV show, Sewing for Fun with Mamie. Not to be out done, Mamie would continue to balance her life as first lady with her creative pursuits as one of the founders of The Emma Darnell Senior Drama Troupe. An active member for over 10 years, Mamie enjoyed performing across the country. Her favorite original performance was An Evening with Paul Lawrence Dunbar. This was performed in Washington DC, Ohio and Atlanta.
The Colliers would continue to live by faith, grow their congregation, love on their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Upon becoming empty nesters, they traveled together completely in love unchanged from the day they met some 70 years ago. In the
Collier’s later years, they moved to Sadie Mays Nursing Home together where they would live out their days surrounded by love, laughter and reminiscing on the days of old. Mamie and Jimmie Collier were born in an era fraught with racial injustice, the onslaught of World War II and the challenges that came with living within those realities. However, daunting this may have been, the trajectory of
their individual life paths leads them to each other. No mistake or happenstance ordained and sanctioned by God, their union would last 70 years before Jimmie Collier preceded Mamie in death some mere two weeks apart. A love story that even the clutches of death could not severe.
Langston Hughes once said, "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken - winged bird that cannot fly." In the spirit of Sankofa, the Mamie and Jimmie Collier Writing Fellowship will solidify the Collier family legacy while introducing to the world to the next generation of creative writers and change makers.