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Tara Lake is a Historian, Scholar-Artist and Educator.

An interdisciplinary Teacher, Researcher and Creative, Tara Lake has a background in History, Literature, African American Studies and the Performing Arts.  In the classroom - and in the virtual classroom - Tara teaches American History & Cultural Studies in college and corporate settings, and also leads workshops in elementary and high schools.  For over five years, Ms. Lake has also provided online instructional design services for college and university distance-learning programs.

Tara teaches Africana Studies in the Eastern Washington University Extended Campus program and is an Adjunct Professor of History at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. She is also founder of the AfroSouthern Education Project.

Tara also conducts research on African American history of the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as performance and literary culture.  As an artist, Tara has performed around the country, and her repertoire includes classical theatre, storytelling, and vocal jazz and classical voice performance. Scholar-artistry is critical to Tara’s work, and she utilizes performance to illuminate historical and cultural concepts. Currently, she can be found teaching amazing students online and “on the ground,” leading community education projects, podcasting and documentary filmmaking, developing new courses, developing productions for the stage, working in youth literacy, promoting media empowerment, writing historical fiction, researching aspects of black performance culture of the early Twentieth Century, and building pathways to understanding around race, gender, and class.

In December 2015, Tara reprised “The Christmas Spirituals Project,” a classical voice and storytelling concert dramatizing the folk history of Christmas in the African American South. Originally performed in 2012 in conjunction with the AfroSouthern Education Project, the concert has been performing at several community sites, including Greater Smith Chapel A.M.E. Church and Greater Turner Chapel A.M.E. church, both in Atlanta.  As Vice President of the East Point (GA) Cultural Arts Commission, Tara headed up the East Point Cultural Arts Festival in June 2012. In February 2012, she was featured as “Ruth” in the Center for Puppetry Art’s world premiere play, Ruth and the Green Book, a fictional exploration of the role of the historic “Green Book” in Black road travel during the Jim Crow Era.  In November, 2011, she appeared as “Old Maple” in Old Maple, My Everlasting Friend, an environmental justice play for youth, in the Young Voices New Visions Festival - Alliance Theatre, Atlanta.

In November and December 2011, Ms. Lake appeared in the FIAT Alternate Routes Storytelling series, a multimedia commercial campaign. In April 2011, Tara joined the cast of the short film “Jaded”, a project that strikes back of the epidemic of child sex trafficking in Atlanta, portraying the mother of an abducted daughter.  The Monti storytelling project(Durham, NC) nominated Ms. Lake for a Hippo Award in its Best Overall Story category (2009) and featured her story on its February, 2011 CD release, “The Monti Presents: Hippo Award Winners, Volume 1”.  In 2008, Tara performed as a featured vocalist at the famed Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, California. 

Ms. Lake is an alumna of the 2014 National Audio Theatre Festival’s Workshop 101, where her story “Crash Bang Love” was the basis for the group’s radioplay (She also performed the roles of EMMA and MOM). She served as the Vice Chair and Acting Chair of the East Point (GA) Cultural Enrichment Commission from 2012-2013. Ms. Lake was also a 2010 Puffin Foundation Arts Grantee, a 2010 Fractured Atlas Artist Grantee, and a 2009-2010 Durham Arts Council Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grantee.  She is an alumna of both the 2010 Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and the 2010 Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive. As a grantee, researcher, volunteer, and student of the world, she has traveled to countries including Switzerland, Vietnam, France, South Africa, Thailand, Great Britain, Belize, Mexico, Cambodia, and Ghana.

A two-time McNair Scholar, she holds memberships in organizations including Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society, Golden Key International Honour Society, the Organization of American Historians, and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Tara Lake is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Florida A&M University (B.A., English), and a graduate, with highest honors, of the M.A. in African American Studies program the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).   She also holds and M.A. in English and a Graduate Certificate in History. A born-and-bred Jersey girl, she lives in Atlanta, GA, and spends her time teaching talented budding historians and performing as an storyteller, chorister, and soprano.

Tara Lake.com by Tara Lake is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Photo: Jimmy Whitley