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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Rob Penny and August Wilson Co-founded the Kuntu Writers Workshop in 1976,

and is the 2nd oldest Black Writers Workshop in continual existence

and coordinated by Rob Penny.



Robert Lee "Rob" Penny

(August 6, 1941-March 16, 2003)

Prized Playwright, Poet, Professor, and  Pan-Africanist activist


By Frances Lee Wilson

Spokesperson, Project Director, Newspaper Editor 



Greetings Beautiful Black People,

With heartfelt sadness, pain and deep sorrow, I must relate that the Phenomenal, Compelling, Fantastic Ultimately Creative Black Man Afrocentric Playwright and Poet. Professor Rob Penny, 62 passed away Sunday night March 16, 2003 Robert Lee Penny. Rob Penny a name of uniqueness for a Unique and Phenomenal Man. A man who truly valued women, who referred to his wife, the Beautiful, Treasured and Cherished Betty of 43 years as ‘Timamu’, She who completes my life and makes it perfect.’.   Yebo! Hotep! Rob Penny and his Beautiful Wife Timamu Betty were foremost in leading the struggle for Reparations, Unity and Uplifting.

Pan African Rob Penny N’COBRA Rob Penny Reparations Rob Penny Poet Rob Penny Black Horizons Theatre Rob Penny Black Radical Congress Rob Penny Strength Rob Penny Love Rob Penny Community Rob Penny Jazz Rob Penny Playwright Rob Penny Black Arts Movement Rob Penny Kuntu Writers Workshop Rob Penny Africologist Rob Penny Children and Youth Rob Penny Beginning with Books Rob Penny Commitment Rob Penny On the Hill Rob Penny Black Consciousness Rob Penny Friend Rob Penny Timamu Rob Penny Oba Rob Penny Afrikan Rob Penny ~

Rob Penny, Professor/Playwright/Poet, is a numerous award winning writer and historian. He was born in Opelika, Alabama and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he has always called ‘Home’. He is an Afrocentric poet and playwright. Presently, he is conducting course offerings in Afrikan American poetry, theatre and one Afrikan Humanities-Social Scienced based course, Black Consciousness. Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, 1978 -1984, where he has been a professor since 1969.

Rob Penny is also the Playwright in Residence for Kuntu Repertory Theatre. Rob Penny's plays have been nationally produced in such theatres as the aforementioned Kuntu Repertory Theatre, Chicago's ETA / Creative Arts Foundation, Inc. New York's New Federal Theatre founded by Dr. Woody King, Jr. as well as Brooklyn, New York's celebrated Billie Holiday Theatre, the world premiere of 'Nefertari Rising last year was also directed by Dr. Woody King, Jr, Rob Penny has given us  many awesome plays such as ''Boppin' with the Ancestors', Diane's Heart', 'Good Black Don't Crack', 'Clean Drums', 'Little Willie Armstrong Jones', ‘Killin’ and Chillin’,  'Sun Rising on the Hill District'. ‘Reflections: Rob Penny’s Forum in Flight’ ‘Among the Best: The Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays’. Hotep, Oba, Yebo

Rob Penny and August Wilson Co-founded the Kuntu Writers Workshop in 1976, and is the 2nd oldest Black Writers Workshop in continual existence and coordinated by Rob Penny. It is where they continued to take the written word and oral tradition to the communities, in the way of the Griot, in the style of our ancestral heritage and for the reason of keeping those traditional and creative speeches alive and at work. They took the position that the workshop is open, free and as advocates of the Black Arts Movement, they pushed for the ‘Afrikan Art’ of function, collective and committed.

The phenomenal Rob Penny also co-founded the Black Horizon Theatre with the dynamic August Wilson in 1968. Their love for words and the powerful effect they can have on and in ones life have given them life long positive careers that show true craftsmanship and diligent effort. Colorful, memorable electrifying characters that are never forgotten. Poetry that incites the soul and fuels the soaring of spirit, vibrant and exuberant visual images from the written and oral tradition.

Rob Penny, our Coordinator and his distinctive and uniquely creative influence for, upon and within the Kuntu Writers Workshop, is well known and respected, preparing and presenting a group of Black writers, with a solid foundation, format and focus. With his guidance and motivation in pursuit of inner and understanding we stay on a high level of bringing excellence through the use of words, in every form, an integral part of our heritage, history and culture. Vision, Creativity, Mission.

‘Kuntu’ ~ is the Reflective of African Art, Philosophy and Life. In Africa all art has meaning. Art is an inseparable part of the Lives of the African Community Worldwide. Thus Kuntu Art is Purposeful, Functional and Beneficial to the Development of the Community.

Please, forward calls, mail, information to:

Kuntu Writers Workshop                                                                 

3T01 3rd Fl, Dept. of Africana Studies                                            

Wesley Posvar Hall                                                                          

230 S. Bouquet St                                                                           

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA 15260  

412 648.7540   

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To ensure the continuation of the values and ideals that Rob dedicated his life to, his family and the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh have established two funds in his memory. The Rob Penny Memorial Student Assistance Fund, id intended to provide educational assistance to undergraduate students majoring in Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. The Rob Penny Memorial African Cultured Fund will provide awards to school children in designated Pittsburgh Schools and community artist. All donations should be forwarded to the following:

The Rob Penny Memorial Student Assistance Fund 

 CAS Development Office

 University of Pittsburgh

 926 Cathedral of Learning

 Pittsburgh, PA 15260

 Attention: James Sismour

The Rob Penny Memorial African Centered Fund

The Pittsburgh Foundation

One PPG Place 30th Floor

 Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Peace, Passion, Poetry

Frances Lee Wilson

Spokesperson, Project Director, Newspaper Editor

Kuntu Writers Workshop 

            This is the Africana Studies Website:

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Negro Digest / Black World

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update 4 March 2012




Home Tributes Obituaries Remembrances   Black Arts and Black Power Figures

Related files: Brentin Mock Remembrance  Peter Hart Remembrance  Kuntu Writers Workshop  Frances Wilson Remembrance