About Me

AS SEEN ON

Here's a little about Les and what she's up to

Leslie McGraw began sorting out her surroundings through writing in third grade following a move with her family to a new school district. She discovered her voice through the pen. Today she lends this voice to advocacy, where she is passionate about helping others share their stories of struggle and victory as an empowering tool.

Leslie is a poet, social media activist, and creative inspiration and emcee of the Bookbound Open Mic & Share Poetry Series (2013-2020) and Life By Poetry online community (www.lifebypoetry.tumblr.com). Her essay, “Roses Come in Black, Too” was published in the As/Us Women of the World Journal. She is also a recipient of The Leaven Center’s Eleanor S. Morrison Scholarship for Creative Writing for Social Justice and the University of Michigan’s Distinguished Diversity Leaders Award.

In the Summer of 2022, Leslie was chosen as one of five poets across the nation for the Black Fire This Time Summer Fellowship by Willow Books in Detroit, Michigan (https://willowlit.net/black-fire-this-time-2021/). Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @LifebyPoetry.

Leslie is a member of the Ann Arbor Writers Group, The Westside Writers Group, the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, RE:CLAIM Justice Movement, the Washtenaw County Vote Caucus for the Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice, MI Join Together, and Protectors of Equality in Government.

On October 15, 2022 Leslie McGraw launched the first Elbert Williams Voter Empowerment Day in honor of her great grand-uncle, who was the first known NAACP civil rights worker to be killed for attempting to exercise his right to vote.

Daughter

Zaria Joi

Historian and Artist

Karen Lafreya Simpson

Journalist and Activist

Ida B. Wells-Barnett*

Grandmother

Bertha Louise (Taylor Brown King) Rowry

Great-Grand Uncle and Early Voting Rights Activist

Elbert Williams*
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