The College Language Association @ Chicago: A Place to Dream

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[by: Morgan McComb] This year was my inaugural experience at the 78th Annual College Language Association convention. I was in constant awe—every panel I went to struck me as something new, expanding my horizons. But perhaps no panel stood at the center of the crossroads between scholarship and dynamic engagement with black literature and black history than the panel entitled “Chicago Dreamers: Literary and Life […]

An Act of Faith

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[by Vincent Omni] I last delivered a paper 20 years ago: an academic talk as an undergraduate fellow with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM). I discussed the contributions of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston to the Harlem Renaissance. Since then, I’ve raised a family and worked in public education. The thought, then, of presenting at the College Language Association’s annual conference caused […]

Black Futures Month: Freedoms, Poetry, & Resistance

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[By: Anthony Boynton] If no other moment during my time in Lawrence has shown me what freedom of expression and freedom of speech means, including how positionalities directly influence their manifestation, Dr. Eve L. Ewing’s recent visit to KU did so. On January. 30th, the Lawrence community gathered together in some amazing ways to share and celebrate poetry at “Mic Supremacy” which featured the award-winning […]

HBW Exclusive: Interview with Tayari Jones

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On Day 6 & 7 of our “Ode to #BlackExcellence” series we are celebrating the newest release from Tayari Jones An American Marriage. Oprah’s newest book club pick, An American Marriage masterfully intertwines love, suspense, and racial injustice through the story of Roy Hamilton and Celestial Davenport. KU Visiting Scholar and HBW Affiliate Lili Wong got a chance to speak with Jones about the new novel, as well […]

Day 4: An Ode to #BlackExcellence

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Novelist and essayist Ernest Gaines weaves the powerful traditions of storytelling and oral history throughout his works. Accentuating Black life in the rural South, Gaines does not shy away from confronting the racial overtones of our collective history.   “Sometimes you got to hurt something to help something. Sometimes you have to plow under one thing in order for something else to grow.” – Ernest […]

Day 3: An Ode to #BlackExcellence

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  Margaret Walker published her only novel Jubilee in 1966. Based on the story of her great-grandmother, the novel ushered in the era of neo-slave narratives. Though she published twelve books during her lifetime, her major legacy is the Institute for the Study of History, Life and Culture of Black People which she founded in 1986, and was later renamed the Margaret Walker Center in […]

Day 2: An Ode to #BlackExcellence

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Today we celebrate Toni Cade Bambara, writer of Black women’s literature, editor, and documentary film maker for her contributions to the Black womanist tradition, both through her own writing and as a pioneer of editing and publishing Black feminist anthologies. “Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?… Just so’s you’re sure, sweetheart, and ready to be healed, cause wholeness is no trifling […]