GUEST BLOG: The Centrality of Works by Black Writers in the African American Read-In

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[Dr. Sandra E. Gibbs] The African American Read-In was founded and sponsored by the Black Caucus (a group of Black professional educators and scholars) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in 1990. The Black Caucus voted to initiate the African American Read-In at its November 1989 meeting, but it was not until 1991 that the National Council of Teachers of English joined […]

Hidden Figure: Marion Bond Jordon

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[Dr. Zanice Bond] On February 7, 1921, Marion B. Jordon was born in Brownsville, Tennessee, to Ollie S. and Mattye Tollette Bond, charter members of their local NAACP chapter. After graduating from Lane College (summa cum laude) in 1941, she accepted a position in New York City with Pepsi-Cola as a national sales representative, a position typically reserved for white males. After completing her tenure, she became […]


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[Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] REMEMBERING DARK AND SPLENDID  (Mari Evans, July 16, 1923-March 10, 2017)   After a zillion sounds, stone-washed clean;   after broadly casting such truths to people;   after taming music into measure of mind;   after making bronze lyrics of ancient black,   you came to return space to origin.   You left a stern, eternal  crystal watch.   You left warning […]

Situation Report from a Culture of Reading: Part 2

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Editor’s note: two weeks ago we posted Situation Report from a Culture of Reading: Part 1. Below is part 2 of the post.  To the slave, revolution is an imperative, a love-inspired, conscious act of desperation. It’s aggressive. It isn’t “cool” or cautious. It’s bold, audacious, violent, an expression of icy, disdainful hatred! It can hardly be any other way without raising a fundamental contradiction. […]

Situation Report from a Culture of Reading: Part I

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Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this son of York;And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our houseIn the deep bosom of the ocean buried. – Richard III Unlike Richard, contemporary readers need not be “subtle, false and treacherous” unto themselves and the worlds they inhabit. They need not pretend those worlds are either peaceful or private spaces, immune to […]

The Serious Commitments of Jerry W. Ward, Jr. & William J. Harris

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[by Howard Rambsy] Dr. Rambsy is an associate professor of English at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville  By the time I met my undergraduate professor Jerry W. Ward, Jr. in the mid 1990s, he had been studying Richard Wright for about 30 years. And when I met my graduate school professor William J. Harris in 1999, he had been studying Amiri Baraka for nearly 40 […]

A Great American Protest Novel

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A spiritual inheritor to Agee, says Ward. [by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] “There is in Southern white man, distributed almost as thickly as the dialect,” James Agee wrote in 1936, “an epidemic capability of sadism which you would have to go as far to match and whose chief basis is possibly, but only possibly, and only one among many, a fear of the Negro, deeper […]